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  • Writer's pictureAnnika Pillai

my perfect romance

I’ve been reading a lot of duds recently, especially in terms of romance, and it got me thinking about what exactly the issue is. Am I the problem? Am I picking objectively bad books up to read? Or am I just ridiculously picky? After a lot of debilitating, I think I’ve figured out what exactly my perfect romance is, and maybe why I keep having two or three star reads.

I think the first thing that I love in my romances is angst; I love angsty romances, and I love where there is a huge buildup of tension. I hate it when there is a hookup early on in the book, because I feel like it cuts the tension in half, and the rest of the book seems to fall flat for me; there is a just a ridiculous amount of will-they-wont-they’s, without any of the tension or angst; the first hookup in a book is the best one, and in my opinion, it is also the easiest to mess up.

I think that another thing that I hate in my romance books, that I’ve been running into recently, is unnecessary conflicts. I can usually tolerate an unnecessary third act conflict, even though I don’t particularly like them, but so many times, I feel like authors opt to go for a drama-heavy conflict, even when it’s at the expense of their character’s growth. I hate when the third-act conflict completely ruins a character’s arc––because at that point, why am I even bothering to read? The character’s are at the same place at the end of the book, that they were at the beginning!

My perfect romance book usually includes a little bit of a slow-burn––nothing too crazy, just enough time for relationship buildup, before the character’s get together. I also like third-act conflicts that are not drama-filled, but rather serve to enhance the character’s growth, instead of ruining it.

Lastly, I hate when there’s a fuck-ton of insta-love. Obviously I definitely don’t mind lust in a romance, but the I start to get irritated when there is only lust; I feel like sometimes when I’m reading a romance, I really don’t understand why two character’s want to be together, other than wanting to fuck. I want there to be a good amount of relationship development. I want to be able to understand why these two characters like each other and want to be together, beyond just lust.

I feel like all the books that I have been reading recently have fallen into one of these traps, and I’m just hoping that knowing what exactly I want from my romance books will help me discover books that I will actually like. I don’t know. A girl can hope.


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