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  • Writer's pictureAnnika Pillai

the tropification of romance books

It’s hard to remember a time before TikTok, but believe it or not, it did exist. I’m not saying that I’m anti-TikTok, because the topic is much more nuanced than that, but I will say that the romance genre has changed drastically because of the app, for the worse, in my opinion.


I love tropes, don’t get me wrong, but it’s interesting to see just how large trope’s in romance books have become recently. It’s almost as if the book is being crafted surrounding the tropes, as opposed to the actual characters and story. I’ve noticed that quite a few times, especially in my most recent reads, how clunky the actual progression of events felt, and the abundance of tropes. I can appreciate tropes here and there, but when the majority of the novel is just trope after trope, the story doesn’t flow properly, and I find it hard to buy into the actual romance.


I blame this phenomenon that I’ve noticed, primarily on TikTok. With the emergence of BookTok, and authors on TikTok, many new and upcoming authors rely on tropes as a way to market their novel. While this is effective in catching a viewer’s eye, the actual novel feels very empty and half-hearted. Why did we start relying on tropes as a way to craft a romance novel? Why are we not relying on the actual storyline? The characters?


After hearing Ali Hazelwood's recent comments regarding how she formed her latest books, I've been aware, more than ever, about how the romance industry has changed.


I will say part of the reason I’m writing this, is due to my lack of recent quality romance reads. I’ve been reading quite a few three-star and two-star romances. I love romance, more than anything. I’m just hoping that this new shift in the genre is not something that lasts.

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