Opinion: What to Read From a Hopeless Romantic

The author, Detroit junior Rhiannon Slotnick, stands in front of a brick wall holding three of her favorite books. Slotnick recommends these books for anyone interested in reading more romance (Photo courtesy of Katie Dudenhoefer).

As a child, I was always drawn to a good romance story. I was brought up on Disney Princess movies and romance animes. Growing up, “The Secret of Moonacre” was my favorite movie; my childhood self was mad that I didn’t get to see Maria Merryweather and Robin de Noir kiss on screen. 

When I turned eight, I started looking for romance in books. When my mom forced me to start reading the “Thea Stilton” series, I would flip through the pages to find out if one of the main girls had gotten together with the guy introduced at the start of each book. 

Then, when I started reading “My Sister’s a Vampire,” I realized I only cared about the relationship between the sisters and their boyfriends. I didn’t care about how the girls grew closer when they discovered each other after years. 

Reading romance allowed my hopeless romantic heart to grow. It allowed me to escape to a new world and live vicariously through the characters I was fascinated with. To this day, as an adult, I am constantly in search of new romance genres, subgenres and series that recapture the magic I felt during my youth.

Romance Across Genres

In this type of story, the romance is there, but it’s not the story’s overarching theme. Let’s take “Tiger’s Curse,” by Colleen Houck for example. In the book, a young girl helps to break a curse on a shapeshifting prince. While the characters do fall in love and eventually become a couple, the main goal of the story is to break the curse that turns the prince into a tiger.

Typically, these books are more action-oriented and though they are faced with tragedy, many characters in these novels are able to find love with those around them.

When I was younger, I only wanted to read a certain genre of books: romance or course. I never wanted to branch out because I thought books could only contain one kind of genre, not multiple. However, after reading a recommendation from a friend, “Maze Runner” by James Dashner, I decided to give science fiction and fantasy a chance. 

With these books, I got to travel to new places as well as get a good love story, even if some of the relationship dynamics broke my heart:

  • “City of Bones,” by Cassandra Clare
  • “The Lunar Chronicles,” by Marissa Meyer
  • “The School for Good and Evil,” by Soman Chainani
  • “Zodiac,” by Romina Russell
  • “Percy Jackson and The Olympians,” by Rick Riordan
  • “The Fifth Wave,” by  Rick Yancey 
  • “The Hunger Games,” by Suzanne Collins
  • “Vampire Academy,” by Richelle Mead

Tooth-Rotting Sweetness: Fluff

When I say “fluff,” I’m not talking about the filler authors use to make their stories longer. I’m talking about the sweet and tender romance books in both the Young Adult and regular Adult sections. 

Many different tropes could fall under this area: enemies or friends to lovers, faking dating, love triangles and many more. 

In Young Adult:

  • “The Selection,” by Kiera Cass (Love Triangle)
  • “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before,” by Jenny Han (Fake dating)
  • “The Summer I Turned Pretty,” by Jenny Han (Love Triangle)
  • “My Life With The Walter Boys,” by Ali Novak (Love Triangle)
  • “Did I Mention I Love You,” by Estelle Maskame (Enemies to Lovers/Forced Proximity)
  • “Perfect Chemistry,” by Simone Elkeles (Enemies to Lovers/Bad Boy)
  • “Run Away With Me,” by Mila Gray (Second Chance)
  • “10 Things I Can See From Here,” Carrie Mac (Strangers to Lovers)
  • “Heartstopper,” by Alice Oseman (Friends to Lovers)
  • “Shatter Me,” by Tahereh Mafi (Enemies to Lovers)
  • “She Gets the Girl,” by Alyson Derrick and Rachael Lippincott (Friends to Lovers)

In Adult:

  • “Red, White & Royal Blue,” by Casey McQuiston (Queer Royals)
  • “One Last Stop,” by Casey McQuiston
  • (Magical Realism) 
  • “The Love Hypothesis,” by Ali Hazelwood (Fake Dating)
  • “Love On the Brain,” By Ali Hazelwood (One-sided Enemies to Lovers/Forced Proximity)
  • “After,” by Anna Todd (Dare/Bad Boy)
  • “Lovelight Farms,” by B.K. Borison (Friends to Lovers)
  • “Practice Makes Perfect,” by Sarah Adams (Opposites Attract)

The Spicy and the Saucy: Smut

Smut books are novels that are filled with sex scenes, dirty language and adult themes. They can range from vanilla to some of the kinkiest things you can think of. 

Right now, I am hooked on these smutty books. 

While I do understand that they have become a recent addiction in society, I don’t enjoy reading a book just because it has smut in it. I value the closeness that the people in the relationship share as much as I love knowing all the different sides of a relationship. 

A lot of smut books can fall under the fluff category, but I think it’s important to separate them; not everyone likes to read books with sex scenes in them. Whenever I had a customer at Barnes and Noble ask for a romance book recommendation, I would always make sure to ask them if they wanted a book with or without smut.

My favorite author in this category is Katee Robert. She has so many different series: The Dark Olympus series, The Wicked Villains and about 20 more to choose from. 

  • “Neon Gods,” by Katee Robert (Fake Dating)
  • “Desperate Measures,” by Katee Robert (Kidnapping/Forced Proximity) 
  • “Icebreaker,” by Hannah Grace(Reversed Grumpy x Sunshine)
  • “Praise,” by Sara Cate (Ex-boyfriend’s Dad/Age Gap)
  • “Haunting Adaline,” H.D. Carlton (Stalker)
  • “Credence,” by Penelope Douglas (Coming of Age)
  • “Preist,” Sierra Simore (Forbidden Love)
  • “A Touch of Darkness,” by Scarlett St. Clair (Hades & Persephone)
  • “Twisted Love,” by Ana Huang (Brothers Best Friend)
  • “Hooked,” Emily Mcintire (Enemies to Lovers)
  • “King of Battle and Blood,” Scarlett St. Clair (Enemies to Lovers)

I Love Reading About Love

If you couldn’t tell, reading is one of my all time favorite hobbies, and recommending romance novels is how I show my love for others. I also adore accepting recommendations from others; I haven’t even read all of the books I listed. 

I hope you enjoy these recommendations and pick up one of the books at the closest bookstore. I know I sure will!

About Rhiannon Slotnick 28 Articles
Rhiannon Slotnick is a Junior from Detroit, Michigan. She is double majoring in English Literature Creative Writing and Sociology. She enjoys putting words on to paper for both work and for personal pleasure. If she's not writing, you can find her reading a book or stargazing around campus. You can contact her at rms15@albion.edu

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