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Is Romance The Key To Making A Book Great?

Personally, I think no.

I'm a big fan of YA Contemporary, which is obviously known for its romance. Of course, I'm not saying every book is obligated to include any sort of romantic detail or relationship or a thousand makeout sessions, but it's always a nice addition. Also, “a kleptomaniac bad boy and a girl studying to be a physician forced to work together on a science project” would have me in a second.

When I was a wee baby bean (i.e. a preteen of only fifteen), my all-time favorite YA was Anna and The French Kiss. I carried it everywhere, viewed it as if it were a lifetime supply of iced coffee, and recommended it to a complete stranger. Though I don't feel the same about it now, I think it helped kickstart my YA obsession, so I could never entirely hate on it. Plus, it takes place in France. Plus, there's a delicious scene at a pastry shop.

There are different versions of love. Platonic, familial, unrequited. An MC who yearns about unrequited feelings may be relatable, but a book advertising a grandiose romance might attract a greater audience.

Like I said, I'm not saying a story needs to have the inclusion of romance to be great. Underwater, which is planning to debut later this month, focuses on mental health and the MC, Morgan, as she attempts to overcome her agoraphobia and PSTD. (There is a hot surfer living next door, though.) Paperweight concentrates on Stevie and how she struggles to come to terms with her brother's passing and her bulimia. Vanishing Girls, which is a story about sisters. Hour of the Bees, which is a gorgeous, mesmerizing story about family. I can go on reccing for hours, believe me. Look at Frozen, which I hate to use as an example. Look at Lilo and Stitch. Look at Mystic Pizza with Julia Roberts. Look at every friendship in Bridesmaids.

Do your views differ? Do I make absolutely zero sense? Might I have just struck genius for once? (lol one can hope) Obviously, love to hear your thoughts, nonetheless! Tell me what you think, angels!


  1. I don't want to say a book NEEDS a romance to be great, but I am definitely more likely to enjoy it if it does. Especially when it comes to fantasy. I seem some romance to balance out the heavy plot. And, I have to admit, I'm a sucker for paranormal romance. I think of all the romances incorporated in books, my favourite is when the two characters start off hating each other. It gets me every single time.

    Sarah @ Kerosene Lit

    1. I wish I included more genre love in this post! (Plus, paranormal romance. How could I ever forget that?!) I love when two characters are hurtling insults at one another, too. The fun banter and nicknames is adorable!

  2. I feel like kind of yeah. I hate to admit it, and there ARE absolutely books that work without romance but do I like it better if there is a romance, at least of SOME sort? Yep. I think it's kind of realistic even. Because no matter who you are, you probably want love. So it's a good assumption that the characters do too.

    I really can't think of any books that have been "huge" lately that DIDN'T have a romance, honestly. Even if it was a smaller scale one, it existed. Even just looking at my "favorites" shelf on Goodreads, they pretty much all have a romance of some kind!

  3. IKR? I've been feeling the same about that lately, too. Almost all the books on my Goodreads TBR include some aspect of romance. The ones on my favorite shelf, too. It's really such a significant thing, I think!

  4. I totally agree with what you've said here. While I love a bit of romance in the books I read, I don't think it's absolutely necessary. I love reading about friendships and family relationships and other aspects of life, like school and mental health etc. just as much, if not more than romance. Basically, I like my books to have other plots than just a relationship.


    Ely of Tea & Titles

    1. Yes! Romance never has to be the main fixture of a novel and though I'd definitely consider it something vital, I'm glad the message was received!

  5. I totally agree - romance is not always critical to making a book great. What makes a book great for me, is the plot and the writing style. Sometimes (as it is the case with YA Contemporary books), the romance is integral to the plot, so the romance is KEY to making the book great for me. Nice discussion! :)
    Geraldine @ Corralling Books

    1. Completely true! There are thousands of other plotlines to utilize, and though romance is undeniably significant, it usually doesn't have to be the main fixture. Thanks, Geraldine! :D


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