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When Romance Gets It Right

If you're a reader of GreenBeanTeenQueen, you know I love romance! I'm a sucker for a good romantic tale, I love funny and charming chick lit, and I always think if a story has a dash of a romantic plot, it makes it even better.

But romance has to get it right, which can be tricky. As much as I love romance, I can be a very picky romance reader. falls I've come across many books that have romance in them, but I feel like the romance falls flat. So I've been thinking about what makes a romance work. If a romance is going to get it right (for me at least), I think it needs to avoid these things:

-I really really hate "love at first sight" that never develops beyond that. No more of these stories where the characters see each other and are immediately have a "connection" all based on the other persons hotness.

-Relationships need to develop beyond making out. If the characters spend all their time making out and staring into each other's eyes and then three days later are saying "I love you"-I'm not buying it.

-Stop confusing "lust" with "love." So many romances are lust based, with the characters never getting beyond that lustful stage. Yes, I know it's YA and they are teens and hormones are raging, but really can we move on from that and actually have a deep meaningful relationship?

-I know bad boys are all the rage, but can't there be some love for the nice nerdy guys once in awhile? Why do most love triangles involve a sweet (and sometimes nerdy) best friend, and dark mysterious bad boy-with the dark mysterious bad boy winning?

Basically, for a romance to work for me, it has to have a believable romance. I need the characters to hang out, get to know other, experience the awkwardness of dating (especially the awkwardness of dating in the teen years!), and ultimately fall for each. For a romance to work for me, I need to fall in love with the love interest, not just be a bystander watching the characters lust and pine. I need to know what it is about these characters that make them fall for each other and if I come away from a book with a book crush, even better!

So who do I think gets romance right?

-Elizabeth Scott-especially with Something, Maybe. I fell hard for Finn and loved the way the relationship developed between Hannah and Finn.

-Meg Cabot-gotta love The Princess Diaries Michael and Mia and the slow friendship turned crush turned to romance

-Pretty much anything by Sarah Dessen-she knows how to write realistic contemporary romance!

-Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles-not only does she manage to pull off an incredibly steamy hot romance, the characters have more depth than each one thinks and their growth from hate to understanding to love makes it totally swoon worthy

Graceling by Kristin Cashore-Katsa and Po don't start out in a romantic relationship-that element grows as their friendship grows and I have a soft spot for friends turned love interest-friendship is the best basis for a relationship! (Plus, when it does turn to romance, it's so hot because their friendship is so deep)

Lovestruck Summer by Melissa Walker-a swoon worthy romance because the characters relationship is one that turns from annoyance to romance-and it has a very realistic feel to it (I love that Melissa didn't sugarcoat the ending too-she kept it real!)

And when in doubt, go to the ultimate romance comparison: Anne and Gilbert:
I mean, they had how many books to develop their relationship? They aren't even really romantic interests until book three!! Sure, Gilbert teased Anne and we all know it's because he likes her, and yes, we know Anne's indifference really is her hiding her love for him. But they take time to work things out, develop a friendship, and when they actually come together we the readers have fallen so in love with them and we can't help but cheer for them to be together at last!

So who gets romance right for you? What makes a romance work or not work


  1. The Anne and Gilbert standard is absolutely right! Sure, those books are from a different era, but the relationship is what made them so lovable. I think that is what's missing in so many current books. The most development some relationships get is smoldering looks between the couple!

  2. I just read the first two hunger games books and I fell in love with Peeta and Gale...absolutely amazing :)

  3. I love a good romance. One I've read recently that was awesome was Unearthly by Cynthia Hand!

    I'm so tired of the lustful relationships... i want to "SEE" them fall in love! and i haven't been getting that much lately.

  4. Umm...Where is Ron and Hermione on this list?

  5. I'm also a fan of the starts-as-hate-turned-affection. Not the sudden kind of course. The Pride and Prejudice kind. XD

    Awesome post, and I do agree with the list!

  6. I totally agree with you! I really hate badly done love triangles, and I'm SO sick of the good girl falling for the bad boy. I've been wanting to read a new romance that does it right for a bit now... unfortunately I've read all your examples, haha, so hopefully I will find another one soon.

  7. Of course, Anne and Gilbert--and Sarah Dessen! A fun list. Thanks! - Stasia

  8. I swear you read my mind! I just posted about this last night because I was looking for a good romance novel. I love Sarah Dessen. I fell in love with Wes from The Truth About Forever. I wished for a moment that I was Macy. Thanks for some great ideas!

  9. You took the thoughts right out of my head! I don't read a lot of romance, but when I do, I really don't like it when the two leads fall in love at first and suddenly become obsessed with each other. It makes their relationship seem shallow and I can't get into it. I love the Harry/Ginny and Ron/Hermoine relationships in Harry Potter. They get to know each other and become friends before they are interested in each other romantically. "Where the Heart Is" by Billie Letts is an adult book that I think does romance right. The male and female lead are friends for years and slowly fall in love with each other.

  10. I couldn't agree more with the ultimate romance. Anne and Gilbert's love story is a total favorite. I'm not into chicklit, it's too sappy. I'm a sucker for love/hate. Just two words: Ron, Hermione. sigh....

  11. I'm a fan of the romance. It is always a great part of any story. But I have to say, I'm a fan of the bad boy. As long as he's got some depth to him anyway.

  12. Will so have to agree on all your romance point! I think "love at first sight" is just a cheap cop out for a story to get to the next step without having to do more work on the characters. But whatever

    LOVE Anne and Gilbert!!

  13. I'm with you on Anne and Gilbert. I think Juliet Marillier's books are fabulous with romance. Especially the Sevenwaters books.

  14. You are SO right! I love when the romance just grows and blossoms throughout the book. I don't even care if there isn't much making out or whatever- I just want to feel the connection.

    I really hope I have conveyed that in my own WIP- it's very important to me to get it right, and I want people to love my characters as much as I do.
    I think Sharon Shinn gets it right every time whether its her adult books or YA books. Also Garth Nix- he hasn't had anything in a while, but his books are awesome for that little bit of romance we all love mixed in with the adventure.

  15. My thing is witty banter. I love reading about smart people, and when they are wise-cracking all over the place (or teasing each other) it's even better. Most of Georgette Heyer fits this, as do Jen Crusie's books.


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