Why I Read (And Love) Romance// AND I NEED HELP FROM MY FELLOW BLOGGERS

I feel like it’s been a long time since I’ve posted a true discussion, and this is a topic that is near and dear to my heart. I’m going to shout it loud and clear: I love romance. I love romance books and romance plot lines and romance in general. I’m not going to be ashamed of it, because in  my opinion romance should not be as looked down on as it is.

(Also I saw this one someone’s blog and I can’t for the life of me remember who it was or find it but if you posted this on your blog please let me know so I can give you inspiration creds!)

PLEASE READ DOWN TO THE END OF THE POST OR AT LEAST SKIP DOWN TO THE END BECAUSE I HAVE A SUPER IMPORTANT QUESTION I NEED ALL YOUR HELP ON. 

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For most of my teenage years, romance was my favorite genre. I read basically all types: contemporary, historical, suspense, young adult. My original blog (for all the OGs out there that followed me way back when) was actually called Fictional Boyfriends, and was just a romance book blog. Recently (because of book blogging!!!) my tastes have expanded, and I have found a newfound love for contemporary, historical fiction, SFF, and magical realism. But romance will always have a special place in my heart.

A lot of people crap on romance books though. They think that all romance books are trash, or fluffiness, and not “real” reading. And frankly, this is just plain wrong. How could one type of reading be less real than another???? And yes, there are some romance books, like erotica, that maybe are a little trashy but 1.) there is nothing wrong with a little trash every once in a while and 2.) don’t discount the merits some romance books have. 

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1. Romance books focus on relationships.

Not only romantic relationships, but platonic relationships. Family relationships, friendship relationships, and relationships with yourself. I actually didn’t even realize there was such a problem with girl friendships in YA for a while because most of the romance books I read featured really strong female friendships! But more than that, I read romance books because I learn about relationships and their complexities. There isn’t really a plot in romance. It’s all character driven, and that means it deeply explores the complex friendships and interactions the character has. I learn what makes a good friend and what makes a bad friend. I learn how important family is, and how it’s never to late to mend your family’s relationships. I learn about second chances and forgiveness, and how everyone makes mistakes.* I’m more tolerant of others (I think) because I’ve seen it all before. I’ve read romance books where crazy things have happened, from both the victim and the other person’s POV, so I understand that sometimes things just happen.

*I also can give really good relationship advice to my friends now 

2. The character growth.

I laugh when people say romance books have flat characters. They have some of the best growth and redemption I see in YA books! Because a huge message that I see reiterated in romance again and again is that for someone else to love you, you have to first love yourself. And I think that is a great message! No one can just “fix” you, you have to fix yourself. Someone else can provide motivation for you, but ultimately you have to make the choice to be happy. And often characters that see themselves as broken learn that their scars actually make them beautiful, which is such a heartwarming message that I think everyone could use. Characters go from selfish and whiny to understanding and selfless. They go from cynical and bitter to open and happy. They go from closed off to vulnerable. They learn that having and showing emotions isn’t a weakness, but a strength. 

3. The love!

There is nothing wrong with loving love, and loving to see others be happy. Life can be so hard sometimes. It can make you sad and terrible things can occur and there’s just something about romance books that takes that ache away. Seeing others have their first kiss and fall in love for the first time and go on first dates reminds you that while life can be awful, there are some beautiful moments in it. There’s always something to look forward to. And getting so invested in other people’s problems helps me forget about my own.

Romance books don’t always have to end in a HEA. A lot of them do. But a lot of them also don’t. Because romance isn’t about riding off into the sunset together. Two people can be deeply, madly in love, and break up by the end of the book because you need more than love to make a relationship work. And while I love my light, happy romance books, I also love my sad, real, heartbreaking romance books, and I learn from both of them.

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As this ramble of a post comes to an end, I want to make one thing clear: I will not shy away from loving romance books anymore. Reading romance books* does not make me less smart, or a less savvy reader. I don’t really expect this post to convince anyone who dislikes romance to suddenly start loving it, because everyone has different genres that call to them, but I am calling for an end of romance book shaming! 

 

*And loving them

To end this post, here is a list of my absolute favorite romance books. Most are YA, but some are from other genres, and each of them I will recommend to anyone who wants to experience falling in love all over again. 

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Now to my Very Important Question I need your help on! As those of you who follow my twitter know, I am doing a project at school on children’s books and the representation (or lack of) in them, primarily in mainstream publishing companies (like what is sold at Barnes and Noble or something). I want to research statistics on how diverse children’s books really are, which minorities are underrepresented, why it is harder for minorities to be published, etc. Part of my project requirements is to find a mentor in the real world that can guide me in my research. I was hoping my mentor can be someone in a diverse publishing company, or a diverse children’s book author, or someone that works for an organization that encourages diverse children’s books or SOMETHING LIKE THAT. Since this community is SO AWESOME and has so many connections, I was hoping one of you can put me into contact with someone that can mentor me? Being my mentor is totally NOT a huge time commitment, it really is just some guidance.

(Btw my final product representing my research will be my own diverse children’s book. I think I already have my plot idea but I don’t wanna spoil it yet. But my hope is that I can somehow get this story out into the community, like donate it to elementary schools or to my local libraries. But any advice on this portion of the project is also appreciated. )

Let's Chat!

Do you love reading romance? Why? Or if not, why don’t you? What is your favorite genre to read and why? DO YOU HAVE HELP/CONNECTIONS/POSSIBLE MENTORS FOR ME REGARDING MY SCHOOL PROJECT?????

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23 thoughts on “Why I Read (And Love) Romance// AND I NEED HELP FROM MY FELLOW BLOGGERS

  1. Loretta @ The Laughing Listener says:

    Oh man, I 👏 LOVE 👏 THIS 👏 I completely agree!! I love romance books! I LOVE LOVE!! The only reason I have a Bookbub account is so I can download free romance novels on a regular basis. Seriously, there are so many romance novels hogging space on my Kindle that I have to really dig for any other books I’m looking for on there.

    I think it’s AWESOME you’re trying to take the stigma out of reading romance because I really don’t get it! Romance novels are great and a lot of fun! Of course there are the terrible ones, but that happens with books in general. I like reading them after I’ve read something emotionally taxing. It’s nice to read something nice and heartfelt after being so drained or stressed.

    I wish I knew more people to help you out with your project! Sadly I don’t know anyone important, but good luck! That topic sounds really interesting!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sydney @ Fire and Rain Books says:

      OMG BOOKBUB I USE THAT FOR ROMANCE TOO!

      I hate the stigma about romance. It doesn’t make sense! People only think of the horrible ones with the naked people on the covers and all that but some are actually deep and in depth. Also, there is nothing wrong with wanting to read something lightheaded like trashy romance every once in a while. I learned in my history class that romance was some of the first novels printed with the printing press.

      It’s okay, I’ve been reaching out to a ton of people so hopefully one of them has a connection that I can use!! And you’ll definitely be hearing more about this project in the upcoming months.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Marie says:

    YES, I love this post so much ❤ ❤ I really like reading romance books as well – they make me happy, I love seeing the character grow, change and I love seeing relationships growing, tightening, everything else around it. It's just so beautiful, hopeful, sometimes heartbreaking, but it's also so, well.. I don't know, I just love it ahah ❤ I love your recommendations, Second Chance Summer and The Distance Between Us are both so good! 🙂
    I'm sorry I can't help you with your project, but fingers crossed you'll find someone in this amazing community! ❤ ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Krysta says:

    Unfortunately, I don’t have a mentor I can recommend for you. 😦 However, I think I can be helpful (maybe?) in regards to getting your book out. I know that my local library doesn’t put books on the shelves from authors who just walk in with their writings. So you might try another route, like explaining your project and offering to do a talk or host a panel or something on your research. Emphasize the educational aspect of what you can offer so they’re more likely to consider your request.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Panda @ Panda Between Pages says:

    I won’t say romance is my favourite genre, but since I read almost anything and everything, I have read quite some. It’s annoying how people stereotype romance books because not all stories are the same. The Distance Between Us was great and Pushing the Limits is not bad either.

    Your project sounds really interesting, do share how it goes. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Jackie @ toomuchofabooknerd says:

    What a great post! I also love romance in YA novels especially because of all the FEEEEELS that these books give you XD However, I tend to prefer romance if it’s incorporated in a different genre somehow eg. Fantasy, Historical Fiction etc!

    On the other hand, there are tons of romance novels which are very graphic and they usually have half-naked people on their covers—those books are usually not appealing to me and I tend to shy way from them! However, I do not judge anyone who reads these books! I honestly don’t understand why people have to bash romance, or any genre for that matter! Everyone has different tastes and opinions and we don’t all like the same thing—WHICH IS TOTALLY FINE.

    I always say you do you! Read whatever you want as long as it’s something that you love, you should just keep doing it! Fantastic post ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sydney @ Fire and Rain Books says:

      Ahhh all the feels from romance! Romance in other genres is sometimes SO GOOD like omg.

      I had a phase where I read those very graphic romance novels. They aren’t my book of choice anymore but sometimes you just need something super fun and not serious to get you through.

      Thank you so much ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Pamela Nicole says:

    Romance books are the best! A book has to be really unique and interesting in some other way if it doesn’t have romance for me to read it XD

    As for mentors, there is Laura Pohl. She’s a brazillian author, with a book coming out in 2019. I remember asking her for some opinions for an article in the Stay Bookish zine a while ago, so maybe she’d be interest in helping you out! She’s the creator and a mentor of #PitchAmerica This is her twitter profile: https://twitter.com/laurampohl

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Lillian @ Inky Insanity says:

    Go you! This post is just perfect. As someone who’d rather read fantasy than contemporary though, I think the quality of romance varies from genre to genre. The few contemporaries I’ve read have had wonderful, adorable, and also heartbreaking romances, but good romances are few and far between in SFF. 😭 I don’t normally read just for the romance, but a good one really makes my day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sydney @ Fire and Rain Books says:

      Thank you 😊 Ooh that’s a good point, I focused mostly on contemporary romance but it does appear in other genres like SFF. I think one reason it’s harder to develop good romances in SFF is because the main focus isn’t on the characters, but on the plot and world building, and a good romance requires developed characters and a developed relationship between them. Some of my biggest ships are from SFF though! I especially love the romance in The Starbound Trilogy.

      Like

  8. Ilsa @ A Whisper Of Ink says:

    I’e tried…I REALLY HAVE. Romance books are great for some people. BUt fluffy contemporaries BORE ME so much! even with character development! The love is so dry to me and as a plot? So not invested. I’m so glad you love them though! I do give them a chance but I actuallly quite like a romance on the side in a fantasy world or even in a contemporary

    Liked by 1 person

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