The month of August is designated Romance Awareness Month, so it’s a great time to spotlight romance titles.
Not everyone knows what a romance novel really means – I talk to tons of people who aren’t sure.
There’s a fool proof definition: A romance ends with a happily ever after.
In adult romances, books end with the couples married or engaged or together for the rest of their lives. For teens, it’s more likely happily ever after for now. Most teen books don’t end with marriage or the acknowledgement that they found their soul mate (although a few do.). Even in teen romances, the couple falls in love and are together at the end of the book.
It doesn’t matter if you fall in love in the book if the book doesn’t end happily. Nicholas Sparks doesn’t usually write romance. The Fault in Our Stars isn’t a romance. Romeo and Juliet isn’t a romance. Sure those books have elements of romance in them, but they are not romance books; they’re missing that one key ingredient of happily ever after.
A few years ago, I challenged myself for a month (roughly 30 books for me) to read only romance books. I thought it would be harder for YA novels, but in actuality, I realized that most YA books tend to have a romance plot line. The book that hit me on the head with this idea was Dead to You by Lisa McMann. A boy is kidnapped at the age of seven and returns home nine years later. The homecoming isn’t perfect and all of his family isn’t happy to see him returned. In immersing himself back into his old life, he rediscovers an old childhood friend. Their friendship turns into something romantic. I wouldn’t call this a straight romance, but it does have romantic elements.
Romance doesn’t have to be the central plot-line, but it’s prevalent in a lot of YA books. I think the romance is there to give readers hope that even though there are dark, dangerous, and strange times growing up, love could be waiting just around the corner. Love reminds us of the good things in life and the bright moments in our days. Love gives us Hope.
Romance is everywhere and in a variety of genres including contemporary, mystery, thriller, fantasy, sci-fi, sports reads, and even books with male main characters. If you want some ideas of books to pull for a contemporary list, check out Jessica Lind’s genre guide.
I read a lot of thrillers, here are a few with a happily for now romance:
The Night She Disappeared by April Henry.
Gabie delivers pizzas. She changes shifts with a co-worker. On the night she’s supposed to work, Kayla goes out for delivery and never returns. Gabie can’t help but this she was the intended target. She and Drew (another co-worker) start to piece together clues to lead them to uncover the truth about that night.
This is Not a Drill by Beck McDowell
Emery and Jake never expected a father with PTSD to come into school with a gun when they signed up to teach French to first grade students. Emery and Jake must help the kids remain calm. They don’t want to do anything to agitate the man. Everyone is scared. Their teacher tries to stand up to the man, but soon she’s injured. Emery and Jake have to put aside their differences and work together to help the kids and to get everyone out of the room without another injury.
Rook by Sharon Cameron
Sophia saves people from the guillotine, leaving behind a red tip feather. Her last mission sends up red flags and the authorities are suspicious of her family and of her brother in particular. As the danger grows closer, Sophia isn’t sure who to trust anymore. Everyone wants something from her, even her fiance, whom she can’t help be drawn too. Can she survive the game without losing the people that matter most to her?
Is there a book that surprised you with a romance plot line or a book that did romance really well? Let us know in the comments.
~ Jennifer Rummel currently reading Everything and the Moon by Julia Quinn