Monday, April 07, 2014

Book Girls Don’t Cry… or Fall For All The Romance

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Book Girls Don’t Cry is a feature where we will discuss/vent/advise on a bookish topic. This feature is co-hosted with the lovely Amy at Book Loving Mom.

Okay, so this is just starting to be far too much fun.  I got together with Stella (It’s Too Late To Apologize) again recently and we decided to talk about romance in novels.  No, not about the romance genre, but more so romance within books of multiple genres.  We ended up rambling about NA (could the people in these books get any more dysfunctional?), Insta-Love and even went into some erotica talk.  I hope you guys enjoy!

For those who don’t like to or can’t watch the video, here is a rundown of some of the points touched upon:

  • New Adult romances seem to be comprised of the most broken people you could ever fathom.  It really seems like the authors just try to think of the most emotionally scarring scenarios they can and just throw them at multiple characters in the novel.  What bothers me about this is how these people then start diving head first into these romances and end up being saved by it.  I don’t think it’s realistic that a romance can save the characters presented in these novels.
  • Stella can’t stand it when the man in the romance is the rich professional who is perfect in every way and wants to shower her with her every want.  How hard is it to love those guys? C’mon how hard is to fall for Tom Brady? And is that real life? Where is the struggle people?
  • Novels in the YA genre seem to be very romance heavy these days.  Sometimes it even feels as though the romance is just thrown in there because it’s the formula and the author feels it should have one.  Not all romance is necessary!
  • Insta-Love! Sometimes it can be forgivable if the characters still maintain who they are, but it drives us crazy when the characters lose who they are once they fall in love.   So often the women in YA novels lose sight of their goals and what they want in their life once they find a man, it just becomes all about the man.
  • Stella wants to see more female dominants in erotica, she thinks 50 Shades of Grey seems to have started a trend that is keeping the women as submissives.

What are your thoughts about romance in novels?

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28 Responses to “Book Girls Don’t Cry… or Fall For All The Romance”

  1. Amanda @ Book Badger

    Great topic girls! I have to completely agree, sometimes the romance does feel like it’s thrown in because it ‘should be’, rather than because it flows naturally, and I do think it’s a shame that women lose their entire character when they fall in love, if they have any character at all, and how they are deemed as needing to be controlled. I really think that romance can ruin a book sometimes..

    • Jenni

      Oh Amanda, you and I are so on the same page here. When I finish some books these days I just sit there and wonder why the romance was thrown in! It can get pretty annoying when it’s just empty.

  2. Siiri

    Hahahaha *laughs* yep! Rape, molesting, murder etc is always fixed between just romance in NA books. True dat. Oh, yeah! The FSoG type of guys who are rich, so called amazing, gorgeous-looking, educated (with the exception of bdsm) etc–they are appealing, yes, but it’s just like.. when every book is like that are everywhere and you two are right! It’s easy to love someone like that, but it’s harder to love someone who doesn’t have anything and yep! Stella is 100% right–it’s the struggle that makes it all worth reading. Bhahahahha! The song!!! Lol, have you seen Don Jon? I loved that movie since it made all the clichés so fun and it really portrayed the stereotypes well. I love romance and I do love when characters don’t get carried away by the romance–Easy by Tammara Webber being the perfect example. I don’t appreciate when romance takes the center stage in a book where it’s not supposed to do that (looks at Reboot by Amy Tintera), but more or less, I’m always pro romance. What can I say, I like my feels and swoon 🙂

    • Jenni

      I haven’t seen Don Jon yet but I really want to! Maybe that will be my mission for this week, get that movie watched! I love Joseph Gordon Levitt!

  3. Mary @ BookSwarm

    Very romance-heavy YA lately. I don’t mind it when it works as part of the story but a lot of times, it’s thrown in as an afterthought, which annoys me. And, yes, I agree about female doms! Why is always the women submitting? A guy can be strong and still let a woman be in charge.

  4. Maya

    I can’t watch the video right now as I’m in a library and have no headphones (dammit!) but ill definitely come back to watch it later because you mention some excellent points above. I steer clear of NA for the exact reason that it always seems to be full of really screwed up people, unhealthy relationships and so much romance that there isn’t actually a story. I also quite dislike how ALL YA feature some kind of romantic subplot, even when it contributes absolutely nothing to the story. I’ve got nothing against romance in books, but I wish authors would stop throwing them in for no reason and maybe focus more on friendship instead (something that is, after all, very important for teens. I look toward to watching the video!

    • Jenni

      YES! I was so relieved to read The Wicked We Have Done by Sarah Harian lately because it so does not follow the regular NA tropes. I’m hoping more NA starts breaking out of the box.

        • Jenni

          aww thank you so much for coming back and watching! It’s a pretty gruesome horror take on NA, I think it was really well done. I hope you like it (if that type of novel is your thing of course.)

  5. Bethzaida (bookittyblog)

    Great discussion girls!!!! I so agree with everything you guys said! I’m staying away from NA books because they are all the same. And don’t get me started on some of the sex scenes! Most of them are so vulgar and then I’m as a reader feel embarrassed for the characters. It’s almost like catching your parents having sex. How do you look them in the eye the next morning? And I’m actually fine with sex in books but when the word: juices is mention I just cringe! Rant over 🙂

    • Jenni

      They are all the same lately, there are a few little gems that are straying from the regular NA path but not many that’s for sure. Juices, lol oh man that just gave me shivers! Bleh!

  6. Jenea @ Books Live Forever

    At first I loved the whole NA genre, but after reading pretty much the same story, with different character names, it just fizzled out for me. I like that there is more NA paranormal and dystopian ones coming out, so I tend to stick with trying to find those. The YA book have been a little on the heavy side with the romance lately. Great discussion!

    • Jenni

      It seems like NA authors are starting to branch out and do some unexpected stuff after so long of it all following the same pattern. I hope the trend continues!

    • Lisa @ Lost in Literature

      And I guess I should probably add some input too… LOL! I totally agree that some romances are too easy, and in that sense, not real. I like when they need work. It definitely seems like everything is romance-centered, like you said. I don’t remember the last book I read that DIDN’T have a romance aspect. Great points, ladies! I love your vlogs. 🙂

      • Jenni

        Thanks, Lisa! I so agree, I want to see obstacles overcome and then the romances growing stronger because of them. And oof… I definitely can’t remember the last romance free book I read… It was probably a MG book.

  7. Amanda P.

    Oh my gosh! You guys are adorable! I totally agree with you on every part of that conversation. It REALLY irks me when there is no story outside of the romance. I’m actually one of those girls who rarely reads chick-lit because of that. In my defense, I’m trying to read more so I can be well-rounded, but I am all about the books with strong female characters who don’t lose themselves just because they fall in love.

    Also, I noticed that there were more submissive women in books after the 50 Shades explosion too! I thought I was the only one to notice it. For me, I will drop a book like a hot potato if the female is flimsy and not portrayed as strong (not in body necessarily, but in mind and spirit), and if I finish those kind of books, I generally write a review about how anti-feminist it is. It just makes me sad/frustrated that teens are reading some of these books that tells girls that you need to be more submissive in order for a guy to like you. Wrong.

    Ugh, I could go on forever about this, but anyway, AWESOME book talk! You guys are adorable and fun!

    • Jenni

      Thanks, Amanda! We have far too much fun with book talk over here. Strong females are a big part of my enjoying a novel. Like you, if they are flimsy and weak it bothers me till no end. So happy that you liked the topic!

  8. Pili

    I do have a bit of a complain with how much romance there seems to be in most current books… and right now I really need to read books with less romance, any recommendations?

  9. Melanie (YA Midnight Reads)

    Agreed! I don’t read a lot of NA but from what I have read and heard, it’s all about having two messed up people coming together and their relationship and romance helps them break through their problems. Very rarely, that is the case. I wish NA had more realistic portrayals. Ugh, instant-love is absolutely horrid. Especially when the character does nothing but swoon and angst over the love interest from the moment they lay their eyes on them.

    Brilliant discussion! <33

  10. ShootingStarsMag

    I like the idea of NA but I haven’t read much lately because it does seem like the same concept over and over. I love a great gritty, realistic novel but it doesn’t work when the romance is included to “save” the person and whatnot.

  11. Jasprit

    I can totally understand where you’re coming from regarding NA books Jenny, everyone ended up being broken in the books I’d read and honestly it does become really tiresome, when nearly everyone does it. The NA books that really worked for me, ended up being the ones where people didn’t come from broken backgrounds! I am romance fan, but some books have miffed me off, when they try to make it the center of attention when it doesn’t need to be. Thanks for sharing another great discussion post with us ladies, I had a lot of fun watching your video!

  12. Heidi

    LOVING the book talks! So fun! I’m ready for NA to a quick death I must say. I get what you’re saying about MC losing themselves in the romance and I don’t mind it so much if it’s a part of their whole development and they come out better, stronger, having learned something on the other side. I’d love to hear some discussion on sci-fi/ fantasy heroines of late in books. They seem darker and harder which I love. Maybe there’s a topic in there somewhere? Keep talking, I’m listening!

      • Kathy @ I Write, I Read, I Review

        Would you say that NA has become defined by the ‘who is more tormented than who’ mindset, to the point of its irrevocable detriment, or is it this particular trope that is the problem? I think that it needs to *expand* far beyond this if it is truly to become a category. Heck, this trope alone cannot even support its own *genre*, really.

        On the other hand, I do like the concept of NA. If it truly were books for / about twenty-somethings with all the genres covered, the way YA is for teen characters, I do think it could be a useful niche. That’s just my opinion, though. 🙂

  13. Amy @ Book Loving Mom

    I really need to start doing these again. I totally fail lately. I hate it when romance seems to be thrown in just to be there. I love romance just as much as the next person, but only if it fits. I don’t like it when it totally takes over a story. If it’s meant to be a romance then that’s one thing, but when it’s a story about something else and is overtaken by the romance aspect, it drives me crazy!! Also, the NA books with super emotionally broken characters and the knight in shining armor is getting tired. Not that they aren’t good, but it seems like almost all of them are pretty much the same thing. Great post!!