Fiction 101: Romance Breakdown

Welcome back to Fiction 101! Each month we will be focusing on a different topic, exploring genres that span from the enchanting realms of fantasy to the gripping tales of mystery and everything in between. For February, I wanted to shine the spotlight on romance. Valentine’s Day may have passed, but it’s always the season for a good love story!

Romance Breakdown: A Closer Look at Popular Romance Tropes

by Shelby D., Evening Supervisor

Romance tropes are the repeated themes and plotlines that we see in some romance novels. They can be a little cliché and overdone, but when they are done well they can be so much fun — sometimes classics are classics for a reason. Read on to learn some of my personal favorite romance tropes and a book recommendation to go with them!

Enemies to Lovers

If I had to pick one romance trope that is my absolute favorite, it’s enemies to lovers! I love the banter between characters that slowly turns into love.

Book Recommendation: Never Ever Getting Back Together by Sophie Gonzales

Fake Dating

Fake dating is when, for whatever reason, the main character has to fake being in a relationship with another person. In most romance books, it inevitably leads to them falling in love.

Book Recommendation: The Spanish Love Deception by Elena Armas

One Bed

This is another one of my personal favorites! Two characters who are not dating (maybe even enemies) find themselves in a hotel and, in a shocking twist, not only have to share a hotel room but also have to share a bed. Scandalous.

Book Recommendation: The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels by India Holton


Opposites attract might be a cliché, but I love when a book has a grumpy character with a soft spot for a ray of sunshine character. This trope can also sometimes go hand-in-hand with enemies to lovers — making it even better.

Book Recommendation: Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert

Friends to Lovers

I might not personally like it as much as enemies to lovers, but friends to lovers is great too. This trope is focused on two characters who are good friends that slowly realized they love each other. This makes for such a good dynamic to read.

Book Recommendation: People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry

The Bet

As the name implies, one of the characters makes a bet to date another character and then falls in love with them. Perhaps not the best start to a relationship, but love prevails.

Book Recommendation: Good Girl Complex by Elle Kennedy

Fish Out of Water

When the protagonist is thrown into a situation where they are entirely out of place, not only do they have to learn to live an unfamiliar lifestyle but will they find love while they’re at it?

Book Recommendation: It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey

Forbidden Love

Another classic (thanks Romeo & Juliet!), the star-crossed lovers trope: when two people are in love but not able to be together. Secret meetings, hidden love, and separation make for a really tense love story.

Book Recommendation: A Phở Love Story by Loan Le

Second Chance

Can two people who tried before get a second chance at love? Is the second time the charm?

Book Recommendation: To Have and To Hoax by Martha Waters

Forced Proximity

Another trope that goes hand-in-hand with enemies to lovers — what happens when two people are forced by circumstances to spend time together? This is often paired with the hotel only has one bed trope.

Book Recommendation: The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

It’s clear that despite their predictability, these themes continue to capture our hearts time and time again. No matter which trope is your favorite, they all offer an entertaining journey towards that heartwarming happily-ever-after.