So a few weeks ago I talked about what I don’t like in bookish romance. Now I’m back to talk about what does work for me. I tried to put these in categories, but I think a lot of them intertwine and cross. I’ll almost threw organization out the window, but I controlled myself and tried to be. . . not as confusing as I normally am.
the slow burn
This is the exact opposite of almost everything on my other post. I happen to like it when they slowly fall for each other. They get to know each other, whether it's a bumpy ride or they're just good friends. A lot of the categories below can fall under this one.
the friendship to love
They are already familiar with each other to the point of reading each other's minds. They can predict each other’s next words or actions. They KNOW each other inside and out.
Then there’s the adorable, awkward stage in between when they realize they like each other but aren't sure what to do about it. Finally though the familiarity comes back and now this duo is just so natural that there’s no way off this ship.
the arch enemies
This one is even better! Why? Because it's funny.
They meet. They irk each other.
The arguments are pitted with Jedi death glares. (Do Jedi have death glares?)
The name calling gets intense.
THE SNARKY COMMENTS!
Then the horrific happens. They have to work together and or understand each other for survival (because that’s the only thing that’ll make them get along).
That's how people fall in love.
You know the one. How can you not? It's the one we've all been waiting for only ever!
I love it when the author makes us wait for the kisses. Throws us in suspense. Gives us teasing hope that maybe this time. But no, not this time. Maybe the next chapter, and then we’re hoping maybe the next book.
Oh, come on! At least the last book of the trilogy! Is it ever even going to—
EEP! LOOK IT! THEY’RE—NO, DON’T- BUT THEY’RE FINALLY--
Can I just say Cinder and Kai? I'm going to say it.
Cinder and Kai in Cress. That was the most epic The Kiss. The most epic The Moment of my whole reading history (I almost said career, but sadly I don't get paid to read).
This is just the best way to do it. This right here. Marissa Meyer is a genius.
it started off platonic
I love the platonic relationships. Those are seriously the best. Then it grows to more BUT-
The couple still keeps each other as confidants. They still talk about the things they would talk about. They still share insights and epiphanies and general cleverness. Meaning, nothing was taken away from their original relationship, yet something was added.
"we admit to nothing."
You know that couple who isn't a couple? Never in a million years would they ever confess to it. They're a lot like the "irk each other duo." They tease each other. Sometimes disgust each other. But they get caught watching each other, by each other. They are subtly protective or concerned for each other’s' well-being.
Of course, their friends notice. Either said friends poke fun at them and the fragile romance shatters under pressure or stagnates, or their friends wisely say naught and watch, and wait, and watch, and-
Yeah, they'll be waiting a long time. But isn't it just adorable? How tentative and subtle those two are? They’re often found in MG.
Don’t forget the name calling. Got to love the name calling.
Percy and Annabeth. Do they fit? Maybe?
I love, love it when a couple can work together. Not just know each other to a T so that all they need is a nod from each other and they immediately get in position to save the world. I mean, they’re humble enough to learn from each other.
This is the part that I did like about Tobias and Tris in Divergent. Tris respects and admires Tobias. She learns a lot from him, and more or less, will take correction and guidance from him. Also, Tobias realizes that her Erudite tendencies are stronger than his and he comes to her to help solve problems. Not just his problems. But big problems.
Leading to another thing I liked about them, they were not all about the kissing and talking about each other. They set out to “save the world.” They were boyfriend/girlfriend, yes, but they got the important stuff done. They actually did save the world and the plot didn't get gummed up with too much romance. (If you’re thinking I need to reread it, you might be right.)
They worked together. Learned from each other. Leaned on each other.
I believe in you
How many times do you see an unequally skilled couple paired together? Or worse, one of them underestimates the other and therefore discourages the other from helping.
Small rant here. The first Spider-Man movies. The Toby McGuire ones. In all of them, the love interest, Mary Jane, tries to help during the fight (you know instead of standing there like a gawking, limp *coughs* Buttercup). Every time she does, she only makes everything worse. This always made me upset. WHAT KIND OF MESSAGE ARE THESE PEOPLE SENDING, HUH?
Ahem, back to not ranting.
When the couple actually believes in each other and believes enough that they actually rely on each other, it's very refreshing. And I mean really lean on each other. Like one of them is okay with the other of them being their only hope out of some situation, because they don't just believe, they KNOW the other of them will pull through.
(Hint- Hiccup and Astrid. They actually fit a lot of these categories.)
This is another reason I like Tris and Tobias. They don't doubt each other. They know that if they’re separated Tris can take care of Tris without Tobias and Tobias can take care of Tobias without Tris. They know each other’s abilities and they don’t underestimate each other. Sometimes that causes problems when there's failure, but you know, they're willing to work through those problems. They had a lot of issues. But--
No, not that Disney-fied "true love."
I mean real love.
This is when the couple realizes what love actually is. Love is a choice. Love is a commitment. It's not some fuzzy feeling that could leave when someone other person catches your fancy or you realize that this relationship thing is harder than you thought.
I know I'm using Divergent a lot here (even though I did have initial problems with it). But I couldn't say this better:
I used to think that when people fell in love, they just landed where they landed, and they had no choice in the matter afterward. . . . I don’t just stay with him by default. . . .I stay with him because I choose to, every day that I wake up, every day that we fight or lie to each other or disappoint each other. I choose him over and over again, and he chooses me.-- Allegiant by Veronica Roth
(You could go pick up Allegiant and read pages 371-372; it’s my favorite scene of the whole trilogy.)
These two are not perfect. But you know what?
They were willing to accept that they were human. They tried to do better. They were "working on it". . . eh, and were permanently interrupted. That is reality though. You have to work on it. And you will never not be working on it. Humans are humans.
The biggest reason I love Tris and Tobias, is that even though they run into a lot of problems, they still choose to stay together. They choose to love. Because that's what love is. Divergent showed the reality of it so well. Love isn't something you just fall into and out of. Real love is a choice and commitment.
When a book gives me the sincere, unsugared truth about love, I just want to hug the characters and the author and thank them for it.
I see that love is something that a lot of people don't understand in reality nor totality. The world doesn't get it anymore. They've romanticize it too much. Perhaps that sounds like an oxymoron, that we've romanticized love. But if it does, then it's clearly true that we have.
Sometimes love is doing the hard stuff. Making the hard decisions that you're not going take the easy way out and find someone who doesn't have any problems. Sometimes it's making an even harder decision, to forgive, to be humble, and just forgive. To place your relationship above you and your pride.
I see that a lot of people have love backward. They think it's all about them and how they feel. When in truth, love is selfless.
Here's a poem about that.
If it's subtle I'm going to love every minute of it.
So how do you like your bookish romance served?