Romantic Clichés We Love to Hate and Hate to Love

Clichés are cheesy… but extremely addicting. We’re going to be counting down the reasons why we love these romantic cliché book tropes!

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cliché book tropes we love and hate

I’m sorry to break it to you. Clichés are the driving force of romantic storytelling. There comes the point where every story has been told one way or another, so you might as well enjoy it. We’re rounding up why we love and hate these cliche book tropes!

1. Nerdy Girl Who is Shy Until She Meets a Bad Boy with a Dark Past

This is a two-in-one deal. First cliché– A Nerdy, geeky, unknown, unpopular girly comes across a dark, mysterious (sometimes he’s either super rude or a popular jerk) boy– second cliché.

Why We Hate 

Why does the girl have to be meager, shy, and always unnoticed until one day, Mr. Bad Boy takes a sudden interest? Not every girl’s type is a guy with anger issues that doesn’t like to talk about his past. He obviously wants to be left alone. And why does she always have to be a straight-A student? Just because she’s geeky doesn’t mean she’s a smartie. 

MOVIE STILL OF HARDIN AND TESSA LOOKING LONGING AT EACH OTHER. FROM MOVIE AFTER. HARDIN'S LOOKING AT HER MOUTH, AND TESSA IS LOOKING A HIS EYES.
IMAGE VIA PINTEREST- AFTER ADAPTATION

Why We Love

I can let you in on a little secret… I might be one of the writers that borrowed this extremely cliché outline. Put down the pitchforks; let me explain! It’s easy to read! The conflict is already set out for you, and if this cliche is done correctly, there should be a twist to keep the reader hooked. It’s good to overlap multiple book tropes to keep the reader engaged. This cliché is so popular because young readers like to think they or someone similar to themselves have the power to change someone for the better while also improving themselves.

HINT HINT: A lot of these clichés bleed together…

2. Star-Crossed Lovers

We got two people in love, but their family and friends are pulling the lovers apart!

3 MOVIE POSTERS OF ROMEO AND JUILET FROM 1968, 1996, AND 2013
IMAGE VIA YOUTUBE

Why We Hate 

The infamous Romeo and Juliet take this cliché by storm, which is why everyone hates it! Whenever we think of star-crossed or forbidden love, we immediately think of Romeo and Juliet. Do you know how many retold Romeo and Juliet stories there are? It’s redone way too often, and sometimes the families can be the main focus rather than the romantic interactions, which is always such a bore.

Why We Love

We are always rooting for something we can’t have. It’s forbidden, after all! It’s wrong, but it feels so right! Sigh. The drama is uncanny, so you’re bound to fall for the family drama. Why do these two families hate each other so much? Were the parents romantically involved with each other? Bad business deal? You tell me!

3. Enemies to Lovers

Two people hate each other for no reason or something arbitrary. One is crueler than the other (the guy/the masc pretending is the one).

Why We Hate

Sometimes these authors need to realize there’s a difference between being rude to someone and blatant bullying. There’s a fine line between the two. Also, in some cases, it’s unrealistic how they so easily swoon secretly for each other– I’m looking at you, Pride and Prejudice!

Why We Love

I’m guilty again… I’m the imposter! I eat this book trope, and I might be partaking in writing this trope too. I like some angst, and when done correctly, it’s pretty cathartic to see two people who hate each other slowly fall in love, whether it’s from undying physical attraction or maybe one of them shows a softer side they’ve never had before. It’s uncontrollable, and these characters fight their feelings, but does it last? NO! These two character’s believed they had nothing in common, but as the story progresses… well, you can guess!

4. The Bet

One character deceives another to make the protagonist fall in love with them.

GIF OF A CHARACTER SAYING "AM I A BET? AM I A FUCKING BET."
IMAGE VIA BUZZFEED. FROM THE MOVIE ‘SHE’S ALL THAT’ MODERN ADAPTATION OF PYGMALION

Why We Hate

It’s just straight-up cruel, and the bet is usually morally questionable. The male/masc presenting character either wants to make the female/femme presenting fall in love with him or get them in bed. It’s gross, regardless of which one it is. Also, it’s extremely unrealistic because one or both of them always end up catching feelings. The person that’s been played the entire time always forgives them too! Like how?

Why We Love

Do we actually love it, though? I know I don’t.

 Okay fine! It’s entertaining! I said it! Will she find out before it’s too late? Will the male protagonist play with her feelings? Does he ever tell him?! Will we get that infamous slap across the face?! I need to know people!

5. The Fake Relationship/ Arrange Marriage

The two characters have to fake a relationship (usually to make their exes jealous), or some dystopian society forces them that they must be in love. 

Why We Hate

I constantly question whether this is morally okay. On the one hand, if the two characters actively participate in this charade, they are manipulators. On the other, you feel bad for these characters that they have to pretend to be in love.

PEETA AND KATNISS ARE KISSING. FROM A MOVIE ADAPTATION CATCHING FIRE
IMAGE VIA LIONSGATE- CATCHING FIRE ADAPTATION

Why We Love

It’s fun guessing if these romantic gestures are genuine or not. Is this real? Who’s falling for who faster? It’s also forbidden in a sense. It’s wrong to force people together or to fake it, but in the end, it feels so right when their kiss is more than just an act. I’m looking straight at Peeta and Katniss on the beach! You know what I’m talking about!

6. Rich Person Falls for Someone with Less Money

Self-explanatory. Rich falls for the less fortunate.

Why We Hate

This might be my least favorite book trope. There’s no spice! And they always make it seem being with less money is a personality trait. LAME!

Why We Love

It falls under the forbidden category as well. “They don’t belong in our world,” says the mother or the father from the economic or high class. And you with your box of tissues screaming, “Yes, they are! Mamma, I love him!” Cue the violins because The Notebook broke me.

7. Love Triangle 

One person must choose between two steamy hot lovers. The first love interest is usually the “honorable” lover who wholeheartedly respects them but is a bit of a bore. The second lover is usually our bad boy prototype that the protagonist can’t stay away from.

Why We Hate

It’s just straight-up wrong. Come on now. You’re emotionally cheating on both of them! Need I say more? It’s even worse when they hop back and forth as if they are changing underwear. 

Why We Love

Hello? The drama! I blame vampire books and the media. Twilight, The Vampire Diaries, True Blood… I’m giving you the death stare because you made love triangles addicting. For Twilight, it was always going to be Edward. That’s not always the case for our other stories. I don’t know about you, but I always want the main character to choose the one she most likely won’t end up with because I like to be disappointed or surprised when she picks her man.

8. Two Lovebirds End Up Happily Ever After Until One Dies Unexpectedly

One or both characters die. It’s usually (not all the time) from an illness.

Why We Hate

We hate it because we cry! It’s unnecessary to kill a character just for the drama! And it’s always the couple with amazing chemistry and a beautiful love story between two lost souls. Meanwhile, the writer wants to rip our hearts out just for fun.

Why We Love

Do we, though? We don’t like pain. These tragic love stories usually leave a permanent mark on us. If you already know the outcomes or the character is plagued with an illness, seeing the two lovebirds fall in love again pulls your heartstrings a little tighter.

Clichés can make or break a story. Can you think of any books you’ve read recently that fall in one or more of these categories? Want to see our favorite horror book tropes? Click here!

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