Ranking Romance Tropes in Books From Worst to Best!! // Aka Exposing My Inner Romantic

Tropes. What would books be without them?

The answer, naturally, is less cliche. But even though tropes represent major cliches in books, I definitely don’t think that undermines their ability to move a plot along, develop characters better, or overall make a reading experience more enjoyable! It really just depends on how they’re used, the frequently with which they’re used, and if they’re able to be effective in the story.

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There are a ton more tropes besides just romance ones, but I thought it would be fun to go through some of the most well-known tropes often seen in YA fantasy and contemporaries, and rank them according to how much I like reading them!! If I have a particular book (or books) that fit with the trope and I want to recommend, I’ll do that too.

This is just my opinion, and whether you agree with my ranking or not, I hope you can at least relate to some of this post- and I’m very much looking forward to the comments section because I would love to talk about what everyone else’s thoughts are on all of these. Without further ado, to the ranking!

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6. Love Triangles

Taking up last place in my list of 5 has to be love triangles. When I think of the word “trope,” especially in a romantic context, I instantly think about love triangles, and unfortunately, my brain pretty quickly goes “no.”

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1) by Suzanne CollinsTo All the Boys I've Loved Before - Kindle edition by Han, Jenny ...The Selection (The Selection, #1)

I’ll admit, I can definitely see the appeal for a love triangle. In novels likeย The Hunger Games, where people are popularly Team Peeta or Team Gale, it creates an instant reason to read the book and want to keep going in the series- that way, you learn what happens and what ultimately ends up getting the girl. I do see how it makes you care about the character and certainly provides (if sometimes shallow) entertainment.

However, I ultimately have to put love triangle last on my ranking because I sometimes find it hard to care. Although the point of a trope is that it’s probably overused, love triangles don’t seem even that romantic to me at this point- I can’t say I’ve ever been in a love, so maybe I don’t understand, but I can’t help but question the motives of a character that’s in love with two people at once.

Overall, although I’m not denying the entertainment that can result from a love triangle and while I won’t necessarily *not* read a book because there is a love triangle, it’s my least favorite romantic trope.

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5. Insta Love

Oh, insta love. The bane of many a reader’s existence. Not surprisingly, I’m not a big fan of this at all, even though it’s incredibly popular in YA novels, especially in contemporaries, which is what I read a lot of.

My main issue with insta love is that I find it too unrealistic for me to get behind. Maybe I’m cynical, but?? I just don’t find it romantic?? I completely understand thinking someone is attractive when you first meet them, and as you get to know them better and learn about them, liking them a lot, but loving someone within days (or hours?!) just seems way too premature.

I Just Want It To Stop. GIF - WantIt IWantIt IWantItToStop ...

I’m not saying I can’t enjoy a book with insta love, especially if it’s more long-term insta love rather than under-24-hours insta love, but if I’m aware of there being insta love in a book, chances are I might not pick it up, because there’s a pretty large probability that I just won’t be able to get into the romance.

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4. Enemies to Lovers

I feel so sad that this isn’t higher because it’s not that I don’t like enemies to lovers? I just have more of a love/not-hate-but-not-love relationship with this trope in general.

The undeniable tension that develops between two characters when they start out at enemies and later become lovers is exquisite. *chef’s kiss* I love reading the parts where the two characters are still enemies and have chemistry and don’t even realize it and I’m over here reading it like…oh, I see exactly where this is about to go.

The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air, #1)Red, White & Royal BlueYou Deserve Each Other

I really like all of these books (though I haven’t read past The Cruel Prince, which is mostly just the enemy part, I’ve essentially realized what’s to come), so that would lead one to believe that I’m a fan of the enemies to lovers! But at the same time, as much as the tension is very interesting, I’m such a peacekeeper and non-confrontational person that the fighting can sometimes make me not ship the characters??

It really just depends on the intensity of the enemies on whether or not I enjoy enemies to lovers! (And sometimes I love the lovers part and just had to struggle through the enemies portion to get there.)

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3. Forbidden Love

Despite my lack of love for the famed Romeo and Juliet (even the Leonardo DiCaprio version of the movie couldn’t save it for me), I really do like a good forbidden romance. When not taking place in the range of three days with a lot of characters with communication issues, it can be really great!!

I think what ultimately makes me enjoy forbidden love is that it’s romantic as heck and I’m just a romantic at heart. The fact that two people can’t be together, for whatever reason, and yet they want to do all they can to be together anyway, even if this means making huge sacrifices in their own lives? Hi, yes, don’t mind me crying over how romantic this is.

leonardo dicaprio romeo and juliet gif | WiffleGif

The only thing that can sometimes make me not like this trope, and its reasoning for not being ranked first or second, is that I easily get stressed while reading, and I sometimes get stressed when characters are openly defying their families or beliefs or whatever it is that’s keeping them from being with the person- it’s not that I think they shouldn’t do so, it’s just that I do get worried for the characters.

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2. Fake Dating

One trope that I can most definitely get behind is fake dating! Though it can have its problems, I really do find this to be such a sweet way to watch two characters fall in love. The constant questioning, back-and-forth, and the way a true romances happens slowly but surely…perfection.

To All the Boys I've Loved Before (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #1)Frankly in Love (Frankly in Love, #1)The Last Summer of the Garrett Girls

Even though it can be agonizing to read a book and just be!! screaming!! inside your head that “you idiots love each other for real can’t you see??”, I do love that fake dating allows the characters to really get to know each other as friends and allies before they’re more than friends.

This is the opposite of love triangles for me- with those, I’m always wondering if the character truly loves either of the candidates if they’re having such a hard time choosing. But with fake dating, two characters make a conscious decision that whoever they were originally chasing after is no longer the person they want to be with, and that they’ve found the one for them in someone who was supposed to be just a cover story.

Despite the large range of emotions that comes along with fake dating, it’s just way too cute for me to pass up, and I’ll gladly read any book with this trope.

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1. Friends to Lovers

My absolute favorite romance trope is friends to lovers. I know this one could come across as boring, as it certainly has less tension and questioning than any of the other tropes, but I think it’s the sweetest and ultimately most romantic.

Watching characters fall in love with their best friends is unmatched in its cuteness.ย Not only do they already know everything about each other, but they’ve laid such a solid foundation for the rest of their relationship! When a book ends, and friends have turned to lovers, I feel sure that the characters are going to be okay even when times goes on.

i will always love you larmes pleurer Image, animated GIF

I don’t know where this gif is from, but wow, it’s so cute. It kind of embodies why I think friends to lovers is the most romantic- they’re such an integral part of each other’s lives at this point that now that they’re more than friends, it seems likely that their love is going to be able to last whatever trials life throws their way- because how could they ever not be a part of each other’s lives anymore?

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That’s my ranking!! I definitely left out a lot of tropes, as this post could have quickly gotten much longer and I wanted to stick with ones that I feel like I’ve seen most frequently in books and had the most to say about.

I hope this was enjoyable to read, even if we drastically disagree on what tropes are the best (because this is completely up to each individual’s reading taste). I hope you’re all doing well, staying safe and healthy, and having a great July so far!โœจ

What would your ranking be? Do you agree with anything I said? Do you like any of these tropes? I would love to talk with you in the comments.

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Credits for image used in my featured image >> Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

96 thoughts on “Ranking Romance Tropes in Books From Worst to Best!! // Aka Exposing My Inner Romantic

  1. I enjoyed every bit of this post, Olivia!! Great post!! ๐Ÿ’— In my ranking, enemies-to-lovers and friends-to-lovers/slow burning romance (can recommend The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury) would be at the top of the list. I also like forbidden love though, especially after I read Anna-Marie McLemore’s retelling of R+J “The Weight of Feathers”. You should definitely pick that one up if you haven’t already!! ๐Ÿงœ๐Ÿฝโ€โ™€๏ธ I hate the love triangle and insta love trope with a burning passion, haha.

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    • Thank you so much, Linda! I’m so happy you liked it.๐Ÿ’– Oh, I have read the Forbidden Wish, and I absolutely loved it!! What a great example for that, you’re so right. I just added The Weight of Feathers to by TBR, so thank you for the forbidden love recommendations. xx Haha, yes, I really can hardly stand either love triangles or insta love!! Thank you again for the kind comment.โ˜บ๏ธ

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  2. This is such a great idea for a post! I had so much fun reading it!! I totally agree with you about insta-love and love triangles. Insta-love isn’t just unrealistic for me, but really cheesy. ๐Ÿ˜… I cringe so much when two characters have only known each other for like, two hours, yet are already professing their love for each other. And I think that love triangles can be done right if the reasoning behind the MC being in love with two people is believable. But most of the time they’re there just to create drama and you already know who doesn’t stand a chance ๐Ÿ™„

    If you enjoy forbidden love, I highly recommend the kdrama Crash Landing On You! It does the forbidden love/star-crossed lovers trope so well! You’re absolutely right—it’s so romantic when two characters can’t be together, but fight all odds to have a happy ending. (Though I don’t like it when the reason for their forbidden love is the fact that one of them is in a relationship. That’s just cheating ๐Ÿ˜‚)

    Haha, I prefer enemies to lovers to friends to lovers because I love angst, tension, and slow burn, but I actually don’t hate friends to lovers! It’s very cute when two characters who are best friends realize that they also harbor romantic feelings for each other. A great book with friends to lovers is Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender! It also has a love triangle (but don’t worry, this one was done right, imo) and (mild) enemies to lovers!!

    (I’m sorry this comment is so long, haha. I guess I just have a lot of opinions on tropes ๐Ÿ˜…)

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    • Aww, thank you, Caitlin! I’m so happy you enjoyed it.๐Ÿ’— You’re so right, the cheesiness of insta love is another turn off for me! I almost get second-hand embarrassment for the characters. That’s a great point about love triangles as well- for example, I think in The Hunger Games the love triangle is a little bit okay (though still not my favorite) since Katniss was kind of thrown into it due to circumstances out of her control? But generally, when one’s life isn’t at stake and you aren’t competing to the death, I’d definitely agree that they are just annoying.

      Oh, thank you for the recommendation! I love a good pair of star-crossed lovers.๐Ÿฅบ I completely agree though that a forbidden love due to one of them being in a relationship is not romantic and just, no.

      I get that! Me putting friends to lovers first and enemies to lovers near the end really made me realize how much a romantic I am and how much I just want the characters to have zero problems, lol. But the slow burn can be done so well for sure! Ahh, Felix Ever After is on my TBR, so now I’m looking forward to it even more.

      No, I loved this comment so much! Thank you very much for leaving it. xx

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  3. Friends to lovers is my favorite trope, too. There’s just something so warms and fuzzy about. I especially love childhood friends to strangers (or enemies), returned to friends to lovers (complicated, I know, but it’s great).

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  4. Although I don’t hate enemies to lovers or friends to lovers, THE WHOLE INSTA LOVE THING GETS ON MY NERVES!!!! UGH! So so unrealistic! I mean one minute you were strangers and the next soulmates? Who the f you kidding?! GIVE ME A BREAKKK!!! No, seriously – I HATE THEMMM WITH A VENGEANCE!!! *angry dragon noises*

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  5. I’m actually not too familiar with most of these tropes. Maybe it’s because I mostly read sci-fi/fantasy. *shrugs*
    I loathe love triangles. Just…..ugh.
    I also hate insta-love. *shudders*
    But I also agree with you on fake-dating and friends-to-lovers being the best.
    This was a really good list.

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    • That makes sense! I think some of these are pretty prevalent in contemporary, so that might be why.โ˜บ๏ธ I agree, it’s a no to love triangles and insta love…but yes, fake dating and friends to lovers are so sweet! Thank you so much, McKayla. xx

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  6. That gif is from Love Rosie and for me, it’s THE BEST book about friends to lovers :’) It’s the perfect mix of pain and fluff haha. I honestly love both friends to lovers and enemies to lovers, so enemies to friends to lovers is just the sweet spot for me! ๐Ÿฅบ๐Ÿ’• It’s really rare though haha since most romance go straight from enemies to lovers.

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    • Oh, thank you so much for letting me know! That sounds adorable and I already thought the gif was the cutest, so now I definitely have to add it to my TBR.๐Ÿฅบ Haha, you’re right, enemies to friends to lovers would be great…okay, there needs to be a book like that.

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  7. I love friends to lovers!! Such an underrated trope. I think I’d rank enemies to lovers above forbidden romance, but only because I’m so impatient and sometimes I just can’t deal with my characters being apart ๐Ÿ˜‚ย Such a great post though!! ๐Ÿฅฐ

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  8. I love this post!! I have to agree that love triangles are one of my least favorite tropes. I think that one of my favorite tropes would have to be enemies to lovers. It was so interesting to read your opinions on all of these tropesโค๏ธŽ

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  9. Friends to lovers is THE BEST!!! 100% It makes the relationship feel organic and real, and there is no one better to fall in love with than your best friend in books and real life โค This was such a fun post Olivia!! ๐Ÿ˜€

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  10. Ohh okay, time to do some ranking. Wait actually, this is hard, so I’m going to just say which ones I like, and which ones I don’t like as much.
    LIKE
    Friends to Lovers: I have yet to meet someone who doesn’t like this one, at least that I know of. Maybe you’ll meet someone who doesn’t in these comments?
    Enemies to Lovers: That’s so interesting about how you might not like this trope depending on the intensity. Do you think that could be your Hufflepuff coming out a little?? I think the reason I like is because I know the tension is going somewhere better.
    Sometimes Fake Dating.
    EVERYTHING ELSE
    Love Triangle: Hmm, I feel like I dislike this one more in theory than when I’m actually reading the book. When I’m reading a story with a love triangle, I think I’m fine with it as long as I at least like one side. But I would rather not.
    Forbidden love: I think this is the only one I don’t really like. I think it’s because I know at some point everything will be found out and come to a head. And then (unless it’s Romeo and Juliet), everybody will be upset at each other for a while and then conclude happily.
    Insta love: I’m only ambivalent on this one only because I can’t think of a book off the top of my head that has this trope.

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    • Ahh, thank you sharing your thoughts. :))
      Friends to Lovers: So far, I have not met anyone that doesn’t like this trope…though, based on reading the comments, I’ve realized I’m kind of alone in not loving enemies to lovers *as* much.
      Enemies to Lovers: Okay, you’re so right, I think my Hufflepuff is coming out majorly with that.๐Ÿ˜…I actually remember when I was writing this post thinking about mentioning how Hufflepuff it was of me to love friends to lovers, and I think the fact that I don’t love enemies to lovers is another Hufflepuff indicator. Haha, I love that so much.
      Love Triangle: I feel that. I do agree that it’s worse in theory than in practice, but I still would avoid the practice due to the theory. (This sounds all science-y.)
      Forbidden Love: That is very true…yeah, the everything coming to a head part is always the part that gets me a little nervous. Especially if the characters risk everything for their love.
      Insta Love: I get that- I think my most prominent example is The Sun is Also a Star for that one. (It’s also a movie so I was thinking you might know it, and it’s by the same author as Everything, Everything.)

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      • Yess, of course!!
        Friends to Lovers: Okay that makes sense, I would be interested to see what somebody doesn’t like about this trope. Maybe it’s too boring?? But I think it’s almost always just sweet.
        Enemies to Lovers: Hahaha!
        Love Triangle: Talking about love is very scientific. Ohh, I just read a book yesterday with a love triangle. I was okay with it in practice. But one thing is that I usually cannot decide who I want the person to end up with it. I know some people have really strong opinions, but I tend to side over with whoever the plot is focusing on at that moment, or whoever the narrator is going with. So if the narrator is stuck between both, I am too.
        Instalove: Okay yes, I do know The Sun is Also A Star–I remember reading the beginning, but then I stopped and just read the end. (It ends with epilogue right??)

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        • Friends to Lovers: I know! I think it just doesn’t have as much tension as some of the other tropes, but it’s still always really cute.
          Love Triangles: HAHA- so scientific. What book was it? Ohh, that’s so interesting. I feel like I always have a decisive take on which character I support.
          Instalove: Yes, it does have an epilogue! I definitely understand why you just skipped to the end, I’m honestly kind of shocked I didn’t do that when I read it because I remember being very meh about it.

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            • Oh, thank you! *looks it up on goodreads*
              Hmm, I think it really all depends on the book. Half the time I support the newcomer, because a lot of the time I think the character wouldn’t be interested in the newcomer if they were really into the first person. But on the other hand, sometimes I just feel so bad for the first person and really like their personality. What about you?

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  11. haHA I love how love triangles are 6th in a list of 5–and that’s the spot they deserve 10/10 agree lol. I hate instalove too but love all the rest of the tropes on this list! I’m a sucker for enemies to lovers and also friends to lovers but just saying enemies to friends to lovers… ahHHH my heart โค โค also you haven't read past the Cruel Prince?? nOO Wicked King is imo the best book in that series by far you have to read it for some truly wonderful angsty enemies to lovers sparks haha

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    • Wait, I didn’t even realize this, but this post started out as a list of 5 and then I realized I forgot insta love and upped it.๐Ÿ˜‚ Ahh, you’re not the first person to say enemies to friends to lovers and now I’m intrigued because this does sound amazing?? You’re right, I definitely need to read The Wicked King and it’s definitely something I’m hoping to do before the end of the summer. Thank you for this comment, Kay! xx

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  12. 10000% agree with everything. From what I’ve seen so far, it seems that the more common a trope is used, the more it is hit-or-miss? Insta-love isn’t my cup of tea, tbh. However, if I get emotionally attached to the characters I would give myself any excuse to love them even more haha! Friends to lovers will always hold a special place in my heart, especially childhood friends *heart melts* Truly enjoyed reading this post, and sending positive vibes to your way xx

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    • I would definitely agree with that! I think the more repetitive and overused, the more likely I am to dislike a trope, even if it’s not necessarily executed badly.โ˜บ๏ธ Agh, you’re so right, childhood friends to lovers hits differently and never fails to be absolutely adorable. Thank you so much, Aria!! xx

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  13. Love triangles are also one of my least favorite tropes, and I’ve only found 1 book series that does it well (The Infernal Devices, and that’s because they all should have been able to live happy together forever). Insta-love is just terrible, but enemies-to-lovers is actually one of my favorites. So much tension! And angst! And it’s so satisfying when they finally get together. If you have some recommendations for friends-to-lovers I’d love that! Also, I’m pretty sure the gif you used is from the movie Love, Rosie which is the best friends-to-lovers rom-com I’ve ever watched. You should definitely check it out, I’m sure you’ll love it as well ๐Ÿ˜Š

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    • Oh, I haven’t read The Infernal Devices, but I’ve definitely heard of it! I’m glad you enjoyed the love triangle in it. I for sure agree that the satisfaction in enemies to lovers often makes the wait worth it! (I think the level of satisfaction makes or breaks enemies to lovers for me, haha.) One I can think of off the top of my head for friends to lovers is Emmy & Oliver.๐Ÿ’› Oh, thank you so much!! Wow, it sounds adorable and I’ll really have to check it out, thank you. xx

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  14. […] Olivia @ Purely Oliviaย // Olivia is such a sweet friendly amazing blogger and I’m so in awe of how wonderful both she and her blog are! She primarily talks about young adult books, and I know I can always get some good YA recs from her blog! I love reading her blog posts and chatting with her in the comments! […]

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  15. […] Olivia @ Purely Oliviaย // Olivia is such a sweet friendly amazing blogger and I’m so in awe of how wonderful both she and her blog are! She primarily talks about young adult books, and I know I can always get some good YA recs from her blog! I love reading her blog posts and chatting with her in the comments! […]

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Loved this post, Olivia! I agree with love triangles and insta love being to worst. As for favourites, Iโ€™m always a sucker for friends to lovers or enemies to lovers, and itโ€™s even better when the reason for becoming lovers is from fake dating! I really am in need of some more fake dating books, there definitely isnโ€™t enough of themโค๏ธ

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    • Thank you so much, Jenni!โค๏ธ Haha, I agree, fake dating is really so cute, and I wish it was way more common in books. Maybe I should try to put together a list of fake dating recommendations? I don’t know how many I would be able to list, though…

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  17. friends to lovers (especially childhood friends to lovers ahhh ๐Ÿฅบ) is superior!!!! i’m so glad to have found someone who enjoys it more than enemies to lovers haha – while i love both, there’s something so special about falling in love with the person you know best. ๐Ÿ’–

    i also completely agree with what you said about love triangles, i tend not to enjoy books with them because, like you said, it’s hard to care. and yes insta-love can be done so poorly sometimes!! ๐Ÿ˜ญ i’m also a romantic at heart so i really enjoyed reading this, olivia โคโค

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    • I couldn’t agree more! Aww, childhood friends to lovers sounds like perfection.๐Ÿฅบ (@ Emmy & Oliver) I’ll always enjoy enemies to lovers, but I just find friends to lovers so sweet and ultimately the most romantic! *cries*

      Yes, exactly! I always want to care, but I just…don’t, because I can’t understand the motives of the characters. This comment made me so happy- thank you, Ash!๐Ÿ’•

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  18. So much fun to read about tropes instead of reading them for once. I recently saw a challenge that was to write a story with the most cliche tropes you could think of – a paranormal romance vampire reluctant hero with amnesia elderly-sidekick enemies-to-lovers adventure stories or something. Can’t remember where now, though!!
    Anyway, completely agree that the friends to lovers trope tends to be the sweetest, most realistic romance. Would you put a Pride and Prejudice type story in the friends or enemies category? I can never decide. XD
    Great post!

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    • Oh, thank you, Grace! Haha, whoa, that’s crazy. I love all the usage of insane tropes and I can’t help but think it would be entertaining a write a story just filled with overused tropes- though maybe not as entertaining to read.๐Ÿ˜‚
      I agree! Hmm, I’m not positive, but I think I’d maybe put it in enemies to lovers? Just because there certainly is tension between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy for a while, haha.
      Thank you again, Grace! xx

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  19. I,,, LOVE THIS ENTIRE POST OLIVIA!!

    So agree with you on love triangles. It has only been done well once *cough* TID *cough* but that’s different lmao. I get WHY publishers use them, for DRAMA and we all fell for it. But they’re incredibly annoying and… yeah moving on no thank you.

    Also hell yeah, instantly in love in one day?? Very unrealistic. It can be done well but I don’t think I could ever fall for it (wow pun) if it happened in like a few hours. If there’s chemistry and you can believe it and it happens by the end of the book, covering a long period of time, then I can like it. Otherwise… nah.

    I?? LOVE?? Enemies to lovers. Purely because of banter and the angsty yearning HAHA. But it can also be done… not so well. And they’re not really enemies ya know. Which I do like but I don’t feel that label works ahhh. Like with RW&RB… they were NEVER enemies and I was CHEATED ha. Still like an all-time fave but I can still be salty welp.

    Rather enjoy fake-dating, the concept is SO FUN. But DEFINITELY with you on friends to lovers too. I need more of them in my life tbh. Also, that gif is from Love Rosie which is SUCH AN AMAZING friends to lovers film UGH LOVE it.

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    • RUBY!! THANK YOU SO MUCH.๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ’—

      Haha, yes, I completely agree. Love triangles DO really draw attention (and I feel like they can be pretty successful in TV shows or movies as well), but I’m with you that it’s just too much of an annoyance most of the time.

      Love the pun, and I agree, haha. I will say I’ve liked insta love before depending on the amount of chemistry between the characters, but I ultimately see it as less romantic than some of the other ways characters can fall in love.

      I want to love enemies to lovers more?? I do enjoy it, I just sometimes find it to be too much angst and not enough love, lol. (I think we’re opposites in that,, see RW&RB had *just* enough enemy for me.)

      Oh, thank you!! A few other people have also said Love Rosie is a great friends to lovers movie, which is making me want to watch it so bad, since I obviously am trash for friends to lovers. Thank you again for this very lovely comment! xx

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  20. I read Frankly in Love for the Fake Dating Trope but could not get through because of the writing and the most of the characters (mostly the writing!)

    Some of my fav romance tropes are the You Got Mail Trope (I am a sucker for this trope), Enemies/Friends to Lovers, and the Fake Dating Trope. I also am a sucker for banter in romance novels!

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    • I feel that! I didn’t *love* Frankly in Love (or necessarily the fake dating part in it either) but it was one of the few examples of fake dating I could think of, so I included it here anyway.๐Ÿ˜…

      You’ve Got Mail is one of my favorite movies ever and I can’t believe I didn’t include a “we met in letters/the internet and fell in love” trope on here because I do love that one so, so much. And yes, give me all the banter!! Thank you for this comment, Eryn. xx

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  21. Okay, this was such an interesting post because while I agree with you about some of these rankings I feel very differently about many others. And even when I agree, I sometimes have a different reasoning than you!

    I agree that love triangles are at the bottom of the list. But for me that mostly stems from the fact that I hate drama, and having two love interests usually means lots of drama!

    Next for me would actually probably be forbidden love. Again, I hate drama. But on top of that, I usually think that the thing that’s separating the two love interests is cliche or just frustratingly stupid, and I don’t enjoy the conflict OR the romance because of that. And if that wasn’t enough, many times forbidden romance also has a second chance romance stuck in there, and that’s probably my least favorite trope of all. For some reason, I always feel like the person messed up too badly the first time, and they don’t deserve a second chance. Even if the betrayal was caused by the fact that they’re love was forbidden, I just can’t ship characters after that.

    Friends to lovers is actually pretty low down on the list, now that I’ve thought about it. I don’t mind it, but I find that I don’t enjoy how its written in most cases. A lot of the times one person realizes their love for their friend way before the other person, and then angst and drama ensue. And usually the couple only gets together at the very end of the book, and I don’t get to see their relationship in play. However, if this trope is combined with fake dating or something else that I really enjoy, I can sometimes enjoy it, but it’s rare.

    Next for me would probably be insta-love. I love well formed, well developed relationships and many times insta-love doesn’t deliver on this front. However, the reason why it’s more in the middle for me is because I think there are situations where you instantly connect with someone on some level. As long as the relationship IS developed from there and doesn’t just rely on lust and attraction, I’m okay with it. Especially because it can be insta-love/lust and then have a slow burn until they finally get together, and in that time their relationship grows.

    Enemies to lovers was thisclose to being my favorite trope, but since I think it needs to be handled with care it came in second place. The reason why I tend to love this trope, is once again because of how well the relationship gets developed in most cases, as the two learn more about each other and start actually growing to like one another. However, my favorite brand of this trope is when they’re actually desperately in love with the other person, but they’re acting as enemies because they don’t know how else to act. I just love how much passion that brings to the relationship and I can think of a few books with this but I think it might be spoilery if I named them! The danger with fake dating of course, is if the couple actually hates one another, in which it’s just sad and mean, and I don’t ship the couple whatsoever, even if apologies are made. (Too close to a second chance romance.) But 9/10 times, I enjoy this trope!

    That leaves fake dating as the absolute best trope. I just finished a book (Boyfriend Material) that had this trope and it was utterly fantastic! One of my favorite books of all times, The Kiss Quotient, has this trope. One of my favorites of this year, Take a Hint, Dani Brown, has this trope. The reason I love it so much is because the relationship is developed because of how much time they spend with one another. Eventually, no matter how they started, as strangers, as enemies, or as friends, they grow to understand and care for one another and it always makes my heart melt watching that happen. This is a trope that I love to reach for because it just delivers so many happy feels for me!

    So in summary, if a trope causes drama or angst, it’s a no from me. If it causes a relationship to develop it’s a yes. And then there are bonus points thrown in for any trope that leads to snuggles. (THERE’S ONLY ONE BED)

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    • Thank you so much, Malka!!โค๏ธ

      That’s another really valid reason to dislike love triangles, and I would definitely have to agree with you on that one. The drama can get to be way too much with them!

      Oh, that’s so interesting! I feel like I never really thought about forbidden love being cause for so much drama, but you’re definitely right about it. I also find it hard to get behind second chance romances, especially because I always feel like the characters might betray each other again and I just don’t want to watch them get hurt for the same reasons!

      Haha, yes, the relationship happening only at the end of the book is definitely a drawback to friends to lovers. I do feel a tad frustrated when you get, like, half a chapter of the romance, but I also usually feel so secure in their relationship (due to the strong foundation of friendship) that I feel sure they had plenty of happy moments after and a long relationship.

      That’s true! I have enjoyed reading insta-lust, which then goes to a slow burn, and that would be THE ideal why to fall in love, but unfortunately, I haven’t seen it in too many books. I for sure think characters can have instant attraction and interest (and in real life lol), but when they fall in love in a matter of hours, it just seems too unrealistic for me.

      Aww, the acting-like-enemies-because-I-love-you is so cute.๐Ÿฅบ I completely agree! If the characters straight up hate each other, I find it hard to get invested in hope for love, but if there’s just the right amount of tension then it can be *chef’s kiss*

      Oh, thank you for the fake dating recommendations! I’ve been on the lookout for more so this was super helpful. Pretty much all of the fake dating tropes I’ve read have left me feeling happy and warmed by the cuteness of slowly falling in love under the guise of another relationship.

      Oh my gosh, yes, I couldn’t agree more! Thank you so much for this super nice comment, I really loved reading all your thoughts on this. xx

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  22. Ahhh I agree with all of these!! Insta-love is probably my least favorite from these six, since I don’t think I’ve ever encountered an insta-love relationship in a book that I could get on board with. Like you said, it just feels so unrealistic and I can’t help but roll my eyes.
    Forbidden romance is soooo good and I’m always glued to the page with those stories! Haha I feel kinda similarly about enemies-to-lovers…when it’s done well (or at least, done the way I like it ๐Ÿ˜‰ ), I absolutely adore it, but other times I don’t enjoy it at all.
    And you’re absolutely right that friends to lovers is the superior trope ๐Ÿ˜€ And so underrated in my opinion! I’d love to see more well-written friends to lovers stories because, like you said, it might not be as ~dramatic~ as some of these others, but it’s sooo romantic. I think that gif is from the movie Love Rosie, which I just watched a few months ago — such a perfect friends to lovers story ๐Ÿ˜€

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    • Ahh, thank you so much for reading and for your comment, Margaret!๐Ÿ’› Haha, me too- I definitely need to find more books with forbidden romance because I always do enjoy them (with the exception of Romeo and Juliet). Yes, exactly! For enemies to lovers it needs to have the exact right balance of tension without too much hate…but I know everyone’s balance is slightly different, so of course it would be impossible to please all readers with that one. Agh, yes, I love how friends to lovers is not super dramatic, but is rather quietly romantic in the sweetest possible way. Thank you so much for the note about the gif- I really need to watch Love Rosie now! xx

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  23. forbidden love is sooo good..and ah you know me enemies to lovers is number one…I’m a sucker for the tension between the two characters ๐Ÿ˜ณ but best friends to lovers is amazing…the yearning, the denying of feelings, the fear of ruining soemthing good, the fear or rejection…UGH so good. This was an amazing post !!

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    • Okay, I definitely have to admit that I can sometimes be on board with the tension of enemies to lovers…and ahh, yes!! “The fear of ruining something good” is so accurate, and just knowing the characters have loved each other for so long (cue the song 18 by One Direction) it gets me every time. Thank you so much, Ilsa!๐Ÿ’—

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  24. I love this post, and I totally agree with your ranking! I personally do not like love triangles or insta love. Especially for insta love, they just don’t feel realistic to me. I understand what it’s trying to do, and some people like those tropes, but I just… do not. I also have a hard time understanding the fake dating trope, but that’s probably because I don’t read contemporary romance very often. ๐Ÿ˜‚ In real life, I would probably be really uncomfortable fake dating someone? Even if we end up falling in love? But it’s sometimes fun to watch in movies and shows, haha. My absolute favorite trope is friends to lovers, too! That’s just so so cute to me. ๐Ÿฅบ It always feels really sweet, and I will never get tired of that romance trope!

    Great job with this post, Olivia! โค๏ธ

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aww, thank you so much, Xandra!๐Ÿ’› Haha, I feel the same way. I get that too- and I think I have only seen the fake dating trope in contemporaries so maybe that’s why? I don’t think I would fake date anyone in real life either, I can’t think of a situation in which that would ever happen. I do love it in shows as well, though! Ahh, yes, friends to lovers is unparalleled in its sweetness and overall romance factor.๐Ÿฅบ

      Thank you again, and thank you for the very kind comment! xx

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  25. Friends to lovers is honestly my favorite thing EVER! I’m so happy you love it too! Also, it has such an interesting dynamic? The whole “if this doesn’t work our friendship, will be ruined” makes things so complicated and I love it ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜ I actually love love triangles for some reason?? As long as they’re not too cliched and not the focus of the story, I love them. Especially in The Hunger Games, how Katniss’s internal conflict between Peeta and Gale represents her conflict over conforming to the Capitol’s commands or standing up in rebellion.

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    • I very much agree!! It’s kind of underrated but makes for the cutest stories…yes, the complicated dynamic can be so interesting to read about. I just feel like it’s so realistic and romantic as well.๐Ÿฅฐ I can for sure see why love triangles can work!! I personally don’t like them because there’s inevitably drama, but you make such a good point about the one in The Hunger Games- that’s such an eloquent way to put it. Thank you for this comment, Charis! xx

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  26. […] Oliva @ Purely Olivia: Olivia’s blog name is a perfect description of her because she is honestly so pure, sweet, and encouraging. I know I’m not the only one to say that she’s one of the friendliest members in the community, and for good reason – she’s constantly boosting others and their content as well as writing amazing posts herself!ย  […]

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  27. OH MY GOD. when i saw the GIF for love, rosie…my heart had a physical reaction ๐Ÿ˜ญโค๏ธ

    This post was SO MUCH FUN!! i think insta-love is my least favorite trope, and i kinda love love triangles when they’re done well (like in The Infernal Devices)!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • AHH, I really need to watch(/read?) Love Rosie!! Now that I included this gif I’ve heard so many good things about it and it sounds really cute.๐Ÿฅบ

      Thank you so much, Tiffany! Ahh, I get that- as long as love triangles are well done I like them, but it’s kind of a fine line, haha.

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  28. Hi Olivia! I also dislike instalove and love triangles, which always make me roll my eyes because they are so unrealistic. Forbidden love, enemies to lovers and friends to lovers are some of my favourite tropes too ๐Ÿ™‚

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  29. when you said “I instantly think about love triangles, and unfortunately, my brain pretty quickly goes โ€œno.โ€” i felt that ๐Ÿ˜”โœŒ

    placing enemies to lovers below friends to lovers is a HOT TAKE but i can get behind that. one weird constant in these tropes is the fact that the love interest is an enemies to lovers romance would most often than not come off as an asshole? like i know they have to from the mc’s pov but it can get too predictable whereas friends to lovers have the softest beans and i adore that. i’m still completely trash for enemies to lovers but i would also let all the warmth of friends to lovers absolutely STEP ON ME.

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    • HAHA, at this point it’s just a instinctive reaction๐Ÿ˜Œ

      I know, I kind of took a risk with that one…but yes I agree! I won’t deny the tension and angst of enemies to lovers as being amazing to read about, but ultimately the sweetness of soft friends to lovers wins my heart over more. You literally put this so perfectly- I AGREE, thank you for this lovely comment xx

      Liked by 1 person

  30. i absolutely love discussing tropes and i related to quite a few in your list!

    i feel like love triangles would be at the bottom of my list too. i think they can be done well and i find especially interesting when we have a love triangle where all parts are kinda interested in each other (like in odd one out by nic stone or in the movie the half of it), but ultimately i feel like in most books, itโ€™s always a bit too predictable.

    i think i can understand your feeling when it comes to enemies to lovers. i know a lot of people love this trope and will immediately add any book to their TBRs that contain said trope (me with fake dating tbh, hahah). i wonโ€™t necessarily reach out for any enemies to lovers, but i am also not 100% opposed to it. iโ€™m currently reading 10 things i hate about pinky by sandhya menon, which is enemies to lovers and really enjoying it, but if it wasnโ€™t a book in my favorite series + following characters i already liked, i probably wouldnโ€™t have picked it up.

    friends to lovers is my absolute favorite too, hahah. i didnโ€™t like love rosie though, loooool. i know this is like the biggest rom-com BLASPHEMY but for some reason their back and forth exhausted me 20min into the movie, lol. i still adore this trope, especially in queer books!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ahh, yay! I know, I felt like this post was slightly cliche to write, but I’ve had such a great time talking about the tropes with everyone, so it was certainly worth it.๐Ÿฅฐ

      I haven’t read Odd One Out or watched The Half of It, but I think I know what you mean? I do agree, sometimes love triangles don’t fail me, but most of the time there are just other tropes I would rather be reading, haha.

      I completely agree with your reasoning on enemies to lovers! Exactly- I won’t put down a book because it’s enemies to lovers but I also won’t necessarily pick up a book for the same reasons, either. I’m really glad to hear you’re enjoying 10 Things I Hate About Pinky because I want to read it, I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts!

      Haha, I haven’t seen Love Rosie so I can’t defend or attack it, but I agree the back and forth can be exhausting. I know, ahh, friends to lovers is just the sweetest. *cries*

      Thank you very much for this lovely comment, Lais!โค๏ธ

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  31. Love the idea of ranking romance tropes! For me Enemies to lovers and arranged marriages would be the top two, specially when they go together! Friends to lovers is so so cute, but I find that sometimes it just doesn’t draw my attention as much, and I’m more interested when it’s more of a second chance thing. Like Love Rosie, actually, which I’ve seen you’ve already decided to watch/read!

    I’ve watched the movie and YUP it’s the perfect example of friends to lovers. Omg those two really had a long way to go until they could be together *cue ugly crying*

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, Pamela!โค๏ธ Agh, that does sound like such a cute combo- watching enemies to lovers end up together is always amazing. I definitely understand about friends to lovers sometimes being less exciting! But you’re right, the idea of it being a second chance can also be really interesting.

      Good to know, haha! I am prepared for the tears when I (hopefully sooner rather than later) watch the movie. Thank you for this comment! xx

      Liked by 1 person

  32. Ahhh Olivia I love your ranking so, so much! My ultimate favorite is friends to lovers as well, it’s just…. there’s something just so wonderful about friends having know each other for a little while, slowly starting to have feelings and ahhhhhhhhh this trope always gives me ALL the feels ๐Ÿฅฐ๐Ÿฅฐ๐Ÿฅฐ

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