Romance Books Are Actually Unproductive


Sophia Li, Staff Writer

Thanks to the rise of books written by authors like Colleen Hoover and Elle Kennedy, many teens have gotten into reading again, especially romance books. Though it can be seen as advantageous that a generation of teens is picking up the knowledgeable hobby of reading, I firmly believe that romance books, in particular, are unproductive. After reading a few of these books and seeing what the hype is about myself, I’ve come to the conclusion that they do more harm than good. The romance books that social media advocates for contain overly mature content, usually have the same romance tropes, and many times, are teaching teens to value romance and relationships over doing well in school. I believe that the majority of romance books serve no impactful value or purpose in one’s life, as they contain little to no educational value.

Let’s take It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover, for example. Before the wave of #booktok and videos on TikTok emerged, this book won the 2016 Goodreads Choice Awards for Best Romance, surpassing the runner-up vote by almost 15,000 votes. The one-sentence description under this book reads: “Sometimes it is the one who loves you who hurts you the most.” This book details the life of Lily, who falls in love with Ryle in the midst of all her life troubles, but later on, her first love, Atlas reappears, which switches up the ongoing dynamic.

After reading the book, I will say that the book itself was pretty good, as Colleen Hoover has mastered the ability to have an emotional impact on her readers. However, I noticed that like the few romantic books that I’ve read beforehand, each book has the same romantic tropes, just with different character names. In a list of seven popular romantic tropes, It Ends With Us contains 5 out of 7. In the story, these tropes can either be prominent or touched on, and these include the love triangle, friends to lovers, enemies to lovers, forbidden love, and second chance trope. There’s no problem with including a trope or two in a story, but when the same tropes pop up over and over again in books, where it’s easy to already predict the ending of the story, there is no fun in reading romance books. This repetition of having the same storylines over and over becomes unproductive for readers, as they don’t gain educational value or learn any new revelations by reading the same stories, but just with different characters.

Another good example of romance books having repetitive tropes takes place in the book A Thousand Boy Kisses by Tillie Cole. The story follows Poppy, who is on a mission sent by her grandma, to collect her ‘boy kisses,’ and Rune, who is her lover in the story. Just like other romance books, it also contains the same tropes. And just like It Ends With Us, both books contain overly mature content, and at some point, readers have to get bored of reading the same romantic scenes that take place repeatedly throughout the book. Similarly, in this book, the plotline is easily guessed, and there is no important revelation or moral of the story at the end of it all.

Romantic stories have no impactful value, nor purpose in a reader’s life. At the end of the day, fiction is fiction, and it is not real. Fictional books, especially romance books, are mere fantasies of thoughts and ideas that authors were able to come up with. Though one could argue that it’s a good method for entertainment and escape from one’s mind, I believe that one could try to find an alternative to that. For example, going outside and being around nature, picking up a new hobby, or playing a board game with your family are all, in my opinion, better ways to enjoy entertainment. Not only do romance books set unrealistic expectations for teens for what to expect in their own personal life, but many times, they don’t have a clear moral of the story at the end of it all. 

Similar to video games, I believe that romantic books can be viewed from a variety of different perspectives. Some may say that it’s beneficial for entertainment or social purposes, and others may deem it a waste of time. Like anything, there are positives and negatives, but I believe that romance books are generally unproductive. 


Photo courtesy of PIXABAY.COM