February is a good time to read a romance novel… for some people. In honor of Valentine’s Day, we asked current TGS students whether they read romance books.
“Depending on the story, I think that romance is okay. Now, I don’t enjoy when the plot is purely based on romance because then character relationships become the basis of the whole story which makes it harder to have a good character arc. It also set unrealistic standards as to how people are supposed to grow and change. At times, I think romance can be good, especially if it doesn’t interfere with the plot. If a character has romance as a motivation to do something, that’s fine but they should have other reasons for what they want to achieve. There are also instances where romance is forced just because the author or fanbase wants the character/protagonist to have a love interest. I don’t particularly like that in writing because I think it takes away from the story. As well, when you have love interests in a story you have to include representation for LGBTQ+ individuals and if the representation is stereotyped or inaccurate, fans may get angry. As to ships I do like, I like ships from ‘Six of Crows’ like Nina Zenik and Matthias Helvar (Helnik) as well as Jesper Fahey and Wylan Van Eck (Wesper).” -7th grade sudent
“I personally would not read a totally romantic book, but I do think that it makes a book more interesting. Most books do have a romantic aspect. It would seem weird if a book did not. Love is such a big emotion and part of life, so it would make the book seem hollow if there was no love at all. Though when we think of LOVE this may not be the first thing to come to mind, there is another kind of love than just romantic, and your character needs to have a love for all the characters that they realistically would, or again your story will seem hollow.” – 8th grade student
“I don’t read romance novels because I prefer murder mystery, fantasy, or end of the world type books where there’s an intense journey or problem. I think that at the end of the book or movie if two character’s fall in love it’s kind of predictable and not very interesting since you probably knew it was going to happen anyway.” – 8th grade student
“I LOVE ROMANCE BOOKS. I think that writing a realistic relationship is very hard, and if it goes wrong the whole book will fail and be awful. One of my favorite romance books is called ‘Serpent and Dove.’ The two characters’ relationship is built up slowly, and they have ups and downs like in a real relationship, which makes the romance seem more real. In the ‘Hunger Games,’ however, the romance between Katniss and Peeta is forced. She shows zero interest in him throughout the games, and when she does show affection toward him it’s stiff and forced. She even talks about how she doesn’t want to talk to him after the games. Even in ‘Mockingjay,’ I felt she loved him as a friend. I think that writers need to take into consideration their characters’ personalities so they can avoid romance like Katniss and Peet’s and make it realistic. Plus, love can be really hard, and most books forget this when writing love. Love can move characters along and show change and growth based on how they treat their partner.” -7th grade student
“In my opinion, most romantic subplots feel extremely forced. It’s as if authors have some sort of agreement that if they have an unmarried male and female of appropriate ages in a book, they’re getting married. If the whole book is about romance, then there’s no problem. Those relationships are usually very thought out, which makes them feel much more natural. We get many masterpieces from books and movies that follow this philosophy. But, if romance isn’t a key part of your story, then you probably shouldn’t include it. Chances are, if you’re writing an adventure story, you’re not a romantic expert. So if you try to create a relationship of this kind between two of your main characters, to the reader, it’s going to feel like romance for romance’s sake. What’s worse, some authors only include characters in their story so another more important and relevant character can romance them. And now we have weird relationships like Ron and Hermione and Katniss and Peeta, which I know many people don’t like.” -6th grade student
“I am a sucker for sappy romance books but only if they’re gay. It’s like watching a movie without any women in it, it’s boring. That doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate straight couples (Percy /Annabeth from ‘The Lightning Thief’) but I’m not gonna read a book about straight people for fun. I will read any book you put in front of me as long as there are gay characters, I really don’t care too much if it’s good or not, guess that tells you how starved for representation I am.” -8th grade student