Crushes, love triangles, breakups, and more! There’s so much to love about love stories, whether you’re watching on the big screen or pulling books from the shelf, and that includes the fact that there are so many tried-and-true rom-com tropes to take comfort in and enjoy. If you’re currently obsessed with YA rom-coms like the To All the Boys trilogy or What If It’s Us, then have we got a list for you! We’ve pulled together some of our favorite rom-com tropes, from the breakup rebound to the date on a date, and paired a book recommendation with each one. So dive right in and get ready to add to your TBR list!
The Date on a Dare
This trope can take less savory forms, like in the movie She’s All That, when two popular guys make a bet about one of their less popular classmates (and hijinks and romance ensue). But in Date Me, Bryson Keller by Kevin van Whye, there’s none of that! The dare: each week, Bryson Keller has to date the first person who asks him out on Monday morning. The surprise: Kai Sheridan didn’t expect Bryson to say yes when he asked. As the two boys kick off their week of secretly dating, Kai suspects it won’t end well. But then Kai and Bryson actually get to know each other better. . . .
The Breakup Rebound
A breakup rebound story can take different forms: the main character can fall in love with someone new after experiencing heartbreak, or they can fall back in love with their ex. In Girl Crushed by Katie Heaney, Quinn is going through a girlfriend and a best friend breakup—until new girl Ruby enters the picture. But will crushing on Ruby only make Quinn realize how much she still loves Jamie? Can your first love be your second love, too?
The Rivals to Romance
Are you a sucker for a story in which two people who don’t like each other slo-o-o-wly get to know each other better and discover they actually do like each other? Us too! In I Think I Love You by Auriane Desombre, archnemeses Emma and Sophia compete for a trip to Los Angeles. Will they end up falling for each other along the way? You’ll have to read to find out!
The Opposites Attract
The power of romance is so strong that it can woo two people who seem totally different—and that’s what we call the opposites attract. In Nic Stone’s Jackpot, Rico and her popular and wealthy classmate Zan are thrown together to track down the owner of a winning lotto ticket. A story about love, luck, class, and privilege, this is an opposites attract for the ages.
The Falling in Love on Vacation
Nothing could be better than getting to enjoy a trip abroad and falling in love at the same time, and that universal truth is at the core of the love-on-vacation rom-com trope. In Anne-Sophie Johanneau’s Kisses and Croissants, Mia heads to Paris, the City of Love, for the summer, and what awaits her but a budding romance with the très cute Louis? (And a harsh ballet instructor, a bitter rival, and all the sights, scenes, and snacks of Paris, of course!)
The Love Triangle
Ah, the love triangle. The classic of all classics, especially when it comes to YA rom-coms. Kristin Rockaway’s My Epic Spring Break (Up) offers a fresh take on love triangles for all the fans out there! Ashley vows to have fun on her spring break—and that includes following her heart. Good thing her crush Walker is around! But so is Jason, her childhood friend turned prankster.
The Holiday Romance
There’s no more magical time to fall in love than around a holiday (any holiday)—think of all the festivities! If you love a holiday romance, check out New Year’s Kiss by Lee Matthews, which takes place around—you guessed it—New Year’s Eve. (This one doubles as a love-on-vacation story, too!) On vacation in Vermont with her family, Tess makes a bucket list of things to do to shake her out of her comfort zone—and the cute guy she meets in the lobby is happy to help her check things off. . . .
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