It’s a given that in each book, there will be a cast of characters with different background and relationships. There can be a family, there can be a group of friends, there can be couples, et cetera. But the real question is, can any of these relationships drastically influence your rating?
I was pondering on this question while doing mundane things and then it hit me — often times I am too critical about one type of relationship specifically: the romance. If the characters barely know each other and they already have such a deep feeling for each other and confess their love faster than I can blink, it’s a definite no-no for me. Chances are, it can ruin my mood for the entire book and I will most likely end up giving an average rating. Same usually happen to shallow and angsty romance. Basically, I want sparks and chemistry. I want depths. I want a romance that have a positive effect on the characters. I want ALL THE FEELS.
But what about friendship? And familial relationship?
It’s true that I LOVE positive relationships. Girls who have each other’s backs no matter what. Friendships which are far from drama and backstabbing and jealousy. And familial relationships are supposedly no less important than the rest. Family is a primary agent of socialization after all, so I would like to read about parents that are emotionally involved in their children’s lives.
When I’m reading though, the truth is I realize that it’s somehow easier for me to dismiss fake friendships and absent parents than a terrible romance. Well, I am tired of those kinds of friends that only serves as a tool for the main character to do something else other than kissing with the love interest. I am tired of those gossip and backstabbing. But admittedly, if the romance is good enough, I have a tendency to think like, “oh well, at least the romance is good.” *at most give 4 or 4.5 stars*
On the opposite, when it comes to books with great friendships but bad romance, sometimes I think, “Ah, I really like the friendship. It’s a shame that the romance isn’t as good.” *at most give 3.5 stars*
Wow. Does the romance aspect matter that much? And it’s a bit ironic since I, as a reader, have always emphasized — longed even! — on giving more importance on friendship >_< At this point, it just seems like the romance is the thing that makes or breaks a book, the element that makes the book feel complete (and I’m a somewhat hypocritical person). In reality, I take everything into account, but maybe in the end I unconsciously put more thought into the romance aspect.
Lastly, this discussion-turned-confession is going no where and I wonder whether I’m just being picky with the romance because I have read more books which focus on romance and have fantastic, fangirl-inducing OTPs rather than books with quality friendship and involved parents. Please bear with me.