When romance clouds my judgment

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.

drowning in 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.

Do share your thoughts! Which type of relationship affect your rating the most and why? How much does the romance aspect matter to you?

19 thoughts on “When romance clouds my judgment”

  1. If I’m reading book which I know is romance dominated story, or simply the genre is romance of course I would love that if it is well written. But if I’m reading let say action, suspense, etc. then I wouldn’t mind if romance is a bit lackluster or whatever because it’s not where the story’s focus should be. It’s an added plot device but not as important to me. This is why it is important to me that books are labeled properly because I’m particular with the books I’ll read and what genre it fall to. What if I want mystery book and 80% is romance? I’ll going to be pissed because it’s not what the book says. I enjoyed romance but it may/may not be determinant of the entertaining value. Case to case basis I supposed.

    Now, like I said before I don’t mind insta-love or those cheese fest romantic devices but I don’t like absentee parents and one-dimensional friends because it is important to establish that people do care, do love unconditionally, platonic wise. The person who loves you romantically is not the only person who values the most. Friends and family will give you support. I hate when they are undervalue these people as if a hindrance to plot and romance development. *sighs* /rambles ends
    Mitchii G. recently posted… VendettaMy Profile

    1. Ah, genre-labeling. It does eventually come down to that aspect because it becomes a problem when what’s being offered doesn’t meet your expectation.

      “The person who loves you romantically is not the only person who values the most. Friends and family will give you support. I hate when they are undervalue these people as if a hindrance to plot and romance development.” This! I can’t deny the importance of family and friends and it’s a message that needs to be delivered because that’s how things are in reality.

  2. “I realize that it’s somehow easier for me to dismiss fake friendships and absent parents than a terrible romance. ” OMG I just realized that I do too! Like, parents going on these “vacations” doesn’t impact my reading mood compared to an insta love that is just nerve wrecking. That’s so weird now to think of it! I do deduct points for missing parents, but I take more points off when a wild insta love appears.

    This is a great topic for discussion! I’m curious what everyone’s answers are.
    leigh recently posted… #CramathonMy Profile

    1. I think it’s because fantastic romance makes us swoon like mad people and it’s an awesome feeling right? So we’ve been trying to look for that feeling but we can’t exactly swoon and fangirl over the parents or friends haha. But really, there is always romance in a book so it becomes a major aspect that affects our enjoyment.

  3. Generally, if the romance gives me feelings then the book is given a higher rating overall, even if there were absent parents or annoying tropes in the MCs. I definitely agree it’s a lapse in my judgment — I know that these tropes bother me, and yet I still felt things for these characters so I’m willing to look past those moments.

    I think it happens to all of us though! For example: I don’t remember much about the Hush, Hush series by Becca Fitzpatrick except for the romance, which I did enjoy and I rooted for Patch and Nora. So while I know the books weren’t that great (and, admittedly, the romance), I remember having ALL of the feels, and that changes how I view the books.

    But gosh, I love friendships. I love family relationships. I love anything that ISN’T romance, because sometimes I think there’s too much romance. Sometimes it’s okay to have it be something that’s barely there. 😛
    Sydney recently posted… Book Bloggers and Books Tag!My Profile

    1. When I’m having so much feels I do tend to overlook the little details too and the book ends up getting a high rating. I guess in the end we’re more like a feeler type of reviewer 😀 And I agree! Anything that isn’t romance is great! We do need those kinds of books once in a while 🙂

  4. I just wrote A MASSIVE COMMENT and it didn’t go through, and now I want to cry because I really liked it.

    In general I pretty much said that because romance is almost expected to be in every book, I judge more harshly. If I come across a great friendship or familial relationship, it’s more of a bonus than an influencing factor in my enjoyment and rating of a novel.

    *crying over my comment*
    Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity recently posted… Favourites of ’15 (well, so far)My Profile

    1. I KNOW THAT FEELING *cries together with you* It happened to me numerous times and while I was in the middle of writing my review on GR my Google Chrome suddenly shut down and I had to start from scratch again ;_;

      Chiara, you just conveyed my lengthy post into a few lines YOU ARE AWESOMELY SPOT ON. It’s true that since romance is in every book we just can’t help but to notice it more.

  5. I have not been reading a lot of romance book lately. Most of them are historical fictions, sometimes with a bit of romance. I mostly enjoy reading the self-discovery journeys rather than focusing on some certain types of relationship. I agree that it is important for the books to be labeled properly. I often find myself annoyed when I read a book that suppose to be more about journeys or adventures, but actually mostly about romance.
    Febri recently posted… 24 in 48 ReadathonMy Profile

  6. The romance aspect matters to me a lot since I read primarily romance centered books. I just like reading about romance 🙂 It’s just so fun sometimes to cheer on the couple and wishfully hope for their happily ever after. I’ve read some books that were rather ‘eh’ in plot but when it came to the romance scenes I pretty much turned into a pile of mush lol. It just gives you warm fuzzies sometimes and it’s hard not to like a book more for that 🙂
    Stephanie@ThesePaperHearts recently posted… Blog Commenting AvatarsMy Profile

    1. Yes! That’s basically why sometimes it’s easy for some of us to overlook other types of relationship. I mean, tell me. SHIPPING IS MY LIFE xD But it’s not like it’s a huge problem because I enjoy being a shipper 😛

  7. Ooh, Kezia, great topic. This is something I actually never thought about until now but “I realize that it’s somehow easier for me to dismiss fake friendships and absent parents than a terrible romance.” THIS. Oh my gosh, this post is me. Perfectly. Like even the ratings, I’ll let absent parents and stuff go almost completely but a story with a bad romance is only going to ever get 3.5 stars max. So interesting to think about O.o
    Alise recently posted… Review: Manga Classics – EmmaMy Profile

    1. Just how similar can we become? Ahahahaha xD

      Based on my experience with bad romance, I generally end up giving only a 3 I guess? Unless the other aspects are that amazing then 3.5 is the most I can give xD

  8. I am SUCH a hopeless romantic, but lately I’ve gotten a lot more picky with the kinds of romances I like to read about in books. Perhaps it’s just the fact that I’ve been subjected to SO MANY instances of insta-love and the like – but I’m noticing that I tend to have the same issue as you, where I give the romance way too much impact when I’m trying to rate the book!

    Honestly, I never really noticed it until you brought it up, so thank you for bringing it to my attention. I’m going to have to keep a closer eye on the other bookish relationships I find – after all, romance is not the only (or even the most important!) relationship in people’s lives, so why on earth should it be the most important in book characters’?
    Topaz @ Six Impossible Things recently posted… Snapshots | June 13thMy Profile

    1. I agree with you! Other relationships in YA need to be put into the spotlight!! If you’re looking for an amazing friendship, then I highly recommend Emery Lord books 🙂 They are wonderful and made me wanna have real life friends like those characters!! 😀

  9. I’m the same too, Kezia. I think I agree with Stephanie’s comment- I put importance in the romance because I set out to read contemporary romance books. But if I know that the book is more contemporary than contemporary romance, I’d be more tolerant if the romance wasn’t that well done. Unfortunately, too often, the lines between contemporary and romance are blurred these days. I think maybe it’s up to us- if the romance is personally critical to us to enjoy the book, that’s just fine.
    Hazel @ Stay Bookish recently posted… Novel Portraits: Behind The Lens #14 – Alyssa of Swept Away By BooksMy Profile

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