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?

The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord

the start of me and youThe Start of Me and You
Author: Emery Lord
Publication: March 31st, 2015 by Bloomsbury
Genre: YA Contemporary

Following her pitch-perfect debut Open Road Summer, Emery Lord pens another gorgeous story of best friends, new love, & second chances.

Brimming with heartfelt relationships and authentic high-school dynamicsThe Start of Me and You proves that it’s never too late for second chances.

It’s been a year since it happened—when Paige Hancock’s first boyfriend died in an accident. After shutting out the world for two years, Paige is finally ready for a second chance at high school . . . and she has a plan. First: Get her old crush, Ryan Chase, to date her—the perfect way to convince everyone she’s back to normal. Next: Join a club—simple, it’s high school after all. But when Ryan’s sweet, nerdy cousin, Max, moves to town and recruits Paige for the Quiz Bowl team (of all things!) her perfect plan is thrown for a serious loop. Will Paige be able to face her fears and finally open herself up to the life she was meant to live?

GOSH. Emery Lord writes THE BEST self-discovery books and more importantly, friendships and the process of moving on. I don’t know anymore. I think this book made me so emotional – like, the most emotional I’ve ever been in terms of reading this year that it instantly deserves 5 stars.

“Knowing what happens is different from knowing how it happens. And getting there is the best part.”

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Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

Open-Road-SummerOpen Road Summer
Author: Emery Lord
Publication: April 15th, 2014 by Walker Childrens
Genre: YA Contemporary

After breaking up with her bad-news boyfriend, Reagan O’Neill is ready to leave her rebellious ways behind. . . and her best friend, country superstar Lilah Montgomery, is nursing a broken heart of her own.

Fortunately, Lilah’s 24-city tour is about to kick off, offering a perfect opportunity for a girls-only summer of break-up ballads and healing hearts. But when Matt Finch joins the tour as its opening act, his boy-next-door charm proves difficult for Reagan to resist, despite her vow to live a drama-free existence.

This summer, Reagan and Lilah will navigate the ups and downs of fame and friendship as they come to see that giving your heart to the right person is always a risk worth taking.

A fresh new voice in contemporary romance, Emery Lord’s gorgeous writing hits all the right notes.

I’m actually very conflicted about the rating. On one hand, Open Road Summer was an extremely relatable read that sometimes I drew parallels between me and the main character. It deserves more than 3.5 stars. But on the other hand, my gut also tells me that it isn’t quite right to rate it 4 stars.

“I’ve taken so many side roads and built so many walls that I created my own labyrinth, trapping myself inside.”

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Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst

Author: Sarah Beth Durst
Publication: September 11th, 2012 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Genre: YA Fantasy, Mythology

Liyana has trained her entire life to be the vessel of a goddess. She will dance and summon her tribe’s deity, who will inhabit Liyana’s body and use magic to bring rain to the desert. But when the dance ends, Liyana is still there. Her tribe is furious–and sure that it is Liyana’s fault. Abandoned by her tribe, Liyana expects to die in the desert. Until a boy walks out of the dust in search of her.

Korbyn is a god inside his vessel, and a trickster god at that. He tells Liyana that five other gods are missing, and they set off across the desert in search of the other vessels. The desert tribes cannot survive without the magic of their gods. But the journey is dangerous, even with a god’s help. And not everyone is willing to believe the trickster god’s tale.

The closer she grows to Korbyn, the less Liyana wants to disappear to make way for her goddess. But she has no choice–she must die for her tribe to live. Unless a trickster god can help her to trick fate–or a human girl can muster some magic of her own.

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On the Fence & Catching Jordan

on the fence by kasie westOn the Fence
Author: Kasie West
Publication: July 1st, 2014 by HarperTeen
Page count: 296 (Paperback)
Genre: YA Contemporary

For sixteen-year-old Charlotte Reynolds, aka Charlie, being raised by a single dad and three older brothers has its perks. She can outrun, outscore, and outwit every boy she knows—including her longtime neighbor and honorary fourth brother, Braden. But when it comes to being a girl, Charlie doesn’t know the first thing about anything. So when she starts working at chichi boutique to pay off a speeding ticket, she finds herself in a strange new world of makeup, lacy skirts, and BeDazzlers. Even stranger, she’s spending time with a boy who has never seen her tear it up in a pickup game.

To cope with the stress of faking her way through this new reality, Charlie seeks late-night refuge in her backyard, talking out her problems with Braden by the fence that separates them. But their Fence Chats can’t solve Charlie’s biggest problem: she’s falling for Braden. Hard. She knows what it means to go for the win, but if spilling her secret means losing him for good, the stakes just got too high.

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