Readers around the world love to roll their eyes at romance novels, but why? Is it the plot holes? The lack of chemistry? The general cheesiness that makes readers cringe? While some readers enjoy the promise of a happy ending, many opt for mocking the love triangles and mushy dialogue that often accompanies it. If you’re looking for reviews of compelling and inspiring romance novels, stop reading. Below are five of the worst romance novels we’ve ever read.
1. 50 Shades of Grey by E.L. James
The ultimate problem with 50 Shades is that the story revolves around a young, educated woman falling head over heels (in a matter of days) for a controlling rich guy. Anastasia Steele, the protagonist, is portrayed as ignorant and meek, while the antagonist, Christian Grey, is smart, strong, and destructive. Aren’t those gender assigned character traits a bit tired? In addition to this novel being a terrible example of a healthy relationship, the author relies heavily on clichés, and phrases are repeated on every other page. Trying to read cover to cover is probably more painful than BDSM.
2. All That Glitters by Linda Howard
This novel may be an oldie, but it is not a goodie. Despite being birthed by a New York Times best-selling author, this romance falls short of spectacular. It begins with a 23-year-old woman being widowed by her 76-year-old husband, all the while remaining a virgin. The rest of the plot line follows Jessica as she enters another unhealthy relationship. The new man in her life, Nico, is arrogant and aggressive, and continuously makes Jessica sob throughout the entire novel. Once again, we have the cliché characters of a weak, emotional woman, and an egotistical, overbearing man.
3. Wrangler by Dani Wyatt
This not-so-charming novel begins with a damsel in distress. Rachel’s truck has broken down (points for Rachel knowing how to drive), and a handsome stranger named Chad is there to rescue her. In an unsurprising plot-twist, they must put off being together because someone from Rachel’s past comes back to haunt her. There is so much cheese in this novel, I had to find myself some crackers.
4. See Me by Nicholas Sparks
This novel lacks the “spark” that Sparks usually brings. It rambles, going into so much detail it becomes hard to follow. Another unenticing element is the weak character development. Relating to the characters is almost impossible, as you aren’t really given a good sense of who they are. The book is slow and has little payoff, which makes it difficult to soldier on to the end.
5. Beastly by Alex Flinn
Meant to be a modern-day with a gothic twist, it attempts to preach about inner beauty. The intentions of the central message are good, but the plot lacks imagination and the characters fall flat. Beastly plays the tired tune of a saintly girl falling for an irresistible bad boy.
The romance genre may have a multitude of haters, but it remains one of the most popular in publishing. In North America, romance became very popular in modern literature around the year 2000. Despite the haters, what makes romance so popular? The diversity of the genre, titles aimed mostly at women, and the low price points are just a few reasons. Other romance readers have reported that they like the hope it provides, the relatability of the characters, and because it doesn’t take a lot of brain power to enjoy. If you’re looking for something breezy, cheesy, and sleezy to read tonight, pick out one of the romance novels listed above!