Books

Five Underrated Romance Novels

Emelie Mano ’20 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

The Heartbreakers by Ali Novak:

Photo Credits: Amazon
Photo Credits: Amazon

Seen as somewhat cliche and less known when compared to Novaks other novel, My Life With The Walter Boys, The Heartbreakers manages to lighten up your mood, no matter what you may be feeling at the time. The story centers around the main protagonist Stella, a clever, sassy, and supportive teen getting ready to go to college. Unfortunately, her sister Cara, is deeply sick with with cancer. But this is not a typical cancer story, in fact, only a few chapters mention it as Cara is a delightful character and relative to the plot.

Cara is a diehard of The Heartbreakers, a band that Stella despises, especially lead singer Oliver Perry. Stella never the less seeks them out and is eventually hired to be their photographer. While taking pictures, she often thinks her work isn’t up to the standards that it should be. As the story progresses, Stella’s personality shines through thanks to her own self confidence and support from Oliver. The chemistry between Oliver and Stella is sweet and lighthearted as she slowly grows as a character and accepts her own self worth before deciding to be with not only Oliver, but the rest of the Heartbreaker band.
How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford:

Photo Credit: Amazon
Photo Credit: Amazon

Very much so an underrated love story, it does not so much touch on the romantic aspects of love but instead the more intimate and complex nature of caring for someone. Centered around the lives of Beatrice and Jonah, both characters are criticized for their personalities. Beatrice is judged by her mother for being emotionless, like a robot, when she insists she is not. Jonah on the other hand is viewed as “ghost boy,” a social outcast at school who isolates himself from his peers. What makes it interesting that their relationship is definitely considered as love. One of the most engaging aspects is recognizing that Jonah and Beatrice are not exactly dating, but have too much of an in-depth relationship to simply call each other “friends.” While high school is a time of insecurity and shallowness, Standiford presents the idea of boy-girl friendships as socially acceptable as well as the concept that true love is not always romantic.
Landline by Rainbow Rowell:

Photo Credits: Goodreads
Photo Credits: Goodreads

Rowell is most well known for her lovable romances in “Fangirl and “Eleanor and Park.” Landline however takes a completely different view on the concept of love. It’s complexity and idealism is however both notable and relatable, as the romance Rowell presents readers with is not only problematic, but one that needs to be fixed. The couple in trouble is Georgie McCool and her husband Neal. More of a realistic and adult take on relationships Georgie is forced to make a decision about her marriage after another, and maybe final, argument. Both still love each other but question the power to fix their broken relationship. The following night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past, through a landline. As she balances talking with the Neal she fell in love with when she was 23 with the Neal she has now Georgie is
faced with an ultimate dilemma. And, through Georgie, Rowell manages to focus on the realistic not the idealistic, because in today’s reality, romance is rarely straightforward.
The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler:

Photo Credits: Goodreads
Photo Credits: Goodreads

Protagonist Jude is spending the summer with her father, whose brain is slowly deteriorating from Alzheimer’s. Wanting to please her father and jog his memories, Jude decides to hire a mechanic to fix her father’s bike. The mechanic, Emilio Vargas, is the youngest brother of the two boys that broke her sisters’ hearts. Against her better judgement, Jude crosses the barrier her sisters forbid her from approaching. The diversity presented by Ockler is well done, through Jude and Emilio’s romance she explores the life of an immigrant family. The reader gets brief glimpses of Jude’s life in Central America as well as her struggle to learn english in a new country. The banter is witty and natural. Emilio’s character is the type of boy Jude is scared to get involved with but would be even more afraid to not take that chance. The most pleasing aspect of the book is that the relationship is neither rushed or forced, starting with a general pull before leading to the inevitable.
I’ll Be There by Holly Sloan:

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Photo Credit: Goodreads

Holly Sloan focuses on the troubled life of Sam, a modern male Cinderella, a concept that is not always popular among many contemporary novels. Sam is constantly on the road with his younger brother Riddle as well as their mentally challenged father. Sam was forced out of school in second grade, and has been moving around ever since when he happens to stumble into a church one evening to see Emily Bell singing. Emily is introverted and quiet, having been from the same small town since birth having little interest in anybody until Sam. When they meet it triggers a series of events that changes both of their lives. Not only for the main characters, but the lives of many others creating a devastating snowball effect. Though their romance is deep and fast paced, their relationship is placed on hold, evoking feelings of suspense, love, and ultimately heartbreak.

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