Choose the perfect ___ to lovers trope for you


Emma Foster

“Whether it is enemies-to-lovers, friends-to-lovers, or some really niche trope you like, savor the feelings of cringe, angst and of course, love.”

New to romance novels? Don’t worry, I know how overwhelming it is to try and pick out a good book from the pile. There are so many different tropes and storylines, so it is hard to choose just one to start with. However, the easiest way to break down what type of book to read comes down to why you are reading in the first place. “Enemies-to-lovers is for people who want to escape and friends-to-lovers is for people who want to emulate,” said Reece Sharp ’24. So, now that you have a basic idea of what you are getting into, let’s begin.

Starting off with the classic: enemies to lovers. If you like slow-burn romances, miscommunications and throwing your book across the room, this trope is the perfect fit for you! Real enemies-to-lovers is “when both sides truly mutually hate each other,” remarked Sharp. If you are willing to wait the whole book for one scene of romance, then you should pick enemies-to-lovers. Whether it be two opposing sides to a war or some childhood backstory, the loathsome-tuned-loving looks will keep the pages turning.

Now, if you are looking for a more realistic and less escapist route, then friends-to-lovers should be your pick. Most commonly found in contemporary book settings, friends-to-lovers is a cute but basic trope. There can be a huge variety of different storylines in this trope, but somehow none of them are very memorable. “It is overused at times, however, it is very cute and wholesome,” exclaimed Natalie Wong ’24. So, I’d say if you want a book that you’ll forget about after you put it down, this is the trope for you!

Moving on to a less common trope, bullies-to-lovers. One might say that bullies-to-lovers falls under the category of enemies-to-lovers, but no, I can assure you, it does not. Bullies-to-lovers starts with only one side of hatred, not two. You may be asking yourself, who would want to read this? And to that I say, I have no idea. The whole plot of these books relies on the idea of a hierarchical view on relationships where the bully remains on top and the victim on the bottom. “It is a toxic relationship that will probably just result in Stockholm syndrome,” said Avery Neuner ’24. However, if you enjoy a romance with a power dynamic difference or like it when characters can admit they were wrong, then you should try a bullies-to-lovers book.

Next up, we have rivals-to-lovers! This is another trope that can arguably be put in the enemies-to-lovers category, but I would argue it is a much more toned down version, and instead of being on opposite sides, rivals are working towards the same objective. To gain the achievement of “lovers,” the rivals will “have to overcome something to get to that point,” according to Sharp. Located most often in an academic setting, you won’t be able to put down rivals-to-lovers books if you love competitive natures, animosity and the sweet, sweet page-turning, slow-burn romances

Lastly, the epitome of cheesy romance novels and the backbone of the genre: fake-dating-to-lovers. However, be prepared for the cringe and secondhand embarrassment you will get from reading these books. Fake dating will always stay interesting because “you get the moments between the characters in public but are still rooting for them to get together because it is still a slow burn,” noted Sharp. These high-school-style depictions of romance create a timeless picture of what a perfect romance could be.

Regardless of what trope you fancy, reading is still just reading and for your pleasure. Don’t let my opinions discourage you from opening up whatever novel you enjoy. As Neuner stated, “All tropes are valid.” Whether it is enemies-to-lovers, friends-to-lovers, or some really niche trope you like, savor the feelings of cringe, angst and of course, love.