Spotlight On: Adult Contemporary Romance

Now, my friends, it’s time to take a stroll back in time to when I was in high school. Back when I was a young adult and primarily read adult romance novels (along with Jane Austen and Shakespeare and some other classics). Back then, contemporary romances were my absolute favorite. I was reading Jane Green, Sarah Mlynowski, Meg Cabot, and every single title I could find on the library shelves published by Red Dress Ink. RIP Red Dress Ink. RIP chick lit fad of the early 2000s.

Mind you, I’m not going to necessarily recommend the books I read then, because I was not particularly well-educated about things like slut-shaming and consent. I’ve reread some favorite books from the time and been positively horrified at what hadn’t bothered me initially (this happened recently when I tried to reread Evanovich’s Full series). The point I’m trying to make—I suspect ineffectually—is that I deeply loved contemporary romances, back at a time when I had trouble choosing books to read. It was one of my favorite genres.

With great knowledge comes great responsibility…or at least an understanding of the problematic elements so common to the romance genre and also a personal frustration with life not being as romantic as books. This led to me giving up on reading romance (adult in the romance genre specifically, because I was reading the fuck out of YA during this period), though in college I did discover Jennifer Crusie, who remains a favorite.

Embracing young adult fiction and blogging about it and talking to other bloggers helped me embrace my love of shippity ships and ultimately led me back to romance. That began initially with historical romance, but with occasional forays into contemporary, mostly in the form of highly hyped NA titles. These initial attempts largely went poorly.

Until pretty recently, so far as I can tell (and I admit I’m not super widely read here) was focused on a lot of tropes I really don’t like. Heavy on the melodrama with alpha heroes and pushover heroines. The NA I read largely focused so much on constant sex scenes that the actual ship suffered, because I felt no connection between the two outside the physical. Even though I love contemporary romances, I’ve largely eyed them skeptically, waiting for the day they’d be more rom com, more shippy, and more character-driven.

And, my friends, I think that time has finally come. I’m watching contemporary romances sell incredibly well, expecting disappointment, and then loving them. They’re everything I always wanted, and the success of them is sure to bring more books like this. HUZZAH!!!!

How about some recs?




That’s not a lot of books to offer perhaps, but I’m fired up about the awesomeness I’ve read in the last couple months, which is all of these but Dahlia’s—I never miss a chance to pimp Dahlia’s books and OOGB is the fluffiest f/f sooooo. Obviously, I’ve also got some classic Meg Cabot and Jennifer Crusie favorites, but, as I said, I’m hesitant to recommend things until I have time to reread.

Updated July 19 to add more recommendations because I forgot some good ones.


Really, though, the whole point of this post is:

PLEASE RECOMMEND ME SOME ADULT CONTEMPORARY ROMANCES TO LOVE ♥♥♥♥

4 responses to “Spotlight On: Adult Contemporary Romance”

  1. Dahlia Adler says:

    This post <333 Okay, so two books I'm thinking of for you: HOLD ME DOWN by Sara Taylor Woods (it is BDSM-y but in a coming-of-age way, and there's a lot of real NA stuff) and BEGINNER'S GUIDE by Six de los Reyes, which is emphatically nerdy. Like even more science-y than HOLD ME. (You've read Courtney Milan's NA, right?) I'm so excited to read more Christina Lauren and other things and talk about themmmmm!

  2. I bought Last Will and Testament an embarrassingly long time ago but clearly need to bump it up the list. The only one I can recommend that I’ve read this year was Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren.
    Bonnie @ For the Love of Words recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday – Diamond Fire (Hidden Legacy #3.5) by Ilona AndrewsMy Profile

  3. Lana says:

    Have you tried Act Like It by Lucy Parker? It is first in a series set in the London theater world. Plus it has a fake relationship (for the publicity rehab) and a terrible cat…

  4. Ha! I haven’t read any romance (or much other fiction for that matter) in ages, but you had me at:

    “I was reading Jane Green, Sarah Mlynowski, Meg Cabot, and every single title I could find on the library shelves published by Red Dress Ink. RIP Red Dress Ink. RIP chick lit fad of the early 2000s.”

    Also…

    “Mind you, I’m not going to necessarily recommend the books I read then, because I was not particularly well-educated about things like slut-shaming and consent. I’ve reread some favorite books from the time and been positively horrified at what hadn’t bothered me initially […]”

    Yeah, same. It sucks when that happens, because a book could have been perfect for Younger You at that time despite those issues, but upon revisiting it as Current You those issues are just overpowering whatever used to make the book worthwhile.

    Sorry, no recommendations, I just loved the heck out of this post.

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