Wednesday, 16 November 2022

Paperback's Pondering's: Finding "Perfect" Romances

Romance is one of my favourite genres. I used to love YA contemporaries, and that love as I got older quickly evolved into liking new adult and adult romances. I love romances that are fluffy, light-hearted, but also with a relationship that seems realistic, one that I can root for. 

My favourite romances to date have all been written by Helen Hoang, and that is her Kiss Quotient series. The three books in that trilogy have the perfect amount of light-hearted humour, some seriousness in the stakes of the relationship, and a healthy, slow-burn romance that develops over time. They also have sex-positivity, which is a major important element in my opinion as a lot of romances can portray toxic sexual relationships and therefore reinforce an unhealthy representation of sex. My problem now is, that I have yet to find a romance that matches Helen Hoang's writing. All romance recommendations that I see on Booktok currently have been really spicy erotica, which isn't personally my thing, or Colleen Hoover books. I don't want to turn this post into my problems with Colleen Hoover, but I'll just say that her writing is not my thing, and I don't think she portrays relationships in the healthiest of ways. I will scan through blogs, book twitter, and bookstagram as well for romance recommendations, but those books haven't necessarily given me what I'm looking for either. Which leads me to wonder: am I being too picky with my romances? Will anything ever top The Kiss Quotient? Is Helen Hoang's writing just an anomaly? I now write this post to plead for someone to give me the romance recommendations I need. 

The Kiss Quotient and its accompaniments were so special because they weren't just romances, but they were also big on representation of a number of marginalized groups. All of the books have East Asian representation, as well as very accurate autism representation. Helen Hoang is very vocal about her autism, and so she seeks to portray various characters on the autism spectrum throughout her books. So, what we get in her books are really unique representations of autistic characters who navigate sex and relationships in ways that don't overstimulate them or make them meltdown. These are characters that I don't think I would ever get to read about in any other romance book, and that's what makes her books stand in categories all on their own. 

In my quest to find books like the Kiss Quotient, I often look for romances that have representation of some kind, especially representation of non-white characters. And these books are okay, albeit not my favourites. I have enjoyed in the past the Chloe Brown series by Talia Hibbert, but I don't necessarily find myself as engrossed in these books as I was with Hoang's books, for reasons I still am unsure of. There's just something about Hoang's books that are the perfect melting pot of what makes a good romance: the right balance of spice, fluffiness, serious elements, realistic characters, awkwardness, and diversity. I think the trouble I'm running into is that while I have uplifted Hoang's books as the pinnacle of romance, I keep comparing every romance I read afterwards to them. Perhaps, I am not letting these books exist on their own as I keep searching for that "perfect" romance book. 

I went to twitter a few days ago to say that I don't think any romance book will ever top Hoang's books for me. While I don't necessarily want to proven wrong, I need new romance recommendations that have the same vibe as The Kiss Quotient and won't make me want to throw the book against a wall. Or maybe, they can make me throw the book against a wall in a good way? Anyways, if you've read The Kiss Quotient and books like it, please send me all the recommendations you have. I am trying to find "perfect" romances here, or at least, what's perfect in my eyes, and it's proving to be a difficult task. 

Do you have books you consider to be "perfect?" Do you like Helen Hoang's books? 

Emily @ Paperback Princess


  1. I really loved Typecast, you might like it too!

  2. I'm not a heavy romance reader - especially outside of werewolves and vampires, and mostly Gay werewolves and vampires at that, lol - so I can't really help you. I did find this Book Riot list of 'Books like The Kiss Quotient': so... maybe they're books like The Kiss Quotient, who knows? ;)

    1. Ooh I'm sure that list will be very helpful! Thanks Cee!