Anyone who has read much of this blog knows that I read a wide variety of genres. My favorites are fantasy and sci-fi though even these wax and wane. I spent years reading nothing but King Arthur related fantasy as I have mentioned before. I also really like historical fiction, if it is well researched. In this genre I had a heavy Queen Elizabeth I phase. I like mysteries as well; they really give the brain a good workout. I cannot say I care much for thrillers or westerns. Not a big reader of horror either. But above and beyond any of these I am a sucker for romance. I have never to my knowledge purchased a book from the romance section of the book store. The genre know familiarly as "bodice rippers," was the favorite of my grandmother, but I do like a well-told love story. I started when young with Jane Eyre (a truly romantic love story) and Wuthering Heights (which I can now see is really just the love story of two seriously damaged people and not particularly romantic at all). I also like fiction that just has a healthy dose of romance, like the Anne of Green Gables series (my favorite of all time). Sparks flew between Anne and Gilbert from the beginning.
Today I finished reading This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith. Summer is about to start and I needed something light and romantic. I got just what I needed. Ellie, who lives in a small Maine town receives an e-mail obviously not intended for her. She write back to let the sender know she will not be able to take care of his pet as she is not the person he meant to write. He writes back and they begin a lively e-mail exchange without knowing each other's names. While this is improbable it is not impossible. Unlike Smith's The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight this novel is not filled with things that just would not happen. Instead, I find that the first e-mail, when a text about Wilbur would have been easier and more likely, is really the only part of the whole story I just could not accept.
So much of teen romance today is angst filled. It is nice to read a story with a bit of angst, it wouldn't be YA without it, but without the overwhelming focus on why life is so difficult that too many teen love stories have. This novel reminded me of Stephanie Perkins's Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door, both of which are fabulously done love stories. Both really capture that beginning of a romance sweetness that is not easy ot put on paper. Maureen Johnson also did this well in 13 Little Blue Envelopes. And The Big Crunch by Pete Hautman.
Originally I intended to write about a few books I have read recently, but instead this turned into a "Why I love romance" post. Oh well, time well spent.