Breaking Down the Different Book Tropes

Silina Abdelmaseh, Writer

When reading different book reviews on social media, understanding the various terms used by readers is important. This is especially vital when looking for something you are interested in and/or are trying to avoid.  One common term is book trope, a specific recurring theme across different works of literature.  The following examples contain some of the most popular book tropes mentioned across social media.

Enemies to Lovers

This is a classic book trope you may hear about all over BookTok. This is where two enemies that have hated each other for years slowly grow romantic interest in each other. Enemies to Lovers is usually a slow burn because the reader watches as both characters slowly become comfortable with each other and become vulnerable. Many other book tropes are easily pairable with Enemies to Lovers. 


Rivals to Lovers

Rivals to Lovers is also very popular. This is where two rivals, whether academic or sports, try to outdo each other for years, but as they continue to attempt this, they slowly grow romantically interested in each other.


Sworn Off Relationships

Sworn Off Relationships include two main characters that swore they are never going to fall for each other and/or never get in a relationship.


Afraid to Commit

Afraid to Commit is where one or both of the main characters are interested but are too afraid to commit, whether it’s because of previous trauma or worried if there are consequences of their love.


Forbidden Love

Forbidden Love is where two main characters who are not supposed to fall in love with each other, end up falling in love. Could it possibly be because you want what you can’t have? Maybe. Forbidden Love is mostly hidden from the rest of the world, and most likely includes a lot of suspense because the main characters don’t want to get caught together. 


Marriage of Convenience

A Marriage of Convenience trope is where two people get married with the motive of benefiting from each other or the marriage itself. There is usually no love before the marriage and the marriage happens very quickly. 


Arranged Marriage

An Arranged Marriage is where the two main characters don’t have a choice but to get married, most likely because the parents arranged it as a treaty between two families. This is mostly paired with the Mafia idea, with the idea that two mafias join forces by having the bosses’ children get married. 


Brother’s Best Friend

The Brother’s Best Friend is where the main character, most likely a little sister, is in love with her brother’s best friend. The brother has most likely threatened his best friend not to mess with her, but the female main character doesn’t know that. This can be paired with the Forbidden Love or Sworn Off Relationship. This book trope comes with a lot of tension and can be a slow burn. 


Fake Relationship

Fake Relationship is similar to the Marriage of Convenience, except without the complete commitment. Fake Relationships are still done for convenience on both sides of the relationship and most likely the two end up falling for each other. 


Forced Proximity

Forced Proximity is more of a scene rather than a whole theme. This can be when the two main characters get stuck in an elevator or tight space. Along with this, one of the characters can have claustrophobia, or the fear of tight spaces, and the other person comforts them.


Lovers in Denial

Lovers in Denial are when two characters love each other, but refuse to believe that the feelings are mutual, even though they’re both head over heels for each other. They just refuse to believe or understand that the love is not one sided and they should both get together. This is a very slow burn.


Second Chance

A Second Chance romance is where two characters have fallen in love in the past, but it didn’t work out, so they are giving it another chance after sometime. This usually happens in the sequel of a book.


Grumpy vs. Sunshine

The Grumpy vs. Sunshine trope is where either the main character is a sunny kind of person, meaning that they are an optimistic person that is always smiling and looks for the good in people; whereas the love interest is more of a pessimistic person that mostly hates everyone except the main character (vice versa works, too).


A lot of books actually include many different book tropes, while others only include one or two.   It is important to understand the common terminology used around books in order to comprehend the opinions and content around the literature itself.