Wednesday, March 22, 2017

TOP 5 WEDNESDAY: Favorite Angsty Romances

Top 5 Wednesday is a Goodreads group that posts a weekly "top 5" list for book reviewers to tackle! If you'd like to join in, the group is HERE.

This week's topic was favorite angsty romances!

This topic has been much requested! Talk about your favorite ships that have a healthy side of angst. (definition: adj.: describes a situation or literary piece which contains dark, depressing, angry, and/or brooding emotions from the participating characters.)

Ah, yes. We readers are masochists, apparently, because we always seem to be drawn to romances that CRUSH OUR SOULS. And I'm no exception! So, pull up a chair, play "Evermore" from Beauty and the Beast on repeat in the background, and grab some tissues to sob into, because these are my top 5 angsty romances!

5. Annie Kenyon and Liza Winthrop -- Annie on my Mind

I put this couple pretty low on my list because everything does turn out okay for Annie and Liza in the end. But holy shit, the things they go through to get there! This book is notable for having one of the first -- if not the first -- lesbian relationship to portrayed in a positive light in a Western novel. It's about the main character's struggle as she realizes she's gay and in love with another girl, and how they have to get past prejudices -- including some of their own -- in order to be in a relationship. While the book is more fluffy than angsty, especially in the first half, the moments of sadness and self-doubt hit hard... which makes it even better when Liza is finally able to allow herself to love Annie.

4. Hazel Grace Lancaster and Augustus Waters -- The Fault in Our Stars

I'm pretty sure I'd be sued by the universe if I didn't mention this one. John Green's phenomenally popular love story between two cancer patients is one that's well-known by most people my age, and is notorious for being depressing as all hell. The film adaptation is equally tears-inducing, but I enjoyed the book a bit more. (And by "enjoyed," I mean "cried.") While the love story between Hazel and Gus is adorable, and gives them both some happiness in spite of all the drama going on in their lives, there's always a sense of melancholy to it, since neither of them really expect it to last. But does that stop the audience from getting attached? 

Hahahahaha no.

3. Erik and Christine Daaé -- The Phantom of the Opera

Let me make one thing clear: the relationship between Christine and the Phantom is. Not. Healthy. It's obsessive and toxic, and causes most of the problems that drive the plot.

But, that said, it is one of the most compelling relationships ever written, and it's probably the main reason Phantom's been adapted about a bazillion times despite the original novel being... not exactly mindblowing. Erik is a monster, yes, but a very tragic and sympathetic one, and his affections for Christine are part of what make him so easy to relate to, in spite of the awful things he does. And the ending, where he chooses to let Christine go so she can be happy, proves that there is still some humanity somewhere in there -- and that he does truly love Christine, in his own twisted and wildly unhealthy way. The various adaptations of this book have many, many different takes on this relationship, and there is a lot of crap, but the good ones manage to portray a deeply unhealthy, but still fascinating and heartbreaking relationship between our two leads.

2. Aristotle Mendoza and Dante Quintana -- Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

This one is sort of similar to "Annie on my Mind." An LGBT romance that ends happily, but there are some struggles along the way. But Benjamin Alire Sáenz decide to pile on the angst in a way Nancy Garden never does. This novel has everything a good angsty romance needs: misunderstandings, tragic backstories, near-death experiences, and a whole lot of repressed emotions coming from our main characters. The build-up to their relationship is almost PAINFULLY slow, especially as the two are oblivious to the fact that they're falling in love, which just adds to the heartache for the readers. It's well worth the time it takes to get to the happy ending, but it is a not-always-fun ride.

1. Dylan Crosby and Amelia Baron -- Reconstructing Amelia

So, this book begins with one half of this relationship falling to her death from the school roof.

How fun!

Told partially in flashbacks, the relationship between Amelia and her first girlfriend Dylan is built up slowly, and as we learn more about the circumstances surrounding Amelia's the death, the more it hurts to see her so happy with Dylan when we know it won't last. It's made even worse when we see Dylan after Amelia dies. And with all the twists and turns in this book, one of the biggest curveballs of all is related to Dylan and Amelia's relationship. I won't spoil anything, but trust me -- it hits you, hard. 

...I just noticed 3 out of these 5 couples are same-gender relationships.

Gee. Wonder why.


Thank you so much for reading! What are YOUR favorite couples that make you cry into your pillow? Tell me all about them below -- I'm always looking for new ways to ruin my life.

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