Learning to Love a Genre I Thought I Couldn't

Friday, April 25, 2014

When I started this blog 4+ years ago, I swore up and down that contemporary fiction wasn't for me. I thought it was trite, cliche, lacking any sort of power or feeling and basically just boring. Instead, I stuck with paranormal novels, and later fell deeply in love with the dystopian genre. I started to discover over time though, that I was craving a little more reality, and so I tread lightly into the world of contemporary.

I started to learn that not all contemporary novels are trite or cliche either. Some novels rely on fluffier, lighter premises, and those are the type of books that generally don't work for me. I've learned that while, yes, I love a good love story as much as the next person, I also love books where someone really raises the stakes on potential romances, such as:

I've started to learn that novels that explore self-discovery and transitions tend to be some of the most hard-hitting novels, as well. When a protagonist has to look deep within their soul to heal through some sort of emotional or physical trauma, I can't help but fall into their shoes. When done well, it's the type of book that speaks to me on every level. For example:

And, while I love the powerful emotion of dramatic contemporaries, there are also times that I'm really just looking for sweet. That doesn't mean I'm looking for less depth - simply that I want the happily ever after and that sweet, beautiful ending that gives you warm fuzzies. Mostly what I've learned over time is that I can't simply prejudice against a genre because I've read books that haven't worked for me in the past.

What genres have you avoided and tried to learn to love over time? Has it worked? Why or why not?


  1. I have avoided detective novels and thrillers...and still do! ;=D I do not like them. Only if they are a subgenre

  2. I've avoided contemporary and romance novels for awhile, but I've grown to really enjoy both genres, especially if I need a simple pick-me-up read or, conversely, am looking for a gritty and powerful story to really stick with me. Fantastic post, Melissa!

  3. I'm thrilled to see you enjoying contemporary books more Melissa, I've always been a contemporary girl at heart, but have been having a lot of success with fantasy and historical fiction books, something which I don't think I ever would have considered a few weeks back. I hope our luck in these different genres continues for the long run! Lovely post Melissa! :)

  4. I'm not a big reader of that genre, but I have started to slowly read more. One that surprised me was Pushing the Limits. I didn't expect to love it as much as I did! TFiOS also took me by surprise as I'm not a big fan of JG's other books.

  5. It's strange how that happens! I used to genuinely hate the paranormal and dystopian genres, but a few great and creative books changed my mind (although, I'm a bit tired of dystopian right now).

  6. I really enjoy dramatic contemporaries but I've learnt that I need to space them out, otherwise it becomes "samish" for me. I have wanted to read Raw Blue for a while, thanks for the recs Mel!

    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence

  7. Wintergirls is so good, and I really like contemporary YA the most if I am to read a YA book. I used to think I couldn't get with horror, but if I just pick the ones horror reader fans recommend, I am almost always safe with my choices.

  8. I've always tried to avoid sci-fi, fantasy, and paranormal. But lately, I've found that sometimes, that's just what I'm in the mood for, and I've discovered some amazing books because of it.

  9. I have avoided sci-fi. In the past. But I am slowly getting my feet wet. With very light sci-fi I would say. I am not even sure what is defined as sci-fi anymore. ATU was billed as sci-fi but it was very untechie so I didn't even consider it sci-fi. Then there was Red Rising this year that felt more dystopian but was set in space. (I think it was an adult book??) So...what I thought was sci-fi was totally wrong. THESE BROKEN STARS that was sci-fi. Totally not Star Trek or Star Wars like I think sci-fi is. So the short answer is sci-fi :) (too late, right?)

  10. I'm first and foremost a contemporary romance junkie, Melissa so I'm excited to see you're enjoying the genre more. I loved Leaving Paradise and the sequel! It's one of the first contemp romance series I read. I used to be a mystery romantic suspense type of girl but my tastes have changed a bit. I still do go back and enjoy a well plotted mystery here and there. :)

  11. OH HOW I LOVE THIS SO MUCH. You know I do. Contemporary wasn't my first love either but once I invested some time in it, I fell hard!

    1. Lately I'm loving historical fiction. Who'd have ever guessed? (:

  12. I am the same as you! When I was a young teen I read contemporary a lot and then as I got older, I started to prefer to spend my reading hours immersed in a world completely different from my own. But then last year, I was sent an unsolicited review copy of a YA contemporary. I read the blurb and I thought it sounded pretty interesting. It sat on my shelf for many months. And then one day I had been reading my usual slew of sci-fi/fantasy/dystopia and I was sick of it. All these saving the world stories and world ending stories. All the drama. I was exhausted by my favourite books. Ans then i spied this book (Something Like Normal by Trish Doller) on my shelf. I was reminded that I should probably write a review for it. I read the blrub and I thought to myself: you want a break from your usual books, so why not read this one?
    And I did. I read it in one sitting and I absolutely ADORED it. And have since been reading more contemporary novels.
    They're not suddenly my favourite types of novels, and I really don't read many of the, but I'm glad I was able to open myself back up to these kinds of books. Some of them have absolutely beautiful stories to tell and I am glad I haven't missed out on them.


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