Talia Hibbert's Favorite 'Opposites Attract' Romances

Posted by Sharon on June 17, 2020
Talia Hibbert's newest book, Take a Hint, Dani Brown, arrives in U.S. stores on June 23. The novel is a follow-up to Get a Life, Chloe Brown, her 2019 smash hit about a chronically ill computer geek who decides to—you guessed it—get a life after a near-death experience. 

Take a Hint, Dani Brown follows Chloe's sister, Dani, after she's rescued by hunky security guard Zaf during a workplace fire drill gone wrong. Bystander video of the incident hits the internet, and now the entire World Wide Web is shipping the two of them. And if that weren't complicated enough, Zaf's got a sports charity for kids that could really use the extra publicity, so he suggests that maybe he and Dani can just fake-date? For the children?

In honor of her new book, Goodreads asked Hibbert to share some of her favorite tropey romances with us. Be sure to add the books that pique your interest to your Want to Read shelf.

Romance novels are all about the enduring promise of hope, but what makes them fascinating is how each unique story reaches its required happy ending. Tropes, from office romance to forced proximity, are a lightly sketched map of that journey, promising a precise form of emotional fulfillment without giving everything away. They feature an X marking the happily ever after spot, and a few major landmarks that make your heart beat faster—but their individual twists and turns must be stumbled upon. That's what makes romance an adventure.

So it's no surprise that my favorite novels are always trope-heavy—but there's something else I desire from my books, something the genre hasn't always gotten right: diversity. To me, diversity in romance means a book whose primary characters' identities contribute to the broadening of our literary landscape. For years, stories set outside the white, Western, able-bodied, and cis-hetero sphere have been marginalized. But bit by bit, authors and readers are working to fix things, and reading the fruits of that labor makes me smile every time.

Trope-tastic moments and diverse representation are the backbone of my upcoming rom-com, Take a Hint, Dani Brown. Writing Zaf, a Muslim hero coping with anxiety, and Dani, a black, bisexual heroine, gave me a satisfaction that comes only from faithfully reflecting the real world. Similarly, it was incredibly fun and fulfilling to craft their romance using my main trope of choice: opposites attract. Watching Dani, a cynical workaholic, and Zaf, a caretaking hopeless romantic, stagger awkwardly into love made me cackle throughout the drafting process.

Now I've collected some of my favorite diverse romances that use the same key trope, because I want everyone to feel the same giddy pleasure. I hope you enjoy these as much as I did.

She's the head of an infamous, moonshine-brewing family. He's the son of her greatest rival. A threat to both families forces Hannah and Javier into a tentative alliance—and an arranged marriage. But can the ruthless commander and the gentle caretaker build something real?

In this contemporary Muslim Pride and Prejudice retelling, headstrong poet Ayesha is alienated by Khalid's rudeness and judgment. But rigid thinker Khalid (aka the greatest Mr. Darcy ever and a man for whom I would sell my soul) is really just awkward, well-meaning, and a little overwhelmed by Ayesha's brilliance.

This book had me cackling from the moment hot mess Jaclyn accidentally broke into cool AF Kadan's apartment—while he was butt naked, of course. A delicious bite of a rom-com, this is also the only romance I've ever read in which the hero is lactose intolerant and the heroine kiiiinda uses it against him. I loved every page.

Reading this F/F modern take on Pride and Prejudice (out later this year) is like watching a classic 2000s big-screen romp inside your head. From Darcy and Elle's very first date, it's painfully clear they have nothing in common. Elle is an astrologer; Darcy is an uptight actuary, and wine is spilled on someone's favorite dress. But they fake a relationship anyway…

A fabulous, wig-wearing heroine pulls off a flawless heist, goes home with the head of security, boinks him into a coma, then steals his car and disappears. No, I did not make one word of that up. Watching shameless—and glamorous—thief Cleo fall for international security consultant Robert, then rob him witless anyway, was an absolute delight.

In this M/M story, type A romance reader Jordan squares off against Rex, a book shop employee who judges his bodice-ripper haul. Except Rex is more bad-boy cynic than genuine arsehole, so to apologize for his rudeness, he joins Jordan's romance book club. This novel features my favorite opposites attract moment: an uptight character riding on the back of a motorbike, just to prove he can totally handle it.

In this absolute emotional symphony of a book, bossy, dad-like Caleb and determinedly independent Piper are forced together by a family wedding. When disaster stops the wedding in its tracks, their very different approaches to problem-solving set them at odds. But as they learn to work together, tenderness and affection blossom.

The opposites attract trope is especially juicy when combined with a fake relationship, and this story works romantic wonders with the material. (Heh.) Luc, the disgraced son of a pretentious rock god, needs a steady boyfriend to clean up his image. And Oliver, an uptight, ethically vegetarian solicitor, seems like the perfect man for the job.

I recommend this book—nay, this series—every chance I get, and I will never stop because it's a masterpiece. Written entirely from the hero's point of view, Trashed follows ex-gang member Eddie's journey to rebuild his life post-incarceration. When he falls for his new boss, a high-strung careerwoman named Carmen, he's forced to truly reckon with his demons.

Sasha is Psy, a member of an emotionless race who despise the mercurial, animalistic Changelings. Then a job thrusts her into close quarters with Lucas, a Changeling alpha who hungers for the sensory delights the Psy eschew. He's hot, she's cold. He's passionate, she's empty. Or at least, that's how things are supposed to be.

What's your favorite romance trope? Which of these suggestions catch your eye? Let's talk books in the comments!

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Comments Showing 1-16 of 16 (16 new)

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message 1: by Frances (new)

Frances Mensah Great list! For another romance set outside the West, slip away to sunny Ghana for a story of sisterhood featuring three best friends confronting lies, betrayal and annoying famies to find their happy ever afters: Imperfect Arrangements by Frances Mensah Williams.

message 2: by Sownbrooklyn (new)

Sownbrooklyn TALIA!!! One of my faves! Great list. Already pre-orderd Dani Brown!

message 3: by Nicole (new)

Nicole Thank you Talia! Great recommendations. You are my fave!

message 4: by Marni (new)

Marni Love Talia Hibbert! Adding all of these to my to read list!

message 5: by Jan (new)

Jan Can’t wait to read ‘Dani’....and we have a fave book in common: ‘Trashed’. Loved that series, too.

message 6: by Maria (new)

Maria DeBlassie I love this list! Adding all these books to my never-ending TBR pile!

message 7: by Tosin (new)

Tosin King Thank you for the recommendations.

message 8: by Katie (new)

Katie Robinson So many good ones here 🥰 But mostly can’t wait to read Dani Brown!

message 9: by Caro (new)

Caro Griffin Great recommendations! I feel like a lot of the same books are recommended over and over on the Goodreads blog but I found so many new ones for my TBR pile here.

message 10: by Mary (new)

Mary Hartman Colleen Hoover’s It End With Us is a big favorite of mine. The BAM series by Melanie Moreland is another favorite especially the books, Bentley and Halton.

message 11: by Jackie (new)

Jackie Thanks so much for recommending a wide variety of books and not just the same top bestsellers so many others already recommend! Really helpful!

message 12: by LPR (new)

LPR i'm dying from joy at some of these premises my GOD

message 13: by TMR (new)

TMR Love this list.

message 14: by MK (new)

MK Second Ayesha at Last. Loved it.

message 15: by Julie (new)

Julie WOW so PC. Not one thing that I would waste a min reading

Jenny (Reading Envy) I just read the Bellefleur and it's so fun, also holiday themed and comes out right in time for the holidays, win/win.

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