Okay, okay, so hate might be a strong word but this trope always drive me crazy when I read it because I have yet to find a book where it’s actually executed well.
Oh, and as a heads up, this book will contain minor spoilers for:
- Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
- The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
I am desperately searching for an “enemies to lovers” book that actually is a true enemies to lovers. Almost every book that I have read so far that claims this trope can be boiled down to, “We have never properly communicated our feelings and thoughts to each other so we obviously must ‘hate’ each other.” Sometimes I wonder if this is why I find myself drawn to Dramione (Draco and Hermione) fanfiction because they are the biggest enemies ever but always find a way to fit together so perfectly in the stories that they’re written in to.
As mentioned above, two of the books that I’ve read recently that are considered enemies to lovers are Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston and The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren. I myself consider neither of these to fit under that category. I mean, in no way shape or form do I think that either of the couples in these books were actually enemies to begin with. It’s just surprising to me to see how little it takes to consider two people to be enemies.
Now in RWRB and The Unhoneymooners both pairs essentially hate each other because of one look, one fleeting moment that apparently made it obvious that one person hated the other. I mean Olive literally hated Ethan because he made a weird face when she bought cheese curds at the state fair and she made up an entire story as to what he must think of her. Like she basically accused him of fat shaming her when he literally didn’t even say a single word to her at that point in time. I can only guess what she must think of people with resting bitch face that accidentally look at her the wrong way once. I don’t want to be that annoying bitch that brings up the good old middle school statement of “you know what happens when you assume…” but I’m going to do it.
And because of the way that Olive feels, she lets herself stew in that anger and unwarranted hatred towards Ethan for absolutely no reason. It would have taken two seconds to say “What the hell kind of a face is that for?” at the time of the incident and they could have gotten that cleared up and squared away before they even left the state fair. From any point forward if Olive or Ethan either decided to act like an adult they could have easily just brought up the fact that they clearly were fighting for no reason but instead just let it stew. And don’t get me wrong, I’m a sucker for flirtatious fighting, it’s one of my favorite things, but when it comes from a source of miscommunication it just really grates on my nerves.
In RWRB it makes a tad bit more sense as to why they didn’t communicate their feelings towards each other. I mean they didn’t even live on the same continent. And the fact that Henry had feelings for Alex just kept him from doing the mature thing and actually talking to him.
To me, this enemies to lovers trope comes from a place of immaturity. It takes hardly any time at all to bring up things that are bugging you. It allows for you to avoid being passive aggressive and harboring anger towards someone that you might have absolutely no reason to be angry at! I mean look at what happened after Olive and Ethan and Alex and Henry actually talked about the inciting incidents that made them “enemies”… They realized that there was no reason to be feeling the way that they were feeling.
And this trope isn’t necessarily problematic but I just get so frustrated at the lack of communication. In both of these situations they really have no reason to begin as enemies. They just don’t talk to each other and let small matters overwhelm their opinions of someone. Does anyone else think this?
This lack of communication isn’t just an issue in enemies to lovers books though, I feel like it plagues all romance and contemporary books. I mean it has to, lack of communication always fuels that climactic moment when everything seems to fall apart before the inevitable happily ever after. And even though I love getting to that happily ever after, the older I get the more frustrated I become when people just get angry or ruin relationships because they don’t want to communicate their real thoughts and feelings. It’s beyond childish and seeing it pop up continuously in new adult and adult books just makes me wonder if ever we will all learn how to talk to each other like “adults” are supposed to.
I have a really hard time considering these books enemies to lovers because they have no warranted reasons to be enemies in the first place. I would hardly consider them enemies anyways, just dipshits who don’t know how to talk about their problems like adults should. It’s taken me years to learn how to talk to people about my frustrations instead of just bottling them up and I have to admit that I still most of the time just bottle it up and try to get along with everyone no matter what. Sometimes it’s just better for everyone involved. But in the books that I’ve mentioned here, that’s really not the case.
So again, I’d really like to hear your thoughts on this topic! And if you have any recommendations for a real enemies to lovers story I’d love to hear it so I can give it a chance.