Cheesy Rom-Coms to pair with a plate of grapes and a tall glass of wine: February’s Literature Lineup

Graphic+by+Mandi+Karpo

Graphic by Mandi Karpo

Zoe Poulis, Features Editor

Valentine’s Day was so much better when we were kids; we got to make little valentines and give them to our classmates and truly lean into all of the cheesiness of the holiday. I don’t know about you, but I think it’s time to bring that energy back, starting with February’s Literature Lineup. This month, allow yourself to fully indulge in the season of love by picking up the perfect rom-com, as cringe-worthy as it may be. If you’re feeling alone, you can always live vicariously through the characters in whatever book you choose. Whether you spent this Valentine’s Day single, with your besties or in a relationship, I hope you were feeling all the love.

Zoe Poulis, Features Editor – “The Wedding Date” by Jasmine Guillory 

“The Wedding Date” is everything you could possibly want in a cheesy, steamy and somewhat wholesome rom-com. When Alexa and Drew get stuck in an elevator together (classic), she randomly agrees to go to his ex-girlfriend’s wedding with him as his date (even more classic). But when this fun and flirty arrangement begins to evolve into something more, they are forced to figure out if what they have is real or not. This recommendation comes at the perfect time, providing the chance to highlight a Black author during Black History Month. In all of her work, Guillory makes it a point to bring representation into the romance genre by putting Black characters in the spotlight–something we don’t seem to see enough of, unfortunately. If you’re looking for an easy, endearing read, with spicy scenes galore, “The Wedding Date” will meet all of your expectations.

Mandi Karpo, Editor-in-Chief  – “Why Men Love B*tches” by Sherry Argov

Advertised as the path from “Doormat to Dreamgirl,” Argov’s “Why Men Love B*tches” is not only classified as advice on how to attract a man but also reminds readers to embrace the power they have in a relationship and to value oneself above any romantic prospect. The “nice girl” archetype that is often drilled into little girls’ heads in which a woman’s destiny is to serve the needs of their man, is put under the microscope. Through several male interviews, Argov discovers that a confident woman, who isn’t afraid to put her partner in their place, is more desirable. While much of the dating advice should be viewed as satirical, like letting a man think he’s in control of the show while a woman pulls all the strings, the value of independence and self-love, above all, is something that we can all apply not just to dating, but to every aspect of life. If you are deep in thought about your latest relationship quarrel, or lack thereof, I recommend picking this up for some relatable comedic relief.

Jaeden Pinder, Executive Editor – “The Flatshare” by Beth O’Leary

I’m strictly dedicated to only reading novels involving romance that mentally destroy me (looking at you, “Giovanni’s Room”), but “The Flatshare” is such an endearing novel that it gained admission into my heart. “The Flatshare” follows Tiffy, a DIY crafts editor, and Leon, a hospice nurse working the night shift, who end up sharing an apartment without ever meeting each other (at least for a quarter of the novel, obviously!). Beth O’Leary uses a quirky set-up for the eventual romance between Tiffy and Leon but recognizes how unrealistic and ridiculous it is, which made me so willing to keep following the story. While it is a lighthearted read, the characters are grounded in reality as they grapple with their past relationships and attempt to provide for themselves and their families. “The Flatshare” is saccharinely sweet slow-burn and I recommend it to anyone looking for a novel that delivers a classic yet realistic love story.

Gia Sparacino, Secretary  – “Twilight” by Stephenie Meyer

While some media can be defined as “cheesy in a good way”–the type of cheese that’s kind of smelly but great in small doses–“Twilight” by Stephanie Meyer is better categorized as a car crash you can’t look away from. For anyone unfamiliar with the literary and cinematic saga, “Twilight” follows the story of Bella Swan, a reclusive teen who has just moved in with her dad in Forks, Washington and her boiling romance with mysterious bad boy, Edward Cullen, who turns out to be a vampire that, for whatever reason, really wants to eat her specifically. I had to read the novel while taking Young Adult Fiction with Professor Blackwood last Spring, giving me the opportunity to learn more about the book and its author. Stephanie Meyer is a Mormon and Brigham Young University (BYU) graduate who wrote Twilight as a metaphor for sexual abstinence, which is why there are no sexually explicit scenes throughout the whole series. Meyers’ conservative take on a romance series often reads satirically despite its complete seriousness and is best enjoyed if consumed like an episode of SNL. If there are no grapes or wine in the pantry, no worries, a cheap bag of microwavable popcorn pairs just as well.

Lyndsey Brown, Treasurer  – “Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine” by Gail Honeyman

This story follows the adorably quirky and awkward Eleanor Oliphant and her attempts at love. After attending a concert, Eleanor is convinced she’s met the man she’s destined to be with, the band’s musician Johnnie Lomond. She commits herself to making him fall in love with her despite never even speaking to him. Through this imagined fairytale romance, Eleanor opens up about her struggles, revealing the true love story that lies between Eleanor and herself. Like many of us, Eleanor loses herself in an “imaginationship” but teaches us that, while men do suck, we can come out stronger and maybe even find love in places we’d least expect. 

Emily Shafer, News Editor – “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Romance novels are my least favorite genre, so if you want to read one that is significantly less cheesy than average, and someone hasn’t already recommended it to you, “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” is the book for you. This novel follows famous actor Evelyn Hugo and the history of her romantic relationships as she tells them to the journalist she enlists to write her memoir. There are several surprises and romantic scenes throughout this novel, as we learn the real history of her love life, one that is different from what she tells the general public. I’m sure you’ve already heard the fuss over this one, but if you haven’t had a chance to read it yet and you don’t usually gravitate toward the romance genre, this book might be your best bet.

Sarah Bergin, Arts Editor – “How to Love Your Neighbor” by Sophie Sullivan

Last November, I was taking a casual stroll through one of the most famous bookstores in New York City, The Strand. As I entered, I told myself that I wouldn’t spend any more money on books that I’m not going to read (a bad habit of mine). Right inside the door, there was a table filled with books covered in white printing paper. Avid readers might recognize this common practice as a “Blind Date With a Book.” One immediately caught my attention with the description “Enemies to Lovers meets HGTV fix-up.” I don’t have to say anything else for you to know that I was immediately sold. After buying the novel and unwrapping it, I saw the cover for “How to Love Your Neighbor” and began reading that night. This quick and easy read is nothing that I haven’t seen before, but it’s still charming in its own way, keeping you on your toes as the story unravels. If you are interested in a familiar trope with a twist, I suggest picking up Sophie Sullivan’s fun novel.

Priya Persaud, Opinion & Editorial Editor – “Better Than the Movies” by Lynn Painter

Taylor Swift references, mentionings of “Gone Girl” and “How To Lose a Guy In Ten Days,” rom-com film galore and Spotify curated heaven—what more could you want in a book? With each chapter beginning with a classic rom-com quote, “Better Than the Movies” follows Liz Buxbaum and her next-door neighbor turned high school enemy, Wes Bennett. When Liz’s childhood crush, Michael, moves back to town at the height of her senior year, Liz finds herself needing Wes to help with a scheme to get Michael to be her prom date. This novel may follow classic tropes, leading you to quickly guess the ending, but this witty and emotion-filled journey is still just as satisfying. If you want a cheesy feel-good romance, “Better Than the Movies” is one you will always think fondly of.