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Romance Novels: Generation Z's Renaissance

  • January 24, 2024

Jane Austen, Nicholas Sparks, and Danielle Steel. They are some of the oldest romance writers that we continue to read today. However, in recent years, the iconic authors of romance are no longer the same. A new generation of authors such as Helen Hoang, Elena Armas, and Ali Hazelwood now take up the mantle. Today, many writers have become famous thanks to TikTok, and their book sales are influenced by the tech-savvy Generation Z. While this generation is often associated with their love of electronics, they are also responsible for the increasing popularity of books and cut recognition of underrated authors who deserve the spotlight. But the question is: What is the cause?


According to some students at Gahr High School, romance novels are meant to fill a void, one that is buried deep within us, searching for love. One student, Max Ratleff, a senior, says that “due to COVID-19 and generational trauma, people are looking for a romantic or social connection.” They find that no one around them can provide that bond and the next best thing would be romance books. Gen Z is incredibly dependent, constantly searching for external validation and motivation either from a person or device. Romance books today provide the satisfaction and validation that the "hopeless romantic" teenagers need in this generation.


Books such as The Love Hypothesis, The Spanish Love Deception, and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo continue to catch the attention of Gen Z, as many gladiators when inquired revealed they find them to be “captivating.” Another student of Gahr, Karina Brenes, finds that what makes a romance novel compelling is its “sense of romantic tension and their constant cliches.” Romance books are full of tension that keeps readers entranced, creating various forms of conflicts to keep them interested. The cliches, although repetitive, aid in the formulation of that “heartwarming” and “aww” feeling, making today’s generation feel better about themselves. People craving warmth is something people cannot obtain on our own and these pieces of literature provide just that. 


These novels bring us in touch with the feelings that were lost so long ago, as many children today were forced to grow up early. Teachers like Ms. Locken find that “we are disillusioned with the world and romanticism exaggerates those ideas. These novels have a supernatural element that today’s generation looks for, acting as an escape from reality.” To add, through the eyes of Mr. Taylor, “The world has been incredibly harsh and romance books have a sense of care and love that today’s generation needs to feel something.” Our school’s teen readers get their interest from clichés, tension, and their secretly hidden trauma that they may relate to. The students of Gahr and Gen Zs in general are obtaining different perspectives on life and literature.

They understand what they enjoy, where it comes from, and what they aspire to read in the future. Romance has always been popular, but this time, it is the hidden source of validation in Gen Z’s minds. 

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