Why David Metzenthen’s Romances Are Epically Amazing


There are many elements I love when reading books. I love characters, friendships, plot twists, settings. These things can quickly become my favourite aspects of a book. The romances? Not so much. I find it a bit more difficult to find a romance that I can get really invested in and enjoy. However, I recently discovered the books of Australian author David Metzenthen, and finally found someone who write romances that I truly like. Before I get into discussing why though, I should probably warn you that this post will contain spoilers for his books Tigerfish and Jarvis 24.

In Tigerfish, the main character, Ryan, meets his romantic interest, Ariel, in the surf shop where she works. They fall in love of course, and most of the book revolves around their relationship. Not my usual type of book. They have coffee, they go on dates. And they feel like real people in a real relationship. Ryan and Ariel have lives and hobbies outside of their relationship. Ryan is very caught up in his family’s problems involving his brother. Ariel’s family doesn’t even have enough money to allow her to go to school. Added to that, she has a traumatic past involving her father dying. This might be a romance, but they’re just two very real people struggling through problematic lives that even being in love can’t fix.

In Jarvis 24, the main character, Jarvis, falls in love with Electra, who has transferred to his town in order to follow her dream of being a top level runner. It’s a pretty typical romance. They go out on dates, they kiss, they are madly in love. And, just like in Tigerfish, they’re real people. Electra doesn’t give up on her dream of competing in the Olympics just because she gets a boyfriend. Jarvis doesn’t dump his best friend to spend all his time with Electra. They are in love, but they also have lives and personalities and concerns outside of their relationship.

What I love most about these romances is the fact that love doesn’t instantly mend everything. Their relationships can’t fix all their problems. Ryan is always there for Ariel, and he supports her through the hard times, but he also knows he can’t fix her hurt and grief for her dead father. Electra has to choose between Jarvis and her running career. And Jarvis loves her enough to respect her dream and her choice and to let her go freely, and even encourages her to follow her dreams. These couple are in love, but they also trust and respect each other and their dreams, and they support each other, even though things aren’t perfect, and even if it means that ultimately, they have to give up on their own happiness.

These are the types of romances I want to see more of in books. I want to see couples who respect and trust each other. I want to see people who have a significant other but who also don’t give up on the other people in their lives. I want to see more romances where love isn’t just good feelings and kissing, but is also about helping each other through hard times and respecting and encouraging each other’s dream, even if that means letting go of them. I want to see strong, real characters falling in love and having strong, real romances. Because these romances are real. They don’t pretend that love will always be easy, or that being in love will fix all your problems. They’re raw and difficult, and they show that sometimes, a person needs a partner who’s willing to fix things round the house, or look after a younger sibling, or who is willing to be there just to listen without trying to fix everything. David Metzenthen is on to something great in his books. And I for one really like it.

What writers do you think write amazing romances? Have you ever read anything by David Metzenthen? Who’s your favourite Australian author?

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  1. I'll make a note of this for the next time I feel like reading a good love story. :)

    I'm a romantic at heart, but I agree with you--good romances are hard to find. It's rare to find a YA book that doesn't give a false impression of what love is. Adult fiction is usually better, I think(from what I've read) but it's so hard to know whether you're picking up a genuine love story or that erotic stuff they try to pass off as romance--because it's everywhere

    Thank you for the recommendation! Glad you've found some romances you like.

    Ally @ The Scribbling Sprite

    1. I think that's what puts me off most romances, the fact that they don't really give an accurate portrayal of love and romance. And I think that's why David Metzenthen's books resonated with me so well. They're true to life, and they're still beautiful romances that I can get behind and wish that I had a romance like that. The other thing with a lot of YA romance I find is that they make these teenage relationships sound like they're going to last forever. And maybe they will, but with the way dating goes at the moment, they probably won't. So it's harder to get invested. I haven't investigated Adult romances much yet, but I will definitely have to give them a try now. Thanks!

  2. Have you read any of Kristin Heitzmann's books? I love the family aspects :-)


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