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  • Minaal Khan

Books Without Romance/Love to Read

Has this ever happened to you: you pick up a book, ready to read an interesting plot. You’re liking the characters, you’re really enjoying the plot, the premise is SUPER interesting, then… it happens. A romantic subplot pops up, seemingly out of nowhere.

It takes you by surprise, you flip back the pages furiously, wondering how this could happen, the author is smarter than this. Alas, the experience is ruined for you. You chuck the book out the window, it lands in a ditch and spontaneously combusts. Another interesting book with so much potential is forever tainted by the existence of this unnecessary subplot.

Anyone else here want books with no romance? If a lack of romance is what you’re looking for (or what you need) then this is the list for you:

1. The Things She’s Seen by Ambelin & Ezekiel Kwaymullina

This book is a mystery that focuses on the relation between a detective and his dead ghost daughter (doesn’t that already sound interesting enough?). When the detective loses his daughter in a car accident, she comes back as a ghost due to his unyielding grief. To help him cope and move on, the father-daughter duo take on a mysterious case together. Written by two Aboriginal Australian siblings, this story has a riveting plot with enjoyable characters you can sympathize with and an incredibly unique writing style. My only concern for this book is the fact that it isn’t long (but maybe that’s good for other people). Check out this book if you want to read a book with themes of grief and family.

2. Hullmetal Girls by Emily Skrutskie

A sci-fi read that features a diverse cast of characters and a smidge of body horror. This book takes place in the far future and involves four people who are chosen to train as cyborg supersoldiers for their space fleet of the human population while they search for a new planet. With this intriguing story, told from the perspective of two of the four chosen soldiers, the characters and their dynamics remain an important part of the story as the core focus, and all of them go through some pretty great character development. If you want a book that focuses on characters and sci-fi, give this novel a try.

3. Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger

Another Indigenous read for everyone! This is set in an alternate world where supernatural powers are passed down through families. The main character, Ellie (short for Elatsoe), can see and communicate with the dead. When a family member is murdered, she goes on a hunt for justice (with her amazing ghost dog). Ellie maintains strict platonic relationships with those around her and doesn’t have any love interests whatsoever. With a unique mystery that blends fantasy in the modern world, this book got me hooked, and I hope you will find yourself in a similar situation.

4. The Spill Zone Duology by Scott Westeros

These are a couple of graphic novels, with a great premise and art style that proves extremely enticing and help set up the atmosphere you should expect. These books tell the story of two sisters who must care for themselves after a disaster near their town takes the lives of their parents, and the mystery behind the accident. Featuring bright and eerie art, sisterly bonds, and a snarky doll, this story has so much to offer with no distractions of a romantic subplot in sight.

5. BONUS: The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells

This series is slightly more mature, but it doesn’t really feature that much romance, since the extremely relatable protagonist, Murderbot, distastes love (and humans). This is another hard sci-fi series that follows a rogue security robot who secretly becomes sentient, anti-social, and addicted to binge watching any shows and movies it can find. The misadventures Murderbot finds itself in are always action-packed and fun to read, so I’d definitely recommend this series.


Image Sources: GoodReads

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