Shelf Love
Shelf Love
What's Love Got To Do With It? Quite A Bit!

Shelf Love is a podcast and community that explores fictional stories of romantic love across media, time, and cultures. For the curious and open-minded who joyfully question as they consume pop culture.

Latest Episodes


  • What is beastliness? Little Red Riding Hood stories used to be tales of warning for young women to manage their sexuality in the face of the dangerous beasts of court, who were smooth on the outside, but hairy on the inside. In the 21st century, paranormal teen romances use enchantment to transform the beasts into objects of desire. Dr. Nicola Welsh-Burke, a scholar of fairy tales and romance, is here to discuss hot wolf boys, brooding Byronic figures, pseudomarriage and pseudovirginity, hot villain discourse, and why young women need beastly men to unlock their sexuality.

  • Junior novels were early romances for young readers, published in the 1940s-1960s. Learn from expert guest Dr. Amanda K. Allen how the didactic and heteronormative messages in these novels make a lot of sense when you consider that they were created to respond to demand from librarians and schools for “bibliotherapy” texts to “teach teenage girls how to be women,” which included winning that class ring and becoming besties with the popular girl who you’re not sure if you want to be or date. Guest: Dr. Amanda K. Allen is a professor of children's and young adult literature.

  • Funmi’s Beverly Jenkins collection is complete, and of course it includes the queen of Black historical romance’s young adult romances that were originally published in the short-lived Avon True Romance line in the early 2000s. We discuss Belle and the Beau and Josephine and the Soldier. Did these romances hit the spot for early aughts tweens? And why do we feel like the parental gaze is peering over our shoulder while we read it?

  • Jess joins Shelf Love to discuss the Sunfire romance that shares her name: Jessica by Mary Francis Shura. This historical teen romance from 1984 centers on a highly-competent, independent Kansas teen in 1873 and her many suitors: is the mad man who wins her heart the right guy or is he just the one who gets along best with her bad dad?

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