Shelf Love
  • Cinderella & Beauty and the Beast: Retellings, Reversions, Subversions

    Oct 4, 2022

    Classic fairy tales Cinderella & Beauty and the Beast may have gotten their Disney-fication, but there are many ways to slide your feet into these glass (or are they fur?) slippers, and romance novels love to play with these tropes. Writer Renee Dahlia and podcaster Philippa Borland join the podcast to discuss fairytale retellings, reversions, and subversions in romance novels.

  • Hairy on the Inside: Teen Werewolves & Red Riding Hood

    Aug 30, 2022

    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.

  • Only Tingles Before Marriage: Junior Novels in Post-War America with Dr. Amanda K. Allen

    Jul 22, 2022

    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.

  • Beverly Jenkins' Avon True Romances: The Parental Gaze (guest: Funmi)

    Jul 13, 2022

    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?

  • Jessica (Sunfire): Bad Dads & Mad Men (Young Adult Romance series)

    Jun 29, 2022

    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?

  • Sunfire Romance: Adventures for Girls (guest Candice Ransom)

    Jun 22, 2022

    Sunfire, a historical romance series for young adults, debuted in 1982 with two books by Candice Ransom. 40 years later, Candice pulls back the curtain on her process and how Scholastic editor Ann Reit shaped the series, which was many young readers’ first taste of romance packaged in a girl’s adventure story.

  • Romance for Young Adults: A Quick 80-Year Overview

    Jun 15, 2022

    A brief overview of romance for young adult readers throughout time, with a focus on the romance series boom of the 1980s and the reverberations into the early 2000s. Wildfire, Sunfire, Sweet Dreams, Oh My! But some people haven’t always been on board with young people consuming age-appropriate romance.

  • Queer Romance: A History with Lucy Hargrave

    Jun 7, 2022

    Lucy Hargrave shares her research into the history of queer romance. While Lucy dates published narratives of fictional happy endings for queer characters back to 1906, she charts the evolution since then in 5 significant time periods with different political, cultural, and technological climates. Plus, Lucy shares some results from her quantitative research into modern readers and writers of queer romance books.

  • Psycho Killer, Come Kiss Me (Antagonist April #4, Darkly, Madly Duet with Fangirl Jeanne)

    May 4, 2022

    Fangirl Jeanne answers the question: Why might people, and women in particular, find serial killers to be romantic figures in dark romance in a hetero patriarchal capitalist, racist, etc. society? We discuss the Darkly, Madly Duology by Trisha Wolfe, a dark romance with 2 serial killer main character antagonists.

  • Stay Un-Alive (Antagonist April #3)

    Apr 27, 2022

    Readers weigh in on killers in romance novels (AKA people who un-alive other people) and I challenge myself to see if the distasteful elements in the Darkly, Madly duology (discussed next episode!) showed up in less-egregious ways in texts I did enjoy. Also, more thoughts on power, gender roles, and the desire to conquer a protector.