Top 5 Wednesday: Books Without Romance

July 5th

Top 5 Wednesdays was created by Lainey at GingerReadsLainey and also run by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes. You can check out the GoodReads group here!

This weeks challenge was to find five of your favourite books that don’t involve romance. This was actually much more difficult than I was expecting it to be, but I got there in the end. Some of these books have an element of romance, but it’s not the main focus of the plot so I’m going to use them. Without further ado, in no particular order, let’s begin!


1. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne

This book contains literally no romantic storyline, the main reason for this being that the story revolves around two young boys – whose relationship is one of absolute friendship. Set in Germany during the Second World War, this book provides a heart breaking and beautiful story about the innocence, honesty and unrelenting kindness that children can show to one another. Boyne proves effectively that it is definitely possible to write an excellently compelling book that doesn’t revolve around a love interest.


Thehelpbookcover2. The Help by Kathryn Stockett

‘The Help’ is one of the books on this list that has some elements of romance to it (between the women and their husbands) but the main plot centres on the relationships between the different women. I love this book because it shows the power that women can gain from working together and standing up for and supporting one another. Set in early 1960s America, this book deals with a very serious and delicate subject – in which seemingly trivial romantic story lines are entirely unnecessary. I would personally much rather learn about the individuals.


3. It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini

This is mainly set in a mental health hospital, and follows two key relationships between the protagonist and his fellow patients. One is an adult man on the ward who provides life advice and slightly disturbing humour about life in general. The second, and most interesting to me, is the relationship between the male protagonist and one of the girls on the ward. It’s a relationship of friendship, and I found this really refreshing to read, because we hardly ever see genuine relationships between teenage boys and girls in YA books.


4. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Another book set during the Second World War which focuses in part on the relationship between children. Although there are slightly more hints of romance in this book the the other, it also revolves largely around child-adult relationships and what each can teach the other. This book prioritises ideas about trust and acceptance over the typical romance story. It is guaranteed to make you appreciate all the relationships in your life, through its almost unbelievably devastating and painful story, made especially interesting as it’s narrated by death.


5. Imperium by Robert Harris

Finally, one of my favourite books, that I doubt many people will have read. I am a huge fan of all things classical, and this book is a semi-fictional retelling of the trials and tribulations Cicero’s early political career. There is hardly any romance at all in this book, and it provides insight not only into the ludicrous nature of politics in the ancient world, but also the origins of our own political system. I know that books like this aren’t for everyone, but if you have even a remote interest in either classics or politics I would highly recommend.

I hope you enjoyed these recommendations, doing this challenge has definitely convinced me that I need to read more books that don’t have such an emphasis on the romantic storyline, as I’ve really enjoyed all the ones I’ve read so far. I’m also really enjoying getting back into the swing of writing proper length posts, hopefully this is just the first of many!

Thanks for reading, Elsie x


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