Top Ten Elements Of A Good Fictional Summer Romance

This week one of my blogging bffs, Ginger, is hosting a week long feature all about Summer Lovin’ and I’m SO excited that she invited me to participate! All week there will be reviews and other awesome posts…and I decided to do a top ten list…I know…SO original of me being that I created a little meme called Top Ten Tuesday. Creature of habit I guess. I just love lists!

One really great memory of my mother is how she introduced me to the movie Grease as a tween. We’d watch it together all the time and we even went to a showing of it when they had it come out for its anniversary on the big screen. While I’d watch Danny and Sandy serenading each other on screen,  I would always dream of having summer romance of my own. I had the scenes all played out in my head and there were always certain elements that always seemed to be in my summer romance dreams….there was always lots of JTT and Brad Renfro involved…but I’ve realized through reading books or watching movies/tv shows with a summer romance plot that there always seemed to be certain elements that made a GOOD fictional romance.

Top Ten Elements Of A Good Fictional Summer Romance:

1. Swoonworthy boy — Need I even mention this? Since a summer romance ALWAYS starts off as lust….he needs to make you drool and trip over your own feet. There could be chiseled abs, a tan body, perfect hair, smiles that make you melt….but’s gotta be HOT. Added bonus for an accent! Oh and he pretty much needs to like good music…or I won’t even. But really, no matter your type, there NEEDS to be a swoonworthy guy. A summer romance is expected to be quick…personality is an added bonus that comes later. Let’s be honest. (Some of my picks–Ian Somerhalder, Jake Gyllenhaal, Penn Badgley…I have diverse tastes!)

2. An Amazing Setting — Seriously…the more exotic the better! We need beaches,  (um hello shirtless boys), lakes or foreign cities. The sunnier the better…because let’s be honest..who doesn’t look better in the summer sunshine and, plus, I’m pretty sure that scientifically sunshine ups the hormones….and that is the magic ingredient to the passion behind any summer romance. Now there are sometimes that an exotic setting doesn’t happen but unusual circumstances can override a boring setting.

3. Head-over-heels love: I mentioned this in my first element. Because of the fling mentality with a summer romance and the fear that will end so soon, summer romances hit the fast forward button. I typically hate anything that resembles “insta-romance” but all is forgiven in a summer romance. My favorite summer romance in the movies is actually in The Notebook. I love all the days and nights they spent together and all the fun they have….it’s like they felt like they couldn’t breathe enough of each other in.

4. Sexytimes (or at least “awww” moments): It doesn’t matter how steamy it is to me…I’ve read plenty of summer romances that just have making out or adorable moments. There needs to be some PASSION or romantic tension or SOMETHING. But I do prefer some of the steamier sexytimes that I’ve read in YA.

5. An “issue” or secret: While I love all the fun and sun in my summer romances, there’s got to be some sort of baggage, angst or something that arises to snap the happy couple back to reality: grieving the loss of a loved one, a love triangle, a fight, a bad breakup, strict parentals, a dark past, low self-esteem issues….SOMETHING! This issue typically brings the “reality” into the summer fling…which inevitably brings the fact that it is a SUMMER ROMANCE back into the forefront and the lovers have to decide if the love can endure as they work through these things.

6. Some quoteable quotes to make me swoon when I need it: Any good summer romance (in my mind) needs some quotes that make my heart happy when they read them. They typically happen in “a declaration scene” as I will talk about below but they can happen all over the place. These types of lines are the things you wish your real significant other would say to you…. “Nobody puts Baby in a corner”…. that line will always remain in my head from one of my favorite summer romance movies — Dirty Dancing!

7. Firsts: First kiss, first date, first time having sex, first heartbreak, first love…etc. Some sort of first. I remember summertime was always the time for firsts in my YA life…so, at least when I read YA, I love to see some monumental first.

8. Some sort of an adventure: Roadtrips, exploring a foreign city or unexplored parts of nature, something DANGEROUS…I think some sort of adventure makes for a better summer romance. It’s those fun moments that make us feel alive…and summer romances are ALL about feeling alive and in the moment.

9. A declaration scene— As cheesy as it sounds, I need THAT scene…the scene towards the end of the book where you aren’t sure HOW the summer romance is going to end. Will they stay together? Will it ONLY be a summer fling? HOW WILL IT ALL END UP?!? I need some sort of adorable scene where feelings are shared and the butterflies in my stomach start a fluttering. Added bonus for smooching or fireworks or romantic settings.

Amy & Roger's Epic Detour
10. The Potential For A Great Soundtrack — Seriously, Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour set the bar high for great soundtrack for a summer romance. There needs to be some sweet love songs involved for sure with all the super sweet scenes in these books. Tomorrow Jen from Makeshift Bookmark will be soundtracking one of her favorite summer romances…so check that out to find the importance of being soundtrack-able!

Now, all of  these elements don’t HAVE to be in there…on occasion I’ll be ok with one or two missing or I’ll swap in another element for one on the list. So..what are some elements that are essential to your perfect romance story?

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. Great post. I think you hit the nail on the head. Another book that came to mind is The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks (as much as I'm not normally a Sparks fan). It's like he read your formula.

  2. What a fun list! I'll admit that I've never thought about the difference between a 'summer' book and a regular book. So this week of Ginger's & all y'alls is a lot of fun for me! Super cute post! 🙂

  3. Ginger @ GReads! says:

    Oh Jamie – I HEART YOU SO FREAKING MUCH!! This list is amazing. Simply amazing! You have captured all the details about why I love summer romances in YA so much. Now I want to go re-read Amy & Roger and everything else you mentioned, haha.

    Thank you for being a part of this week!

  4. I totally agree with all of them. Gosh I really need to get me a summer romance book. I know you prob have read so many. If you had to pick one which would You recommend over the others?

  5. Amazing list! So many of my musts are included in it. I'm a romance novel junkie, but I never really considered the difference between a regular time romance and a summer one. Now that you got me thinking, I think I'll search for a good summer love story to keep me through the winter. Oh, a book rec: Temptation, by Nora Roberts. Most of your requirements are in it. Truly one of my favorite summer romances.

  6. Annette says:

    My daughter and I watched Grease OVER and OVER and OVER. We pretty much memorized the whole thing — when she was very young, she wrote what she thought the words to Sandra Dee were — I still have it — It's hilarious!
    (she definitely didn't get the "virginity" word…)

  7. Amy @ bookgoonie says:

    Awesome list & elaboration. I am really feeling this to be the summer of summer-love reads. "tell me more, tell me more, like does he have…"

  8. Mickey @ imabookshark says:

    This is a fantastic list! Every point you brought up is so true. :o)

    May I use this for my Friday Five? Thanks!

    Mickey @

  9. Jayme @ Horribly Bookish says:

    Great elements for an amazing book!

  10. Yani {AvidReader} says:

    I love this post, its exactly whats so great about summer books =)

  11. AliyaPM says:

    I adore this post. So many elements in a perfect summer read. *sigh* Great post!

  12. Oh, yes! When a great summer read comes together, there's nothing better. I love disappearing into a book that has those elements you've listed. Such a fabulous post!
    Happy reading,
    Mary @ Book Swarm