Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books that Would Be On My Syllabus If I Taught Healthy Relationships in Modern Lit 101

It was a struggle for me to find a measly ten books/series with healthy relationships in my list of recent reads, and that's exactly why I decided to go with Healthy Relationships in Modern Lit 101. I'm so tired of cruel, dominating, controlling, disrespectful male love interests who the protagonist of course falls in love with because, in the end, all his cruelty and disrespect is actually very sexy because being hurt by someone in the past is a free pass to treat every woman (or man) you meet like an object. Not only does it kind of scare me to think that this is what women might find attractive in real life, it also sends a message to men that this is what they should be doing because, hey, it's what women like!

Anyway, rant over. I suppose my list is a bit feminist in nature since it mostly focuses on how the women are treated, but, to be fair, the men are also treated well in these books, and there's a couple M-M relationships, too. So without further ado...

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted at The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is:

Top Ten Books that Would Be on My Syllabus If I Taught Healthy Relationships in Modern Lit 101

The Scarlet Dagger by Krystle Jones | books, reading, book covers
Left Behind by Vi Keeland and Dylan Scott | books, reading, book covers
The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg | books, reading, book covers
Girl on a Wire by Gwenda Bond | books, reading, book covers
The Usual Apocalypse by Christine Price | books, reading, book covers

10. The Scarlet Dagger by Krystle Jones

The love triangle puts the relationship in this series on a bit of a rocky road when feelings linger, but the love interest proves to be very understanding and mature, and both characters treat each other as equals, gaining their strength from each other in the post-apocalyptic fantasy world.

9. Left Behind by Vi Keeland

This YA romance is a good example of a realistic relationship between teens, both dealing with loss but ultimately there for each other.

8. The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg

While the relationship that blossoms throughout this historical urban fantasy series has a few things about it that bothers me, it’s still one based on mutual respect and care.

7. Girl on a Wire by Gwenda Bond

This YA Romeo & Juliet retelling features two mature characters who have their ups and downs but ultimately support each others’ passions in life, are there for each other when it matters, work together to accomplish things, and genuinely care about each other.

6. The Usual Apocalypse by Christine Price

This LGBT urban fantasy with a workaholic protagonist highlights a realistic relationship problem when the character’s drive for success in his career drives a wedge between him and his boyfriend, and the way the characters handle the problem and their entire relationship is a great example of healthy.

The Bane by Keary Taylor | books, reading, book covers
Betrayal's Shadow by K.H. LeMoyne | books, reading, book covers
The Ghost and the Graveyard by Genevieve Jack | books, reading, book covers
The Faerie Guardian by Rachel Morgan | books, reading, book covers
Incubus by Amanda Meuwissen | books, reading, book covers

5. The Bane by Keary Taylor

This post-apocalyptic YA series starts off with a love triangle, but the protagonist makes her choice by the end of the first book, and clearly it’s the right one because, throughout the rest of the series, it’s clear he not only loves her but also appreciates how capable and badass she is, even more capable than him in certain ways, and never tries to hold her back.

4. Betrayal’s Shadow by K.H. LeMoyne

This is another book in which the love interest realizes how capable the female protagonist is and teaches her, trains her, treats her as an equal, and looks to her for help just as she looks to him as they save each other and a dying clan of supernaturals.

3. The Ghost and the Graveyard by Genevieve Jack

This urban fantasy book is great because it has a love triangle, but, in the end, it shows that a woman’s life doesn’t have to revolve around men or her romantic relationships. Not only that, her opinions on the matter are completely respected (I can’t say too much without spoilers), and the relationship that ultimately follows in the series continues to be one with respect.

2. The Faerie Guardian by Rachel Morgan

So technically this doesn’t come until the second book, but I think why I love this relationship can be summarized by this: “So is this the part where you warn me to stay away from your girlfriend?” “Of course not. I wouldn’t insult Violet by suggesting she can’t handle you on her own.”

1. Incubus by Amanda Meuwissen

Last but definitely not least, this M-M urban fantasy contains the epitome of a perfect relationship. Communicative, loving, equal, fun, frisky, understanding–everything you could possibly want, with a few obstacles along the way but obstacles that are always handled with maturity and communication.


Talk to me!

What books would be on YOUR syllabus for books with healthy relationships?


Your Thoughts


8 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books that Would Be On My Syllabus If I Taught Healthy Relationships in Modern Lit 101

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  1. Brittany L (Story of My Reading Life)

    Great choice of topic. I’d totally sign up for your class. Your “rant” is one I’m constantly going on about as well. I am absolutely sick of abusive relationships(of any kind) are being romanticized and thus seen as sexy. Today’s market is seeing way too many books like these. I read a lot of romance and NA so I come across it way to much. Anyhow, love your topic and I will be checking out these books.
    Happy reading!
    Brittany @ This is the Story of My(Reading) Life

  2. Kristen Burns

    Thanks! And I’m glad I’m not the only one sick of the abusive relationships in books. I don’t want to read about them, but it’s like I can’t escape them.

  3. Kaja

    This is a GREAT topic for a TTT. I’m always complaining about romances with unbalanced romantic relationships, I hate it when all the power is with one person and the other has no choice but to submit to their (often crazy) will. What you say about solving relationship problems with communication – that is SO important. So often, the problems of a fictional couple would be solved in an INSTANT if they just sat down and talked like normal humans, instead of storming off and doing god knows what in the name of love. Ugh. I’ll always take a quiet talk over grand gestures.
    I’m definitely adding a couple of these to my tbr! šŸ™‚

    1. Kristen Burns

      I agree completely. A random grand gesture can’t take the place of the quiet talks and little things. And those problems that could be solved in an instant, they’re almost never even real problems! Rather just some imagined thing based on jealousy or inner demons. *sigh* Plot devices. Then again, people in real life aren’t always so great with communication, but maybe they would be if they saw more of it in books and movies since media does have an influence. Glad you found a couple books that interest you!

  4. Petra

    Haha, this is an amazing topic. And I absolutely love your list. Thanks for sharing, and for stopping by my TTT earlier. šŸ™‚