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Top 5 Wednesday: Books Without Romance

* Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme/challenge for book bloggers, hosted by Lainey and Sam. The goal is for bloggers to choose their top 5 picks for the week’s given challenge, and you can find out more over on Goodreads! *


This week’s challenge is to pick your top 5 favorite books without romance! As any of my followers know, basically every book that I pick up has some form of romance in it, so you won’t be surprised to find that few of my most beloved reads will make it into this list.


1. The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison

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This one is about a serial killer who kidnaps teen girls and keeps them in his “garden”, where he uses them for whatever purposes he so desires. Obviously, TW for abuse, rape, kidnapping, etc. While there is a mock romance near the later parts of the book, it’s all a sham, so I’m going to count this one in the “no romance” list.

2. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

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I’ve only read the first book in the Percy Jackson series, so I have no clue if relationships develop in later books, but the first book was solidly romance-free, as I find most middle grade books tend to be.

3. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

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It’s a children’s book about a boy whose mother is terminally ill… nope, no romance here. Just loss and devastation.

4. Penpal by Dathan Auerbach

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This book was originally a series of short posts to an online message board of creepy stories, but after a very positive response, the author decided to build it into a full novel. It’s narrated by a young boy who gradually collects his memories to piece together some very strange happenings in his childhood, and is soundly free of any sappy love-y stuff.

5. Thirteen Chairs by Dave Shelton

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Another horror choice, this one is a collection of short ghost stories, and while surprisingly and pleasantly creepy at times, it definitely steers clear of any romantic aspects.


I originally didn’t even think I could come up with 5 books that were completely romance-free in my reading history, until I started digging through my Goodreads shelves. I’d love to hear about your favorite non-romance books as well! Do you prefer for a book to have a romantic facet to it?

21 thoughts on “Top 5 Wednesday: Books Without Romance

  1. I didn’t even think of middle grade when going through my shelves on GR! I was also super surprised that I managed to come up with 5, too. I swore almost all the books I’ve read have romance, but I ended up having even more.

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  2. Great list! I’ve actually heard a lot of good things about The Butterfly Garden and it sounds creepy and interesting. I absolutely loved the whole Percy Jackson series as well as A Monster Calls but I’ll also have to check out the other two books you have on here since I’m always up for creepy reads! 🙂

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  3. OMG I am really looking forward to reading The Butterfly Garden! I recently found it and really am considering bumping it up on my list for July-August. Is it really good? It sounds super creepy. Love serial killer shows & movies, but I never really read any books about them. IDK why! I guess I just can’t get out of my YA whirlpool.

    PS: Can you believe I STILL haven’t read Percy Jackson? What’s wrong with me?

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  4. I hate how most romance free books are either thrillers or middle grades. There should be more fantasies and contemporaries without it. One I recently enjoyed was “The Inexplicable Logic of my Life” by Bemjamin Alire Saenz.

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    1. Agreed! I mean, I personally enjoy romance in books, but it is refreshing to read a book without it every so often. I haven’t read anything by him yet, though I own his book Aristotle and Dante… whatever the rest of that title is, lol! I’ll have to check out the one you named. 🙂

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