Sometimes referred to as "modern romance", contemporary romance is widely described as the time period for romance set after World War II. It is the most popular classification in the romance genre, with historical coming in at a close second. One of the most popular forms in contemporary is category romance.
Many contemporary romances make efforts to push against prejudiced attitudes and outdated romantic ideals while still appealing to readers' love of the genre. Characters represent various cultures, backgrounds, sexual orientations and preferences. Many titles in the genre have moved beyond the boy-meets-girl dichotomy for a more inclusive representation of romantic relationships while still providing a happily-ever-after. This can be very empowering to some who are not used to seeing characters like themselves get to be main characters and receive a happy ending.
Contemporary romances usually include the full cycle of a romance, beginning with the meeting of the future couple. Occasionally characters will already know each other and rather than having an adorable or awkward meeting there will a trigger event that begins the change in feelings from platonic to romantic. Then, the relationship will be tested or stressed by some series of events. These events can range from simple misunderstandings that are blown out of proportion to serious matters or life and death. Eventually, the conflict is resolved and the characters are able to fully acknowledge their love, though this does not always result in a happily ever after.
The appeal of contemporary romance for teen readers is that it is an avenue to explore romantic relationships that are happening in a realistic setting, potentially mirroring the attractions that they may have in their own life. Because they are rooted in the here-and-now, opposed to historical fiction, these stories allow readers to see their own world and imagine the scenarios playing out on the pages. There is an inherent excitement to the idea of falling in love for the first time. It doesn’t matter whether the reader is female or male, single or committed: love stories provide readers with the opportunity to swoon, plain and simple.