Dangerous Books For Girls

The Bad Reputation of Romance Novels, Explained


dangerous books for girls romance novels maya rodale

Long before clinch covers and bodice rippers, romance novels had a bad reputation as the lowbrow lit of desperate housewives and hopeless spinsters. But why were these books—the escape and entertainment of choice for millions of women—singled out for scorn and shame?

Dangerous Books for Girls examines the secret history of the genre’s bad reputation—from the “damned mob of scribbling women” in the nineteenth century to the sexy mass-market paperbacks of the twentieth century—and shows how romance novels have inspired and empowered generations of women to dream big, refuse to settle, and believe they’re worth it.

For every woman who has ever hidden the cover of a romance—and every woman who has been curious about those “Fabio books”—Dangerous Books For Girls shows why there’s no room for guilt when reading for pleasure.



Read an excerpt

In which What We Talk About When We Talk About Fabio is not what you think.

Book Stats

  • Published May, 2015
  • ISBN: 978-0990635628


The survey

I asked romance readers to share their innermost thoughts and feelings on their beloved genre. And then I asked non-romance readers what they really thought of “Those Books.” Check out the survey results.


The infographics

Everything you ever wanted to know about the romance industry,  it’s readers, and how they feel about the sexy bits, what they love in a hero and their ideal heroine. Check out the infographics.


Watch the video




Order your copy