The first series I started with for my reverse harem research before writing The Genie Whisperer was Ouran High School Host Club, which is the most famous of the ones I own. In this series, a poor girl gets a scholarship to go to an elite high school. There, she gets mistaken for a guy when she breaks an incredibly expensive vase, so ends up having to work in the school’s host club (which is basically a club where six handsome guys entertain rich young ladies) as a guy to pay off her debt. The host club guys quickly realize their new member is actually female, and shenanigans ensue. 

Warning: This post has some spoilers for books five/six of The Genie Whisperer. If you haven’t finished those, proceed with caution! 

Host ClubOuran High School Host Club Ouran High School Host Club Series

I broke down my study of the series (and the other reverse harem series I researched) into four categories: 

  • the guys’ interactions with the main character
  • the guys’ interactions with each other in relation to the main character
  • the main character’s interactions with the guys
  • the plot elements related to reverse harem

Some of the plot elements I wrote down from Ouran High School Host Club ended up in The Genie Whisperer. For example: 

Plot Element: Ouran High School Host ClubGenie Whisperer
Main character must be surrounded by handsome men and stick close to themHaruhi (the main character) must stick by the host club members to pay off her debtAli must be surrounded by the genies because she’s their only hope for freedom
Situations that bring the main character closer to the guysOnly the host club members know Haruhi is a girl, so must work to protect her secret (not that she really cares, other than that it’s easier to repay her debt this way)In books five/six, the genies learn Ali can summon their magic and increase their power, but only if they have a close relationship, meaning she needs to draw closer to them to power them up
Barriers against characters realizing/acknowledging they’re in loveThe guys are terrified of ruining their friendship. If any make a move on Haruhi, who knows how it will impact their existing relationships with each other? While Haruhi (and one of the love interests) is too oblivious to realize love is a thing. When she starts falling for one of the guys, she thinks she’s sick.Ali worries she’ll fail if she focuses on anything but school (though who knows how that will go with her leaving school behind for now), while the genies . . . well, I can’t say without offering spoilers, but you’ll discover some of their thoughts in this area in books seven and eight, coming October of 2023 ;) 

There are also much smaller things I took note of, like the love interests competing for who can make the main character happiest. When I made that note, I added an extra line that the genies would compete like that, and I had a version of that in book three, The Three C’s of Genie Whispering, when everyone but Ocean and Shadow participate in attempting to brighten Ali’s Christmas. 

Another little note I took from this series that I really love is a love interest being cute and affectionate when sleepy . . . but the genies don’t sleep, so that won’t happen in this series! Which is why I have it written down, so I can implement it into later stories. Though we kind of vaguely get a version of this again in book three when the genies are under a spell that takes away their inhibitions, which was quite fun to write. 

Overall, I felt like I got great potential ideas from rereading Ouran High School Host Club to spark inspiration for The Genie Whisperer. Rereading it also came with a major bonus! I’d somehow never read the last book, even though I owned it. It was exciting to discover I had the last book and hadn’t ever read it yet. And then, for those astute observers who’ve read the series and take a good look at the second picture above, I also forgot to include the last book or two in the picture. Whoops. In my defense, the series takes up more than one shelf on my bookshelf, which is why I missed it.