Hello everyone, and welcome back!
Seeing as it is a day of romance (or the day before discount chocolate day—whatever works for you), I thought I’d hop on board with The Broke and the Bookish again and talk about some of my favourite YA romances. This time I came up with seven. (I could probably find another three for the sake of ten, but for lists like this, I like to feel confident in all my picks.)
If it’s a snowy wasteland where you are, and you’re trapped far away from your person like I am, then here are some good romantic books to cozy up to! (Or you know, if you aren’t exactly me, they could be good, too. You do you.)
Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan
I keep trying to find another book by David Levithan that captures that magic that is Two Boys Kissing, but I haven’t yet. (You may recognize this book from my top YA of 2016 post.) That said, you really should read this book. It’s beautiful and heartbreaking and full of romances; new ones, established ones, romances past, and people looking desperately for love in the wrong places. (All romances between gay boys, as well. Narrated by a chorus of gay men. It sounds weird, but it’s beautiful.)
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Probably everyone who likes or even tolerates YA romances has recommended this. I read this in my pre-blogging days and it was recommended to me by an old English professor not known for reading YA of any stripe. This is a romance between the two titular characters—a chubby new girl with a difficult home life and a biracial music lover struggling with his identity—and it’s beautiful and, as with most of these romances, heartbreaking. (Sorry, but I haven’t found any romances I love that aren’t at some point emotionally devastating.)
I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
Another one of my favourite reads from last year. This book is more prominently about dealing with grief, but it’s also very definitely about the romances of both of the twin characters, Noah and Jude, before and after they lost their mother. (In fact, this book is kind of about the love lives of everyone in it.) Jandy Nelson took a run at setting + superstition + grief + art + romance in her first book, The Sky is Everywhere, but that practice really pays off in I’ll Give You the Sun.
Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick
This is definitely the weirdest romance I’ve read probably ever, but it was really worth the read. It’s basically about how two people reincarnate to meet each other over and over again on this small, strange island. They don’t always reincarnate as people who could traditionally romance each other, but they share some form of love in each lifetime all the same. This is an off-beat, mysterious read with some horror elements, but definitely romantic and definitely worth the time.
Empress of the World by Sara Ryan
I read this before my blogging days when I was actually a teen, and it’s a book I was grateful for. It’s a romance with a fairly simple premise; a bunch of gifted teens are at a summer camp to Do More Learning, and two young women (Nicola and Battle) realize some things about their sexuality they didn’t know before. But beyond being one of very few romances between female characters in YA at the time (and one of few books I’ve read ever, still, where someone is just actually bisexual), this also has beautiful metaphors and lively characters.
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Okay, I am the first to admit that there are problematic elements in this book, especially that weird makeout in the Anne Frank house scene. (But let’s be real, there are problematic elements in most books, including the ones I’ve listed. I just have to preface this one because it’s been so talked about.) But this romance, between two teens who meet in a support group for kids with possibly-terminal illnesses, has gorgeous writing (including some very memorable lines), some very clever meta-elements, and teens with disabilities/illnesses who are often having normal lives—playing video games, having bad breakups, binge-watching TV—as opposed to living in constant overwrought tragedy (even though their lives sometimes necessarily include tragic circumstances). Also, I just like Hazel Grace.
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Another one of my best reads from last year! (Don’t be put off by the overly long title.) I don’t want to talk too much about this one because I feel like including it with romances in itself is a bit of a tell. Essentially, this is a book set in the 80s about two best friends, Aristotle and Dante, who find one another and discover a lot about themselves through the ways they change each others’ lives. It’s a lot about family, friendship, racial identity (they’re both Mexican-American), gender roles, art—and, of course, there’s romance. But really, you just need to read this one. (Also, I swear I don’t have a particular thing for books set in the 80s—I am a 90s person myself—but dang if I don’t find a lot of books I like set in the 80s!)
What are some of your favourite romantic books? Or more importantly: what are some of your favourite discount chocolates?
Talk to you soon!