Winter is here! I am one of those rare breeds who actually love winter, and it’s not because I love getting out in the cold. There’s just something wonderful about being able to snuggle in with a good book, some hot chocolate, and a blanket when it’s bitterly cold outside that invigorates me. And lucky for readers, there are so many excellent books that will take away those winter blues. For this reader in particular, I happen to adore a good love story in winter. Maybe it’s because Valentine’s Day is already being pushed onto us (have you seen the candy aisles at your local stores?) or maybe it’s because love is the perfect antidote to those cold winter days. Who knows! In any case, here are some of my favorite teen romances to push away those winter blues.
There is, of course, no shortage of YA writers who include romance in their books. It’s what I love about young adult lit so much, that it is about relationships, whether romances or not. Of course, I do happen to enjoy a book that makes my heart go pitter-patter a bit, and these authors and their books definitely do that!
Jenny Han’s fabulous Summer series (The Summer I Turned Pretty, It’s Not Summer Without You, and We’ll Always Have Summer) is one of my absolute favorite go-to series for romance. Belly is in love with two boys and while readers know how boring the love triangle can get, Jenny Han also knows this and shows just how complex being in love can be. Belly (you’ll have to read to understand the nickname) is a fabulous character.
Stephanie Perkins is becoming a name-brand for well written teen romances. Anna and the French Kiss recently became a finalist in the Young Adult Fiction category of the Cybils (Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary Awards). This is a book that has gotten a lot of press and buzz and it lives up to the hype! France, a boarding school, a cute guy with an accent, and a strong female character? It’s a win/win! The second book, very loosely connected, Lola and the Boy Next Door, also has a great romance at its center. If you haven’t read Stephanie Perkins yet, what are you waiting for?
Jessi Kirby is a newer author. Her 2011 debut, Moonglass, features a romance as part of its storyline but it also features sun, surf and sand. With a father/daughter relationship changing, with the protagonist falling in love for the first time ever, this book is guaranteed to chase away the winter blahs.
Maggie Stiefvater is very well known for her Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy (Shiver, which was a Teens’ Top 10 title in 2010, Linger, and Forever), but you may not have picked up her newest book yet. The Scorpio Races is an utterly intoxicating romance set amongst the backdrop of the small island of Thisby. There are deadly horse races, but there is also a girl with heart. Puck is an utterly engrossing character to get to know. She is brave, strong, and utterly vulnerable at points. This is the ultimate slow-building romance, but the payoff is phenomenal.
Elizabeth Eulberg’s books feature girls that tackle their own romantic mishaps, particularly her first book, The Lonely Hearts Club, a Beatles-inspired book! Penny is tired of boys and dating. She is tired of the embarrassing moments, so she creates The Lonely Hearts Club, only to suddenly want a little romance back in her life. A strong female character is at the center of this book.
For something a bit sexier and risquÃ©, check out Kody Keplinger’s books The Duff and her 2011 release, Shut Out. It’s a battle of the sexes and these books take no prisoners. These are not sweet and light romances by any means. They contain thought provoking ideas about sexual identity and gender.
John Green does not write a typical romance, but there is no doubt there are romantic elements in his stories, enough to hook just about any reader of romance. His books are well known and well received (appearing on numerous YALSA award lists including the Teens’ Top 10 2010 and a Printz winner in 2006 and an honor book in 2007) so if you’re looking for a slightly different take on romance and relationships to while away the winter hours, John Green will fit the bill.
And I cannot forget some popular YA authors with backlists too numerous to name! Meg Cabot, Elizabeth Scott, Sarah Dessen, Susane Colasanti, Deb Caletti, Lauren Barnholdt and Jennifer Echols to name only a few. And don’t be fooled that these female authors won’t sell to boys. While boy readers may not actively seek you out looking for romance books, I’ve seen more than my share of teen boys scouring Sarah Dessen’s titles or taking a peek in a Meg Cabot book. Romance is not limited to girls by any means! In fact, if you happen to know of a great title that you have read that has really taken off with teen boys, please share in the comments.
So while you’re preparing to hibernate January and February away, pick up a good book or two (or ten!) to take with you. There is nothing like a great romance, a truly well written romance between two characters just starting to understand what it means to fall in love, to bring a smile to your face and to make that snuggly blanket just a tad bit warmer.
— Sarah Wethern, currently reading The Silence of Murder by Dandi Daley Mackall
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