Happy Valentine’s Day: Our Favorite Romances
With love in the air today, I thought it would be a great time to talk about teen romances. I love teen romances. I adore Meg Cabot’s books. The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen rocked my world. I love the friends-turned-romance in Waiting For You by Susane Colasanti. I fell hard for the upcoming This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith.
Here are some favorites from my colleagues.
From Jessica M.
Love Story by Jennifer Echols: I love the deep emotions explored in this story and the way that both main characters express their feelings through the stories they write for their creative writing class. I laughed, I cried, and I wanted to reread it as soon as I was done.
Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins: I loved that both Lola and Cricket were such strong individuals and that they truly appreciated that in each other. They loved each other for exactly who they were … I am also a huge advocate for the “boy next door” in every story and wish more main characters saw the potential that was literally there waiting for them!
Adam Bede by George Eliot. I developed a crush on the title character Adam while reading of his blind love for an unworthy woman and his subsequent struggle to clear his good name. Also he works with this hands as a carpenter and dearly loves his mother. I thought he sounded like an ideal boyfriend and reading about him in jail made me, in the vernacular, swoon.
My favorite YA romance is Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. As far as romances go, it’s basically perfect. Anna and St. Clair are likable, realistic and flawed; they feel like people you know and want to be friends with. The romance builds slowly; no love-at-first-sight, none of the destined-for-each-other business that’s so prevalent right now, just two great, funny characters falling in love. The dialogue is spot-on, the secondary characters are fleshed out, and the conflict feels real. Also, let’s be honest, cute, British, history-loving, quick-witted Etienne St. Clair is EXACTLY the boyfriend seventeen-year-old me wanted to have.
Romance has never been my genre of choice, but I can’t tell you how much I loved Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins. They have everything a good romance should have: well-developed, interesting characters; authentic dialogue; red-hot chemistry; and (of course) a happy ending. What more could you want?!
I really like the slow build-up of the relationship between Sean and Puck in The Scorpio Races. I like how Katniss and Po are totally in love but also totally doing their own thing and being true to themselves in Graceling. I love the twistiness of the romance between Karou and Akiva in Daughter of Smoke and Bone … I wonder why all the first thoughts that jumped to my mind were also fantasies? Maybe there’s nothing better than the fantasy of true life-changing love!
One of my favorites is Lisa Tawn Bergren’s River of Time series. It’s a well-written piece that combines history, adventure, and romance. The male lead in the first book is very “manly,” and every teen girl I’ve talked to who has red this series wants a guy just like Marcello. It’s also an innocent romance. I didn’t blush when I read it.
My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick. I loved this sweet romance between Samantha and Jase that was believeable and real. I also loved all the members of Jase’s large and messy, loving family.
My favorite is Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor because it was the first paranormal YA where the “insta-love” felt believable to me. Lots of people want to believe in love at first sight, but most novels where the characters move quickly from an attraction to “undying love” ring false to me. Not so with Daughter and Smoke and Bone. Karou and Akiva as the ultimate star-crossed lovers works for me because of Taylor’s fantastic writing skills and unconventional plot structure. The romance was made even more heart-breaking in the sequel, Days of Blood and Starlight, where the plot is focused on a war where it seems impossible for true love to triumph. I’m anxiously awaiting the final installment in the series, due out this fall.
What are some of your favorites?
— Jennifer Rummel, currently reading Perfect Scoundrels by Ally Carter