Happy Valentine’s Day!
I’ve covered my favorite couples in books before, and now as a little celebration for Valentine’s Day, I figured it would be fun to cover my favorite Romance books.
These are in no particular order and will be spoiler free.
Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi
This Young Adult novel tells the story of Penny and Sam who are in transitional periods of their lives. Penny is on her own for the first time as it’s her first year in college. Sam is at a point in his life that he isn’t sure where it wants to go. Sam is Penny’s roommates “uncle” and that’s how they meet. After Sam experiences a panic attack in front of Penny they decide to become each other’s “emergency contact.” Essentially they start talking more and start to rely on each other for emotional support.
What I love about this book is it’s focused on the character’s mental health. The characters form a friendship before becoming something more. The overall tone of the book is a little more serious, but it’s a fantastic read and I highly recommend for a good Valentine read.
The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood
This Adult romance novel tells the story of Olive Smith, a PhD student who doesn’t believe in lasting romantic relationships, but her best friend does. This leads to a particular situation where she tells her friend that she is indeed in a relationship, and one day when Olive sees her friend after telling her this, Olive panics and kisses the first man she sees. This turns out to be Adam Carlson, a young hotshot professor and well known cold and aloof person. So, when he decides to keep her secret and go along with her plan of faking a relationship until a certain date where they could break up, she is very surprised.
I’m not usually one to read Adult romance books, but the fake-dating trope is one of my favorites, this one also piqued my interest for the STEM aspect of the book. Olive and Adam are a really interesting dynamic from the get go and its fun to see their relationship bloom into more. The characters are good, but definitely recommend it to adults, it’s a quick and easy Valentine read.
The Red Palace by June Hur
This Young Adult Mystery Romance novel is based around real historical events and is placed in Korea in the 1700s. Eighteen year old Hyeon is an illegitimate daughter, which means there aren’t many options for her. Through her hard work and study she was able to get a position as a nurse in the palace. All she wants is to keep her head down, do a good job, and maybe win her father’s approval. She in avertedly gets involved in a murder investigation when her mentor and friend is charged with the murder of the four women. As the evidence starts pointing toward the Crown Prince, Hyeon and the young police inspector, Eojin, work to prove who the real murderer is.
In terms of romance this novel is a little more understated, but it’s the mystery and characters that really make this not only one of my favorite romance books, but one of my favorites overall. June Hur is a fantastic writer and she does a good job of not only describing 1700’s Korea but keeps it historically accurate. This was my first June Hur book, but I have since read all of her works and they are fantastic. However, this was her first go into a more romantic novel; it’s a great read for someone who likes more understated romance.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
This is a classic romance between Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. The book tells the story of Elizabeth Bennet, a girl of meager means and the second eldest of five girls. Her mother wants to do anything in her power to marry her children off and with the arrival of the rich Mr. Bingley in the neighboring estate; Mrs. Bennet goes into overdrive to marry one of her daughters to him. In doing so, Elizabeth meets the haughty, aloof, and richer Mr. Darcy. The two dislike each other at first as he declines dancing with her and Elizabeth finds him rude, however that changes as Mr. Darcy finds himself drawn to her.
This is a classic novel, and there’s a reason for it. Although I prefer other Austen novels more (Sense and Sensibility), Pride and Prejudice is such a great Valentine’s read because it’s the more well known story. If you want to change it up a little, I also recommend Pride Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith (which is also a movie as well).
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
This Young Adult Dystopian series is about Katniss Everdeen, a sixteen year old girl from District Twelve who gets thrown into a dangerous event called “The Hunger Games.” She and another boy from her District, Peeta Mellark, are thrown into the chaos and must do whatever they can to survive. The Hunger Games is an annual event where all Districts must send two tributes to the Capitol to compete to the death until only one victor stands. In the Seventy-Three years prior to Katniss’ games there have only been two victors from the Twelfth District. Katniss is determined to make it back to her mother and sister no matter what.
If you’ve read any of my other blogs, I’m sure you’re tired of me recommending this series. It’s so good though, so I will continue to talk about it. Katniss and Peeta were also in my favorite couple’s blog, in case you want to read that as well. What I love about this book is the adventure and slight romance in the first one and how it continues on through the three books. It’s not a lighthearted read however, so keep that in mind if you choose to pick it up.
A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks
This Young Adult romance novel is about teenagers Landon Carter and Jamie Sullivan set in 1958 North Carolina. Landon is popular and the last person he thought he would fall for was Jamie Sullivan, the daughter of the town’s Baptist minister. Jamie always carries the Bible with her other books and seems fine with a life on the sidelines. She is always caring for her widowed father, rescuing animals and helping out at the local orphanage. She is the polar opposite Landon, however fate puts them together for the Homecoming dance and everything changes for Landon.
I’m not a huge fan of Nicholas Sparks, but this book is a fantastic read. I think it’s his best in terms of romance, and storyline. As a teenager and even now, I still reread A Walk to Remember whenever I can. The love that grows between Landon and Jamie is beautiful and pure. I will warn you though it’s a bit of a tear jerker, so bring your tissues if you choose to read this for Valentine’s Day. There is also a great movie that stars Mandy Moore and Shane West.
The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han
This Young Adult Trilogy is about Isabel “Belly” Conklin and her family’s annual trip to their mother’s friend’s vacation house at Cousins Beach. Belly has always had a crush on the eldest Fisher brother, Conrad. The summer she turns sixteen she is suddenly being noticed by not only Conrad but Jeremiah, the younger Fisher brother as well.
I personally enjoy the TV series that was adapted from these three novels more, but I had to read the novels before I watched the one season available on Amazon Prime at the moment. Belly’s journey of coming into her own skin and becoming who she wants to be along with the love triangle between Conrad, Jeremiah, and her is an interesting tale. The three books are quick and easy, and a fun angsty read for Valentine’s Day.
Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
This Young Adult romance is based around Maddy, a teenage girl who has a severe Immunodeficiency disorder and has been confined to her house since she was a baby. She could die if exposed to too many outdoor particles for too long, and has come to terms with her fate. That is until she meets the boy next door, Olly, and suddenly she craves the outside world even more.
When I say I can’t recommend this novel enough, I mean it. Maddy and Olly are one of my favorite couples and I love how everything blooms between them. It’s an easy read and once you start you can’t put it down. Maddy and Olly are great characters and it’s a great story for Valentine’s Day. (Also, it is a fantastic movie starring Amandla Stenberg and Nick Robinson.)
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
This Young Adult novel centers on a sixteen year old not-so-openly gay Simon Spier. He has been exchanging emails with someone by the name of Blue, and he likes Blue. However, he is being blackmailed by class clown Martin who wants Simon to wingman for him. If he doesn’t then his sexual identity will be out there for everyone to know, and the privacy of Blue will be exposed as well.
I read this book for a Young Adult Literature class when I was in college, and I really enjoyed it. Simon is a good character, and although you don’t really know who Blue is until the end (which is a good twist in itself), Blue is also a great character. The coming of age romance between Blue and Simon is cute and pure. It’s really well written and a cute Valentine’s read.
They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera
This Young Adult novel is about Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio and what they do on their last day on Earth. On September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They’re going to die today. Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure, to live a lifetime in a single day.
Honestly, I was caught by the title of this book when I first read it. It’s not a spoiler to say that they die at the end, because it’s the actual title of the book. It’s how they die and what they do on their last day that I wanted to know about and I’m glad I went on the journey. Mateo and Rufus are good characters, and how they meet and what they go through is a great story to read. I highly recommend this book, but I will tell you it’s not a light read. Bring your tissues for this Valentine’s read.
All of these books are available in our system, or in our library, to get and I highly recommend all of them to read!