To many, Young Adult books are synonymous with romance — how could I not ask some of the best Young Adult Book Bloggers to name the most romantic of the genre?
I have to admit, the bloggers surprised me in two ways. First, a full half of the titles they chose have the romance tucked away within a larger plot. In other words, they're not romances for the sake of romance.
Second, this genre has new titles coming out at a furious rate — I was sure the books submitted would mostly be from the last few years. Again, I was wrong. The oldest title is 30 years old as of this writing. Several are teenagers themselves. The average year of publication? 2001.
So, take a look at the list below. What do you think — did they name the best of the best?
by Sherwood Smith
Most people like their romances sweet and swoony. I, however, like a romance where there's loads of tension and chemistry between the two leads, with only a resolution (give a big sigh) in the final chapters. Such is the romance in Crown Duel (actually two books: Crown Duel and Court Duel) between Melaria and Vidnaric. It's a fantasy — light on the magic, though — full of adventure, tension, war, conflict. But, mostly it's a satisfying, swooning, amusing, take-you-away book. There are shades of Pride and Prejudice in the story: Mel and Danric spent much of their time arguing, and it's he who first realizes what their relationship could be. She, of course, throws it back in his face (though it's not as bad as what Lizzy did to Darcy), and so he resorts to, um, other methods (mostly leaving her alone). And it all builds to one of the most perfect first-kiss scenes that I've read. In short: a great romance.
by Jennifer Echols
If you like your romance with a side of sizzle then Going Too Far is the book for you! Grab one blue haired protagonist with too many issues to be contained and shove her into a police car with a rookie cop and shake for a great story about love, life, choices, fear and how what challenges us makes us stronger. Snappy dialogue, spectacular kisses and one heck of a ride.
by Megan Mccafferty
Meet Jessica Darling. Smart. Sarcastic. Stuck in New Jersey high school hell and suffering from some serious insomnia. Enter Marcus. He's Pineville High's ruling "dreg" — a bad boy if there ever was one. Suddenly life starts to get more interesting. This is a hilarious look at first love in all its sloppy glory.
by Kristin Cashore
Katsa is Graced with the ability to kill, which her uncle the king exploits for his own gain. She has no friends — how could a wild, predatory animal have friends? Then one day, she meets another Graceling who not only challenges her idea of friendship but her idea of herself. And it just so happens he's pretty darn cute, to boot. This isn't a traditional YA romance, but the romance within is just as yummy.
by Melina Marchetta
Sometimes, after finishing a book, I'll think, "That couple had no chemistry," or, "Aww, how sweet." There are times when the author doesn't convince me that the couple is actually in love or that the relationship will last. Sometimes, and I hate when this happens, I really don't care. Some books have me rooting for a couple to succeed, believing they were simply meant to be together. And then there is Melina Marchetta's Jellicoe Road, brilliant in so many ways that do not involve romance, but which I love so passionately in part because of the romance. Jellicoe Road, it must be said, is NOT a romance novel. What it is, is a meticulously crafted, delicately and intricately structured novel, full of compelling and complicated characters, and so wonderfully written that it is the only book I've ever read in which an author made me invested in her characters and their relationships to the point that I felt — and still feel — a desperate need to believe that two of them will remain together long after the last scene closes.
by Madeleine L'Engle
Vicky Austin and her family must come to terms with the impending death of Vicky’s grandfather, and Vicky must decide who she is and whom she can trust. Will she choose Leo, an old friend but not really a romantic interest... Zachary, who brings both trouble and excitement wherever he goes... Or Adam, her older mentor in science and in life? As Vicky grows to become a better poet and as she learns that death is an inevitable part of life, readers can experience the romance and the uncertainty of a young girl's first love.
by Rose Tremain
A Radcliffe-educated nurse, Rebecca comes from stalwart, intellectual New England stock. She's the last person anyone expects to enlist in the Army and voluntarily get herself shipped off to Vietnam. But after the boy she loves is killed in the war and the brother she idolizes flees to Canada to escape the draft, Rebecca has to do something to deal with the pain. The War, unsurprisingly, turns out to be a million times worse than her worst nightmare. But while she is unexpectedly MIA in the bush, she runs into Michael Jennings, a bad-tempered private who proceeds to write her weekly — sometimes daily — letters after his unit returns her safely to the Evac. White's prose and dialogue are as rapid-fire as ever and my pulse races every time I read it. Rebecca and Michael are such wonderfully strong, tangible characters and their romance unfolds breathtakingly against the heartbreaking backdrop of the Vietnam War. A truly unforgettable read.
by Kalisha Buckhanon
Upstate is the story of two teens in love who are separated when the boy is arrested for the murder of his father. They keep in touch with letters. The chapters alternate between the female and male protagonist. The author quickly establishes the love the characters have for each other and it feels so real. The letters are beautifully done, with a poetic quality. By the end, even though the author gave a glimpse into the characters adult future, I didn't want it to be over.
by Margaret Stohl, Kami Garcia
It's tough for me to choose one title since Young Adult and Romance are almost synonymous. But for me, Beautiful Creatures is just top notch. It's the kind of love story that makes your toes curl and your stomach do somersaults. It's a beautiful (pardon the pun) novel that wholly encompasses the joy, anguish, and fun that is to be in love. Many novels create these god-like heroes for girls to swoon over. But what's so great about Beautiful Creatures is that it's not just about Ethan or about Lena, but about the two of them and how their relationship grows despite their hardships. It really is an amazing read.
by Sarah Dessen
This is Young Adult giant Sarah Dessen's only straightforward love story, and it still is, in my opinion, her best work to this day. Eschewing conventionality, Remy and Dexter's budding romance is quirky, unusual, twisted, and ultimately completely satisfying. Dessen once again shows off her marvelous writing and characterization skills with a cast of interesting three-dimensional friends and family members. I fell hard for this book when I first read it in high school, and it remains my go-to book for an example of a love that, while not exactly fairy tale-esque, is a perfect example of the complexities and ultimate triumphs of our admittedly very twisted lives.
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