Friday, March 11, 2011

The List - YA Romances

I have a difficult time finding love stories that I really, really like. While I love a romance as a secondary or sub-plot, the book often seems to fall short when romance is the primary focus of the book. That said, I've read quite a few love stories that are absolutely brilliant. These are all novels that could be classified as (YA) Romance in that the love story is the primary focus of the book, and they're all incredible.

Anna and the French Kiss
Stephanie Perkins
I realize that everyone who has read this book can't hear enough good things about it and anyone who hasn't read it is sick and tired of it, but honestly -- this book is amazing. The only problem with it is that there's no way for me to pull a blue skidoo and jump into it. I would say this is everything a love story should be but the truth is that this is everything a YA novel should be. It's perfect. I'm shocked at how good it is, how much I love it, how much I'm hyping it up without even worrying (that much) about it falling short for somebody. I heart Anna and St. Clair.

Scrambled Eggs at Midnight
Brad Barkley and Heather Hepler
In some books the love between the two protagonists feels, if not fake, at least temporary, and this isn't the case here. This book is adorable, touching, and if it weren't for the personalities of the two characters, absolutely unbelievable. But, because both Calliope and Eliot are so great, this book is fantastic and the love between them rings out as both true and lasting. Not to mention the settings (Christian fat camp and a Renaissance Faire) are incredibly quirky and well-written.

Heidi R. Kling
I hesitate to include this because it doesn't follow the typical formula or path of a romance novel, but it definitely falls under the romance category, so it's staying. Warm, adventurous, and with an emotional connection that most books can only strive for, this is a breathtaking book. I kept reading at the exclusion of everything else not because it was a page-turner, but because the world inside these pages is, in spite of being devastated, also very beautiful in many ways -- and a lot of that is due to the love between Sea and Deni.

I Now Pronounce You Someone Else
Erin McCahan
Again, this is a book that doesn't adhere to the typical path and there's really a lot more here than just the romance, but it is the primary focus of the book. And as far as romances go, this one feels like it should have been pulled from a Jane Austen novel. Not only are there the required mix-ups (though less here than in an actual Austen novel), but more importantly the two protagonists are both incredibly perfect for each other. Bronwen is such a lady and Jared is the definition of a gentleman, which makes this book a very comforting and lovely romance.

This Lullaby
Sarah Dessen
Though all of Dessen's books have a romantic subplot, this is the only one that really could be called a romance. And, like every Dessen novel, it's incredibly well-written. The main character who doesn't believe in love until that special someone comes along is played out nicely here and the characters are ones you can root for, even when they're being stupid. Saying more (like, um, my feelings about the ending) would spoil the book for those who haven't read it, but suffice to say that this is an authentic and wonderful story.

What YA romances are on your list?

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