February is the shortest month of the year, but it’s arguably one of the most important. One of my favorite things about February is Valentine’s day. It has nothing to do with romantic love, it’s more about the festive feeling attached to it. I love seeing hearts with bright pink and red colors being plastered everywhere. The chocolates and candies sale after the 14th is another thing I look forward to. Last, but not least is the annual blog posts highlighting different facets of love.
YA is known for threading romance as a subplot. We get to see the main protagonist fall in love for the first time, experience heartache and growth. That makes most readers swoon. In honor of Valentine’s season, Hollywood News Source is recommending ten of our favorite YA books with swoon-worthy otps. This post would be perfect for you if you’re looking for something that is in the same vein as Jenny Han, Morgan Matson, or Stephanie Perkin’s books.
We can’t vet for every aspect of the representations, but we however could verify the shippy feelings that made us want to skyrocket to the moon. We tried our best not to go overboard with this list; hence, why we only included ten titles. Even so, we’d like to give a shout-out to some of our favorite 2017 books that are going to be released this year. Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde has spectacular two ships: best-friends to lovers and cute f/f pair; Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones is a sensual, lyrical fantasy inspired by David Bowie’s Goblin King, and lastly, Noteworthy by Riley Redgate is outrageously good with an ensemble cast.
Everyone in this universe had probably heard and read this book, though that wouldn’t stop me from recommending it. The Sun Is Also a Star has a realistic slash cynic heroine Natasha, she loves science and doesn’t believe in fate or whatsoever while we have a poetic hero Daniel who is a hopeless romantic. Isn’t that an intriguing dynamic? You will root for them. I love that the story is threaded with an important topic that is more relevant than ever, immigration.
Perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen.
This book is so cute and revolutionary. Not Your Sidekick has a Vietnamese-Chinese bisexual main protagonist named Jess. Her identity is part of the story, but it’s not driving point of the plot. It is a breakthrough for the LGBTQ+ genre who have a heightened focus on coming out and other relevant issues the community faces. It’s lifting, I love that it’s so fun and original! It’s not trying to be edgy, it’s simply relatable with a fleshed out world building.
Trope: A chameleon bisexual girl has a crush on the popular girl. I can’t wait to see this timbre of storytelling flood YA. If you’re a fan of DC’s and Marvel’s superhero comics, you need to get on the bandwagon and read Not Your Sidekick.
“You don’t have to deserve love, you just get it.” I feel like I recommend this book a lot, but it’s so underrated, and it encapsulates a huge chunk of my identity, it’s a shame few people have picked it up. I love a lot of things about Something in Between such as the vibrant Filipino-American culture, immigrant diaspora, an empowering theme, but the romance was the one that struck me the most. As everyone already knows, I’m a fan of romance, the pairing just hit it off for me. It reminds me of Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins. It’s imperfect, but de la Cruz tackles the power imbalance, and the wide privilege gap between the two main characters. It’s the teenage-fumbling story that would make you swoon. You can read our full review here.
Do you love lyrical writing and unique prose? Do you have a penchant for sheltered heroine taking their first step in the real world and cute romance? Then, you need to pick up The Secret of a Heart Note. This book is everything I wanted and more.
There’s mother-daughter dynamic, refreshing breath of new air in YA, and cute love interest to top it off. It’s fun and heartwarming. The recipe for this book is enticing. You won’t regret it.
Perfect for Morgan Matson fans.
This book isn’t about romance at all, but I adore the pairing that is attached to it. Hence, why I included it in our list. I hope Silvera would consider writing a novella of some sort in the near future. The story follows Griffin, who’s mourning the loss of his ex-boyfriend. It chronicles his struggle to make peace with his anger and his first love. It’s achingly real. I cried, but it’s lifting at the same time. There’s a healthy portrayal of OCD, coming out, family dynamics, and sex positivity.
Please tape your heart for safety precautions. You’ll need it.
You can read our full review here.
Do you like fake dating? If yes, then you’re looking at a spectacular book you should get on.
The story follows best-friends Katie Hammontree and Sarah Cooper as they pretended to be a “couple.” Somewhere along the line of their charade, things started to become blurry. It’s about two girls who are confused with their feelings.
Dating Sarah Cooper is cute and heartwarming. It tackles the exploration of sexuality.
This book is simply the best. We have nerdy and geeky main characters who met under an ironic situation. They become best-friends then turned to lovers. It has the cutest romance! The authors explored what is it like to be young and reckless.
It deviates from YA mainstream. There’s family dynamics, and cultural upbringing that has a significant role in what shaped the protagonists.The sex positivity is so important as well. There’s no token evil female character here. The Unforgettables delivered everything. By that ending, I needed more.
You can read our full review here.
If you like To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han, you should check out Keeping the Distance. It has a pastel loving heroine, Melissa, who has been groomed as the perfect daughter. She has a rebellious streak that constantly fascinates Lance, who is one of the most popular guys in school.
You can expect unsuccessful pranks that leads to detention, fighting quips, and a whole lot of swooning. This story is incredibly heartwarming, I was laughing and swooning the whole time.
Perfect for fans of rivalry, hate to love trope.
This is an exceptional story. When the Moon Was Ours follows inseparable friends Miel and Sam. They live in a town where everything is cloaked in mystery and secrecy. There’s spectacular trans representation, wide spectrum of gender identity, cultural threads, lyricism, and romance. If you love luminous writing, ambiguous plots accompanied by breathtaking characters, you need to read it immediately. It would put stars and wonder in your eyes. It is rich, imaginative. It’s the cult classic, magical realism you surely don’t want to miss.
You can read our review here.
Similar to History is All You Left Me, this book’s driving point isn’t romance. It features a different facet of love which is self-acceptance, and finding your own “people” that would love and support you unconditionally.
This is an emotional read paired by Russo’s promising writing. The hopeful conclusion reaffirms that happy endings also exist for trans people.
Disclaimer: This nod is coming from a cis woman.