For the romantics of us, Valentines Day is one day in the year where you get to express in the gushiest of ways how much those we love mean to us. For everyone else, it’s a commercialised mess of saccharine sentiment, too much chocolate and teddy bears that will be relegated to the loft come the 15th February.
I fall somewhere in the middle. I’m not averse to the idea of Valentine’s Day, but by no means do I want stuffed toys (unless its this cuddly Buckbeak, obvs) and I think its silly to dedicate just one day out of 365 to expressing affection for those that we love the most, whether that’s a partner, a friend, a relative or even a pet.
To celebrate this divisive little day, I’ve got two swoon worthy lists for you. For anyone who can’t get on a good ship fast enough, or wants to snuggle down with a fluffy, tingly YA romance then this list is your bae. For everyone and anyone that feels mildly nauseous at the thought of slow dancing under the stars or sharing spaghetti, check out my alternative list of Valentines Day reads, coming next week!
A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard
Featuring a romantic relationship that is in turn totally cute and utterly realistic, A Quiet Kind of Thunder is a love story that is totally fit for the 21st century. I defy you not to fall in love with Rhys and Steffi as they navigate their lives, their disabilities and their relationship.
I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson
Packed with sparkly writing, gorgeous metaphor and two love interests to faint for, Jandy Nelson’s I’ll Give You The Sun is as swoon-worthy as they come.
Haunt Me by Liz Kessler
Ghosts, bullying, grief and drugs. Sounds romantic, right? Seriously though, this book manages to balance powerful subject matter and great character development with the sweetest paranormal romance. Think Ghost for the Instagram generation.
How Hard Can Love Be? (The Spinster Club #2) by Holly Bourne
Holly Bourne tells it how it is. Amber is a British girl at a summer camp in the USA who falls for a quintessential American dude. It’s touching, slow-burning and laugh-out-loud hilarious.
The Next Together (The Next Together #1) by Lauren James
Lauren James really had her work cut out with this one. A mash-up of the historical and sci-fi genres, The Next Together is a sweepingly romantic adventure set against the backdrop of major historical events and futuristic technology. In a fun twist, you can even find out what time period from The Next Together you should really live in. Thanks, Buzzfeed. We love you.
Delirium (Delirium #1) by Lauren James
If you like your love stories with a dystopian flavour, then Delirium is a good place to start. In a society where people are ‘cured’ for life of being infected with ‘deliria’ aged 18, one girl does the unthinkable: she falls in love.
Noughts and Crosses (Noughts and Crosses #1) by Malorie Blackman
Noughts and Crosses is one of the original and best YA dystopia books. It also features one of the most heartbreaking, soul-shattering, beautifully rendered love stories I’ve ever come across. This THE book to read if you’re a) a fan of the most powerful writing and social commentary and b) (on a more Valentines Day-friendly note) if you’re a fan of forbidden romance in a big way.
The Bone Gap by Laura Ruby
The Bone Gap isn’t obviously romantic at first glance, but the writing and the development of the relationships between the main characters is so heady that you can’t help but become invested. Finn and Petey’s romance isn’t conventional, but it is beautifully and achingly realised.
The Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare
SWOON SWOON SWOON. Cassandra Clare, Queen of Ships, brings another two ultimate book boyfriend candidates to the table in The Infernal Devices series. Torn between her love for two very different boys, Tessa must decide to which her heart truly belongs whilst y’know, saving the world and slaying demons and being a general book-loving badass. If there was such a thing as a perfect love triangle award, this would win every time.
What are your favourite romantic reads? Is there anything that is crying out to be included in this list? Give me your swoon-inducing, book boyfriend/girlfriend-creating recommendations in the comments!