Awesome alternative Valentine’s Day reads

Not feeling Valentine’s Day this year, or perhaps any year? Maybe you’re not into the commercialisation of telling people you love them, would rather go out for dinner with your Mum or spend the evening in watching Netflix with absolutely no mention of heart-shaped chocolates or confessing your undying love to your secret crush.

Basically, is this you?


For me, Valentine’s Day is a bit of a non-starter. I’m not a teddy bear kind of girl, and I tell the important people in my life that I love them all the time. Whether you hate Valentine’s Day in general or you’re just not feeling the ooey-gooey, lovey-dovey vibes this year, this list has lots of awesome Valentine’s Day reads that celebrate all of the love in our lives every day of the year, romantic or nah.

Recommendations from Bookshelves & Biros:

What’s A Girl Gotta Do? (The Spinster Club #3) by Holly Bourne

There’s a little bit of romance in this book, but What’s A Girl Gotta Do? by Holly Bourne is really about the bond between friends and how our interests and passions can be just as fulfilling and satisfying as our relationships. This is a love story, but not in the traditional sense. It’s about leaning on our friends, learning to love ourselves (even with all of our contradictions and flaws) and finding joy and purpose in the things we do outside of our relationships: the things that make us us. 

Matilda by Roald Dahl

Matilda is one of Roald Dahl’s best-loved and most famous books, and for good reason. The story of a super-smart young girl with a talent for telekinesis and truly awful parents, Matilda shows us all that true love and affection doesn’t always have to come from our families or relationships. Sometimes our friends and the people outside of our blood relations become our real families, and Matilda’s wonderfully sweet and honest relationship with Miss Honey, a teacher who celebrates her for everything she is, makes this book one of my all time favourites.

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White 

Usually dog is man’s best friend, but in E.B. White’s classic middle grade novel, it’s all about Wilbur the pig. Love can come from the most unlikely of places, and I can’t think of many books that celebrate the joy and tenderness of true friendship in a better way than Charlotte’s Web. Also, gotta appreciate a spider who has such a vast vocabulary, right?

Recommendations from some of my wonderful book blogger friends:

Amanda at Cover2CoverMom suggests…

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

“A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman has many different themes, but friendship is a big part of this book.  Ove, a curmudgeon is mourning the loss of his wife when he gets a set of new neighbors.  Ove is very stringent and thrives on order and routine.  When a pregnant “foreign woman,” her clumsy husband, and two daughters show up on his doorstep, it is safe to say that Ove is thrown for a loop.  It isn’t long before Parvaneh and her family force their way into Ove’s life and heart.  I love how A Man Called Ove shows us that friends can show up very unexpectedly in our lives and fill a void in our lives that we didn’t realize we had.”

The One-In-A-Million Boy by Monica Wood

“The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood includes the unlikely friendship between an 104-year-old woman and a 11-year-old boy.  Neither one has many friends as Ona has outlived many of her friends and the boy struggles to relate to other children his age.  There is just something so sweet about their relationship.  Both got so much out of their relationship.  This is a very heartwarming read.  The One-in-a-Million Boy teaches us that we are never too old to make a new friend.”

The Summer That Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel

“The Summer That Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel is about a boy named Fielding who befriends “the devil.”  Do I have your attention now?  Good!  This book tackles so many tough topics like racism, homophobia, domestic violence, child abuse, etc. but it also includes a beautiful friendship between Fielding and Sal. Sal teaches Fielding a great many things over the course of their friendship, and Fielding’s life will never be the same.  The Summer That Melted Everything highlights the fact that some friendships can impact the rest of our lives.”

Jess at The Mud and Stars Book Blog recommends…


Wild by Cheryl Strayed

“Cheryl Strayed’s memoir, about her experience of hiking the Pacific Crest trail, all by herself, after hitting rock bottom, is my pick. It’s a gripping, emotional read about an awesome lady facing an enormous challenge, and kicking ass on her own! It’s one of those life-changing books which makes you feel empowered, inspired, and fills you with hope.”

Bonus alternative V-Day recommendations to bolster your ever-growing TBR

Featuring unlikely friendships, man’s best friend, family ties, unbreakable bonds, girl power, self-love and lust for life, these books are your go-to for awesome non-gushy Valentine’s Day reading.

  • The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling (DUH)
  • Winnie The Pooh by A.A. Milne
  • Skellig by David Almond
  • Unbecoming by Jenny Downham
  • The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
  • Watership Down by Richard Adams
  • Vicky Angel by Jacqueline Wilson
  • The Help by Kathryn Stockett
  • A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
  • Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
  • The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants by Ann Brashares

Which books do you turn to celebrate love in all of its different forms? Let me know all in the comments!

Also, a huge thanks to Amanda and Jess for sharing their recommendations for alternative, non-romantic Valentine’s Day books with me! If you don’t already follow them, what are you waiting for? They’re both seriously great, trust me.




24 thoughts on “Awesome alternative Valentine’s Day reads

  1. I love your list for this topic Sammie. I’m not a massive fan of Valentine’s Day, it’s always just been another day of the year for me, and I’ll be spending it reading (in between working like I do everyday). I’m actually going to be starting More Happy Than Not tomorrow, not sure how appropriate that is for a Valentine’s Day read but I’ve heard some amazing things about it.
    Some of these books are favourites of mine. Obviously I feel it’s well known I love Harry Potter by now, but A Monster Calls is an absolutely amazing book, same with the Series of Unfortunate Events books! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is such a lovely post, Sammie! I’m not big on Valentine’s Day either, I feel like it’s a very commercial day and just like you, I tell people I love them a lot and I don’t really need this day to do it ahah. I really enjoyed all of these recommendations! I haven’t read anything by Holly Bourne but have seen a couple of great reviews about it – maybe I should try out this series? 🙂
    I also need to read A Monster Calls, but…one part of me feels like I’ll never be ready for all the feels of this book hahaha.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Marie! 🙂 For sure – I totally agree! Yeah you should totally give the Spinster Club books a go, they are so utterly brilliant and very realistic. Hahaha I don’t think anyone could ever be ready for the feels of that book! It’s beautiful but sooooo weepy! I hope you love it if you pluck up the courage. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great list, Sammie! I haven’t read a good number of them, but I think I’ll have to add quite a few to my TBR. So glad you mentioned Matilda. It’s definitely my favorite Roald Dahl and The One-In-A-Million Boy sounds really sweet and heart-warming. It’s definitely a departure from what I’d normally read but the premise sounds too good to pass up. And I’ve got to get my hands on When A Monster Calls. I’ve heard so many good things about it. Thanks for sharing, my friend ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Eek! It turned out so good! I feel so honored that you asked me to collaborate with you on this. I feel like such an ass for just now reading this. Feel free to blame Disney World lol

    Matilda! How did I NOT think about Matilda and Miss Honey!


  5. Love this post Sammie! Yay for WAGGD being top of your list! I absolutely ADORE Mathilda too – I always watch the movie every Christmas, for some reason it has become a bit of a tradition. I don’t think I have ever read Charlotte’s Web, although maybe it would help me overcome my arachnophobia. I am definitely interested now I know one of the characters is a pig – I loooove pigs 🙂 I’m glad to see The Help on your list too, I’m reading it at the moment and really enjoying it. It’s been sat on my shelf for years and I never got round to picking it up. Loving Amanda’s suggestions too – I am really excited to pick up The Summer That Melted Everything. I’ve got it on my Kindle waiting!


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