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Best YA Romance Books

Must Read YA Romance Books

Being a teen is rough, more so being a teen in love. That being said, though, there is nothing quite like that first rush of romance, fresh with possibility. These romance novels all capture just what it’s like to be a teen in love, whether it’s your first, forbidden love like Samantha and Jase in My Life Next Door or a love that just drives you crazy like Kamiyah and Sincere in Amir Abrams’s Crazy Love. Romance is universal. So these stories are set in medieval forests, the Ottoman empire, Paris, London, and even exotic locations like high school. In this list, you’ll find adventure, zombies,, magic, but most of all, you’ll find love.

You’ll find couples that you will root for the moment that they meet, even if they hate each other, because their chemistry is just that compelling. You’ll find character who are made better people or healed because they found something that they needed in the person that they fell for, such as Annabel and Owen in Just Listen. There are bad boys, geek boys, rockers, and pirates, just as there are bad girls, nerdy girls, servants, and princesses. In these stories, you will find love triangles where you can’t pick a side and couples that seem doomed from the start. Sometimes the romance sheds light on other relationships in the character’s life, such as Hadley’s relationship with her father in The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. In other novels, the romance serves to throw the cruelty of society into harsh reality, such as in Lauren Olivier’s Delirium.

Many times, as in most young adult novels, the story deals with the character growing up and realizing the person that they want to be. In YA romance, the relationship is usually the catalyst for this transformation, and it comes with all of the awkwardness and uncertainty of any young love. Whether it takes place in a fairy-tale version of ancient Mongolia, during the zombie apocalypse, or in present-day high school, each of these books has something to offer anyone who is looking to add a little more love into their life. On a side note, these were not in any way rated by the hotness of their respective male leads, though at times, it may seem to have worked out that way.

Even though he is an award-winning author, John Green is a terrible man. I say this, having never met him and actually finding his video blogs quite amusing, but seriously, all of his books make me cry. The Fault in Our Stars is more the rule than the exception. Read this book with a box of tissues handy or two or three, but dont let that scare you off of this amazing book.

The Fault in Our Stars is the story of 16 year old Hazel Grace Lancaster who was diagnosed with terminal thyroid cancer when she was 13. Her parents, thinking that she must be depressed, send her to a support group where she meets and falls in love with Augustus Waters. To say anymore would give away the adventure of their relationship, but be assured this book will have you laughing and sobbing by turns. Both Hazel and Augustus have witty and quirky humor that will make you laugh out loud, and this breaks up some of the books sad parts. Though both characters have cancer, they dont let that define them or their story. This romance is filled with light-hearted sarcastic humor, violent video games, and adventure. Its one of those heart-rending and heart-warming tales that makes you glad to be alive.

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Eleanor and Park is the Printz Award winning novel that tells the love story of two sixteen year olds who couldnt be more different. Eleanor is a big girl with frizzy red hair, crazy clothes, and the unfortunate nickname Big Red. She is new to school, coming home after living with a friend for a year, and rather than see her be bullied by the kids on the school bus, Park, somewhat popular boy, offers her a seat next to him.

At first, Eleanor is suspicious of Parks overtures at friendship, but slowly, the two begin to bond over their shared love of comics and music. Eleanor and Park is a sweet romance that will appeal to older teen readers who are looking for a deeply moving story. It tackles some tough issues like abuse and bullying. Eleanors home life is terrible, which makes the moments on the bus all the more sweet. Everything is heightened in the alternating narration, even hand-holding which is described almost like a sacred moment. The romance between Eleanor and Park is not all sunshine and butterflies either. It is full of all of the awkwardness, insecurity, and self-consciousness of teenage love, which makes this book all the more moving.

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Anna and the French Kiss may as well be called Etienne St. Clair is Hot and Every Girl Wants to Date a Guy Like Him, but that would really be too long of a title. Anna is an American film nut whose father writes sappy, Nicholas-Sparks type novels, and to give his daughter some culture, he sends her off to the School of America in Paris, aka SOAP. Anna, of course, hates the idea. Plus, she has zero French skills. Luckily, when Anna gets to France, she is taken under the wing of her neighbor, Meredith. Meredith introduces Anna to all her friends, including the wonderful Etienne St. Clair.

Hes an American, raised in England, who speaks perfect French with a British accent. Anna is instantly smitten, but unfortunately, shes not alone. Meredith and half the student body of SOAP worship the ground he walks on, and he has an older, perfect girlfriend. As Etienne shows her around Paris, it becomes apparent that he just may like her too. Anna and the French Kiss is completely charming. Its filled with all of the drama and uncertainty of young love. You never know if Anna and Etienne will get together, despite their obvious attraction to one another. Theres plenty of times where youre almost sure that this will be the moment where they finally get together, but then, the rug is pulled out from under you. For all that, there are so many cute moments between Anna and Etienne as their relationship unfolds.

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Sarah Dessen is quite possibly the queen of YA contemporary romance, and one of her best loved couples is Macy and Wes in The Truth about Forever. Another great thing about Sarah Dessens books is that they are never just about the romance. The romance serves as a catalyst for change in the protagonists life. Nowhere is this better seen than in The Truth about Forever. Macy is still grieving the sudden loss of her father, who had a heart attack while jogging. She copes by giving up jogging and imposing rigid rules on herself. She gets a summer job at the library and dates the perfectly organized, perfectly thought out Jason.

Then, Jason breaks up with her in an email while hes attending Brain Camp. Upset, Macy applies for a job at Wish Catering on a whim. She gets it, and it is everything that she is not. The chaos and disorder of Wish and its loveable and wacky cast of characters, including the reformed bad boy and artist, Wes, gradually pull Macy out of her shell and help her to deal with her grief. While The Truth About Forever does explore some hard hitting issues, such as loss of a parent, rigorous expectations, and peer pressure, there are some genuinely adorable and funny moments in there. In short, this is a heart-warming and beautiful book that everyone should read, whether they like romance or not.

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p>The 2010 RITA Award Winner for Best Young Adult Romance, Perfect Chemistry is the first book in the Perfect Chemistry trilogy that followed the love lives of the Fuentes brothers. Perfect Chemistry is your classic Romeo and Juliet story: boy meets girl, both from opposite worlds, both despise each other but end up falling madly in love. Youve read it, but that wont hinder your enjoyment of the book. The story is told in short, alternating chapters from the perspectives of Alex Fuentes and his love interest Brittany Ellis.

Alex and Brittany are paired up as lab partners for the year in chemistry class. At first, Alex sees this as an opportunity to take the popular and perfect Brittany down a peg. He makes a bet with his fellow gang members that she will sleep with him by Thanksgiving. However, as the two spend more and more time together and reveal more about their lives to each other, Alex begins falling for Brittany and she for him. Perfect Chemistry is filled with scorching, swoon-worthy scenes of Alex and Brittanys romance, peppered with some intense action sequences. While the star-crossed lovers plot is something weve all seen before, you cant help but feel for Brittany and Alex even more so because you know whats going to happen next. They are just so real, and they are what make this story shine in a sea of star crossed lovers.

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Just Listen is a relatable story about the transformative power of being honest. Annabel has a seemingly perfect life, but the truth is that her family is struggling to help one of her sisters to overcome an eating disorder, and now, her best friend, Sophie, hates her and has made it her personal mission to make Annabel a social pariah. Annabel is stuck eating lunch with Owen. On the surface, Owen couldnt be more different from Annabel. Hes blunt with a hot temper, whereas Annabel has always tried to play the peacemaker.

At first, they start off eating six feet apart, but as Annabel slowly realizes that Owen is the one person that she can be completely honest with, they begin to grow closer. Just like its main characters, Just Listen has so much more depth than whats on the surface. On the surface, its a love story about opposites attracting and learning from each other, but much deeper, it is about finding a girl finding the courage to start being honest with everyone, most importantly, herself. Not for the youngest in the age group, as there is a scene of attempted rape (this is the impetus for Sophies isolation of Annabel), high schoolers will find this a deeply moving romance that is the key to unlocking a very powerful transformation.

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Cybeles Secret is a companion piece to Marilliers first YA novel, Wildwood Dancing, which is a retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses. In Cybeles Secret, Paula is accompanying her father to Istanbul to serve as his assistant while he tracks down the pagan artifact, Cybeles Gift. Desperate to explore the city, Paula convinces her father to hire a bodyguard named Stoyan to safeguard her through the restricted city. In her travels, Paula attracts the attention of the dashing, pirate Duarte and uncovers clues to the mystery of Cybeles Gift, but she is not the only one who is after the artifact.

This lush, descriptive novel reads with the dream-like quality of a fairy tale, but the search for Cybeles Gift is action-packed with a chase on the high seas and delving into the depths of a mountain. Paula has an enviable problem, having to choose between the ever-practical, but mysterious Stoyan and the dashing pirate. Her witty banter with both of them is a delight to read. The love story that develops is touching and beautiful. Readers of Cassandra Rose Clarkes Assassins Curse will love Cybeles Secret, though bookish Paula is not as street-smart as Ananna. Definitely a must read for anyone that likes pirates, fairy-tales, and nerdy, headstrong heroines.

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Geek Girl reads like a cross between Shes All That and Barry Lygas, The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl. When goth girl Jen bets that she can convert sci-fi nerd Trevor to the dark side, she is thrown for a loop when its she who is changed by spending time with him. Jens voice can be pretty off-putting. Shes a girl who, on the surface, seems to give zero shits about anything, but as the story slowly reveals, she is masking some deep inner pain as she deals with issues that put this novel into the upper YA and possibly new adult category.

Throughout the story, there are some seriously heart-breaking moments, as Jen grows and heals and becomes her own person. Trevor is unfailingly sweet and polite and completely swoon-worthy, even if he is billed as a nerd. Also, in addition to their the Jen and Trevor romance, we see other love stories play out through their relationships with friends and families. There is more to this romance than meets the eye. It is more than just the bad girl is redeemed by the good guy. It is a story of becoming your own person and healing from past hurts. In other words, it is moving as much as it is romantic, for all of us, even the geeks.

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Finalist for the 2013 RITA Award for Best First Book, My Life Next Door is a sweet story of forbidden teen love. From a young age, Samantha Reed has been forbidden by her straight-laced Senator mother from having anything to do with the Garretts, the chaotic family of 10 who lives next door. Secretly, Samantha has always been fascinated by the Garretts, watching them from her balcony. Then, one night, Jase Garrett joins her on the balcony. My Life Next Door dispenses with the will they/wont they question that many YA romance novels use as a device to build tension. Samantha and Jases relationship is less about will they get together and more about how they will remain together even when all odds seem to be against them.

The garrulous Garrett family is a stark contrast to Samanthas regimented life, and it seems to be just what she needs to bring her out of her shell. Definitely for older readers, this YA novel deals with sex in a sensitive and practical way. Even Samantha is shocked by this. There are now rainbows and fireworks here, but plenty of talking about the deed and preparing for it beforehand as well as all the inherent awkwardness that goes with ones first time. Readers will want to spend as much time as they can with not only the dreamy Jase but all of the Garrett family. Fans of Sarah Dessen will not want to miss this sweet story of first love.

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Fans of Ally Condies Matched series will find a lot to love in Delirium, as will fans of Scott Westerfelds Uglies. In Delirium, love is considered a disease that the regimented government has worked hard to wipe out. At age 18, teens are cured of this disease through an invasive surgical procedure. Then, they are paired up to live a happy, loveless life. Lena Holloway is an orphan whose life has been ruined by love, or amor deliria nervosa as it is known in her society. She has only 95 days to go until her procedure and shes cant wait.

That is, until she meets Alex and he challenges everything that she has ever believed about love. Delirium is a thrilling dystopian romance and is the first in the Delirium trilogy. Lena and Alexs forbidden romance is fraught with tension and danger. You will be on the edge of your seat rooting for them as the plot twists and turns toward the final cliffhanger, but this is also a book that makes you think about the nature of love and relationships, not just romances but also family and friendships. It is a story that will haunt you long after the last page has been turned.

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The 2009 RITA award winning, Hell Week is the second installment of Clement-Moores Maggie Quinn: Girl vs. Evil series. In Hell Week, Maggie tries to prove herself as a freshman reporter by going undercover during Rush Week for Sigma Alpha Xi, the most powerful sorority on campus. Maggies sixth-sense soon warns her that all is not what it seems to be in the sorority, and she turns to her friends, and her sort-of, not quite boyfriend, Justin to figure things out. Fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer will eat up this quirky paranormal romance.

Like Buffy, its got a great cast of characters such as D&D nerd Lisa who has been known to dabble in the occult. Of course theres Justin, who is more didactic than dreamy, but still a perfect match for Maggie if they ever actually get together. Maggie, herself, is a snarky heroine in the version of Buffy. Even if you arent a fan of the teen vampire slayer, the themes of the desire for popularity will resonate with any teen audience, as are Maggies juggling of multiple love interests and adjusting to college life. Dont miss this fun, fast-paced novel with plenty of kicking ass as well as kissing.

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From What I Remember is a fast-paced, summery read that is full of wacky adventure. After getting paired up with the class hunk, Max, for an end of the year English assignment, straight-laced valedictorian Kylie finds herself in bed with him in Mexico, on the day of graduation, wearing matching wedding bands. Unfortunately, this is also how his girlfriend, Lily finds them, and its all downhill from there. Told from the perspectives of five of the characters, From What I Remember recounts how exactly Kylie and Max ended up in such strange circumstances.

Its a crazy ride from page one, and though some of the antics may strain credulity, it will have you laughing out loud as Kylie and Max discover their feelings for one another despite how utterly wrong for each other they are. Each character in the story faces amazing growth as they prepare to head into the next chapter of their lives, but its not all just lessons learned and romance blossoming. There are hijacked cars, stolen electronics, snappy one-liners and a sassy gay friend who is one of the best guys in the book. Fans of wacky buddy comedies like The Hangover will not want to miss this hilarious romance.

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The Jessica Darling books are a more sarcastic take on the diary format romance novels. Jessicas best friend Hope has moved away, leaving Jessica to realize that she doesnt really have anyone. She is annoyed by her circle of friends, who in her journal, she dubs The Clueless Crew, her mother is obsessed with helping her older sister plan her wedding, and her dad is on her case about running track. Then, Marcus Flutie starts paying attention to her. Jessica knows that Marcus is not the type of guy that she should be dating, and she knows Hope definitely wouldnt approve, but for some reason, Jessica is drawn to him.

Originally written for a nostalgic adult audience, this book doesnt pull any punches with language or sexuality, but it is written with the pathos that any older high school student will sympathize with. Jessicas predicament of finding her place in the world after her best friend leaves is completely relatable. In her diary, Jessica comes off sometimes as sarcastic and others as whiny as she relates her thoughts and experiences in all of their sometimes very embarrassing glory. Sloppy Firsts reads like the diary of any high school student that you may know, and that is what makes it so charming. Well, that and Marcus. All Ive gotta say there is swoon!

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Winner of the 2011 RITA for Best Young Adult Romance, The Iron King is like a cross between the Labyrinth, Midsummer Nights Dream, and Holly Blacks Modern Faerie Tale series. It is the first book in The Iron Fey series. The Iron King tells the story of Megan Chase who feels like shes invisible. Her stepfather ignores her, and she cant seem to get the attention of the gorgeous football star, Scott. All that changes on her sixteenth birthday when Megans young stepbrother disappears. With the help of her cat, she must journey to the fantastical land of Nevernever to rescue him and discover her destiny and the two handsome fey men who would do anything for her.

This book has a little bit of everything. It is action-packed as Megan tumbles from peril to peril in her quest to discover her true identity and to rescue her brother. The love triangle between the dark and brooding Prince Ash and the mischievous and witty Puck will have you unable to decide which of these two should win Megan over in the end, but it is the world of Nevernever that is utterly captivating. Nevernever is as menacing as it is magical, which adds a touch of creepiness to this paranormal romance. There are some pretty dark and graphic scenes here. So, younger YAs may want to beware, but it is a definite must-read for any high schooler interested in faerie lore and paranormal romance.

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2010 RITA finalist Going Too Far is a twist on the classic story of good girl falls for bad boy. In this, Meg is the bad girl who falls hard for a really good guy. Seventeen year old Meg and her friends are drunk and high and hanging out on an old railway bridge where a couple died in a terrible accident years ago. The Spring Break party is busted up by Officer John After who has made it his goal in life to keep the bridge safe. As punishment, each of the teens is assigned to ride-along with rescue workers to learn what might have happened to them.

Meg is stuck riding along with Officer After. The tension between them is electric, and so are the secrets that they keep hidden from each other and the rest of the world. Though this book deals with some heavy issues, it is not a coming-of-age story or an issue book, this is a straight up romance. The chemistry between Meg and John is sizzling, starting at first with outright contempt but as layers of each character are revealed developing into something much deeper. For older teens looking for a scorching and deeply emotional romance, and for anyone who loves a man in uniform, check out Going Too Far.

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Book of 1000 Days is a retelling of the Grimm tale, Maid Maleen, that combines a beautiful love story with themes of classism. Dashti is trapped in a tower for seven years with Lady Saren after the Lady has refused to marry Lord Khasar. Food is running scarce; Lord Khasar has come and threatened the girls, and the only ray of hope that the girls see is when Khan Tegus, Lady Sarens true love, visits. Saren convinces Dashti to pretend to be her when speaking to Tegus. Dashti, a mucker girl by birth balks but obeys. When their situation becomes truly grim, Dashti finds a way to escape the tower, and both girls flee to Khan Teguss realm.

Once again, Saren convinces Dashti to portray her, but this time, its much more dangerous. Told in a journal by Dashti, Book of 1000 Days chronicles her adventures with Saren, her thoughts and dreams, as well as her growing attraction to the swoon-worthy Khan Tegus. When they arrive at the kingdom, Khan Tegus already has a new fiancee, and though it pains her, Dashti is somewhat relieved because she believes that class differences will separate her from the Khan anyway. Dashti is so brilliant and resourceful and heartfelt that you cant help but root for her even when all odds seemed stacked against her. Its a beautiful retelling, and a moving romance, especially for anyone who likes star-crossed lovers but is tired of the Romeo and Juliet storyline.

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Fans of both historical romance and paranormal romance will love Born Wicked. It is the first of the Cahill Witch Chronicles and tells the story of Cate Cahill who would do anything for her sisters. In her alternate history world where women are persecuted as witches by the sinister Brotherhood, that means a lot because Cate and her sisters are witches. As Cates seventeenth birthday approaches, she must make a difficult decision: choose a husband or join the Sisterhood. Neither of these choices are appealing if it means leaving her sisters to fend for themselves.

Then, Cate falls for their handsome, bookish gardener, Finn Belastra, and choosing him would be the most dangerous of all. Seriously, wouldnt all of us like to be Cate? Not in the witch, scared of being hunted down aspect of course, but in the enviable position of having two incredibly awesome men vying for our attention? Cates sisters definitely feel the jealousy, particularly Maura who makes it clear exactly what she thinks Cate should do. Unfortunately for Cate, its not even a love triangle. While her childhood friend Paul, now a handsome architect, is constantly flirting with her. It is clear that her heart lies with Finn. Finn is completely drool-worthy. Hes bookish, but also fiercely protective and world-wise. The only obstacle is her duty to her sisters and the fear of their discovery. You will be rooting for Finn and Cate, hoping that they find a way to make it in their oppressive society.

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This post-apocalyptic zombie romance is not for the faint of heart. A 2012 RITA award winning novel, Enclave is the first in the Razorland series. In it, fifteen year old, Deuce is determined to become the best huntress in her enclave. When shes partnered with Fade, the best hunter in the enclave with a fearsome reputation, shes intimidated, but shes not about to let that show. As the partners spend more time together, protecting their home from clever, fast-moving zombies called Freaks, she begins to care for him, maybe more than she should for a hunting partner.

Then, shes accused of a crime that she did not commit and exiled to the world above her underground home. It seems like her partnership with Fade is at an end until he does the unthinkable. Deuce is completely kick-ass, but shes got a streak of protectiveness in her. She looks out for her friends in the enclave as well as Tegan, a girl from the topside who cant protect herself. The world in which Deuce lives is bleak and cruel, but it is the relationships between the character that will draw you in. The romance between Deuce and Fade has a wonderful, slow build up as they gradually learn to trust each other and reveal bits of themselves to each other. Fans of The Walking Dead will appreciate that the focus of Enclave is on the human drama instead of the zombies.

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Keturah and Lord Death is a romantic, dark fairy tale that calls to mind the Greek myth of Persephone and the stories of Scheherezade. When Keturah follows a deer into the forest, she becomes lost for three days. She feels like death is upon her. Dark and mysterious, Lord Death comes for her, and hes nothing like she expects him to be, but Keturah is not ready to die just yet. She hasnt lived her dream or found true love, and so, she weaves Lord Death a tale that convinces him to give her a one-day reprieve.

If she can find her true love in one day, Lord Death will spare her. If not, she must consent to be his bride. With the help of her two best friends and a charm from a witch, Keturah sets about finding her true love, but true love is never where you look for itReaders will be captivated and transported to the medieval forests where the story takes place. Keturah, the narrator of the story is a gifted storyteller who ensnared Death, after all. A 2008 White Pine award winner and finalist for the National Book Award in 2006, Keturah and Lord Death is a captivating and beautiful story about true love and growing up.

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With a title like The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight and the fact that this book takes place over a 24 hour period, it seems like this is going to be a book full of insta-love, but that assumption would only be mildly correct. Hadley is traveling to London for the second marriage of her father. Shes pretty pissed about the whole thing and accidentally-on-purpose misses her flight by four minutes. Those four minutes change her life! When she is placed on another flight, she finds that she is sitting next to Oliver. Oliver is the most perfect, conscientious Brittish boy who puts her at ease despite her flying jitters.

The two form an instant connection. While this story is sweet and adorable and everything that you want from a romance novel, its not saccharine or too cute for several reasons. First, the book deals with some serious issues from Hadleys issues with her father to Olivers story. Second, the characters form an instant connection, but there are no undying vows of love. This is not Romeo and Juliet. Its just a sweet story about the beginnings of love, kind of like the movie Love Actually, which also started in an airport. That being said, before you jet off to find the love of your life, pick up this touching romance.

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Crazy Love is a novel about relationships and just how sour that they can go. Kamiyah is a great student at her arts school with ambitions to attend Juilliard. Then, at a party, she meets a college freshman named Sincere. The two hit it off and begin a relationship, which becomes the most all-consuming thing in Kamiyahs life. Soon, shes blowing off school and friends and getting into arguments with her parents. Shes texting Sincere all the time, stalking him both on Facebook and in real life, and threatening his female friends.

At times, Kamiyahs behavior is reminiscent of Obsessed or Fatal Attraction for the teen set, but this really is a moving story. At first, Kamiyah seems selfish and bratty and unlikable. As her relationship progresses, and she takes her cues from her sisters rules for being in a relationship, she actually gets full-on crazy, but all of this makes her journey that much more poignant and believable. The romance, here, does not take center stage, but instead, this is a story of a self-absorbed teen girl, learning to function in a relationship. Its an important lesson for teens to learn, and Crazy Love is a gripping crash course.

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2001 Printz Honor book, Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging was adapted into a movie in 2008. It is the 14 year old version of Bridget Joness Diary. Angus, Thongs, and Full-Fontal Snogging chronicles Georgias obsession with Robbie, the local grocers son and supposed sex-god. With her friend Jas, she attends his concerts, frequents the grocery store, and does everything in her power to win him from his girlfriend, Lindsay, the head girl of Georgias school.

Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging is the first in the Confessions of Georgia Nicolson series which follows the journals of a 14 year old girl and all her worries about family, beauty, and of course, boys. Georgia is snarky and dramatic. Her diary contains not only the story of her quest to win Robbie but also all of her worries about her looks and her feelings about her family. Any teenager will relate with her troubles, such as where to put your hands when youre kissing. Adults will laugh out loud at Georgias misadventures, and cringe to remember how awkward it was to be a teenager. If you like your romance with a lot of laughs, the Confessions of Georgia Nicolson series is for you.

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Nick and Norahs Infinite Playlist is a wild ride from the moment that Nick asks a reluctant Norah to be his girlfriend for five minutes to its stunning conclusion. Told in alternating chapters, it is the story of Nick OLeary who is a straight rocker in a queercore band who is having difficulty getting over his recently ex-girlfriend Tris, and Norah Silverberg, the daughter of a powerful record exec who has just gotten out of a rather controlling relationship with her boyfriend Tal. When Nicks ex-girlfriend walks in with a new guy, Nick asks Norah to pose as his girlfriend. Norah, who has no love for Tris, kisses him, and thus begins a crazy adventure through the New York music scene.

In this quick read (its less than 200 pages), Nick and Norah are so well realized that you cant help but falling in love with them and rooting for them. Even the side characters are well-painted. Tris, who could be the stereotypic mean girl, comes off as human and in a way, relatable. The story is fast paced and wacky, but not so frenetic that you miss out on the important moments of Nick and Norahs developing relationship. Definitely a book for older readers, as our savvy couple gets into adult situations, and there is liberal dropping of the f-bomb, but a must-read for anyone who enjoys love, music, and identifies with the need to let go of the past in order to find your future.

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Eyes Like Stars, the first in the Theatre Illuminata trilogy, is many love stories wrapped up in one beautiful fantasy. It is the story of Beatrice Shakespeare Smith. Beatrice was raised in the Theatre Illuminata and pals around with the characters from various plays. Unfortunately for Beatrice, she is always at odds with the Stage Manager, and after her latest upset, the Theater Manager has given her a directive, maker herself invaluable to the theater or find a new home. Beatrice sets about attempting to adapt Hamlet to prove that she can be a Director, but strange things begin to upset the play. Is the mysterious and beautiful Ariel behind the sabotage? So, I know, at first glance, this doesnt look like a romance.

It looks like a fantasy some drama and mystery thrown in, but its not. The love triangle between Beatrice and Ariel and Nate will have you constantly switching sides as to which handsome lad should win the fair maidens heart. Ariel is the ultimate bad boy, smooth, sexy, and manipulative, but for good reason, he just wants to be free. Nate is the ruggedly handsome yet practical pirate who always tries to steer Beatrice in the right direction. As if thats not enough, the entire series seems to be a love letter to literature and drama and the theater. There are other romances in these books, some that do not necessarily involve Beatrice, but to say anymore would give these wonderful books away.

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Matched is kind of like a cross between The Giver and Romeo and Juliet, with a forbidden romance that leads its main character to question the status quo. When a mistake matches Cassia with two boys, her best friend Xander and an Aberration named Ky, Cassia begins to question the Society which governs every decision in her world and is never supposed to make a mistake. As Cassia and Ky grow closer, she begins to realize the flaws in her world and that to change it, she will risk everything. For fans of dystopian fiction that want something a little more romantic than the Hunger Games, Matched is the perfect answer.

There is a built-in love triangle due to the Societys mix-up, but theres also plenty of danger as Cassia begins to challenge the accepted practices of the Society. Sci-fi and dystopia fans may see a lot of familiar devices being used, but the truth is, you wont care as you follow Cassia through her journey because Cassia and her family and friends all seem so real. Because this is a trilogy, Matched will leave you wanting more. So, be sure to pick up Crossed and Reached in order to avoid Cassia withdrawals.

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