Romance

Grade Level Interest
M
: Middle School (defined as grades 6-8).
S: Senior High (defined as grades 9-12).
A/YA: Adult-marketed book recommended for teens.

 

Thwonk by Joan Bauer

Imagine having a personal cupid—an actual winged being—pop into your life and offer to make your dreams come true. The catch: he can help you in only one way: artistically, academically, or romantically. That’s what happens to aspiring photographer A.J. McCreary. A.J. knows she should concentrate on getting into a top-notch art school. But she’s spent five torturous months obsessed with handsome hunk, Peter Terris. Just one shot from the cupid’s bow and thownk, A.J. will have the undying devotion of handsome Peter…forever. (M)

 

Megan Meade’s Guide to the McGowan Boys by Kate Brian

Megan is used to moving from place to place – it’s typical for an army brat. But she drew the line at South Korea. So her parents made arrangements for Megan to live with their friends, the McGowans…and the McGowans’ 7 sons. Turns out, living with 7 boys might as well be a foreign country! The boys are messy. They are cliquey (who knew?). And worst of all, two of the oldest boys are H-O-T. (A problem considering they are supposed to be Megan’s “brothers.”) Megan is definitely in enemy territory. She needs to win over the boys’ hearts without totally crushing her own. (S)

 

The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot

Mia Thermopolis is pretty sure there’s nothing worse than being a five-foot-nine, flat-chested freshman, who also happens to be flunking Algebra. Is she ever in for a surprise. First Mom announces that she’s dating Mia’s Algebra teacher. Then Dad has to go and reveal that he is the crown prince of Genovia. And guess who still doesn’t have a date for the Cultural Diversity Dance? (M, S)

 

The Nature of Jade by Deb Caletti

Since being diagnosed with Panic Disorder, Jade is trying her best to stay calm, and visiting the elephants at the nearby zoo seems to help. That’s why Jade keeps the live zoo webcam on in her room, and that’s where she first sees the boy in the red jacket. A boy who stops to watch the elephants. A boy carrying a baby. His name is Sebastian, and he is raising his son alone. Jade is drawn into Sebastian’s cozy life with his son and his activist grandmother on their Seattle houseboat, and before she knows it, she’s in love. Jade knows the situation is beyond complicated, but she hasn’t felt this safe in a long time. She owes it all to Sebastian, her boy with the great heart. Her boy who is hiding a terrible secret. A secret that will force Jade to decide between what is right, and what feels right. (S)

 

The Story of Us by Deb Caletti

Cricket’s on a self-imposed break from her longtime boyfriend—but she’s picked a bad week to sort out her love life. For one thing, her mother’s romance is taking center stage: After jilting two previous fiances, her mom is finally marrying Dan Jax, whom Cricket loves. But as wedding attendees arrive for a week of festivities at a guesthouse whose hippie owners have a sweet, sexy son—Ash— major complications arise. While Cricket fears that Dan is in danger of becoming ditched husband-to-be number three, she’s also alarmed by her own desires. Because even though her boyfriend looms large in her mind, Ash is right in front of her… (S)

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Boy Proof by Cecil Castellucci

Meet Egg. Her real name is Victoria Jurgen, but she’s renamed herself after the kick-ass heroine of her favorite sci-fi movie, TERMINAL EARTH. Like her namesake, Egg dresses all in white, colors her eyebrows, and shaves her head. She always knows the right answers, she’s always in control, and she’s far too busy — taking photos for the school paper, meeting with the Science Fiction and Fantasy Club, and hanging out at the “creature shop” with her dad, the special-effects makeup wizard — to be bothered with friends, much less members of the opposite sex. As far as Egg is concerned, she’s boy proof, and she likes it that way. But then Egg meets a boy named Max, a boy who’s smart and funny and creative and cool…and happens to like Egg. Could this be the end of the world — at least as Egg knows it? (M, S)

 

Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions? (S)

 

Waiting For You by Susane Colasanti

At the beginning of her sophomore year, Marisa is ready for a fresh start and, more importantly, a boyfriend. So when the handsome and popular Derek asks her out, Marisa thinks her long wait for happiness is over. But several bumps in the road—including her parents’ unexpected separation, a fight with her best friend, and a shocking disappointment in her relationship with Derek—test Marisa’s ability to maintain her new outlook. Only the anonymous DJ, whose underground podcasts have the school’s ear, seems to understand what Marisa is going through. But she has no idea who he is—or does she? (M, S)

 

Jason and Kyra by Dana Davidson

Kyra Evans isn’t popular, or a girl who you stare at when you are walking down the hall. So why can’t Jason – basketball star and the hottest guy in school – get her out of his head? Under normal circumstances, Jason and Kyra would live in their separate worlds up until graduation. But fate intervenes and the unlikely duo is paired up for a class project. Kyra soon realizes that Jason is not the dumb jock that she had assumed him to be. And Jason finds himself telling Kyra things he can’t even tell his best friend. As the two become friends and eventually start to fall in love, no one in school can believe it – especially not Jason’s ex, who is determined to break them up. (M, S)

 

Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

When Annabel has a bitter falling out with her best friend—the popular and exciting Sophie—she suddenly finds herself isolated and friendless. But then she meets Owen—a loner, passionate about music and his weekly radio show, and always determined to tell the truth. And when they develop a friendship, Annabel is not only introduced to new music but is encouraged to listen to her own inner voice. With Owen’s help, can Annabel find the courage to speak out about what exactly happened the night her friendship with Sophie came to a screeching halt? (S)

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Romiette and Julio by Sharon M. Draper

When Romiette Cappelle meets Julio Montague, she feels as though she has met her soul mate. But like the Shakespearean characters whose names echo theirs, Romiette and Julio discover that not everyone approves of their budding romance. In their case, it is because Romiette is African-American and Julio is Hispanic, and the Devildogs, a dangerous local gang, violently oppose their interracial relationship. When the Devildogs threaten to teach them a lesson, Romiette and Julio come up with a risky plan to escape from the gang’s fearsome shadow. But things go terribly awry, and the two find themselves caught up in a desperate struggle to avoid the tragic fate of Shakespeare’s famous young lovers. (M, S)

 

Forget You by Jennifer Echols

When Zoey is in a car crash, the next day she can’t remember the entire night before. Did she go parking with Brandon, like she planned? And if so, why does it seem like Brandon is avoiding her? And why is Doug—of all people—suddenly acting as if something happened between the two of them? (S)

 

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

Tough guy Alex is known as a member of the Latino Bloods gang. He’s not thrilled when Brittany, the school’s beauty queen, is assigned as his lab partner—and the feeling is mutual. But Alex’s bravado works against him when he impulsively accepts a bet that he can get Brittany in the sack. (S)

 

Jenna and Jonah’s Fauxmance by Emily Franklin and Brendan Halpin

Charlie Tracker and Fielding Withers are known on their hit TV show as Jenna and Jonah, next-door neighbors flush with the excitement of first love. But it’s their off-screen relationship that has helped cement their fame, as passionate fans follow their every PDA.The only problem is their off-screen romance is one big publicity stunt, and Charlie and Fielding can’t stand to be in the same room. Still, it’s a great gig, so even when the cameras stop rolling, the show must go on, and on, and on…Until the pesky paparazzi blow their cover, and Charlie and Fielding must disappear to weather the media storm. It’s not until they’re far off the grid of the Hollywood circuit that they realize that there’s more to each of them than shiny hair and a winning smile. (M, S)

 

Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden

This is the story of two girls whose friendship blossoms into love and who, despite pressures that threaten them, promise to be true to each other and their feelings. (M, S)

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The Big Crunch by Pete Hautman
Jen and Wes do not “meet cute.” They do not fall in love at first sight. They do not swoon with scorching desire. They do not believe that they are instant soul mates destined to be together forever. This is not that kind of love story. Instead, they just hang around in each other’s orbits…until eventually they collide. And even after that happens, they’re still not sure where it will go. Especially when Jen starts to pity-date one of Wes’s friends, and Wes makes some choices that he immediately regrets. (M, S)

 

Love? Maybe by Heather Hepler

Just because Piper’s birthday is on Valentine’s Day does not mean she’s a romantic. In fact, after watching her father and then her stepfather leave, she’s pretty sure she doesn’t believe in love at all. Then her friends concoct a plan to find them all Valentine’s dates, and somehow Piper finds herself with the most popular guy in school. But true love never follows a plan, and a string of heartfelt gifts from a secret admirer has Piper wondering if she might be with the wrong guy. (M, S)

 

13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson

When seventeen-year-old Ginny receives a packet of mysterious envelopes from her favorite aunt, she leaves New Jersey to criss-cross Europe on a sort of scavenger hunt, following clues left for her inside each little blue envelope. (S)

 

 

First Comes Love by Katie Kacvinsky

Like his name, Gray is dark and stormy. Dylan, a girl always searching for what’s next, seemingly unable to settle down, is the exact opposite: full of light and life. On the outside, they seem like an unlikely couple. But looks can be deceiving and besides, opposites attract. What starts as friendship, turns into admiration, respect and caring, until finally these two lone souls find they are truly in love with each other. But staying in love is not as easy as falling in love. If Dylan and Gray want their love to last, they’re going to have to work at it. And learn that sometimes love means having to say you’re sorry. (S)

 

Keturah and Lord Death by Martine Leavitt

Keturah, renowned for her storytelling, follows a legendary hart deep into the forest, where she becomes hopelessly lost. Her strength diminishes until, finally, she realizes that death is near—and learns then that death is a young lord, melancholy and stern. She is able to charm Lord Death with a story and gain a reprieve, but he grants her only a day, and within that day she must find true love. (M, S)

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And Both Were Young by Madeleine L’Engle

Flip feels like a prisoner when she first arrives at boarding school in Switzerland; her days are strictly scheduled and she never has a minute to herself. She’s constantly surrounded by girls who never stop talking about clothes and boys, making Flip feel lonely, clumsy, and awkward. Then she finds a true friend in Paul. He understands her in a way that no one at school does, and she breaks the rules to spend time with him. But as the two become closer, Flip learns that Paul has a mystery in his past. To help him discover the truth, she must put herself in serious danger. (M)

 
 
Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan

When Paul meets Noah, he thinks he’s found the one. Until he blows it. The school bookie says the odds are 12-to-1 against him getting Noah back, but Paul’s not giving up without playing his love really loud. (M, S)

 

 

Seth Baumgartner’s Love Manifesto by Eric Luper

Seth Baumgartner just had the worst day of his life. His girlfriend dumped him, he spied his father on a date with a woman who is not his mother, and he lost his fourth job of the year. It’s like every relationship he cares about is imploding, and he can’t figure out what’s going on. To find answers, Seth decides to start an anonymous podcast called The Love Manifesto, exploring “what love is, why love is, and why we’re stupid enough to keep going back for more.” (S)

 

Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Amy Curry thinks her life sucks. Her mom decides to move from California to Connecticut to start anew – just in time for Amy’s senior year. Her dad recently died in a car accident. So Amy embarks on a road trip to escape from it all, driving cross-country from the home she’s always known toward her new life. Joining Amy on the road trip is Roger, the son of Amy’s mother’s old friend. Amy hasn’t seen him in years, and she is less than thrilled to be driving across the country with a guy she barely knows. So she’s surprised to find that she is developing a crush on him. At the same time, she’s coming to terms with her father’s death and how to put her own life back together after the accident. (S)

 
 
Beauty by Robin McKinley

Kind Beauty grows to love the Beast at whose castle she is compelled to stay and through her love releases him from the spell which had turned him from a handsome prince into an ugly beast. (M, S)

 

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Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Anna was looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more.  So she’s less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris – until she meets Etienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Etienne has it all…including a serious girlfriend. But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true.  Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss? (S)

 

Bloom by Elizabeth Scott

Lauren has a good life: decent grades, great friends, and a boyfriend every girl lusts after. So why is she so unhappy? It takes the arrival of Evan Kirkland for Lauren to figure out the answer: She’s been holding back. She’s been denying herself a bunch of things because staying with her loyal and gorgeous boyfriend, Dave, is the “right” thing to do. After all, who would give up the perfect boyfriend? But as Dave starts talking more and more about their life together, planning a future Lauren simply can’t see herself in – and as Lauren’s craving for Evan, and moreover, who she is with Evan becomes all the more fierce – Lauren realizes she needs to make a choice…before one is made for her. (S)

 

Mad Love by Suzanne Selfors

When you’re the daughter of the bestselling Queen of Romance, life should be pretty good. But Alice has been living a lie ever since her mother was secretly hospitalized for mental illness. After putting on a brave front for months, time is running out. The next book is overdue, and the Queen can’t write it. Alice needs a story for her mother – and she needs one fast. That’s when she meets Errol, a strange boy who claims to be Cupid, who insists that Alice write about the greatest love story in history: his tragic relationship with Psyche. As Alice begins to hear Errol’s voice in her head and see things she can’t explain, she must face the truth – that she’s either inherited her mother’s madness, or Errol is for real. (M, S)

 

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

Today should be one of the worst days of Hadley Sullivan’s life. Having missed her flight, she’s stuck at JFK airport and late to her father’s second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon-to-be stepmother Hadley’s never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport’s cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he’s British, and he’s sitting in her row. A long night on the plane passes in the blink of an eye, and Hadley and Oliver lose track of each other in the airport chaos upon arrival. Can fate intervene to bring them together once more? (M, S)

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What My Mother Doesn’t Know by Sonya Sones

My name is Sophie. This book is about me. It tells the heart-stoppingly riveting story of my first love. And also of my second. And, okay, my third love too. It’s not that I’m boy crazy. It’s just that even though I’m almost fifteen it’s like my mind and my body and my heart just don’t seem to be able to agree on anything. (M, S)

 

Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen

The first time she saw him, she flipped. The first time he saw her, he ran. That was the second grade, but not much has changed by the seventh. She says: “My Bryce. Still walking around with my first kiss.” He says: “It’s been six years of strategic avoidance and social discomfort.” But in the eighth grade everything gets turned upside down. And just as he’s thinking there’s more to her than meets the eye, she’s thinking that he’s not quite all he seemed. (M)

 

Tutored by Allison Whittenberg

Hakiam Powell and Wendy Anderson are on opposite ends of the spectrum: social spectrum, financial spectrum, opportunity spectrum, you name it. But their divisions never seem sharper than the moment Hakiam steps into the tutoring center and meets Wendy at the front desk. She looks pretentious and uptight; he looks disheveled and disinterested. But for Wendy, Hakiam’s personality is a challenge, and for Hakiam, Wendy’s drive, honesty, and caring ways are fascinating. Both are in need of someone who will listen without judgment and can focus on the things that really matter. (M, S)

 

If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson

15-year-old Jeremiah, who is black and whose parents are separated, and Ellie, who is white and whose mother has twice abandoned her, fall in love and then try to cope with people’s reactions. (M, S)

 

 

Sweethearts by Sara Zarr

As children, Jennifer Harris and Cameron Quick were both social outcasts. They were also one another’s only friend. So when Cameron disappears without warning, Jennifer thinks she’s lost the only person who will ever understand her. Now in high school, Jennifer has been transformed. Known as Jenna, she’s popular, happy, and dating, everything “Jennifer” couldn’t be – but she still can’t shake the memory of her long-lost friend. When Cameron suddenly reappears, they are both confronted with memories of their shared past and the drastically different paths their lives have taken. (S)

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