Hey everyone! So I was recently thinking about how I’m trying to introduce you guys to all these amazing Romance writers and their books, but then it occurred to me that there might be some YA romances out there that aren’t as well known that maybe we should be talking about. So we’re going to take a look at some that I very much enjoyed that I think maybe might have missed your notice.
Anything by Emma Mills
Ok, if you haven’t read any of Emma Mills novels, I tell you, you are missing out. I’ve read three of her novels and enjoyed each one. I think my favorite was probably First & Then, which is billed as a mix between Pride and Prejudice and Friday Night Lights. Devon is in love with her best friend, but then there’s this do-no-wrong dude named Ezra who keeps popping up and he’s like, annoyingly perfect to Devon’s averageness and I thought it was a lot of fun. Also, all of Mills’s books have this abstract cover art and I think it’s freaking awesome.
Meet Cute: An Anthology
I don’t read a lot of anthologies, but this is super cute if you’re just looking for quick little romance fixes. It has a number of short stories by authors you’re probably familiar with: Katie Cotugno, Jennifer L. Armentrout, Nicola Yoon, Nina LaCour, Emery Lord, Katharine McGee, and more. I happened to put in my review of this book some of my favorite short stories in this and, if I’m not mistaken, I think the best ones were the first one by Katie Cotugno and the last one by Nicola Yoon. Yoon’s was so stellar I’m telling you, I still haven’t forgotten it and I still want it turned into a full fledged novel. Even if you only pick it up to read a few of these, it’s worth it.
The Leaving Season by Cat Jordan
We keep talking in a lot of these books about the blush of first love, the happiness and elation. But sometimes, that’s not what love is. And that’s what keeps drawing me back to this book. Middie’s boyfriend, Nate, is graduating high school and leaving her behind while he goes to take a gap year volunteering in Central America. The plan is that when he gets back, they’ll start college together. But tragedy throws Middie’s world upside down and she’s lost in it. The only person who seems to understand just how lost she is is Nate’s best friend, Lee, a guy Middie has never gotten along with–until now. And Lee might be the only person who helps her find herself once more. It’s sad, but it’s also hopeful. And every now and then, I need something like this.
On the Spectrum by Jennifer Gold
I will never not hype this book. I discovered it at the library once, only picking it up because there were Eiffel Towers on the cover and that meant it had something to do with France. But it’s so good. Clara’s mother is a ballerina, so Clara has never felt good about her own body. After a social media disaster, she goes to stay with her estranged dad in Paris–and helping to take care of her six-year-old half-brother Alistair, who is on the autism spectrum. Together, Alistair and Clara learn about each other and Clara learns a little about love in the City of Lights. Clara’s problems felt incredibly real. She was far from perfect and everyone knows it. That’s part of her issues–she isn’t perfect like her mother, no matter what she does or doesn’t eat. (Eating disorders are kind of a thing in this book.) But it’s Paris! And the characters are just so sweet and awesome. I will never not recommend this.
Anything by Jessi Kirby
Oh my God, how have we not talked about Jessi Kirby yet?? That’s just a crime, I tell you. Jessi Kirby is an amazing writer who infuses a great deal of like, wisdom and philosophy into her books. She’s on the same end of the scale as Sarah Dessen when it comes to learning about life from her books while still being thoroughly entertained. But of her books, my absolute favorite and the one you have to take a look at is Things We Know by Heart. In it, Quinn’s boyfriend dies in an accident their junior year. Quinn’s absolutely broken by it. As a way to move forward, she tries to find the people who received his organs after his death. She feels like if she can find a piece of Trent in them, then she’ll be ok because there’s a part of him still alive and in the world. But Quinn has to go outside the system to track down Colton Thomas, the recipient of her boyfriend’s heart. What starts as an “accidental” meeting soon turns into something more, and Quinn’s secrets are piling up. I adore this story so much, you guys. It’s heartbreaking and devastating and real. It hit me in the feels. Hard.
Ok, I’ll stop there for today. (Maybe we’ll revisit this again, but with non-contemporary romance titles?) What are some love stories you feel like are desperately underrated? Let me know! I’m always looking for new recommendations!