The Horn Book has some fantastic suggestions for YA novels to get you in the Valentine’s Day mood. They’re not “romance” novels, but they all deal with love or heartbreak. A few suggestions of my own:
Dangerous Angels by Francesca Lia Block
When I was in high school, Weetzie Bat had one of my favorite descriptions of a kiss: “A kiss about apple pie a la mode with the vanilla creaminess melting in the pie heat. A kiss about chocolate, when you haven’t eaten chocolate in a year. A kiss about palm trees speeding by, trailing pink clouds when you drive down the Strip sizzling with champagne. A kiss about spotlights fanning the sky and the swollen sea spilling like tears all over your legs.” Swoon! The whole series is fantastic, too, especially in how it looks at love.
Searching for Dragons by Patricia Wrede
The whole Enchanted Forest Chronicles series is fantastic, but this one is a compelling take on the Prince (ahem, King) meets Princess (ahem, (Chief Cook and Librarian to the King of the Dragons) story.
Feeling Sorry for Celia by Jaclyn Moriarty
Mostly a book about friendships, but Moriarty also handles budding romance and heartbreak really well. Elizabeth Clarry gets letters from imaginary organizations like the Young Romance Association telling her she needs to stop being such an embarrassment and get a boyfriend already. Probably one of the most hilarious and relatable novels for teens without a lot of relationship experience.
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
Technically not a YA novel, but it’s about teens at a kind of boarding school, so I think it counts. A great example of a love triangle, with a creepy dystopian backdrop and gorgeous writing.
The Princess Bride by William Goldman
Also technically not a YA novel, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a reason not to put it on a teen reading list. It’s got a dashing pirate, a beautiful princess, a giant, a fencing expert, miracles, an evil prince, an evil-er count, and Rodents of Unusual Size. What more could you want than true love and high adventure?
What are your favorite novels about love?