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Katallina
08-04-2011, 11:28 AM
In the last few days there have been some interesting discussions that I think all tie back to the presence of romance in YA, either as a main or sub plot. (Examples: Designated Love Interest in YA (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=220027), Does "I Love You" Mean That Much Anymore? (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=220761), What Makes Romance in YA Work? (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=220447))

It's been fun hearing the variety of opinions that everyone has about these topics. But it does bring up a new question: which books have lead us to our opinions in the first place?

I took a look at the Get Yer YA Recommendations Here (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=213055) thread, and there are a lot of good suggestions on it. I am also aware that there are many books on that list that do have romance in them. But as I went through the lists this evening, planning to do some shopping, I realized I needed to search every one of them on Amazon to see whether they had the key ingredient (romance) that I was looking for.

Here's what I want to know:

What YA books you feel have the best romances, and why?

The why is important. Do you care about happy ever after? Realism? The 'healthiness' of the relationship? The pacing of the relationship? How the relationship effects (or does not effect) the plot? You don't have to answer all of these. They are just a few potential things that might get you thinking.

Any genre is up for discussion. Love can happen anywhere and to anyone.

I think that the discussions at the top of the page illustrate two things that (I hope) we can all agree on:

(1) Writing romance -- and the things that lead to it -- is not easy.

(2) People tend to have vary different opinions on how romance should be depicted in fiction, especially YA.

We are constantly advised that if you want to write, you should read. I constantly hear people complaining that romance in YA is messed up again and again. So let's do something about it. Let's put our heads together and develop a list of books that (hopefully!) get it "right".*

*This is a big part of why I am suggesting you share your "why". There is no way we will all agree which books provide good quality romance within YA because people's tastes are different. By sharing "why", that decision can hopefully be made by those viewing the list so that we don't end up with a ton of disagreements. (Love can be such a touchy subject.)

Jehhillenberg
08-04-2011, 11:45 AM
The first book that pops into my head at the moment is TWO-WAY STREET by Lauren Barnholdt. I fell in love with this book when I read it a couple of years ago. Romance isn't the biggest thing in it, but this is the most modern depiction of a teenage relationship that I completely love. I don't agree with the ending at all or the reason behind why this couple "can't" be together. But it's a really good read. Light. It shows two people who obviously care about each other and it's not perfect. The relationship and "romance" between the two MCs comes naturally and unexpectedly. This book boosted my fixation with relationships.

I've read other YA books with the love and romance plot line and I shall return when they come to mind. :)

Lady Ice
08-04-2011, 08:59 PM
Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman. In fact, the whole trilogy is pretty good, and it's one of the few YA books that I still read now. It's set in a dystopian world troubled by racism- except the twist is that black people are the ruling class and white people are the 'blankers', the lowest. Sephy, the prime minister's daughter, falls in love with her childhood friend Callum, who is white. The book is told from multiple POV (not just Sephy and Callum's, but their relatives) and spans roughly a ten-year period.

Becca C.
08-05-2011, 06:33 AM
I recommend this book so often that I feel like a broken record, but Anna and the French Kiss FTW. I found it to be so, so realistic. I can totally relate to the feeling of meeting someone, thinking about them all the time, getting butterflies in your stomach every time you see them. And, unlike a lot of YA romances, they don't admit their mutual feelings and they don't kiss until almost the end of the book. The buildup takes a long time, but it's full of that "omg omg omg does he like me?!" that I've experienced so often. Reading it, for me, was like having a crush. You root for Anna so hard that when she and the hot guy get together, it feels like you and the hot guy get together.

Ahhhh, I just love this book so much :)

AuburnAssassin
08-05-2011, 06:34 AM
What Becca C said.

wandergirl
08-05-2011, 07:43 AM
I'm gonna third Anna and the French Kiss, and add its first companion book, Lola and the Boy Next Door (out this fall). Steph Perkins's books are full of heart and humor -- I grinned like a crazy person half the time I was reading them -- but they also contain a lot more depth than their covers & titles might suggest.

Also Jellicoe Road. Jonah Griggs FTW.

Linds
08-05-2011, 08:36 AM
This doesn't fit into what I think of as contemporary YA that's been written in the past 5-10 years or so, but I have a soft spot for Robin McKinley's "Beauty" (it was always shelved in YA at my library).

I'm a sucker for fairytale retellings and this book does it well. The best part is that the time the main character spends at the castle has weight and it's not Disney's 'love at first sight/in two days'. The romance is there, but from my memory, it's more of a slow build.

wandergirl
08-05-2011, 09:14 AM
I am also a fan of the slow build. my poor characters! but the payoff contains more fireworks.

Katallina
08-05-2011, 10:41 AM
Romance from any genre is welcome. I'll have to take a look at Beauty. I love fairy tale re-tellings and Beauty and the Beast is my favorite fairy tale. :D

I thought that the way feelings were used in The Hunger Games was very interesting. I've only read the first book (need to quit stalling and get moving on the other two) so I don't want to say this is good quality Romance. But it is interesting and by the end I felt very sorry for Peeta. (I won't go into that again; I cried a river in the "What are you reading?" thread already.)

I enjoyed the first three books in the Vampire Academy series. I don't necessarily think that Rose and Dmitri are the pinnacle of True Love, but it was interesting. Alas, the fourth book is really really slow and I haven't finished it. So I don't know how their story turns out or whether I am satisfied with it.

I love the House of Night series. Zoey annoys me utterly, but I adore Stevie Rae and Rephaim. I love any book where we see a villain redeemed by having feelings for someone. Despite other flaws with this series, I keep reading because I care how their story ends. (Odd, I know.)

I added Anna and the French Kiss to my list. It's strange ... I don't think I've ever picked up a contemporary book by choice before. I usually read urban fantasy or paranormal romance. I like what I've heard about Anna and the French Kiss, though. So I'm looking forward to that.

Does anyone have any thoughts on Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles? I was thinking of getting that, too.

Anyway, this is proving interesting and helpful. :)

Shady Lane
08-05-2011, 01:28 PM
BROKEN RECORD: The Ruby Oliver series by E. Lockhart and The Year of Secret Assignments by Jaclyn Moriarty. They make you REALLY care about the girls, so you want whatever they want. And they want the boys. So.

strawberryblondie
08-05-2011, 01:32 PM
Does anyone have any thoughts on Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles? I was thinking of getting that, too.

I love Perfect Chemistry. I actually wrote a blog post awhile back about how much I love her books.

mickeyDs4
08-05-2011, 02:46 PM
It's a three way tie for me with This Lullaby, The Truth About Forever and Along for the Ride all by Sarah Dessen. I really root for Remy, Macy and Auden and their boys Dexter, Wes and Eli. Each is well-rounded with real problems they face. They fight, they're stubborn and I just love them.

vfury
08-05-2011, 03:13 PM
Echoing Anna and the French Kiss and Jaclyn Moriarty. I also loved The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson, with grief and romance intertwined with beautiful writing. I'm planning to reread it next month.

BethMac
08-05-2011, 03:46 PM
I am such a romance junkie! I thinks its what I'm destined to write. Adult or YA. Some people just have a thing I guess. I agree with most all the contemp recc's. I have read almost all of them. I would add Jennifer Echols although some might argue that she gets bad romancey--I thinks she's pretty realistic. Life's not always pretty. I'm reading her new one Love Story right now and its pretty good. I'll let you know when I'm done. Its funny cuz its about a two people writing about each other in a creative writing class LOL And its a freshman year in college YA. So- interesting.

Harper K
08-05-2011, 07:04 PM
I might be alone on this one, but my favorite romance stories are the ones where the romance is awkward and verv very subtle and difficult to come by.

My favorites in this vein are Natalie Standiford's How To Say Goodbye in Robot (I can hardly type the title without getting teary. Gah!) and Pete Hautman's The Big Crunch.

(I will admit to reading a more sweeping romance every now and then. I'll echo vfury's love for The Sky Is Everywhere. Gorgeous.)

Lady Ice
08-05-2011, 07:50 PM
I love the House of Night series. Zoey annoys me utterly.

I hate Zoey. Doesn't she have three boyfriends at one point and goes sniffing after her teacher? Let's hope the female readers aren't too impressionable!

adktd2bks
08-05-2011, 08:37 PM
Agree with Anna and the French Kiss. I also really loved the romance angle in Jellicoe Road. It wasn't the focus of the book, but it was very realistic and beautifully written. It's also one of the best instances I know of where the couple dislikes each other at first, yet it didn't feel overly dramatic or "staged" in some way. It also left me thinking that if these were real people and at some point in the future they were to break up, that they would still be there for each other.

Chumala
08-05-2011, 10:22 PM
Twilight

Why?

Because the NYT Best Sellers list says so.

Katallina
08-05-2011, 11:23 PM
I hate Zoey. Doesn't she have three boyfriends at one point and goes sniffing after her teacher? Let's hope the female readers aren't too impressionable!

Yes, that happened in Chosen. I realized very early on that Zoey is not as bright as your average brown bear. I like the couple I listed in my first post, I like the fact that the 'nice' teacher ends up becoming the villain (I did not see that coming going from book one to book two -- I bought one and two together for some reason) and I like Aphrodite. She's obnoxious but she'amuses me.

Also definitely agree that I'd be disturbed if anyone easily swayed by what they see in a book / game / movie / etc. read these. Zoey is not role model material.

HoN is only getting mentioned because of Stevie Rae and Rephaim, who represent the theme of a 'villain' being redeemed through love.

Becca C.
08-06-2011, 03:43 AM
My favorites in this vein are Natalie Standiford's How To Say Goodbye in Robot (I can hardly type the title without getting teary. Gah!)

YES. This book is AMAZING.

I loved it because it's not a romance. Not in the conventional sense. Jonah and Beatrice never really have lovey-dovey feelings for each other, they never kiss, they never hook up. But their connection is a hundred times deeper than that of many romantic couples.

missesdash
08-06-2011, 05:07 AM
What's odd is that I don't really like romance, and never set out to write it, and I ended up with this giant romantic MS. I guess I'm crossing over to the dark side. Maybe I'll read Anna and the French Kiss, since people seem to love it so much. I looked for an excerpt online, but couldn't find one.

Is it very sappy?

thebloodfiend
08-06-2011, 05:11 AM
What's odd is that I don't really like romance, and never set out to write it, and I ended up with this giant romantic MS. I guess I'm crossing over to the dark side. Maybe I'll read Anna and the French Kiss, since people seem to love it so much. I looked for an excerpt online, but couldn't find one.

Is it very sappy?

I only know one person, besides myself, who disliked it. It's fluffy and kind of formulaic IMO. Google has it on preview.

http://books.google.com/books/reader?id=uIjl2YVrV6AC&printsec=frontcover&output=reader&source=gbs_atb&pg=GBS.PP1

missesdash
08-06-2011, 05:18 AM
I wonder if it would lose it's appeal because I live in Paris. A lot of the reviews are "swooooon paris" and "swooon french boys" and I kinda dislike both.

The preview isn't available for me for some reason

Becca C.
08-06-2011, 05:19 AM
Is it very sappy?

I have a well-tuned sap detector, and it didn't go off at all while I was reading Anna. I found it... I can't find the word, but it just made me giddy and happy, not cringe-y at all.

Smish
08-06-2011, 05:21 AM
GRAFFITI MOON, by Cath Crowley.

Best YA romance EVER.

Love, love, love, love, love that book.

thebloodfiend
08-06-2011, 05:31 AM
I wonder if it would lose it's appeal because I live in Paris. A lot of the reviews are "swooooon paris" and "swooon french boys" and I kinda dislike both.

The preview isn't available for me for some reason

It might just be licensed in the US. Have you tried the Amazon preview? Or, if you want, I could send you the first few pages in a PM. Maybe screenshot them to see if you want to purchase it? I think that's fair. I did review it on GR and my review was less than nice.


Graffiti Moon is on my to-reads. I have an e-ARC from netgalley but I'm trying (and failing) to finish Wanderlove first. From the reviews I've read, Wanderlove has a pretty good romance. The love interest hasn't been introduced yet and I'm on page twenty.

Smish
08-06-2011, 05:46 AM
I wonder if it would lose it's appeal because I live in Paris. A lot of the reviews are "swooooon paris" and "swooon french boys" and I kinda dislike both.

The preview isn't available for me for some reason

It's not really either of those things, honestly. Most of the characters are American or British (with the main love interest being a mixture of nationalities, but he has a British accent). She develops a love of Paris, but at first, she's not really into it.

I don't love Anna and the French Kiss the way other people seem to, but it is a very good example of a YA romance. The pacing's good. The characters are real. It's romantic without being over the top. So, it's worth reading. (I just think the love interest is a selfish, cowardly a-hole, and that keeps me from loving it).

Read Graffiti Moon, too. :D

Becca C.
08-06-2011, 06:09 AM
I wonder if it would lose it's appeal because I live in Paris. A lot of the reviews are "swooooon paris" and "swooon french boys" and I kinda dislike both.

The LI (the amazing Etienne St. Clair) is American/British/French, not 100% French. I'm not a huge fan of French boys myself, but I swoon for Etienne. He's an awesome, quirky character.

Smish
08-06-2011, 06:49 AM
:roll:

Becca and I don't always disagree so completely. :D

Becca C.
08-06-2011, 07:04 AM
:roll:

Becca and I don't always disagree so completely. :D

I think this is pretty much the only page we're not both on XD

LindenTree27
08-08-2011, 06:44 PM
Some of my favorite YA romances:

* DJ and Brian in Catherine Murdock's Dairy Queen. I love it because DJ isn't a typical girly-girl, but still has very romantic feelings.

* All the romances in Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series by Anne Brashares. There's something in there for everyone, and they're just so poignant.

* I also love, love, love My Most Excellent Year: A Novel of Love, Mary Poppins, and Fenway Park by Steve Kluger. It's got lots of different romantic plots, and although it's realistic fiction, it reads more like a fantasy. It's just "dreamy."

* John Green's Looking for Alaska is great for a realistic romance without happy endings.

* Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan is also wonderful and gives a LGBT perspective.