YA Romance novels are my downfall. I can’t get enough of them and will always turn to them when I am in need of a book to read. Here are a few YA romance stories of 2016 that teens will be sure to read:
Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland
This one is told from the male perspective, which I loved as most romances are told by the female. Henry Page has never been in love. When he meets Grace Town he falls hard and fast. What he doesn’t know is that Grace has some major secrets that she has been hiding from him. This is not the perfect fairy tale love story, but it is raw and real and teens will connect with the characters right away.
Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven
Libby Strout was named “America’s Fattest Teen” when she had to be cut out of her house after gaining so much weight when her mother died. Jack Masselin is the boy that everyone loves and wants to hang out with. He also has a secret that he has kept from everyone, even his family. When the two get caught up in a cruel high school game and are forced to complete community service together, their friendship blossoms and they learn to see each other beyond just first impressions and surface features. If you liked All the Bright Places, you will want to read this one.
Phantom Limbs by Paula Garner
On the surface Phantom Limbs sounds like your typical “love triangle” story, but it is so much more. Otis and Meg were inseparable until Meg moved away abruptly after Otis’s little brother passed away. As a way of dealing with his brother’s death and the absence of Meg, Otis took up the sport of swimming and became close friends with Dara, a swimmer/coach who believes he has Olympic potential. When Meg returns Otis is torn between his past and his present. This story represents what I love so much about YA – love, loss, family, friendships, and so much more. It is beautifully written and one that will connect with many.
You Before Anyone Else by Julie Cross
Finley and Eddie are both trying to make it in the world of New York City modeling. In the beginning, it was a fun romance but very quickly, I knew there was more to both Finley and Eddie. They each had their own secrets (What is it with me and books where characters have secrets that get unraveled!?!) and dreams that they were afraid to share with one another. As the book unraveled, it was so much more than a book about models trying to make it big. It was about what you do for love, and family, and friends. It was about choices and following your dreams and figuring out your own passions in life – not just doing what everyone expects you to do. It was about privilege and how money doesn’t always buy happiness.
When We Collided by Emery Lord
Jonah and Vivi are instantly attracted to each other and fall head over heals in love. A fairy tale romance? Not quite. As Jonah falls deeper, Vivi starts to unravel. Mental Illness is a topic that gets swept under the rug way too often. This story tackles the topic and brings to light the importance of support for those who are struggling.
How it Feels to Fly by Kathryn Holmes
Beyond the friendship that develops between the main character, Samantha, and her camp counselor, Andrew, this book delves into the topic of anxiety disorders. How it Feels to Fly gave me a glimpse into the lives of seven teenagers with anxiety issues who chose to attend a treatment camp with hopes of getting better. Throughout the camp the teens are given different tasks to complete and strategies to practice. I realize that the solutions might not be as simple as provided in the story, but I can see my students connecting with the characters in this one.
One Paris Summer by Denise Grover Swank
Sophie Brooks and her brother are sent to live with their dad, future stepmother, and evil stepsister, Camille, for the summer in Paris. All Sophie wants to do is practice piano as she dreams of obtaining a college scholarship for music. Her father has other plans – he is determined for Sophie to open her eyes to the world around her and see that music isn’t everything. While in Paris she meets Mathieu, who happens to have a piano in his apartment. He is the key to her dream. The only problem – his ex-girlfriend is Sophie’s stepsister. While it was a fast read, it did tackle some tough topics – divorce, remarriage, death of a parent, young love, etc. The ending leaves me to wonder… Will there be a sequel??!
The Crown by Kiera Cass
If you haven’t read any of the Selection series, go grab them now. This story continues where The Heir leaves off with the focus on Eadlyn, the daughter of King Maxon and Queen America, as she narrows her Selection suitors to the top six young men that she wants to get to know better. If you have students who like The Bachelor tv series, they will enjoy this one too.