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Eight Perfect YA Novels for Valentine's Day

Jasmine is an avid reader of young adult fiction books who obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Clemson University.

Photo by Rinck Content Studio on Unsplash

Photo by Rinck Content Studio on Unsplash

Valentine’s Day may look a little different this year because of the pandemic, but books that read like rom-com movies prove that love is strong with these YA novel picks for the occasion.

"To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before" by Jenny Han

The popular book series and Netflix franchise from author Jenny Han is the perfect read this Valentine’s Day. Lara Jean writes letters to all of her crushes, but she never sends them out. Instead, they are sealed away and hidden in a box under her bed. One day though, Lara Jean’s letters get mailed and each of her crushes receives one. But can something good come out of them?

"When Dimple Met Rishi" by Sandhya Menon

This New York Times-bestselling novel from author Sandhya Menon follows two Indian-American teens, Dimple Shah and Rishi Patel, whose parents come up with a plan to arrange their marriage. When Dimple Met Rishi is both heartfelt and hilarious, making it the perfect read.

Told from equal perspectives, Dimple is a strong-minded and fierce young woman whose mother is determined to find her the perfect "Ideal Indian Husband." Rishi, on the other hand, is a hopeless romantic whose parents believe that he has a chance at a future with Dimple when they both end up attending the same summer program. However, the two could not be more different from each other. Can sparks eventually fly between Dimple and Rishi?

"Hearts Unbroken" by Cynthia Leitich Smith

Louise breaks up with her first real boyfriend after she catches him mocking Native people in front of her. She then realizes that she would rather spend time working on the school newspaper where she is paired with Joey, the new photojournalist.

Joey is both ambitious and charming. While working on the newspaper, Louise is assigned a massive assignment: covering the school musical's inclusive casting choices for The Wizard of Oz. As tensions begin to mount in their mostly white, middle-class Kansas town, sparks fly between Louise and Joey.

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"We Set the Dark on Fire" by Tehlor Kay Mejia

Hailed as one of the best YA books released last year, We Set the Dark on Fire blends romance with rebellion. Distinguished young women are sent to The Medio School for Girls, and the school sets them on one of two potential paths: a primera, who runs a husband's household, or a segunda, who bears his children.

Top student Daniela harbors a dangerous secret: her identification papers were forged by her parents in an effort to get her into the school. When she graduates, she is recruited by a rebel group fighting for equality and finds herself falling for her biggest enemy.

"Opposite of Always" by Justin A. Reynolds

Opposite of Always reads like a classic love story that is both hilarious and heartfelt. Jack and Kate meet at a party and immediately bond. Soon Kate is meeting Jack's best friends, Jillian and Franny, and Kate easily connects with them.

But then, Kate suddenly dies, and Jack is sent back to the beginning of their relationship where Kate is healthy and alive. Jack isn't sure if he is imagining things or if this is a reality. Being sent back in time means that Jack can alter his choices to try and save Kate, but this means risking the safety of other loved ones in Jack's life. Is Kate worth the risk?

"You'd Be Mine" by Erin Hahn

Can opposites attract? That's the question when America's sweetheart Annie Mathers is convinced to join music bad boy's Clay Coolidge on tour. Annie's parents were country music superstars who tragically died, and she has been trying to avoid the spotlight ever since.

When they hit the road together, fans make it clear that they want Annie and Clay to be more than just tour mates, and Annie is left trying to convince herself that Clay isn't worth the risk.

"Sick Kids in Love" by Hannah Moskowitz

Isabel has rheumatoid arthritis and a no-dating rule. She meets Sasha, a boy with Gaucher disease, and she wonders if he is worth breaking her no-dating rule. This heartwarming novel features the two main characters with chronic illnesses and a great love story between Isabel and Sasha.

"I Wanna Be Where You Are" by Kristina Forest

Chloe Pierce is an aspiring ballerina and dreams of applying to a dance conservatory. When her mother forbids her to go, Chloe makes a plan to apply anyway and drives 200 miles to the nearest audition. But then, her annoying neighbor Eli threatens to tell her mom if she doesn't take him. Along the way, Chloe finds out that Eli may not be so annoying after all.

© 2021 Jasmine Bryson

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