In honor of Valentine’s Day, and in keeping with the last few posts where we’ve highlighted older titles worth reading, here’s a list of YA romances that may have slipped under your radar. Not that any of these books really qualify as “old” because most have been published within the last 10 years. It’s just that few library copies are left, so help Teen Tuesday keep these books circulating and on our library shelves by checking them out! In no particular order, may we suggest the following:
1. Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett
What happens when a season falls in love? Apprentice witch Tiffany Aching is in trouble. Seems that Winter himself is in love with her and, while snowflakes and icebergs bearing her likeness are an impressive display of affection, the fact that Winter won’t leave is becoming a serious problem for the entire town. Throw in tiny blue men, a very animated cheese, an assortment of witches, and this third installment in the Tiffany Aching series is the best of the lot. Can easily be read on its own, but for fans of Pratchett’s “Discworld” series, or those who fall under the spell of this master storyteller’s magic, Wee Free Men begins Tiffany’s story.
2. Getting the Girl by Markus Zusak
If the idea of a lovesick boy lurking in front of your house sounds more sensitive and romantic than stalkerish, Cameron Wolfe should be your book boyfriend. He’s the main character of Getting the Girl, a follow-up to Markus Zusak’s first novel, Fighting Ruben Wolfe, where the dynamics between Cameron and his older brother Ruben are first explored. Cameron is the quieter, more introspective one in the family, more comfortable with the words on paper than spoken out loud. Living in the shadow of his charismatic brother has never been a problem, until now. Now, Cameron wants what his brother has, and her name is Octavia. Again, this book works fine as a standalone, but readers who fall in love with this family—a likeable, realistically portrayed bunch–may want to seek out the first book, which alas, the library no longer has! Two words—interlibrary loan.
3. Stardust by Neil Gaiman
This title is shelved in the adult section, but it’s been on previous lists of recommended adult books for teen readers, so we’re giving it a shout out here. A fantasy, a fairytale, a ghost story, a tale of longing and revenge, of curses and destiny, Stardust is pure magic and only Neil Gaiman could come up with a story in which a young man falls in love with a star. Not the pop, rock or movie kind, we’re talking celestial. If you’ve seen the movie, do read the book because the ending is different and there were certain elements left out. If you read the book, may we also recommend the movie because Claire Danes is absolutely luminous and Robert DeNiro steals the show.
4. The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
This book was mentioned in an earlier Valentine Teen Tuesday post here but we’re mentioning it again because there are now only two copies left in the library district! Check it out while there’s still time to discover this lyrically written story of tragic loss and new love.
5. Alice Bliss by Laura Harrington
Here’s another adult title that’s been recommended for teen readers. Published only three years ago, it shouldn’t be on this list except for the fact that in a teen’s reading life, a lot can happen in three years. It’s safe to say that what one usually reads as a 12-13 year old is not what one will be reading at 16. Those are formative years, as they are for the title character of this book. Here’s a love story of a different kind, the love of a father for his family. Alice Bliss grows up while her beloved dad is deployed overseas and she is painfully aware of everything he’s missed at home, everything he’s taught her over the years and how he prepared her for his absence. If you are a fan of dramatic, emotional writing, this book will leave you in a puddle. Have lots of tissues on hand.
Of course, these are just some of our favorite oldies but goodies, so please leave a comment and recommend your own romantic favorites. And just for fun, check out this link to find out if you’re a good girlfriend/boyfriend. Happy Valentine’s Day!