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    23 YA Romance Novels That Are Better Than A Candlelit Dinner

    Because who needs a date when you've got a great book?

    1. Fire by Kristin Cashore

    Dial Books, Laura Evans

    Release date: Oct. 5, 2009

    What it's about: Nearly a decade older than the rest of the books on this list, Fire holds up as one of the strongest fantasy love stories that YA has ever seen. In the land of the Dells, there are stunningly beautiful (and powerful) versions of every creature — including humans — called monsters. Fire, a monster girl, must assist King Nash and Prince Brigan — sons of the previous king, who her father's influence corrupted. Brigan is at first unable to see past her parentage, but the two grow closer as threats from two neighboring rebel lords grow stronger.

    Get it from Amazon for $7.89+, Barnes and Noble for $9.89, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    2. The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

    Balzer + Bray, Decisive Moment Events

    Release date: Apr. 11, 2017

    What it's about: This companion novel to Albertalli's award-winning Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (aka Love, Simon) follows Molly Peskin-Suso, who has had 26 crushes, but never a relationship. After all, she's always known that fat girls have to be careful when it comes to putting yourself out there. But her cynical twin, Cassie, is now smitten with her new girlfriend — who, luckily for Molly, comes with a super cute hipster sidekick. And then there's Reid, the chubby, nerdy fanboy who she works with...If you're a fan of the Love, Simon crew, there are some delightful cameos within.

    Get it from Amazon for $9.05+, Barnes and Noble for $10.69, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    3. American Panda by Gloria Chao

    Simon Pulse, Via gloriachao.wordpress.com

    Release date: Feb. 6, 2018

    What it's about: Mei has always followed the path her parents set in front of her — it's why she's a 17-year-old first-year at MIT, on track for a future that includes becoming a doctor, marrying a Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer, and having babies. Problems with that include the fact that Mei hates germs and has a crush on her classmate Darren, who is not Taiwanese. And when Mei reconnects with her estranged brother, exiled from the family for falling in love with the wrong woman, she starts to realize that the path laid in front of her might not be the path she's supposed to take.

    Get it from Amazon for $5.75+, Barnes and Noble for $11.99, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    4. Hearts Unbroken by Cynthia Leitich Smith

    Candlewick, Via cynthialeitichsmith.com

    Release date: Oct. 9, 2018

    What it's about: After breaking up with her first real boyfriend when he mocked Native people in front of her, Louise, a Muscogee (Creek) girl, realizes it's a blessing in disguise. After all, she'd rather spend time with her family and work on the school newspaper anyway. Paired up with the new photojournalist, Joey, who is both ambitious and very cute, Louise is assigned a bold story: covering the director of the school musical's inclusive casting choices for The Wizard of Oz. It's a story Louise's younger brother, cast as the Tin Man, is directly in the center of. And as tensions mount in their mostly white, middle-class Kansas town, sparks begin to fly between Louise and Joey.

    Get it from Amazon for $13.77+, Barnes and Noble for $16.52, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    5. Odd One Out by Nic Stone

    Crown Books, Via nicstone.info

    Release date: Oct. 9, 2018

    What it's about: If you've ever thought to yourself, "Hey. Most of these love triangles are actually just love angles. If it was truly a love triangle, each person would like both of the others involved," well have we got the book for you. Coop and Jupiter have been best friends for years, and Coop has always sort of liked Jupe, who has always liked girls. When Rae moves to town, both Coop and Jupe develop crushes on her, and she realizes she might like him...and her. And when Jupe starts realizing that maybe she does like Coop, things get very complicated, very fast.

    Get it from Amazon for $10.99+, Barnes and Noble for $10.99, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    6. An Assassin's Guide to Love and Treason by Virginia Boecker

    Little, Brown, Via goodreads.com

    Release date: Oct. 23, 2018

    What it's about: A love story worthy of Willy Shakes himself! After Lady Katherine's father is killed for being a practicing Catholic (treason!), she discovers he was part of a plot to kill the Queen. Taking up his mission, she disguises herself as a boy to get cast in Shakespeare's newest play, Twelfth Night, as the female lead. The male lead is played by Toby, a bisexual spy who has cooked up a plan to catch any would-be assassins who might target the Queen when she attends a performance of Twelfth Night. Falling in love on stage and working directly in opposition in secret, Katherine and Toby are an enemies-to-lovers couple worth swooning over.

    Get it from Amazon for $9.79+, Barnes and Noble for $10.99, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    7. This is Kind of an Epic Love Story by Kacen Callender

    Balzer + Bray, Ashlee Cain

    Release date: Oct. 30, 2018

    What it's about: Aspiring screenwriter Nathan Bird knows that happy endings don't seem to happen in real life. But life decides to throw a rom-com moment at him in the form of his childhood best friend, Ollie, reappearing. With the help of Florence, his best-friend-turned-girlfriend-turned-best-friend-again, can Nathan embrace the path to his own happily ever after? Callender also has the amazing Felix Ever After coming out later this year, and if you're into queer rom-coms, you'll want that one on your list, too.

    Get it from Amazon for $9.29+, Barnes and Noble for $10.99, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    8. The Brilliant Death by Amy Rose Capetta

    Penguin Books, Via amyrosecapetta.com

    Release date: Oct. 30, 2018

    What it's about: This Italian mafia-esque fantasy follows Teodora di Sangro, a strega with the ability to transform enemies into objects like music boxes and mirrors. When the Capo, the new ruler of Vinalia, poisons the patriarchs of the five families that have long controlled the land, Teo's father is the only one to survive, though gravely ill. To save him, Teo must travel to the capital as a di Sangro son — not disguised as a boy, but transformed into one — to help save her father. And who better to help than Cielo, a gender-fluid strega Teo quickly develops strong feelings for. Capetta's enchanting prose will make you fall hard for this swoony story.

    Get it from Amazon for $10.55+, Barnes and Noble for $10.99, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    9. We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia

    Katherine Tegen, Tia Reagan

    Release date: Feb. 26, 2019

    What it's about: If you like your romance to be blanketed in rebellion, look no further than one of the best YA books released last year, We Set the Dark on Fire. The Medio School for Girls takes in distinguished young women and sets them on one of two possible paths: a primera, who runs a husband's household, or a segunda, who bears his children. Daniela is the top student, but she has a dangerous secret: Her parents forged her identification papers to get her into the school. After graduation, not only is she recruited by a rebel group fighting for equality, but she finds herself falling for her biggest rival.

    Get it from Amazon for $9.59+, Barnes and Noble for $10.29, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    10. Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds

    Katherine Tegen, Justin A Reynolds

    Release date: Mar. 5, 2019

    What it's about: It's the classic love story. Boy meets girl. Boy and girl fall for each other. Girl dies. Boy gets sent back in time to when they first meet. Boy and girl fall for each other. Girl still dies. Over and over, Jack keeps being sent back in time, altering his actions to try and save Kate. But altering his choices means risking the safety of other loved ones in his life, and Jack has to decide if Kate is worth the risk.

    Get it from Amazon for $10.87+, Barnes and Noble for $16.19, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    11. You'd Be Mine by Erin Hahn

    Wednesday Books, Hilary Nichols

    Release date: Apr. 2, 2019

    What it's about: She's America's sweetheart. He's music's bad boy. If Clay Coolidge can't convince Annie Mathers to join his tour, his label is going to drop him. Even though Annie has been avoiding the spotlight since the tragic deaths of her country music superstar parents, she agrees. The second they're on the road together, fans express that they want Annie and Clay to be more than tour mates — leaving Annie to convince herself that Clay isn't worth the risk.

    Get it from Amazon for $11.48+, Barnes and Noble for $16.19, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    12. The Princess and the Fangirl by Ashley Poston

    Quirk Books, Ashley Poston

    Release date: Apr. 2, 2019

    What it's about: Imogen is a fangirl with a mission: save her favorite character, Princess Amara, from being killed off from the Starfield franchise. Easier said than done, especially since Jess, the actress who plays Amara, doesn't mind being killed off to escape a fandom that has been nothing but cruel to her. When the script for the Starfield sequel leaks, all signs point to Jess. Jess uses the fact that she and Imogen look eerily alike to her advantage, and the girls switch places to find the person responsible for the leak. Imogen and Jess both get big-romantic-gesture love stories, so basically you get two rom-coms for the price of one.

    Get it from Amazon for $12.23+, Barnes and Noble for $17.09, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    13. Love From A to Z by S. K. Ali

    Salaam Reads, Andrea Stenson

    Release date: Apr. 30, 2019

    What it's about: When Zayneb is suspended for confronting her anti-Muslim teacher, who then starts investigating her activist friends, she takes the opportunity to start spring break early and head to her aunt's house in Doha, Qatar. And that's when Adam crosses her path. He's been keeping his multiple sclerosis diagnosis a secret from his family, who is all still reeling from the loss of his mother. Both are keeping secrets and both are keeping journals, and it's a marvel and an oddity.

    Get it from Amazon for $13.69+, Barnes and Noble for $17.09, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    14. Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo

    Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Via maurenegoo.com

    Release date: May 7, 2019

    What it's about: In YA superstar Maurene Goo's most recent contemporary, K-pop star Lucky is just about to make her breakout debut on The Tonight Show, but right now she's in her fancy hotel in Hong Kong, desperately craving a hamburger. Jack is a reporter, sneaking into the fancy hotel Lucky is staying at to follow a story about two other stars, when he runs into her on her hamburger quest. Though he can't quite place her at first, once he realizes who she is, he tries to figure out how to use the information for his job...if he doesn't fall for her first.

    Get it from Amazon for $12.32+, Barnes and Noble for $16.19, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    15. I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver

    Push, Trịnh Hồng Hương

    Release date: May 14, 2019

    What it's about: When Ben de Backer comes out to their parents as nonbinary, they're kicked out of their house and move in with their sister. At their new school, Ben tries to keep their head down for the last half of senior year — an idea thwarted by the appearance of their charismatic classmate Nathan. As Ben and Nathan grow closer, Ben has to determine how much they are willing to open themself up to love.

    Get it from Amazon for $13.43+, Barnes and Noble for $16.19, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    16. There's Something About Sweetie by Sandhya Menon

    Simon Pulse, Timothy Falls

    Release date: May 14, 2019

    What it's about: After Ashish is dumped by his girlfriend, he grows tired of his parents smugly telling him they could make him a better match. So he challenges them to set him up. Sweetie is a runner and, to the dismay of her traditional parents, fat. Trying to prove herself, she starts the Sassy Sweetie Project, which leads to her meeting Ashish. This is a companion novel to When Dimple Met Rishi, but can totally be read without reading the first.

    Get it from Amazon for $13.79+, Barnes and Noble for $17.09, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    17. I Wanna Be Where You Are by Kristina Forest

    Roaring Brook Press, tochihannah

    Release date: Jun. 4, 2019

    What it's about: When aspiring ballerina Chloe Pierce's mom forbids her from applying to the dance conservatory of her dreams, she makes a plan. She will drive 200 miles to the nearest audition, chasing her dreams down the East Coast. She will bring her annoying neighbor Eli and his smelly dog, and she will do this because he threatened to tell her mom if she didn't take them. And along the way, she might just figure out that Eli isn't as annoying as she thought.

    Get it from Amazon for $7.99+, Barnes and Noble for $16.19, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    18. Tell Me How You Really Feel by Aminah Mae Safi

    Feiwel & Friends, Kirsten Gilliam

    Release date: Jun. 11, 2019

    What it's about: When Sana asked Rachel out, Rachel was furious because she thought Sana was trying to prank her. But when it comes time for Rachel, an aspiring director, to cast her senior project, she knows that no one could play Helen of Troy better than the stunningly beautiful Sana. And even though Rachel can barely stand to be in the same room as Sana, Sana says yes. If you love hate-to-love romance or love conversations about the objectification of historical women, you're gonna love this.

    Get it from Amazon for $11.49+, Barnes and Noble for $10.44, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    19. How to Be Remy Cameron by Julian Winters

    Duet Books, Via julianwinters.com

    Release date: Sep. 10, 2019

    What it's about: Remy Cameron is struggling to writing an AP Lit essay about himself. He knows all the labels people have put on him — black, gay, adopted — but he's not sure how to define himself on paper. And while he's trying to discover his identity, he's also falling for a cute classmate named Ian. Winters is a master at blending a sweet romance with a poignant exploration of the ways in which we are perceived and the ways in which we perceive ourselves.

    Get it from Amazon for $13.49+, Barnes and Noble for $16.19, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    20. By Any Means Necessary by Candice Montgomery

    Page Street, Via candicemontgomery.com

    Release date: Oct. 8, 2019

    What it's about: It's not often your first day of college coincides with a call telling you the bee farm your beloved uncle left you is being foreclosed on by the bank. But that's exactly what happens before Torrey has even gotten through orientation. He's the first member of his family to go to college, but he also knows he can't let his uncle's legacy fly away without a fight. Now, Torrey is juggling his old life, his new classes, and his (sort of) new boyfriend while trying to keep his future in sight. If you haven't yet read a Candice Montgomery book (the spectacular Home and Away is also a great pick), this is your chance to discover one of the freshest YA voices in the game.

    Get it from Amazon for $15.39+, Barnes and Noble for $17.99, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    21. Mooncakes by Wendy Xu & Suzanne Walker

    Oni Press, Via artofwendyxu.com, Via suzannewakeenwalker.com

    Release date: Oct. 15, 2019

    What it's about: Nova works at her grandmothers' bookshop, loaning out spell books and investigating supernatural occurrences in their small town. Following reports of a white wolf into the woods, she finds her childhood best friend, Tam, battling a horse demon. Pursued by dark forces hoping to claim the magic Tam possesses as a werewolf, they turn to Nova for help. The two rekindle their spark against a magical backdrop in this gorgeously illustrated graphic novel.

    Get it from Amazon for $14.99+, Barnes and Noble for $14.99, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    22. Sick Kids in Love by Hannah Moskowitz

    Entangled Teen

    Release date: Nov. 5, 2019

    What it's about: Isabel has two things: rheumatoid arthritis and a no-dating rule. It's easier than having to trust others, easier than taking chances. But that's before she meets Sasha, a boy with Gaucher disease, and wonders if he's worth the risk. If you've been looking for a romance featuring two teens with chronic illness where they both survive, prepare to adore Isabel and Sasha's love story.

    Get it from Amazon for $13.39+, Barnes and Noble for $16.19, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    23. The Gravity of Us by Phil Stamper

    Bloomsbury, Krystal Balzer Photography

    Release date: Feb. 4, 2020

    What it's about: When Cal's father is unexpectedly picked for a NASA mission to Mars, he and his parents move quickly from Brooklyn to Houston and into the center of a media circus. Cal, an aspiring journalist with almost half a million followers and an upcoming BuzzFeed internship, feels like his life is more like a reality TV show than reality. In walks Leon, the son of another one of the astronauts, and one of the only people who really understands what Cal is going through. You'll fall as hard for this story as Cal does for Leon.

    Get it from Amazon for $12.39, Barnes and Noble for $12.59, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

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