Selected and annotated by Quinn Stitt, iSchool alumna
For those in love with love or simply looking for a good romance, this is the bibliography for you. From fantasy to contemporary and fiction to nonfiction, these middle grade and young adult books will have you falling head over heels.
Albertalli, Becky. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins, 2015. 320p. Gr. 9-12.
Not-so-openly-gay Simon Spier begins an email correspondence with Blue after he posts an intriguing post on his school’s gossip Tumblr. Their anonymity allows for both to be honest about their thoughts and feelings, and just as Simon begins falling in love, blackmail threatens to not only uncover his secrets, but Blue’s as well. Will Simon be able to find happiness and love, without it coming at the expense of his family and friends?
Anderson, Lily. The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You. St. Martin’s Griffin,
2016. 352p. Gr. 9-12.
Ben and Trixie have a longstanding love-to-hate-you relationship, fueled by competition over academic class standing and geeky insults; however, a blooming relationship between their respective best friends forces the two to call a truce, and an school scandal causes the two to band together to discover a culprit. Anderson’s plentiful nerdy pop culture references, as well as the witty banter between Trixie and Ben, will engage readers young and old, even if they don’t catch the Much Ado about Nothing echoes.
Brockenbrough, Martha. The Game of Love and Death. Levine/Scholastic,
2015. 336p. Gr. 8-10.
Love and Death have played their game, choosing their players and rolling the dice, for centuries, and Death has always won. Could their newest players, Henry and Flora, finally tip the scales in favor of Love, even in the time leading up to World War II?
Caine, Rachel. Prince of Shadows: A Novel of Romeo and Juliet. New American
Library, 2014. 351p. Gr. 9-12.
A retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Caine’s novel comes from the perspective of Romeo’s cousin Benvolio as he acts as the Prince of Shadows, the greatest thief in Verona. While stealing for revenge against the House Capulet and the other corrupt houses of the fair city, he sets into motion a new meaning behind Mercutio’s famous utterance, “a plague upon both your houses.”
Chokshi, Roshani. The Star-Touched Queen. St. Martin’s Griffin, 2016. 352p. Gr. 8-12.
Maya is in a difficult situation: she’s a princess cursed by a horoscope promising a marriage of death and destruction, and her ashamed father promises her to marry to quell rebellions against his kingdom. Maya becomes wife to Amar and queen of Akaran, where she finds power and a voice that has eluded her from birth. This vivid story steeped in Indian folklore and mythology will make readers root for Maya to uncover the secrets and mysteries of her new land and husband.
Demetrios, Heather. I’ll Meet You There. Holt, 2015. 400p. Gr. 9-12.
Skylar’s goal in life is to escape Creek View and go to art school, and only three months separate her from achieving it. However, before Skylar can leave, her mother loses her job and her future is put in jeopardy. To earn money, she gets a job at the rundown Paradise Hotel, along with a Marine vet, Josh, and her summer takes a turn as she gets to know him, wounds and all.
Dessen, Sarah. What Happened to Goodbye. Viking, 2011. 416p. Gr. 7-10.
Following her parents’ divorce, McLean decides to live with her father, whose job requires that they move every six months and allows her to reinvent herself each time. However, in their newest town, McLean finds herself wanting to finally stay and be herself, whoever that may be, with the help of friends and her new neighbor Dave. Fans of Dessen will appreciate the familiar writing style, and readers will be able to identify with McLean’s journey to find herself amongst the chaos of a family torn apart and the lack of a sense of belonging.
Green, John. The Fault in Our Stars. Dutton, 2012. 313p. Gr. 9-12.
Despite the medical miracle that gave Hazel Grace Lancaster a few more years on Earth, her cancer diagnosis has always been terminal; she had come to accept this, until the day Augustus Waters walked into her cancer support group and flipped her life upside down. Readers will follow them as they travel the world and learn what it means to live, and won’t have a dry eye at the book’s emotional conclusion.
Halls, Kelly Milner, ed. Girl Meets Boy: Because There Are Two Sides to Every
Story. Chronicle, 2012. 204p. Gr. 9-12.
In this anthology, readers discover the answer to one of the age-old questions of the world: what do guys and girls really think? Twelve young adult authors come together to tell love stories from both the guy and girl perspective, demonstrating that there are definitely two sides to every story in the journey for love.
Kaufman, Amie. These Broken Stars; by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner. Hyperion, 2013. 284p. Gr. 8-10.
Young war hero Tarver and Lilac, the richest heiress in the universe, find themselves both aboard the luxury spaceliner Icarus as it suddenly falls from hyperspace onto the nearest planet. With seemingly nothing in common, Tarver and Lilac are forced to band together to find help on the unfamiliar planet, and everything changes when they uncover the truth as to what has happened to them.
Keating, Lucy. Dreamology. HarperTeen/HarperCollins, 2016. 336p. Gr. 7-10.
Ever since she was a little girl, Alice has been having dreams about Max. Though Max isn’t real, Alice has fallen hopelessly in love with him, and is shocked to see him in real life as she enters a classroom at her new school. This novel asks the question: can reality really be as good as dreams?
Kinsella, Sophie. Finding Audrey. Delacorte, 2015. 286p. Gr. 6-9.
An anxiety disorder has brought Audrey’s life to a halt, causing her to avoid almost all social contact. Though she is able to make steady progress with the help of a therapist, it isn’t until she meets her brother’s friend Linus that her recovery and healing grows leaps and bounds. Kinsella’s portrait of anxiety is genuine and compassionate, and readers will find themselves falling in love with Linus and Audrey.
LaCour, Nina. Everything Leads to You. Dutton, 2014. 320p. Gr. 7-10.
As an intern for a Hollywood production designer, Emi finds herself scouring flea markets, estate sales, and online stores for the perfect accessory. At an estate sale, she finds a letter from a deceased famous film actor and leads her to the actor’s granddaughter, Ava. Ava is unlike anyone Emi has ever known, and soon she finds that Ava has quite a bit to teach her about love, family, and acceptance.
Levithan, David. Two Boys Kissing. Knopf, 2013. 208p. Gr. 9 up.
Based on true events, ex-boyfriends Harry and Craig decide to take part in a 32-hour kissing marathon to set a new Guinness World Record. While the boys are participating in the marathon, the stories of other teen boys dealing with gender identity, coming out, feelings, and relationships are brought to center stage by a Greek chorus of men who died from AIDS, bringing forth narratives for all readers seeking to understand their own identity.
Lord, Emery. Open Road Summer. Walker, 2014. 342p. Gr. 7-10.
Reagan and her childhood best friend Lilah could not be any more different; Lilah is a rising country star with a pristine image, while Reagan has had many run-ins with the law and ended a toxic relationship before joining Lilah on her summer tour. However, before long, this girl’s road trip is turned into something more confusing when Matt Finch joins as Lilah’s opener. Will Matt be able to mend both girls’ heartbreak, all the while under the bright lights of celebrity life?
Meyer, Marissa. Cinder. Feiwel, 2012. 400p. Gr. 7-10.
In this reimagining of the classic fairy tale “Cinderella,” Cinder is a gifted mechanic…and also a half human, half machine cyborg, making her a second-class citizen in the city of New Beijing. A deadly plague sweeps the city and enemies threaten the world from the moon, and Cinder, along with the handsome Prince Kai, seems to be the only hope for the planet. In a struggle between duty and heart, Cinder must uncover her past to protect the world.
Nelson, Jandy. I’ll Give You the Sun. Dial, 2014. 384p. Gr. 7-10.
This novel follows twins Noah and Jude, who despite being born the same day, are different in many ways. At thirteen, Noah is obsessed with drawing and Jude surfing, with both besotted with boys and close as can be. The story cuts to the twins at sixteen with their roles reversed, as Jude is in art school and Noah is drinking too much and risking his life, and they are barely speaking. What happened in their lives, and can they find each other again?
Niven, Jennifer. All the Bright Places. Knopf, 2015. 383p. Gr. 9-12.
Finch is fascinated by death and constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself; Violet lives for the future, waiting to leave her town and the grief of her sister’s death. When they meet on the ledge of their school’s bell tower, it is unclear who saves whom, and the two embark on a project to discover the natural wonders of their state and an explore what it means to love and live.
Perkins, Stephanie, ed. My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories. St.
Martin’s Griffin, 2014. 320p. Gr. 6-10.
In this anthology, Stephanie Perkins compiles love stories from twelve bestselling young adult authors, all of which revolve around the holidays. From Christmas to Winter Solstice and everything in between, all readers will be able to find a story that will appeal to their tastes. So grab a cup of cocoa and get cozy in a chair, and follow people as they find love under the winter sky.
Perkins, Stephanie, ed. Summer Days and Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories.
St. Martin’s Griffin, 2016. 400p. Gr. 7-10.
Like My True Love Gave to Me, Summer Days and Summer Nights is an anthology of stories written by twelve bestselling young adult authors and compiled by Stephanie Perkins. This time around, the stories revolve around love in heat of summertime. From Libba Bray to Jennifer E. Smith, readers will find at least one love story that will warm the cockles of their hearts.
Peterfreund, Diana. For Darkness Shows the Stars. Balzer + Bray, 2012. 416p. Gr. 9-12.
In a world still experiencing the effects of a genetic experiment gone wrong generations later, Elliot knows her place in the Luddite nobility, though her family’s estate is crumbling. In order to keep her family afloat, she rents land to the Cloud Fleet, whose captain is Kai, the man whose proposal she refused four years earlier. eaders will adore Peterfreund’s futuristic take on Austen’s classic Persuasion.
Rivers, Karen. The Encyclopedia of Me. Levine/Scholastic, 2012. 256p. Gr. 5-7.
In the summer before eighth grade, Tink Aaron-Martin has been grounded, and decides to fill her vast free time by writing an encyclopedia of personal and traditional entries. The encyclopedia unfolds much like Tink’s summer and fall, as she, and her relationships with others, changes. Readers will empathize with Tink as a pre-teen in a time of immense change, and enjoy Rivers’ quirky narrative style.
Rowell, Rainbow. Fangirl. St. Martin’s Griffin, 2013. 448p. Gr. 8-12.
Cath is a BIG Simon Snow fan, from writing Simon Snow fanfiction to cosplaying and joining Simon Snow forums. Her twin sister Wren used to be the same way but now that the two have entered college, they have grown apart, leaving Cath to traverse the perils of being outside one’s comfort zone completely alone. Can Cath adjust to living on her own, and does that mean she has to leave Simon Snow behind?
Rutkoski, Marie. The Winner’s Curse. Farrar, 2014. 368p. Gr. 7-10.
After the Valorians defeated and enslaved the Herrani people ten years ago, general’s daughter Kestrel has known a life of luxury and privilege, which has limited her options to joining the military or getting married. Kestrel, however, has other intentions, strengthened by the purchase of an intriguing slave named Arin, which brings her reputation in question. What future will Kestrel choose, and can she save herself and all those she loves?
Smith, Jennifer E. The Geography of You and Me. Poppy/Little, 2014. 352p. Gr. 7-10.
One fateful night, Owen and Lucy find themselves stuck in an elevator together following a New York City blackout. They bond, but once the power comes back on, so does reality. Eventually the two are separated, but over years and continents, they keep in touch via letters and postcards. Will they ever reunite and discover the same spark they experienced the night they first met?
Sundquist, Josh. We Should Hang Out Sometime. Little, 2015. 336p. Gr. 9-12.
In this autobiography, single Sundquist revisits the girls he has tried to date and asks the dreaded question: what went wrong? His scientific approach, as well as the women’s answers, weave together a hilarious journey of looking for love in all the wrong places.
Tash, Sarvenaz. The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love. Simon, 2016. 256p. Gr. 9-12.
Graham has been in love with his best friend, Roxy, for almost eight years and has been looking desperately for the perfect moment to declare his love to her. One day, the perfect plan comes to him; he just has to get highly elusive tickets to see their favorite author at New York Comic Con. Chaos ensues, causing Graham to question this crazy plan and his own feelings for Roxy.
Taylor, Laini. Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Little, 2011. 420p. Gr. 9-12.
Meet Karou. By day, she’s an art student in Prague and by night, she’s an errand girl for a group of chimaera in a portal separate from this world. One day, the portals become aflame, cutting Karou off from the only family she has ever known. While looking for a way to reopen the portals, Karou has to come to terms with exactly who and what she is, as well as deal with her conflicting feelings for a seraph enemy, Akiva.
Telgemeier, Raina. Drama; written and illus. by Raina Telgemeier. Graphix/
Scholastic, 2012. 240p. Gr. 5-7.
Seventh-grader Callie loves theater and is having a great time designing the set for her school’s upcoming production of Moon over Mississippi, but the drama behind the scenes may soon keep the show from going on! Add to this stress that Callie’s multiple love interests and their confusing signals, and it is all she can do to keep the show afloat. Those familiar with Telgemeier’s Smile will appreciate the illustrative and narrative styles, and theatre geeks will love the insider references throughout the graphic novel.
Yoon, Nicola. Everything, Everything; illus. by David Yoon. Delacorte,
2015. 309p. Gr. 9-12.
Madeline has resigned herself to life as a “bubble girl”, unable to leave her house due to an immune disorder that could kill her if she goes outside. She only sees her mother and her nurse Carla–until one day, when Madeline spies a new boy moving in next door. Soon Madeline is envisioning a future of love and adventure, but will her disease and her loved ones allow her to live it?