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What says young love better than a young adult novel? The angst we associate with teenage years seems to continue to adulthood, so I enjoy the familiarity and nostalgia of high school. In honor of young love, I’ve compiled a short list of young adult stories I’ve read recently that fit a Valentine’s Day theme.


Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell: This book ranks high on my all time favorite list, and I recently reread it for a book club. Eleanor and Park each fall into the misfit category, and they stand on their own so strongly and uniquely. Reading how they fall in love as they share comic books on the bus and start to spend time together makes me feel like I’m falling in love for the first time with all the thrill, agony and uncertainty that comes with it.

Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han: My Galentine and I have wrapped up our reading of the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before trilogy, and I recommend all three. The third installment moves from the original sweetness to the mix of fun and seriousness that befalls a high school senior. Lara Jean faces choices about college her relationship with the almost too good to be true Peter, and of course she goes to prom. I always say yes to reliving prom, and I can still relate to the weight of decisions about direction in life.

The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West: Prom gets another mention here. In this story, a breakup just before the dance leads Gia’s to find a temporary fill-in. The relationship becomes more real as Gia gets to know her fake date. I love Kasie West for upbeat cute stories with a little relatability. This story gets that and reminds me I don’t stand alone in wondering how much to let people in and how to let go of a desire for approval.