Romance is not dead.
In the post-Twilight era, it seems that every love interest in teen fiction is a vampire, werewolf, angel, demon, or ghost.
Romance has always been present in all genres of YA literature from issue-driven stories, to adventure, to science fiction, and more, but this list features only contemporary stories with human teens who fall in love.
Baratz-Logsted, Lauren. Crazy Beautiful. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009. 256p. $16. 978-0-547-22307-0. VOYA December 2009. 3Q 4P M J
Lucius blew up his house, his family's way of life, and his hands, leaving him with two hooks. Aurora has spent the last five years watching her mother die. They both start as new students in the sophomore year of high school on the same day and feel an instant connection, despite the fact that she becomes instantly popular and he, a pariah.
Benway, Robin. Audrey, Wait! Razorbill, 2008. 320p. $16.99. 9781-59514-191-0.
Sixteen-year-old Audrey does not need a boyfriend who cares more about his band than about her, so she breaks up with Evan and they promise to be friends. But it all goes wrong when he writes a song about her that brings fame to the band and rockets them up the hit charts. Her job at an ice cream parlor in the mall becomes a nightmare when the paparazzi and Evan's new fans descend en mass and another musician wants her to become his muse. The bright spot in Audrey's life is her coworker, James, who may be a better boyfriend than Evan ever was.
Chandler, Kristen. Wolves, Boys, & Other Things That Might Kill Me. Viking Juvenile, 2010. 371p. $17.99. 978-0-670-01142-1. VOYA June 2010.4Q 4P J S
Motherless KJ lives at the west end of Yellowstone Park with her widowed hunting-and-fishing-guide dad who she works for and who has taught her about nature in the wild. Joining the staff of the newspaper, the sixteen-year-old is teamed with new kid, Virgil, a talented photographer who is the son of a famous journalist. His photos of wolves and her essays in the paper polarize the tiny community resulting in a shooting, arson, and a movement to make wolves fair game.
Elkeles, Simone. Perfect Chemistry. Walker, 2008. 432p. $16.99. 978-0-8027-9823-7. $9.99 Trade pb. 978-08027-9822-0. VOYA February 2009.3Q 3P J S
This Quick Picks top ten choice features Alex Fuentes, a tough Chicago gang member who is assigned to be chemistry lab partner with perky cheerleader, Brittany Ellis, who loathes him at first sight but not for long as they reveal their secret hidden selves and fall in love. Unlike most teen romances that end with a happily-ever-after-for-now, this does have a happily-ever-after ending.
Elkeles, Simone. Rules of Attraction. Walker Books, 2010. 336p. $16.99. 978-0-80272085-6. VOYA June 2010.4Q 4P J S
Carlos Fuentes is happy living in Mexico but his mother wants him far from the drugs and bad influences he has surrounded himself with, so she sends him to Colorado to live with his brother, Alex, who is attending university. To stay out of juvie jail when he is framed for drug possession, he moves into the home of one of Alex's professors and discovers an attraction to the professor's daughter, Kiara, a good girl who loves the outdoors, classic cars, and eventually Carlos.
Greenwald, Lisa. Sweet Treats & Secret Crushes. Amulet, 2010. 304p. $16.95. 978-0-8109-8990-0.
Georgia, Kate, and Olivia, BFFs, live in the same New York apartment building. When a blizzard strikes and an unexpected snow day falls on the much-anticipated Valentine's Day, the three girls decide to try to build a sense of community in their building by making and delivering handmade fortune cookies from the restaurant owned by Georgia's family. All three girls have crushes. Kate's crush-of-the-day may actually be in the building. Olivia has never talked with the crush she has had since 5th grade, and Georgia's crush is a secret.
Keplinger, Kody. The DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat Friend). Little, Brown and Company, 2010. 288p. $16.99. 9780-316-08423-9. VOYA October 2010.2Q 2P S
Bianca, a high school senior, is not much like her two best friends. They are pretty and skinny and love to dance but they like to have her come along with them which is why, when Wesley, a boy who is always out to score, tells her she is the DUFF--the designated ugly fat friend--she believes him. Despite her vociferous dislike of Wesley, she enters into a secret affair with him when her life starts falling apart. Like The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler (Candlewick, 2003/VOYA October 2003), it offers sensitive, if graphic, insights into self-esteem and the difficulties of growing up, as well as a compelling romance.
Mackler, Carolyn. Tangled. HarperTeen, 2010. 320p. $16.99. 978-0-06-173104-4. VOYA February 2010.4Q 4P S
Four novellas relate the tangled and entwined tales of Jenna, an insecure sixteen-year-old from the suburbs; Dakota, a self-assured player with a romantic tragedy in his recent past; Skye, a wealthy seventeen-year-old actress; and Owen, Dakota's younger brother who is a shy blogger. They all start out on a Caribbean island over spring break and, through the four stories, come together in different combinations resulting in different relationships.
Madigan, L. K. Flash Burnout. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009. 336p. $16. 978-0547-19489-9.
The 2010 Morris Award winner puts fifteen-year-old Blake, a talented photographer, into a difficult position with the two girls in his life. He has a smart, popular, pretty, and genuinely nice girlfriend, Shannon, but also spends a lot of time with Marissa who is his photography class partner.
McCahan, Erin. I Now Pronounce You Someone Else. Arthur A. Levine, 2010. 272p. $16.99.978-0-545-08818-3.
Bronwyn Oliver feels like an outsider in her family. She hates ketchup and is only blond because her natural brown hair doesn't fit in. She even has a secret identity that fits with her long-held theory that she was switched at birth. The day after the boyfriend who insists he loves her and is committed to their relationship breaks up with her because she wants to keep her virginity until her wedding night, she runs into Jared Sondervan, a college junior who sweeps her off" her feet. Bronwyn falls in love with Jared's close, loving family and accepts his marriage proposal five minutes after she turns eighteen.
Meaney, Flynn. Bloodthirsty. Poppy, 2010. 240p. $9.99 Trade pb. 978-0-7322-9219-5.
High school junior Finbar Frame is skinny, pale, allergic to the sun, and quiet--the opposite of his twin brother. When his family moves to Westchester County, New York, and Finbar starts attending a public school, he adopts a new persona after observing several girls reading a novel titled Bloodthirsty and being told by his little sister that girls think vampires are hot. He does meet a girl in this laugh-out-loud romp, but she is no Bella and is not vampire-obsessed.
Nelson, Jandy. The Sky Is Everywhere. Penguin, 2010. 288p. $17.99. 978-0803734951. VOYA August 2010. 4Q 5P J S
Following the sudden death of her older sister, seventeen-year-old Lennie is heartbroken and has taken to writing notes on candy wrappers, paper cups, and other random things that she releases into the world. She finds first love when she starts dating Joe, a new boy in town but she also finds a new connection with Toby, her sister's boyfriend who is as bereft as Lennie by her sister's death.
Perkins, Stephanie. Anna and the French Kiss. Dutton/Penguin Putnam, 2010. 372p. $16.99. 978-0525-42327-0. VOYA December 2010.4P 4Q S
Anna Oliphant's life in Atlanta where she works at a multiplex with her crush, Toph, is vastly changed when her newly-wealthy dad, who started writing bestselling sappy Nicholas Sparks-type romances after divorcing her mom, decides she needs culture. Without even asking Anna, he registers her at a boarding school in France for her senior year. At the School of America in Paris she becomes best friends with Etienne St. Clair, maybe the best looking guy she has ever seen in her life. St. Clair, who has a British accent, an American mom, and a controlling father, is off-limits as a boyfriend as he has a serious relationship with an older girl and Anna thinks things with Toph are really going to take off when she returns to Atlanta for Christmas--but things can change.
Scott, Elizabeth. Something, Maybe. Simon Pulse/S&S, 2010, [c]2009. 217p. $9.99 Trade pb. 978-1-41695356-2.
Her dad is a notorious playboy now in his 70s. Her mother is well known for a commercial in which she delivered a pizza wearing nothing but the box. Hannah is a low-key teen who works at a burger joint call center where all the drive-through orders are taken. Her co-workers are Josh, on whom she has a major crush, and Finn who is easy to talk to. Which one will be "the one?" Zarr, Sara. Sweethearts. Little, Brown/Hachette, 2008. 224p. $16.99. 978-0-316-01455-7. VOYA April 2008.5Q 4P M J S
Popular, self-confident high school senior Jenna Vaughn is shaken when she receives a birthday card from Cameron Quick, who she thought had died after moving away in the fifth grade. Back then, Jenna was an overweight, shoplifting outcast and was called Jennifer Harris. Now she has a crowd of friends and a great boyfriend but Cameron's return is changing everything.
VOYA booklists are reproducible without permission for library, classroom, and workshop use. Reprinting in any other medium for sale by a commercial or nonprofit entity or posting on the Internet requires written permission from the publisher.
Diana Tixier Herald is the author of several readers' advisory guides in the Genreflecting Series published by Libraries Unlimited and is a regular reviewer of genre fiction novels for Booklist. Her third edition of Teen Genreflecting is due out at the end of 2010. By day, she is the library media coordinator for the thirty-eight school libraries in the Mesa County Valley School District in western Colorado. She lives on the edge of a Rocky Mountain canyon at 7,000ft. altitude with her husband in a sustainable house they built from recycled materials.
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|Author:||Herald, Diana Tixier|
|Publication:||Voice of Youth Advocates|
|Article Type:||Recommended readings|
|Date:||Feb 1, 2011|
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