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Teen

16 YA Books on Love

by Laura Lambert

teen love
Image credit: jeremyiswild/Getty Images

First love. First kiss. First heartbreak. These are moments you never forget — even as adults. For teens just starting to dream about finding their person and all that it entails, YA books about love offer a glimpse of what’s to come — from the light, funny, and sweet to the heartrendingly tragic. And for those who’ve already experienced some of their firsts, those very same books can help them navigate all the feelings.

If you’re looking for young adult books on love, these 16 are a great place to start.

  • Always Never Yours

    by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka

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    Theater nerds, take note: This refreshing love story is set during a staging of Romeo and Juliet. Seventeen-year-old high school senior Megan Harper wants nothing more than to direct, but she is instead cast in the lead role. And it’s within this play that she meets someone who might finally change her luck with boys. Says Kirkus, the “flirty, whip-smart banter is irresistible, and it’s refreshing to see a swoon worthy Asian male love interest.”

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  • The Fault in Our Stars

    by John Green

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    The tragic love story for this generation — and the 2012 book that cemented John Green’s place in the hearts and minds of his now-legions of YA fans. Hazel Grace Lancaster and Augustus “Gus” Waters meet and fall in love amidst the backdrop of terminal cancer. “I think what teens respond to is the unironized emotion and the experience of falling in love and grappling with loss and trying to answer those big questions about meaning,” Green told The Washington Post.

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  • Lovely War

    by Julie Berry

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    The Washington Post describes Lovely War as “the novel you’ll want to steal from your teen’s nightstand.” Set between the two world wars, this sweeping romance is narrated by none other than Aphrodite, the goddess of love. Kirkus does not hold back, calling Berry’s novel “an unforgettable romance so Olympian in scope, human at its core, and lyrical in its prose that it must be divinely inspired.”

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  • Jo & Laurie

    by Margaret Stohl and Melissa de la Cruz

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    In this creative re-imagining of the world of Louisa May Alcott, which takes place between the publication of Little Women and the following book, Good Wives, beloved YA authors Margaret Stohl and Melissa de la Cruz give Jo March and Theodore Laurence a chance at love.

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  • A Taste for Love

    by Jennifer Yen

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    For fans of To All the Boys I've Loved Before, Jane Austen, and, well, boba, char siu bao, and matcha cookies, A Taste for Love will satisfy on many levels. It’s the story of Liza Yang, a high school senior whose mom stages a baking competition as a way to find Liza a boy. Says Kirkus, “This is a story that highlights love not only through the romance storyline, but also in the push-pull dynamic between immigrant parents and their children, moments of sisterly banter and bonding, and bubble tea shared between best friends.”

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  • Verona Comics

    by Jennifer Dugan

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    Kirkus calls this queer YA novel “breathlessly sweet.” Sixteen-year-old Jubilee and 17-year-old Ridley meet at FabCon, a comic book convention — and fall for each other, hard. But their respective families — and personal struggles — mean trouble ahead.

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  • The Best Laid Plans

    by Cameron Lund

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    High school senior Keely Collins is “the last virgin standing” — and she desperately wants to do something about it, including rethinking her relationship with her best friend, Andrew. While the plot itself holds few surprises, Lund’s rendition of real intimacy — physical and emotional — hits the mark.

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  • Super Fake Love Song

    by David Yoon

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    In this clever, fresh — and refreshingly diverse — take on teen romance, Sunny Dae, a self-identified D&D nerd, convinces the new girl at Rancho Ruby High School, Cirrus Soh, that he’s actually his rock star brother — and then has to follow through. Yoon’s book is as much about being true to oneself as it is about the lengths you’ll go for a crush.

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  • 11 Paper Hearts

    by Kelsey Hartwell

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    In this Hallmark Channel-worthy rom com novel, high school senior Ella Fitzpatrick has lost her memory after a terrible Valentine’s Day car accident — and a secret admirer uses 11 mysterious paper hearts to help her piece together the past.

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  • Breathless

    by Jennifer Niven

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    For 18-year-old Claudine Henry, the summer after high school is full of firsts — love, sex, heartbreak … and her parents’ divorce. Set on an island off the coast of Georgia, Breathless follows Claudine as she sorts out a new life — and new identity — along with her mom. Kirkus calls it “a sex-positive summer romance.”

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  • The Kissing Booth

    by Beth Reekles

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    Beth Reekles was just 15 when she wrote The Kissing Booth, the first in what’s now become both a wildly popular book and Netflix film series. Rochelle “Elle” Evans, a popular girl who’s never been kissed, falls for Noah Flynn, a self-described bad boy — and a kiss in a kissing booth sets their relationship in motion.

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  • The Sun Is Also a Star

    by Nicola Yoon

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    On the one hand, The Sun Is Also a Star is a classic love story about coincidence and fate — but it’s also, writes Entertainment Weekly, “a book that is very much about the many factors that affect falling in love, as much as it is about the very act itself.” In the book, two teens, Natasha, an aspiring scientist, and Daniel, an aspiring poet, serendipitously meet on the street in New York City, right before Natasha's family is scheduled to be deported. This New York Times bestseller and National Book Award finalist is now a film starring Yara Shahidi and Charles Melton.

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  • Date Me, Bryson Keller

    by Kevin Van Whye

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    The Nerd Daily calls Date Me, Bryson Keller a “laugh-out-loud, heartfelt and delightfully cute debut.” Here’s the setup: On a dare, Bryson Keller, that popular boy at Fairvale Academy, agrees to date a new person every week. When 17-year-old Kai Sheridan — who’s gay, but not out — asks Bryson out, it changes both of their lives forever.

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  • Together, Apart

    by Erin A. Craig, Auriane Desombre, Erin Hahn, Bill Konigsberg, Rachael Lippincott, Brittney Morris, Sajni Patel, Natasha Preston, and Jennifer Yen

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    Love stories from lockdown — that’s the conceit of this anthology of nine pieces of short fiction from some of YA’s most beloved authors. While the stories are all different, one element connects them all — the happy ending.

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  • Full Disclosure

    by Camryn Garrett

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    First love is a lot more complicated when you’re born HIV+. In Garret’s stirring debut novel, Simone Garcia-Hampton is the new girl at school and has fallen for Miles. Then, someone threatens to reveal her secret — her HIV status — and she must decide what’s worth risking for love. “Simone’s story will educate readers about the intricacies of living fully with HIV and controlling your narrative,” says Kirkus.

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  • It's All Love

    by Jenna Ortega

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    This wide-ranging nonfiction debut from award-winning actress Jenna Ortega tackles love from many different angles — falling in and out, and the love from family that sustains you, regardless.

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