noun 1. a tale depicting heroic or marvellous achievements, colourful events or scenes, chivalrous devotion, unusual, even supernatural, experiences, or other matters of a kind to appeal to the imagination
2. a romantic affair or experience; a love affair.
3. a novel or film in which romantic love, usually leading to happiness, is a prevailing element.
Ah, romance. The delicate—or tumultuous—unfolding of a new relationship, laid bare for the reader to delight in. (Like a butterfly pinned to a foam board NO WAIT THAT’S NOT RIGHT!)
Romance is a staple of YA and NA books, especially those of the contemporary and paranormal romance varieties. There are many celebrated couples, and last year we voted on those: Clary and Jace came first, and Ron and Hermione were our runners up. (Maybe if JK had seen our poll she might have realised she was walking on hot coals with her recent comments. Someone should tell Cassandra Clare, quick!)
This year at AOR we’re looking at which YA and NA book couples have the best romance. I gathered nominations at my blog, and now it’s your chance to decide between our chosen nine! (It’s too late to nominate extras but if there’s someone you think is missing, please leave a comment below.)
And here are their Goodreads blurbs if you want to browse them and decide who to vote for!
Anna and Étienne
from Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris – until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Étienne has it all…including a serious girlfriend.
But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?
Rachel and Isaiah
from Crash into You by Katie McGarry
The girl with straight As, designer clothes and the perfect life – that’s who people expect Rachel Young to be. So the private-school junior keeps secrets from her wealthy parents and overbearing brothers…and she’s just added two more to the list. One involves racing strangers down dark country roads in her Mustang GT. The other? Seventeen-year-old Isaiah Walker – a guy she has no business even talking to. But when the foster kid with the tattoos and intense gray eyes comes to her rescue, she can’t get him out of her mind.
Isaiah has secrets, too. About where he lives, and how he really feels about Rachel. The last thing he needs is to get tangled up with a rich girl who wants to slum it on the south side for kicks-no matter how angelic she might look.
But when their shared love of street racing puts both their lives in jeopardy, they have six weeks to come up with a way out. Six weeks to discover just how far they’ll go to save each other.
Mary-Lynnette and Ash
from Daughters of Darkness by L. J. Smith
There’s something strange about the new girls in town. Briar Creek, Oregon, has never seen anything like the supernatural grace of Rowan, Kestrel, and Jade, three sisters who move into the dilapidated old house next to Mark and Mary-Lynnette Carter. Mark is obsessed with Jade – but she and her sisters have a secret. And when Mark and Mary-Lynnette follow them into the woods one night, they are plunged into a nightmare beyond their imagination. Because the sisters are fugitives from the Night World, and their brother Ash is hot on the trail behind them. He’s ruthless, gorgeous, and he has orders to bring the girls back at all costs. And when he sees Mary-Lynette, he decides to take her too…
Eleanor and Park
from Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
Set over the course of one school year in 1986, ELEANOR AND PARK is the story of two star-crossed misfits – smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love – and just how hard it pulled you under…
Katy and Daemon
from Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Starting over sucks.
When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I’d pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring…. until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.
And then he opened his mouth.
Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something…unexpected happens.
The hot alien living next door marks me.
You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon’s touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I’m getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades.
If I don’t kill him first, that is.
Tana and Gavriel
from The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave.
One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.
Hazel and Augustus
from The Fault in our Stars by John Green
Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.
Lilac and Tarver
from These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
It’s a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone.
Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.
Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?
Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.
Celaena and Chaol
from Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin. Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom.
Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her… but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.
Then one of the other contestants turns up dead… quickly followed by another.
Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.
Cassandra Page added several books to her TBR list after reading the blurbs for these nominations. How about you?