Our library staff make their swooning and romantic Valentine's Day reading picks.
Love & Other Disasters2022 by Kelly, AnitaGet this item
Charming and steamy, the book revolves around a reality TV cooking show competition in which two of the contestants fall in love. One of the protagonists is nonbinary, which I really liked for a mainstream romance. Plus, there are a few other characters who are part of the LGBTQIA community. I can only hope that the author is planning more stories. Recommended by Sharon.
Recipe for Persuasion2020 by Dev, SonaliGet this item
I really enjoyed this powerful and nuanced second-chance romance, and the complex relationship between mother and daughter added a nice layer to the story. Though a second book in the Rajes series, it can be read independently. Loosely inspired by Jane Austen's Persuasion. Recommended by Rummanah.
Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry2021 by Goffney, JoyaGet this item
Readers will love high school senior Quinn, who is trying to find her place in the world and navigate being a Black girl in a predominately white space. It's impossible not to fall in love with her budding relationship with Carter, but readers will also take away the important messages of family and friendship as Quinn prepares for the next stage of her life. Recommended by Amber.
Heartstopper2020 by Oseman, AliceGet this item
This precious graphic novel series is a pure delight to read. This series manages to beautifully capture the fragility of first love and discuss serious topics, while also managing to be uplifting and full of joy. It warms my heart that this series exists. The fourth volume is my favorite thus far. Recommended by Rummanah.
Hana Khan Carries On2021 by Jalaluddin, UzmaGet this item
This romance not only has a large cast of great characters, loving and strong family ties, a satisfying enemies-to-lovers trope, and discussions of real-life issues head on, but it also provides a much needed mirror for those looking for positive Muslim representation and a window for others who want to learn more. Recommended by Rummanah.
A Ph̉ơ Love Story2021 by Le, LoanGet this item
I loved this story of two star-crossed teens whose parents own rival pho restaurants. It's a light, funny, slow burn of a book. And if you enjoy a healthy serving of delicious food with your romance, this one doesn't disappoint. Recommended by Becca.
Never Look Back2020 by Rivera, LilliamGet this item
I adored this a modern retelling of the Orpheus and Eurydice Greek myth featuring Afro-Latinx teens. Not only does this book seamlessly and expertly blend Caribbean and Greek myth into a contemporary teen story, but it also explores Afro-Latinx culture, identity, joy, mental health, and romance. Unlike in the original myth, Eury is given agency and a voice. Recommended by Rummanah.
Spoiler Alert2020 by Dade, OliviaGet this item
Marcus and April are such a wonderful breath of fresh air. We loved how they both grow comfortable in their own skin and reveal their true selves. Olivia Dade tackles the positive and negative sides of fandom, fatphobia, and the stigma of disabilities. Recommended by Amy, Becca, and Rummanah.
Weather Girl2022 by Solomon, Rachel LynnGet this item
Solomon is becoming one of my auto-read authors. I love how she writes real characters with real problems without ever sacrificing fun, sweet romances. Ari's discussion of her mental health and Russell's atypical family dynamic are sensitively and candidly explored. Recommended by Rummanah.
Conventionally Yours2020 by Albert, AnnabethGet this item
The energy and tension between Conrad and Alden are exquisite in this delightfully trope-filled queer romance. The story is set against the backdrop of a competition for the fictional Odyssey card game (loosely similar to Magic: The Gathering), and it doesn’t disappoint with the squee-worthy moments--you’ve got the sunshine one and the grumpy one, road trip hijinks, and more. I’m psyched that this is only book one of a series, too! Recommended by Amy.
The Queer Principles of Kit Webb2021 by Sebastian, CatGet this item
Set in the Georgian era, this is a banter-filled slow-burn historical romance that involves retired highwayman Kit Webb and the sexy Lord Holland, AKA Edward Percy, heir to the nefarious Duke of Clare. They plot a heist for noblest of reasons, and along the way love wins out. I couldn’t put it down. Recommended by Sharon.
Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake2021 by Hall, Alexis J.Get this item
Picture getting to go behind the scenes of a love triangle happening in the Bake Off tent—that’s what you get here, when single mum Rosaline has a spot on a fictionalized take on the baking show and immediately connects with one of her male fellow bakers--and decidedly doesn’t connect with another. The bits of baking competition are total fun, but we especially loved the ways in which bisexual Rosaline tears down biphobia and figures out what it means to her to be herself. Recommended by Amy and Becca.
The Passing Playbook2021 by Fitzsimons, IsaacGet this item
In addition to a sweet romance between Spenser, a trans boy, and Justice, a gay boy, it is a story of acceptance, community, friendship, and living your truth. I highly recommended it for fans of Simon vs the Homosapien Agenda by Becky Albertalli and Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender. Recommended by Rummanah.
Dial A for Aunties2021 by Sutanto, Jesse Q.Get this item
You'll need a healthy dose of suspension of disbelief for this My Best Friend's Wedding/Crazy Rich Asians/Weekend at Bernie's mashup, but if you're willing to go along for the ride, you'll be rewarded with a funny, offbeat, and engaging novel. If you're looking for a romcom with just a touch of cozy mystery, this is the title for you. Recommended by Becca.
It Sounded Better in My Head2020 by Kenwood, NinaGet this item
This quirky romance made me laugh out loud multiple times. I loved Natalie's sharp, funny, and self-aware voice. She is still fumbling through the awkward time between teen and adulthood. It is a real coming of age story in addition to a cute romance. Recommended by Rummanah.
Life's too Short2021 by Jimenez, AbbyGet this item
This third book in the Friend Zone series is another winner. Jimenez masterfully blends heavy issues and humor with her loveable yet flawed characters. Vanessa and Adrian complement one another beautifully. A great pick if you love the friends to lovers trope. Recommended by Rummanah.
The Voting Booth2020 by Colbert, BrandyGet this item
I normally don't prefer books that take place in one day, but Colbert's smart romance won me over. Marva and Duke have a deceptively simple story, but as you get invested in their romance, you begin to peel back its layers and see how both characters are affected by systemic issues. I also loved Marva's passion for activism. Recommended by Rummanah.
Loveboat, Taipei2020 by Wen, Abigail HingGet this item
If you enjoyed Crazy Rich Asians, I think you will also enjoy this romance. I appreciated that the Asian characters got to be messy and deal with complex issues ranging from first-generation immigrants vs parental expectations, casual racism, mental health, and disabilities. I am looking forward to picking up the next book and watching this story unfold on the screen. Recommended by Rummanah.
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