YA Books to Read on Valentine’s Day | The Daily Star
06:55 PM, February 14, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 07:09 PM, February 14, 2021

YA Books to Read on Valentine’s Day

Young Adult Romance is an immensely popular genre among readers of all ages. Not only serving as great sources of comfort, these novels bring their own fresh and unique perspectives on love, identity, relationships, and everything that falls in between. Be it the classical enemies-to-lovers trope, the fake dating trope or the infamous, and endlessly intoxicating, love triangle, the stories below have covered it all. 


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Becky Albertelli & Aisha Saeed (HarperCollins, 2020)

The book revolves around the lives of Jamie and Maya, two teens who are experiencing a less than ideal summer break. Maya is worrying about her parents' divorce and in dire need of someone to vent to. Jamie, on the other hand, is aiding in his cousin's campaign for their local elections. The two stumble into and over each other's lives at an Iftar party, where Maya agrees, much to Jamie's elation, to join in the campaign trail. While working side by side and falling for one another just the same, the two go viral and incur their own set of "shippers" from around the world.

I loved: how the book presented the story of a Muslim immigrant. Aisha Saeed and Becky Albertelli did a fantastic job in crafting their characters. The book features the simple friends-to-lovers trope done right, and is a great read for anyone looking to come out of their reading slump. I could very easily relate to both the protagonists, and it felt like I was there, campaigning, knocking on doors, and finally meeting "awesome Rossum". 


Alex Light (HarperTeen, 2020)

Becca Hart does not believe in true love but can always be found sneaking into the world of romance through her books. Ever since her father left the family, Becca finds difficulty in embracing any and all concepts of love, and is seeking eternally the famed "answer of life". Things take an about-turn when she cracks a joke about dating and is joined immediately by Brett Wells, the captain of the football team and, naturally, the most popular guy in school. They soon embark upon "fake-dating" in an effort to stop their friends from trying to find them partners, but their plan is not as simple as it sounds. Brett belongs to the picture-perfect family, while Becca and her mom are still struggling to restart their lives. As their worlds collide, the differences become stark and one thing, as they say, leads to another. 

I loved: the fake-dating trope. Light's novel is slightly different from contemporary YA romances but manages to impart the same light and intimate feelings. It also incorporates several other dynamics including familial relationships and mental health. It is a short and breezy read for all its subject matters, and is perfect for opening on a Spring day. 


Rabindranath Tagore (Pathok Publishers, 1929)

Written by Tagore during his days in Bangalore, the novel was first published as a series in the magazine, Probashi.  The story is set in Shillong and recaps the love story of Amit and Labonno. Coming from a wealthy family, and having studied at the University of Oxford, Amit intends to break the ritualistic shackles of his very orthodox society, and happens upon Labonno, by way of a nonfatal car accident. Amit is rebellious, opinionated, suave and romantic. On the other end of the coin, Labonno is understated, confident and strong, vulnerable and emotional. She is first introduced to us as a reserved and studious girl of conviction, but one who soon changes under the weight of love into a fragile, soft-hearted woman.

I loved: how their feelings for each other are expressed through a series of dialogues, beautifully capturing the essence of a love story. 


Beth O'Leary (Flatiron, 2019)

After an ugly breakup, Tiffy Moore needs a cheap flat. Leon Twomey works night shifts at the hospital and needs cash to keep fighting for the innocence of his wrongly-imprisoned brother. Their friends do not approve of the idea but it seems like the perfect solution: Leon occupies the one-bed flat while Tiffy is at work during the day, and she can have the place for the night. The twists and turns along the way include an obsessive ex-boyfriend-turned-stalker, issues with mental health, and somehow, someway, a love soon shared.

I loved: the way it keeps you hooked with its plot. The protagonists are relatable people and their personal dynamics just add more warmth and strength to the story. Tiffy's abusive boyfriend adds some good drama and imparts some necessary lessons. Two strong protagonists supported by even stronger friends, a slow progression of their lives, their everyday sticky-note conversations and finally meeting each other in the shower—all of this makes for a cosy, if unconventional, rom-com read.


Jenna Evans Welch (Simon & Schuster, 2016)

Lina is supposed to spend her summer in Italy but she is not interested in its beautiful landscape. Abiding by her mother's dying wish of getting to know her father, Lina is provided with a journal that her mom had kept when she had lived in Italy. As she starts reading, she begins to explore a magical world of romance, art, culture, and midnight bakeries. In a pursuit to discover Italy with her late mother, she jumps into a joyride with Ren, a charming neighbour. Even the most common of tourist attractions seem new and the two of them end up falling in love, in the land of love and gelato.

I loved: the way the author addresses familial relationships and breaks our prenotions about ideal families. Welch's beautiful book takes you on a magical tour of Italy and leaves you with a smile on your face. 


Humayun Ahmed (Somoy Prokashon, 1994)

The book revolves around the lives of three people. Moti is a village singer and in love with Shahana, the grand-daughter of a zamindar. What complicates this dynamic is the entry of Kusum, a simple village girl who yearns for Moti and his voice. The protagonists represent the various states of the human mind. Be it the rebel inside Shahana, the free spirited Moti, or the undying love within Kusum, their unique personalities get entangled throughout the plot.

I loved: how Srabon Megher Din manages to address love in the rawest of forms. It portrays unrequited love and the ensuing melancholy Humayun Ahmed is always celebrated for his simplistic representation of human lives and just like his other works, this book manages to describe the inner personas of the characters while weaving their lives into a story. 

The author likes to read her way through life, and you will always find her scribbling and planning. Follow her, @monameereads on Instagram.

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