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Ten Teen Romances

February 16, 2012

I wanted to post a list of my favorite romantic stories in honor of Valentine’s Day (a bit belated now), but I found that I had already covered most of them in my Fantasy Romance list a while back. So, I’m restricting this list to contemporary realistic fiction romances, some of the fluffy, feel-good variety, and some a little more substantive.

1. Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway – Audrey becomes famous overnight when her ex-boyfriend writes a song about her that rockets to the top of the charts. How is she supposed to lead a normal life when the whole world knows her as the girl who broke the rock star’s heart?

2. All-American Girl by Meg Cabot – When Sam saves the life of the President of the United States, suddenly the whole world thinks she’s a hero, but she feels far from heroic. She’s been appointed UN teen ambassador, but she has plenty of her own problems to deal with, from school and extracurricular art classes to her crush on her older sister’s boyfriend, to her new friendship with the president’s son, who happens to be very cute….

3. The Loser’s Guide to Life and Love by A.E. Cannon – In order to impress the beautiful Ellie, Ed pretends to be someone he’s not: a suave Brazilian named Sergio. The two become very close, but Ed is afraid to tell her the truth about himself. Meanwhile, his best friend Quark is suddenly falling for Ed’s friend and co-worker, Scout, and she has a major crush on Ed. This is a sweet, quick read, very loosely based on Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

4. Just Listen by Sarah Dessen – I haven’t yet read many of Sarah Dessen’s novels, but I quite liked this one about a girl who has recently lost her best friend and become something of an outcast. When Annabel meets Owen, a reformed bad boy who loves music, she starts to find the courage to face the event that caused her ostracism.

5. How Not to Spend Your Senior Year by Cameron Dokey – This is one of a line of “teen romantic comedies” from Simon Pulse, most of which are fun but forgettable. I really liked this one though, about a girl whose dad is a witness to a crime, so she has to pick up her life and start over as a new person. She can’t resist a quick trip back to her old school, however, and she finds herself becoming a ghost in her own life.

6. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green – Colin has just been dumped the nineteenth girl he’s dated named Katherine, and his friend Hassan convinces him to go on a road trip for the summer. On the way, Colin works furiously on a formula he’s creating to predict the future of any relationship, while trying to get over Katherine XIV. This is a smart, funny, and heartfelt book, and was my first introduction to the fabulous John Green.

7. How They Met, and Other Stories by David Levithan – This is a delightful collection of short stories about love in all its many forms, from a wide variety of perspectives. There’s a little something for everyone here, and it’s one of my favorite short story collections.

8. Seth Baumgartner’s Love Manifesto by Eric Luper – After Seth’s girlfriend dumps him on the same day he loses his job and catches his father on a date with a woman who is not his mother, he decides to start his own podcast show, through which he struggles to understand love while documenting his investigation of his father’s secrets.

9. M or F? by Lisa Papademetriou and Christopher Tebbetts – This is mostly silly fun, but I love the rampant mistaken identity theme, as best friends Marcus and Frannie both fall for the same guy and try to determine which of them he might be interested in. My favorite thing about it was that it managed to be both surprising and wholly satisfying.

10. Enthusiasm by Polly Shulman – This is a charming story about a girl who loves Pride and Prejudice and whose best friend has just adopted that same passion as her newest obsession. Together they sneak into a dance at a local all-boy’s school, where they meet a couple of boys who could potentially be their Darcy and Bingham. The trouble is, they can’t decide which of them is Jane and which is Elizabeth.

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