Ah, Valentine’s Day. Whether your single or in a relationship, escaping to someone else’s love story, vicariously living through them, and claiming their boyfriend as your book boyfriend, is a pleasure available to anyone willing to pick up the book. There are some books that are perfect escapisms, some that are necessary to get you out of a funk, and others that are a lethal, beautiful combination of both. What do these books have in common other than the obvious? You can’t stop talking about them, some you will reread and reread and reread until the spine is broken, and others will invade your mind and will be the ones that your suggesting to strangers at the bookstores of your choosing.
I’ve made a list of some of the books or series or authors that will make you believe in love again—fourteen in total, because it is Valentine’s Day, after all.
- What better than a series that has love in the series name? The True Love trilogy by Kieran Scott is a spin-off of the Greek myths, following Eros, also known as Cupid by the Romans, as she works her way back to the love of her life, Orion. Without the help of her powers, she has to connect three couples, and not without plenty of difficulties and a plethora of doubt. It’ll take you no time to read these books, and you’ll be swooning and have at least four book boyfriends by the time you’re finished.
- 99 Days by Katie Cotugno has a different kind of love than romantic love: learning to love yourself. Molly Barlow is back for the summer, facing her ex-boyfriend that she cheated on and his brother that she cheated on him with. Ninety-nine days before she’s free, ninety-nine days to make lifelong decisions. Did I mention her mom wrote a book about what happened that summer and it became a bestseller?
- Anything by Nicholas Sparks will make you believe in love again, but two—okay, three—that come to mind are: A Walk to Remember, The Last Song, and Dear John (I consider this one book since his stories are, I admit, quite similar and follow the same troupes—sorry, it’s true). All three have one common entity: someone is dying. Love shows its face in different ways, through sacrifice, through time, and through music. If one of these doesn’t make you cry even a little, I’m not sure you have a heart.
- This book hasn’t come out yet, and I can’t wait to talk to strangers about it at the bookstore when I see them pick it up—yes, it’s that good. The Season of You and Me is a book that you’ll think about rereading the second you turn the last page. I. Devoured. It. It’s summer and love and second chances and so gorgeous that—well, just wait until May and you’ll get what I’m talking about. Trust me on this one, guys.
- The Shatter Me trilogy by Tahereh Mafi is one of the most poetic series that I’ve ever read that’s prose. It does have a love triangle, which believe it or not, is not what I love so much about this series. Chapter 62—just…Chapter 62. Figure it out. *smiles mischievously*
- The Hunger Games also tops my list of favorite love stories, for multiple reasons. I’m not talking about the entire trilogy, though, only the first book. Katniss Everdeen is bursting with love, and she doesn’t even know it. She loves her sister so much that she undergoes psychological damage—shown in Mockingjay as one of the most magnificent depictions of PTSD that I’ve ever read. She loves a girl she barely knows, her competition, and sacrifices her own safety in the arena to show allegiance and respect to District 11. She loves Gale so much that she tries to give him a chance, and she loves Peeta enough to risk her life for the rest of her life to be with him. The first book is a must for the ultimate love, a girl who loves others more than she loves herself. The entire trilogy is good, Catching Fire is my favorite, but The Hunger Games is the stepping stone into a trilogy that will break your heart.
- I couldn’t consider myself part of society if I didn’t mention my next pick: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. The pastor’s daughter in me is cringing at how much this book made me think about the things that Louisa Clark was forced to think about. I will be the person sobbing with her copy of the book, sticky notes and all, flipping through the pages to make sure they got it right, opening weekend (also, I might be the one laughing insanely at some bits because this book, as weird as it sounds, is kind of hilarious). Watch the movie trailer and prepare yourself. This one is a gorgeous portrayal of sacrificial love. I want everything Moyes has ever written now.
- I don’t read a lot of classics, but I’m obsessed—I have a shirt and everything—with The Great Gatsby. Scandal, forbidden love, the Roaring Twenties, and—the best part—New York. What’s not to love? I love the symbolism, the desire, the brokenness that Fitzgerald interweaves through every line. If you love The Great Gatsby, then I love you…Old Sport.
- I took a scifi lit course and was introduced to a lot of short stories. My favorite of the entire class was Nekropolis by Maureen McHugh. Basically, it discusses what makes someone human and that love might be the formula. AI and indentured servitude and love—the full-length novel is on my TBR list.
- There is no kissing in this book—none whatsoever. It’s one of the most infuriating parts about the book, to be honest, but it’s marvelous. Flipped by Wendelin van Draanan is great for young readers (it’s middle grade) because it discusses the trials and tribulations of first love, juxtaposed with heavy concepts, and great for older readers because it’s so much fun and makes you think about that first crush.
- The Mortal Instruments is comprised of six whooping, addictive books. My favorite in the series is City of Ashes (if you haven’t read this series yet, skip this one—spoilers—just know it’s GOOD). Clary and Jace think they’re brother and sister in this book and won’t find out until the next that they aren’t. The tension and forbidden aspect of this book is addictive. Jace is a broken character, beaten and destroyed from childhood, and Clary is a remedy for that pain—but he can’t have her. It’s action-packed and makes my heart race every time I reread it. (It’s also set in New York, and if you don’t understand my obsession with NY, well…)
- Anything by Kasie West is good, but the first book I read by her is a little different than the rest. It has a scifi aspect to it. Addie Coleman’s story is not definite. She gets to see which life she wants to live when her parents announce their divorce. With two love interest, I had a difficult time choosing—most of the time—and enjoyed the rotating chapters. Addie’s choices are defined by love, but not necessarily which guy she loves more. The ending will make your jaw drop, but have no fear, there’s a sequel.
- I love The Princess Bride and literally almost died when I realized it was a book! The movie is iconic. I’ve watched it so many times it’s probably unhealthy. Yes, this is a kissing book, and “As you wish” is one of the most romantic lines ever written.
- Charles Dickens is a lot to handle, yes, but A Tale of Two Cities ended up in my fingers in seventh grade and ruined me for life. You don’t know love until you’ve read this book.