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Young Adult Books That Do Love Right


As a not-so-young adult who avidly reads (OK, I devour) young adult books, I’ve found myself swept up in many a love story—not just the kind between two people, but between friends and even family members.

Out of the 60+ young adult books I’ve had the pleasure of reading over the past year and a half—a few, more than once—the raw, authentic, and magnificently written romance between Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell and the sibling love story between Noah and Jude AND the romantic love between Noah and Brian in I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson are among the love stories that will truly live in my heart forever. And the love between Violet and Finch in All the Bright Places? I have no words…

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As for romance and adventure, Stephanie Perkins nails it on the head with Anna and Etienne in Anna and the French Kiss. Deep love between Lillian and Wren, two sisters who depend and rely on one another, is beautifully portrayed in This Raging Light by Estelle Laure (you can read my recent interview with Laure here). And all around family love is mastered in David Levithan’s Hold Me Closer: The Tiny Cooper Story, a book that simultaneously brought me to laughs and tears.

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I asked a few notable and fantastic authors to name young adult books that get love right. Here are a few of their selections: 

Just Visiting by Dahlia Adler

“I never dated in high school, so the great loves of my teenage life were my best friends. I adored the romantic relationships in Just Visiting (Spencer Hill Contemporary, 11/17/15), but it’s the powerful, complex, imperfect best friendship between Reagan and Victoria that blew me away. This book took me straight back to the most gut-wrenching, beautiful days of high school.”

~Becky Albertalli, author of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (Balzer + Bray, 4/7/15). (You can read my recent interview with Albertalli here.)

Anne of Green Gables Series by Lucy Maud Montgomery

“Wow, there are so many great YA love stories out there—Eleanor and Park (in Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell), Gus and Hazel in The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, and Maddy and Olly in Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon to name a few. But the romance that made a huge impact on me as a teen was the one between Anne and Gilbert from the Anne of Green Gables Series by Lucy Maud Montgomery.

Love is done right by them because they honestly liked each other as friends and laughed a lot. True love is more about a solid partnership than making someone weak in the knees. I mean yeah, kissing and swoony stuff goes along with that, but at the end of the day, I think true love empowers us to become better individuals. Anne and Gilbert were so supportive of each other. I loved that about them.”

~Melissa Gorzelanczyk, author of Arrows (Random House/Delacorte Press, 1/26/16); see Gorzelanczyk’s image below.

 

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When We Collided* by Emery Lord

“This book is a boy-meets-girl story told from alternating POVs, and it’s also a exploration of mental illness and depression that is moving, romantic and realistic.”

~Melissa Walker, author of Lovestruck Summer (5/5/09); see Walker’s image below. (You can also read my recent interview with Walker here.)

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Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg

“There are so many relationships to love in Openly Straight (Arthur A. Levine Books, 5/28/13), including Rafe’s supportive family, old and new friends, and, of course, Ben.”

~Natasha Sinel, author of The Fix (Sky Pony Press, 9/1/15); you can read my recent interview with Sinel here). 

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

The Golden Compass (Arthur A. Knopf, ’95) is a book that speaks to the love between the protagonist, a young girl named Lyra, and her daemon–a soul animal named Pan. Lyra and Pan are the best of friends but also spiritually intertwined in a way that Pullman beautifully brings to life.”

~Jennifer Miller, author of The Heart You Carry Home (Mariner Books; 11/3/15). 

What books do love right by you?

*This title will be released on 4/5/16; currently available for preorder on Amazon etc. 

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About The Author

Elisa Zied is a nationally recognized registered dietitian nutritionist, author, speaker, and spokesperson. A trusted source of food, nutrition, and health information, Elisa has garnered millions of media impressions, lending her expertise and real-world perspective to dozens of TV shows, web sites, news organizations and magazines. She’s the author of four nutrition books and is currently working on her first novel. You can find her previous Food, Fitness & Fiction posts here and connect with her on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and Facebook.

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