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4 YA Romances To Warm Your Heart and Make You Think | Summer Reading 2020

These titles avoid classic romance tropes and tackle topics of race, feminism, and being true to yourself, all with humor and heart.

These titles avoid classic romance tropes and tackle topics of race, feminism, and being true to yourself, all with humor and heart.

Love from A to Z by S.K. Ali. S. & S./Salaam Reads. ISBN 9781534442726.

Adam Chen and Zayneb Malik, who for very different reasons feel alone and frustrated, meet in Qatar and discover the transformative power of convictions and connections. Centering the Muslim experience, this beautiful, complex, and important book examines love, family, justice, activism, and the changes and challenges life throws at us.

Say Yes Summer by Lindsey Roth Culli. Delacorte. ISBN 9780399552311.

Reflecting that she had refused to participate in many high school rites of passage, and after finding a self-help book that encourages saying “yes” to new life experiences, recent valedictorian Rachel decides to try this approach.

book covers

Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Bks. ISBN 9780062748379.

A uniquely twisted love story involving time travel, death, and friendship. Sparks fly when Jack and Kate meet at a party, but their love affair ends unexpectedly when Kate dies suddenly. Jack uses his newfound time-traveling ability to save her. This “meet cute” blends elements of classic rom-comsSay Anything, Groundhog Day, and When Harry Met Sally to great effect.

Frankly in Love by David Yoon. Putnam. ISBN 9781984812209.

After Frank Li’s Korean parents disown his sister for marrying a Black man, he fakes a relationship with Joy, a family friend, so they won’t find out that he’s actually dating a white girl. This is a nuanced look at culture, identity, and racism, with well-drawn characters, an incredibly strong narrative voice, and warm humor that doesn’t detract from its deep themes.

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