All the Swoons: 32 YA Novels for Romance Awareness Month

February may have Valentine's Day, but August is actually Romance Awareness Month. Full of all the best tropes—meet cutes, hate-to-love, second chances, and so many more—here are 32 books to share with teens who can’t resist a good HEA.

February may have Valentine's Day, but August is actually Romance Awareness Month. Full of all the best tropes—meet cutes, hate-to-love, second chances, and so many more—here are 32 books to share with teens who can’t resist a good HEA.


 The Charmed List by Julie Abe. Wednesday Bks. ISBN 9781250830098.
Ellie Kobata has been looking forward to her road trip for months, driving from Palo Alto to the California Magical Retailers’ Convention. Ellie is excited to have her best friend Lia’s help knocking items off her Anti-Wallflower List, which Ellie hopes will be able to change her quiet girl persona at school. Ellie’s high hopes for the trip are dashed when item four—getting revenge on her ex-best-friend Jack Yasuda—goes horribly wrong, leaving Ellie grounded for the foreseeable future, in a fight with Lia, and, worst of all, driving to the convention with Jack. 

Batter Royale by Leisl Adams. illus. by Leisl ­Adams. Abrams/Amulet. ISBN 9781419750755. 
When 17-year-old Rose unexpectedly impresses a famous restaurant critic with her dessert skills, she receives an invitation to a baking show in Britain; the winner will receive $500,000 and a book deal. With some effort, she convinces her best friend, Fred, the son of the owners of the restaurant where she waits tables, to join her team, and her parents to let her compete. Fred and Rose travel to Britain, compete against cutthroat teams, and explore themselves and their friendship.

Blackwater by Jeannette Arroyo & Ren Graham. illus. by Jeanette Arroyo & Ren Graham. Holt. ISBN 9781250304025.
Tony is a popular track star of Black Puerto Rican heritage who meets Eli, a white trans boy who has an autoimmune disorder. They become unlikely friends, and a tentative new romance later develops between them as they encounter ghostly beings and werewolves, all while dealing with high school drama. For fans of Heartstopper and Teen Wolf, the blend of horror, sly humor, and an intriguing cliff-hanger will ensure readers return for the next volume.

Only on the Weekends by Dean Atta. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray. ISBN 9780063157989. 
Mackintosh “Mack” Fadayomi is the neglected, gay, Nigerian son of a famous film director. He ventures out of his bubble and takes Food Tech at school, where he befriends Maz, the cousin of his hopeless crush, K, the star of the basketball team. K, as it turns out, is also gay and very closeted. Their romance begins, which, from Mack’s side, is incredibly confusing and insecure. 

Always Jane by Jenn Bennett. S. & S. ISBN 9781534482326. 
Complex relationships are at the heart of this summer romance featuring love triangles and music festivals in an idyllic lakeside setting. When Jane connects with Fen Sarafian, whose family runs the town’s famous music festival, her summer is turned upside down as she begins to question everything from her future plans to the true identity of her father to her feelings for her current boyfriend, who happens to be Fen’s brother. 

 Three Kisses, One Midnight by Roshani Chokshi and Evelyn Skye and Sandhya Menon. Wednesday Bks. ISBN 9781250797230.
Best friends Onny, Ash, and True, affectionately known as The Coven, are looking forward to a magical Halloween; what better time to try out a love potion than the night when legend says the Lady of Moon Ridge leaves the sky and visits the town that bears her name? In three distinct but connected tales, Onny, Ash, and True each have until midnight to find romance.

That’s Debatable by Jen Doll. Farrar. ISBN 9780374306045. 
Millie’s and Tag’s story unfolds in short first-person alternating chapters over a debate season and follows the classic rivals-to-romance trope. Both teens are facing a pivotal post-secondary decision-making moment in their lives, but as they grow closer, and their relationship evolves, the striking difference between their situations and options becomes more and more evident.

 Some Mistakes Were Made by Kristin Dwyer. HarperTeen. ISBN 9780063088535. 
It’s been a year since Ellis was banished to the West Coast; a year of being cut off from her best friend and love, Easton Albrey. She’s freshly graduated from high school when Easton’s brother Tucker Albrey swoops back into Ellis’s life and convinces her to return to their small town in Indiana for his mother’s 50th birthday bash. Going back means facing the heartache and betrayal that obliterated her life last summer and Ellis isn’t sure she’ll survive it. 

My Mechanical Romance by Alexene Farol Follmuth. Holiday House. ISBN 9780823450107. 
The story follows Bel, a girl who does not want to stress about the future, such as college applications, and has no interest in any after-school activities, for she has other things in mind instead—like laying low and not worrying about what is to come. What follows is an engaging story, filled with lessons about believing in yourself when you never thought you could and believing others who might see the shine you never thought was possible.

The Edge of Summer by Erica George. Little, Brown/Poppy. ISBN 9780316496766. 
Coriander “Cor” Cabot (white) and her best friend Ella (race not stated) have always been fascinated with whales and had planned to attend a marine biologist internship together before college. However, Ella’s tragic death in the sea the summer before has left Cor to complete their shared bucket list on her own. However, her priorities are put into question when she meets handsome local lifeguard, Mannix (white), who unexpectedly sweeps her off her feet. 

 A Million Quiet Revolutions by Robin Gow. Farrar. ISBN 9780374388416. 
Aaron and Oliver are trans boys beginning their senior year of high school. Their plans of a future together come to a halt when an incident causes Aaron’s family to move away. To cope with his loneliness, Oliver dives into history to find stories of queer people. What he finds is a tale of two Revolutionary War soldiers who may have been trans men in love. Aaron and Oliver decide to adopt the names of these soldiers and write letters to each other, hoping to keep their love alive until their next meeting. 


The Fiancée Chosen by the Ring, Vol. 1 by Jyun Hayase & Yue Matsuyuki. illus. by Jyun Hayase & Yasuyuki Torikai. Yen Pr. ISBN 9781975338909.
On the night that Aurora, daughter of a count, attends a party hosted by the Laetus family, all she wants is to enjoy the lovely embroidery on display among the guests. That is all upended when a ring literally hits her on the head—and is followed by its owner, Felix il le Clavis, who suddenly proposes. What starts as an arrangement of convenience easily slips into one of camaraderie based upon comfort and respect. 

Love from Scratch by Kaitlyn Hill­. Delacorte. ISBN 9780593379165. 
Recent high school grad Reese relocates from Kentucky to Seattle for an internship at cooking network Friends of Flavor. When the cast is booked for another event, Reese and the other intern, Benny, are paired up to fill airtime with an amateur take on Piece of Cake, one of the network’s highest rated shows. Their banter and undeniable chemistry are a hit with audiences and soon Piece of Cake: Amateur Hour is hosting regular episodes while Benny and Reese are developing a solid friendship with the promise of romance. 

 Meet Me in the Middle by Alex Light. HarperTeen. ISBN 9780063136175. 
Eighteen-year-old Eden is a Portuguese girl newly living and working in Toronto for a few months before her freshman year in college begins. However, plans change one tragic night when her best friend Katie (white) is injured in a car accident that leaves her in a coma. Now, five months later, Katie is still in a coma, and Eden is riddled with guilt and sadness because she was with her secret crush, Katie’s brother Truman (also white) when the accident occurred. 

She Gets the Girl by Rachael Lippincott & Alyson Derrick. S. & S. ISBN 9781534493797. 
Alex and Molly, completely opposite strangers, both arrive for their freshman year of college with big plans to reinvent themselves. After the two meet in class, Alex learns of Molly’s crush and seizes the opportunity to become her relationship coach of sorts and help her land a date. Then of course, romantic comedy high jinks ensue. This sapphic rom-com is delightfully cheesy, fun, and extremely sweet.

All the Right Reasons by Bethany Mangle. S. & S./McElderry. ISBN 9781534499034. 
When Cara Hawn records a private online journal entry after a tough counseling session with her recently divorced parents, she has no idea it will change her life. It turns out that the biracial Korean American teenager didn’t actually make that post private, and the video of Cara and her mom destroying pictures of her dad has gone viral. It has grabbed the attention of the creators of a new reality dating show, Second Chance Romance, featuring single parents trying to find love along with their kids. After a whirlwind audition process, Cara and her mom are whisked off to Florida where Cara’s mom will try to find love, and Cara will evaluate her potential stepsiblings. Of course, the one thing Cara doesn’t expect is to fall in love herself.

[See also: Summertime Stories: 8 YA Rom-Coms, Thrillers, and Other Beach Reads]

 The Many Half-Lived Lives of Sam Sylvester by Maya MacGregor. ISBN 9781635923599. 
Sam Sylvester is haunted by the stories of teens who died before turning 19. After surviving a violent hate crime in Montana, Sam, a white 18-year-old nonbinary autistic person, feels an even stronger kinship with those teens whose lives ended early. At school, Sam meets some other queer kids and forms an immediate bond with Shep, who identifies as cisgender bisexual Latina. This vibrantly written debut novel masterfully blends a suspenseful and satisfying paranormal mystery with a sweet and tender love story.

Lia and Beckett’s ­Abracadabra by Amy Noelle Parks. Abrams/Amulet. ISBN 9781419753442. 
A feminist rom-com that pulls back the curtain on the world of magicians. When her eccentric grandmother organizes a summer magic competition, Lia jumps at the chance to participate. Perhaps this will help her convince her parents that magic is as serious for her as math. Things get complicated, however, when the cute guy Lia meets right before the competition turns out to be one of the infamous Blackwell boys, her family’s sworn rivals. 

Forward March by Skye Quinlan. Page Street. ISBN 9781645674405. 
It’s Harper McKinley’s last year as first chair saxophonist in the school marching band. She learns that someone has been posing as her on a dating app, and exchanging explicit messages with Margot, a drummer in the marching band, and the biracial, dreadlocked daughter of the Canadian ambassador. The two become fast friends with added romantic tension while Harper works to figure out her own identity with the support of her friend Bellamy, who is bisexual, nonbinary, and uses they pronouns.

The Matchbreaker Summer by Annie Rains. Random/Underlined. ISBN 9780593481554. 
Sixteen-year-old Paisley Manning (white) has been attending her parents’ Camp Starling since she was little, but since her father passed away four years ago, her mom has mainly run it alone. Days before her first day as a camp counselor, her mom breaks the news that this will be their last year at camp because she has decided to sell it. Feeling gloomy on her first day at camp, Paisley runs into Hayden Bennett (white), a cute boy who has a reputation at school for getting into trouble. Paisley has always been a rule-follower, but she and Hayden make a plan to break up her mother’s relationship in the hope of avoiding the move.

 Love Somebody by Rachel Roasek. Farrar. ISBN 9780374388966. 
Seriously ambitious junior Sam Dickson is premiering her semi-autobiographical play, with her soccer star ex-boyfriend (turned best friend) Christian Powell starring opposite her. Brainy loner Ros Shew finds herself reluctantly in the audience to review the play. When Christian locks eyes with Ros and drops the last line, Sam doesn’t suspect that Christian’s smitten—she’s too annoyed at him. Her annoyance turns to anger when she reads Ros’s unflattering review. None of them (all of whom present as white) realize that soon they will be playing out their own version of Cyrano de Bergerac.

Finding Jupiter by Kelis Rowe. Crown. ISBN 9780593429259. 
Ray and Orion meet at the roller rink, and even though he is awkward around girls, and she thinks love means risking loss, they have an undeniable attraction, which is encouraged by their more confident best friends. Can their love survive a tragedy that unexpectedly links their families and their parents’ secrets? This is young adult summer romance at its best: lots of flirting, inner monologues of “do I like him/her?” as well as lying on a blanket looking at the stars, passionate kisses, tragic pasts that need to be reconciled, consummation, and a twist that only the most astute readers will see coming. 


Full Flight by Ashley Schumacher. Wednesday Bks. ISBN 9781250779786. 
Anna James is trying to prove herself as a saxophonist. After joining her school’s marching band, she enlists the help of Weston Ryan, whose musical abilities are as well-known as his reputation as an outcast. What begins as a practical arrangement turns into something much more. Their relationship flourishes despite Weston’s broken family life and Anna’s overprotective parents. When tragedy strikes, Anna is forced to make sense of something that ended before it had the space to grow. 

 Anatomy: A Love Story by Dana Schwartz. Wednesday Bks. ISBN 9781250774156. 
In 1817 Edinburgh, Hazel Sinnett and Jack Currer would ordinarily never cross paths. After all, she’s a lady who will eventually be a viscountess, and he’s a Resurrection Man, providing recently deceased bodies to the Edinburgh Anatomist’s Society for training. However, 17-year-old Hazel doesn’t care about being a lady or marrying a viscount. She wants to be a surgeon, so she decides to train in secret and pass her examinations. All Hazel needs is cadavers for practice, so she hires Jack. A suspenseful, intricately plotted gothic romance.

With and Without You by Austin Siegemund-Broka & Emily Wibberley. Viking. ISBN 9780593326879. 
This book tackles the tumultuous struggles that come with a long distance relationship. When Patrick announces that his family is moving out of state for his senior year, Siena decides to give a long distance relationship a shot. What follows is a gorgeous story, where Siena tries her hardest to believe that maybe this long distance thing is honestly not worth the trouble; still, every time she visits Patrick or they reconnect, she seems to love him even more. 

Those Summer Nights by Laura Silverman. S. & S./Margaret K. McElderry. ISBN 9781534488397. 
After the catastrophic events of her bubbie’s death and a soccer-career-ending injury, Hannah Klein went on a downward spiral that ended with her being sent to a boarding school for troubled teens. Now she’s back home for the summer, determined to stick to a plan that will prevent her from returning to that school and help her figure out life without soccer. The first step is getting a job. Readers who have enjoyed other summer romances featuring unusual jobs, like Maurene Goo’s The Way You Make Me Feel, Jennifer Dugan’s Hot Dog Girl, and Morgan Matson’s The Unexpected Everything, will find this one to be similarly engaging.

 See You Yesterday by Rachel Lynn Solomon. S. & S. ISBN 9781665901925. 
Barrett Bloom is ready to discover herself in college. However, on her first day of class, September 21, everything goes wrong. Exhausted and terrified, she falls asleep only to wake up on September 21. Again. Barrett quickly learns she’s not alone in her Groundhog Day experience; the random guy from physics class, Miles, is also trapped and has been trapped for months. Together, Miles and Barrett try to free themselves from their time loop. 

Crumbs by Danie Stirling. illus. by Danie Stirling. HarperCollins/Clarion/Etch. ISBN 9780358467793.
This delectable graphic novel is guaranteed to leave readers smiling as they are transported to a magical town with delightful characters. Ray is a gifted seer who likes to begin every week at the enchanting Marigold’s Bakery with some freshly baked romance and a cozy cup of peace. It’s not just the spellbinding treats that keep her coming back for more but the charming barista Laurie, who has started to take particular notice whenever she comes in the store.

If You Change Your Mind by Robby Weber. Inkyard. ISBN 9781335425904. 
Harry is a rising high school senior and has one goal in mind: acceptance into the University of Southern California to study screen-writing. To focus on his goals, he has sworn off boys for the summer, which Harry learns is easier said than done when he rescues Logan, who is visiting relatives for the summer, from an unfortunate hazing incident. A delightful mash-up of rom-com tropes and references come together to create a perfect queer teen beach read.

 Nothing Burns as Bright as You by Ashley Woodfolk. HarperCollins/Versify. ISBN 9780358655350. 
This novel in verse tells the story of a burning first queer love between the unnamed narrator and the somewhat undefined, more-than-friend she refers to as “you.” The narration alternates through time, detailing the history of their intense relationship before and after a pivotal fire that drastically changes their relationship. A masterfully crafted love letter to tumultuous, young, queer love and its lessons.

Private Label by Kelly Yang. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen. ISBN 9780062941107. 
Serene Li is queen-bee popular, and she is dating white surfer bro Cameron. Lian Chen is a polar opposite: recently arrived to California with his family from Beijing, and is a social pariah in their mostly white school. The two meet when Lian starts a Chinese Club in their school and Serene is the only person who signs up. Although they come from different worlds, they have more in common than they think. 

Love, Decoded by Jennifer Yen. ­Razorbill. ISBN 9780593117552. 
Gigi strives for the best, whether it’s perfecting a database for Auntie Rose’s matchmaking business or being impeccable in her school activities. This year, Gigi finally has the chance to prove her worth as a coder when her teacher announces an app writing competition. However, when the new transfer student, Etta, confesses to having trouble making friends, Gigi creates a friendship matchmaking app that goes a little too viral, imploding all of her important relationships, including the one with her best friend, Kyle.

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