Saturday, 14 February 2015

Warm Your Heart with These Valentine’s Day Reads

With Valentine’s Day nearly here, many of us are in the mood for love and romance. Of course you can always rent a movie, but films often gloss over the subtleties of relationships. With the written word you can not only explore the dynamic of relationships more effectively, but you are also able to fill in the remaining blanks with your own imagination. Plus, there’s something romantic about curling up with a good book.

So in honor of Valentine’s Day, grab yourself a box of chocolates and crack open some of these great YA romance novels.

The Here And Now by Ann Brashares 

From the author of the famed Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series comes a new novel – this time a departure from her usual fare. In The Here and Now,  Ann Brashares explores both romance and the current booming dystopian trend. It’s not what you’d expect from the genre, since it’s set in present day New York, a city which toes the line between utopia and dystopia. At the center of the story is Prenna James, an immigrant from the future seeking refuge from plagues. The immigrants are instructed to create no relationships with outsiders in order to avoid being outed as time travelers. However, Prenna meets Ethan Jarves and those rules fall to the wayside. With him, she questions her role both in this society and the future, and sets out to save a scientist whose life might improve the future.

Paper Towns by John Green 

Currently the writing sensation of the YA writing world thanks to his bestseller The Fault in Our Stars, John Green has yet another novel growing in popularity: Paper Towns. The novel follows two estranged childhood friends, Quentin and Margo, as they exact revenge on the people who have wronged them. Over the course of one night, the duo targets Margo’s cheating boyfriend, her ex-friend, and Quentin’s bully in a reunion that makes Quentin realize he missed having Margot in his life. The next day, though, Margo disappears. Her parents and the authorities aren’t concerned, claiming she’s run away before, but as time goes by Quentin becomes increasingly worried and starts to pick up hints Margot left behind. As he searches for her, he begins to develop feelings for the girl he’s afraid might not even still be alive.

The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks 

This now classic romance novel by Nicholas Sparks gained a huge surge in fame when it was brought to life on the big screen. Of course if you’re in the mood to cry you can easily watch the film on any
given movie channel (details here), but those who want a more nuanced version should opt for the book. Both tell the story of Noah and Allie, and the love that spans years, defies odds, throws judgements aside, and endures through trials and tribulations. It’s an incredibly moving, albeit idealized, love story.

Fallen by Lauren Kate 

The first in a series of three books, Fallen introduces us to Lucinda (known as Luce) after she’s placed in a reform school for starting a fire that resulted in the death of a boy. It’s at this unlikely place she meets Cam, a repeat offender who is instantly taken with her, and Daniel, a boy she feels a strange connection with. While she struggles to adapt to life in her new school she begins receiving an increasing number of visits from “Shadows,” the dark figures she’s seen since she was little. Things pick up when the Shadows suddenly become aggressive. The story reaches its climax when Luce discovers what the school’s real purpose is.

Shatter Me by Tahreh Mafi

The first book in a series by Tahereh Mafi, Shatter Me follows Juliette Ferrars, a 17 year old cursed with the ability to paralyze people with her touch. After she accidentally kills a boy, Juliette is placed in an asylum where her mental state rapidly deteriorates. She soon welcomes a new cellmate, Adam who, unbeknownst to Juliette, is a soldier for a government sector known as the Reestablishment. Warner, the leader of the Reestablishment, soon visits her and makes a proposition: if she uses her powers to torture for the government  he’ll release her from the asylum.

Hollywood Ever After by Sasha Summers 

Those looking for a touch of Hollywood with their books will enjoy Sasha Summers’ offering: Hollywood Ever After. The novel follows Claire, fresh out of her abusive marriage and looking to start her life over. In an attempt to clear her mind she visits her friend Shannon, who works in the film industry in L.A. At a film premiere, Claire meets Josh, the Hollywood heartthrob of the moment. She’s taken aback that someone like him could be interested in her, enough so that he continues to pursue her once she returns to life with her kids. She’s conflicted as to how to proceed between her own damaged state and Josh’s high profile life, but that doesn’t stop her from entertaining his advances and enjoying his company. While the book is a romance, it’s also a different type of love story about a woman learning to love herself after years of being broken down.

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