It’s no secret I’m a fan of romance. Who isn’t? Every time the month of February starts, I find myself nearing more and more romantic books, and this year is no different. For me, there’s really no better way to spend Valentine’s Day curled up in bed with someone I love (though he’s currently away for a semester abroad so I’m missing half of my regular tradition this year…) reading my favorite novel. As such, I’ll be spending the day reading We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia—an empowering sapphic book eerily similar to the situation faced by refugees worldwide, particularly the case of the Mexico/U.S. border.
Below, I’ve compiled nine novels that I absolutely adored for your Valentine’s read that span different genres, but all have really sweet romance in them. Enjoy! ✨
Young Adult Books
1) A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi
This story takes place a year after 9/11 and as a sixteen-year-old Muslim, Shirin experiences racism and prejudice because of her religion and heritage. There are funny moments, sweet moments, but heartwrenching ones that really highlight the realities faced by minorities in a xenophobic society.
2) Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
It’s Simon Snow’s final year at Watford School of Magics, and his evil roommate-slash-enemy has gone missing. He can’t even enjoy Baz’s disappearance because he’s too busy worrying about him. His girlfriend wants to break up, and his mentor thinks he’s dangerous and wants to send him away—so yeah, things are not really going well. This book is fun-filled fanfiction, and very enjoyable. I can’t wait for Wayward Son.
3) Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee
In a world where everyone has superpowers, Jessica Tran is the outlier. She’s the middle child of a famous superhero couple, her sister is the next big thing and her brother is basically a genius. Jess ends up getting an internship with a really famous tech company but surprisingly ends up working for a villain……..together with her crush, Abby. It’s an adorable superhero book that tackles marginalizations and revolves around a girl discovering her own identity.
4) Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
Set in Victorian England, the novel deals with the mystery of the Jack the Ripper murders. Audrey Rose Wadsworth is an intelligent woman who gives no fucks to the men who belittle her skills in forensic science, but she ends up getting tangled in the investigation of the serial murderer together with the overly flirtatious and just-as-intelligent Thomas Cresswell.
5) Bloodlines by Richelle Mead
As an alchemist, Sydney Sage knows her purpose is to protect humans from the knowledge that vampires exist. Her last encounter with them landed her in trouble, and she knows she’s being punished by being assigned to protect Jill Dragomir, the little sister of the Moroi Queen. She’s sent to Palm Springs to pose as her sister together with her guardian Eddie, and there, she meets another Moroi royal who’s also there to protect Jill. They slowly develop a deep friendship, and eventually inspires him to start pursuing his passion for art.
6) The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
Henry is ready to set out on a tour of Europe with his sister and his best friend. He has it all planned out—a trip full of drinks, sex, and literally every fun thing you can think of, but his father sends someone to put a stop to all that. Eventually, one of his rash decisions sets him off to an adventurous chase around Europe, but that’s not his only problem: he also has a long time crush on his aforementioned best friend, Percy.
New Adult Books
7) Managed by Kristen Callihan
When Sophie gets her plane seat bumped up to first class, she thinks she’s lucked out. Obviously, it isn’t that simple, and she gets a seat next to a snotty and aloof man who’s also the most attractive being she’s ever seen in her life. She decides to have a little fun picking at her companion, and he realizes that her presence may be the very thing he needs to get through this flight.
8) The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata
Working as an assistant to the world famous football player Aiden Graves would be anyone’s dream. Unfortunately, Vanessa has had enough. He relies on her for almost everything—his meals, his schedules, his social media accounts—but he hardly acknowledges her existence and could barely let out a simple “thanks” in return. When Van suddenly decides to quit her job after two years, Aiden gets a huge wake-up call.
9) Josh & Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren
Hazel knows she can be a lot to take. She’s fun, loud, a little bit crazy and all kinds of amazing. She has a crush on Josh (like everybody else), but he somehow seems to be right there whenever she has her embarrassing moments. And Josh is her complete opposite: calm, cool, and collected. After college, Hazel realizes that her best friend’s brother is Josh—so they’re right back into each other’s lives. Hazel is determined to have him as a best friend too, and he’s in dire need of one as well.
If your favorite didn’t make the list, let me know your recommendations in the comments! I’m always looking for more books to read, especially swoon-worthy ones!