a softie at heart!
But where’s the romance in books for boys? Sorry, I hate even using that term—books are books—why do we have to categorise everything? (But that’s a rant for another post.)
So, in honour of St Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d compile a list of my top five 'romantic' teen/young adult (there we go again!) books that I think would be enjoyed by anyone, including your average sports watching, game playing, teen boy …
Scott Pilgrim by Bryan Lee O’Malley (series of six graphic novels)
Scott’s love-life is a mess. His heart has been broken by the evil Envy Adams, and the books start with him dating Knives Chau, but his friends suspect this is no more than a rebound relationship. Sure enough, when the enigmatic Ramona Flowers skates through Scott’s dreams, he becomes infatuated with her. But in order to date Ramona, Scott has to first defeat her seven evil-exes in mortal combat. Understandably Knives isn’t too happy, and swears revenge against Ramona. Love triangle? This is a veritable love-decagon! Funny, romantic and surreal, Scott Pilgrim is packed with action fight scenes, game-play references, music and much more. The artwork is great too!
Daylight Saving by Edward Hogan
We’ve all fallen for the wrong person at some time in our lives, but falling in love with a ghost! I picked this up in the shop because of the premise: Can you save someone from something that has already happened? And the story delivers on this promise—and then some. An original, gripping, mystery thriller with great warmth.
Stolen by Lucy Christopher
It’s not often a book leaves me feeling uncomfortable, but this story haunted me for a long time after I’d finished reading it, because I was so shocked by what I was feeling at the end.
16-year-old Gemma is kidnapped from Bangkok airport, and taken to the Australian desert by her captor Ty. Having at first made attempts to escape, she eventually starts to develop feelings for him.
It’s not the first time Stockholm Syndrome has been explored in a story, but Lucy Christopher’s treatment is subtle and very cleverly done, showing the development of a complicated relationship between two very real characters. A story with plenty of action and lots to think about.
Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King
Vera Dietz has spent most of her life secretly in love with her best friend, Charlie Kahn. The story starts at Charlie’s funeral and what follows is a gradual unveiling of the events leading up to his untimely and mysterious death. While attempting to solve the mystery, Vera works as a pizza delivery girl, argues with her dad and talks to Charlie’s ghost. This is by no means a traditional romance, but then love isn’t always longing looks and heaving chests! Vera is a witty narrator, and it was the richness and vitality of the characters that made A.S. King one of my favourite authors by the time I’d finished it.
I immediately read Ask the Passengers—a story about a teenage girl coming to terms with her love for another girl—which could easily have been included on this list.
Geekhood: Close Encounters of the Girl Kind by Andy Robb
In the world of role-playing games, 14-year-old Archie is a Level 5 Mage, capable of summoning the Undead; in the real world, he has warring parents, a crass step-father, school bullies and rubbish hair to deal with. Then a Beautiful Girl appears and Archie embarks on a Daring Quest to win her heart.
This book is laugh out loud funny, but also warm and heartfelt in its treatment of some of the very real problems faced by young people today. Teen romance as it really is!
So, there it is, my top five, slightly unorthodox romantic novels, but what are yours? Leave a comment to let us know, and maybe we can compile a Romance on the Edge Reading List!