8 Great Reads For This Valentine's Day

We at Her Campus love snuggling up to a book as much as you do. This list of romantic reads is intended for everyone, from the Jane Austen lover to the teenager-at-heart romantic to readers looking for diverse and queer literature. We've put together a mixture of best-sellers and lesser-known treasures. For the sophisticated singles, don't be afraid to stay in and get some reading done on February 14th. As for those with dates, why not share the list with your S.O. and throw away the dinner-and-movie cliché for a dinner-and-book one instead?

1. Eleanor and Park 

By Rainbow Rowell

Source: Goodreads

Summary

Set in the 1980s, this dual-narration of two 16 year-old misfits starts off with a simple spark that leads to a love story through mix tapes and comic books.

Why We Love It

Ah, high school love. We all need a good, cheesy book like this. What really makes this young couple stand out from other literary young couples, though, is the oh-so-real bond between them that can be felt through the pages of the book.

Perfect For

Those who want a simple read about the seemingly simple yet complicated edges of teenage love.

- Crystal Leung

 

2. Pride and Prejudice

By Jane Austen

Source: Goodreads

Summary

Jane Austen's most famous rom com almost needs no introduction. This is the story of the lower class Bennet family and their mother's quest to marry off her five daughters. Published in 1813, it's filled with dances, bonnets, and exquisite manners. The protagonist, Elizabeth Bennet, clashes with Mr. Darcy, as her older sister, Jane, falls for Darcy's best friend. Complications arise, scandals occur, etc. 

Why We Love It

Because Lizzie Bennet is funny and cool and smart and we all love a good rivals-turned-romantic-interest storyline.

Perfect For

Anyone who loves a good period piece. Or just romantic comedies in general.

- Grainne Downey

 

3. The Price of Salt

By Patricia Highsmith

Source: Goodreads

Summary

1950s romance between a young woman called Therese and an older divorcee called Carol.

Why We Love Is

Lesbian love story that ends well (!!!!) Do we need another reason? It's a super sweet and romantic story.

Perfect For

Sapphic girls and women who are starving for w/w love stories in which no one dies and it doesn't end tragically. Also, anyone who saw the Cate Blanchett/Rooney Mara adaptation Carol that came out in December.

- Jacqueline Marchioni

 

4. The Night Circus

By Erin Morgenstern

Source: Goodreads

Summary

Two magicians in a rivalry set by their fathers battle each other to decide who is best. It starts out as a simple game of who is better until love gets in the way.

Why We Love It

Oh, the language is just absolutely beautiful. Morgenstern creates stunning imagery that allows you to put the circus together piece by piece.

Perfect For

Categorized in the genre of "magic realism," this read is for those who want a bit of "magic" on their Valentine's Day.

- Crystal Leung

 

5. Orlando

By Virginia Woolf

Source: Goodreads

Summary

Woolf wrote this dazzling, adventurous "biography" as a tribute to her lover Vita Sackville-West. Orlando is a passionate poet who lives from the Renaissance to the early twentieth century and changes gender halfway through.

Why We Love It

Because queer, non-binary representation in romance novels doesn't have to be a recent phenomenon. This is a charming read, and Woolf writes like a Renaissance painter paints.

Perfect For

Anyone who shamelessly indulges in slightly-pretentious but admittedly beautiful Modernist literature (I'm guilty!).

- Charmaine Li

 

6. Norwegian Wood

By Haruki Murakami

Source: Goodreads

Summary

Set during the student protest movements of Japan in the 1960s, this is a quiet but emotionally moving story about a college freshman, Toru, who falls in love with two very different women.

Why We Love It

Murakami has a gift for setting an outerworldly, dreamy tone. His writing is subtle but smart, and there's always music—especially jazz—involved. He's usually known for his wacky, magical realism novels, but this one is an outlier and one of the best-selling books of all time in Japan.

Perfect For

Those who prefer a slower, quieter, more mellow read that is actually quite intense underneath the surface (mental illness is a large theme here). You'll enjoy it if you've watched Japanese cinema and like the subtler, more suggestive style of storytelling.

- Charmaine Li

 

7. Me Before You

By Jojo Moyes

Source: Goodreads

Summary

When a thrill-seeking man whose life was full of crazy adventures becomes a quadriplegic after a horrific accident, much-too-ordinary Louisa is hired to be his care-taker.

Perfect For

For those who want to shed a few (okay more than a few) tears during this time of the year. Seriously, though, prepare for the waterworks.

- Crystal Leung

 

8. L'Écume des Jours/Mood Indigo

By Boris Vian

Source: Goodreads

Summary

A surreal, impressionistic French novel in which a young man's lover is beset by a rare disease and the only way to cure her is to surround her with flowers.

Why We Love It

It's bizarre and a little absurd, with scenes like rats "catching" sunbeams; but it's also heartwarming and fascinating.

Perfect For

Those attracted to quirk and eccentricity but also classic hopeless romance.

- Charmaine Li