YA Bookshelf Picks: Valentine's Day Edition

It’s that lovely time of year, and rather than being upset that I don’t have a date (again) or scrambling for time to plan a get together with my girls (again), I find myself turning to the one thing that’s been there for me every Valentine’s Day. Sure, it causes a full range of emotions to ignite in me whenever it’s involved, but what’s life if you aren’t experiencing said emotions?

At the risk of sounding super cheesy and cliché, I’d like to introduce you all to my Valentine: young adult literature. Below is a list of genres within the YA category and personal recommendations of mine as to what the hopeless romantic should make sure to read this February 14.

1. "Save the Date" by Morgan Matson

If you like contemporary fiction, check out "Save the Date" by Morgan Matson.

Charlie Grant’s big sis is getting married and for the first time in a couple of years, all of her brothers and sister will be under the same roof. Featuring a wedding that doesn’t go quite as planned, unexpected heartbreak and romance and realizations about her family never brought to Charlie's attention before, this book is sure to be the perfect contemporary read!

2. "The Fifth Wave" by Rick Yancy

If you like science fiction, check out "The Fifth Wave" by Rick Yancy.

Teen Cassie Sullivan’s struggle for survival against an alien invasion on Earth and to rescue and protect her brother make up for a tense, action-packed story. Her plan of attack, so to speak, is challenged when she meets Evan Walker. Danger, attraction and more life and death situations arise as Cassie has to make the decision to continue to push forward or to accept defeat and give up all hope.

3. "I Hunt Killers" by Barry Lyga

If you like thriller/mystery, check out "I Hunt Killers" by Barry Lyga.

A unique take on serial killer fiction targeted towards the young adult audience, the story of Jasper "Jazz" Dent will keep you on your toes. While the romance element between the main character and his girlfriend Connie isn’t the main attraction, that doesn’t mean you should pass by this book. Jazz’s father is an infamous serial killer, and Jazz knows firsthand how to commit the perfect crime and get away with it. With dead bodies appearing in his town, Jazz decides to team up with the police to clear his name and prove to himself and to everyone else that he’s not like his father.

4. "Caraval" by Stephanie Garber

If you like fantasy, check out "Caraval" by Stephanie Garber.

Thankfully, this book is part of a trilogy, because once you finish "Caraval," you’ll want to begin the next book immediately! High fantasy titles like "A Court of Thorne" and "Roses and Red Queen" seem to get all the buzz and attention from well-meaning readers, but "Caraval" is unique story with intriguing characters, plot twist-after-plot twist, high stakes and of course, a will they/won’t they kind of romance. Finally receiving an invitation after many years and many letters, Scarlett Dragna is dragged into the world of Caraval, five nights of elaborate performance and a game where nothing is as it seems, and the real magic takes place at night. It’s during the five nights that Scarlett must find her sister before it’s too late, or she could be gone forever.

5. "Alex and Eliza" by Melissa de la Cruz

If you like historical fiction, check out "Alex and Eliza" by Melissa de la Cruz.

If you’re not familiar with the popular Broadway musical "Hamilton," check out this story of Alexander Hamilton, one of American’s founding fathers, and his future wife, Elizabeth Schuyler. Told in alternating points of view against the backdrop of a budding new nation, you can’t help but swoon, laugh and sigh while reading this fictionalized account of Eliza and Alex’s courtship.

Honorable mention: "The Lunar Chronicles" series by Marissa Meyer

A close friend of mine recommended the first book, "Cinder," to me. I proceeded to read the next three, and each book was even better than the last. A mix of fantasy and sci-fi with plenty of shippable couples, this series can best be described as "Sailor Moon" meets old childhood fairytales, meets all the action and angst you can stand!

Happy reading, Knights!

Images: 1, all other images provided by author