As a hopeless romantic I simply love a good love story ( in which the meaning of "good" is subjective and completely fluctuates even for me). I enjoy every single cliched trope ( is that a redundancy?) that you can throw at me and gawd do I love my happily ever afters. But not only do I adore my fluff and rainbows, I'm also fond of the angsty, the painful and the heartbreaking. I just love reading about people falling in love and navigating it- like just eat my heart out.
Of course not all the books on this list are necessarily my favourite romances of all time but they are the ones I consider easy to devour based on enjoyability and general vibes I guess. So without further ado, here are tender romance stories to keep you company in the season of love and well, even throughout the year.
All the Bright Places by Jenifer Niven
Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.
Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.
When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.
This is an intense, gripping novel perfect for fans of Jay Asher, Rainbow Rowell, John Green, Gayle Forman, and Jenny Downham from a talented new voice in YA, Jennifer Niven.
If you are looking for a soft book that will have you balling your eyes out this valentine's day, this is definitely a book for you. It's not the easiest to read - actually it is quite heart wrenching but I was so engaged when i was reading it. I just ploughed though it. It follows the unlikely (but actually very likely since this is YA) friendship of between Violet who has survivor's guilt Finch who has undiagnosed bipolar disorder. It's a tender but extremely heartbreaking love story.
Where Rainbows End by Cecelia Ahern
From naughty children to rebellious teenagers, Rosie and Alex have stuck by each other through thick and thin. But just as as they're discovering the joys of teenage nights on the town and dating disasters, they're separated. Alex's family move from Dublin to America - and Alex goes with them. For good.
Rosie's lost without him. But on the eve of her departure to join Alex in Boston, Rosie gets news that will change her life forever - and keep her at home in Ireland.
Their magical connection sees them through the ups and downs of each others lives, but neither of them knows whether their friendship can survive the years and miles - or new relationships. And at the back of Rosie's mind is whether they were meant to be more than just good friends all along. Misunderstandings, circumstances and sheer bad luck have kept them apart, but when presented with the ultimate opportunity, will they gamble everything for true love?
I read this a while ago and though I vaguely remember the story I do fully recall loving it. It's a story that follows two childhood friends Rosie and Alex who are clearly in love and meant to be but for some reason or the other they just can't. It's a will-they-won't-they told through a series of letters and emails and messages and starts from when they were kids, following them way into their adult life and exploring their ever shifting relationships not only with each other but other people around them. I personally found this particular way of telling it extremely unique (more especially at the time I read it.)
Get a life, Chloe Brown (and all the other books in this series) by Talia Hibbert
Chloe Brown is a chronically ill computer geek with a goal, a plan, and a list. After almost—but not quite—dying, she’s come up with six directives to help her “Get a Life”, and she’s already completed the first: finally moving out of her glamourous family’s mansion. The next items?
• Enjoy a drunken night out.
• Ride a motorcycle.
• Go camping.
• Have meaningless but thoroughly enjoyable sex.
• Travel the world with nothing but hand luggage.
• And... do something bad.
But it’s not easy being bad, even when you’ve written step-by-step guidelines on how to do it correctly. What Chloe needs is a teacher, and she knows just the man for the job.
Redford ‘Red’ Morgan is a handyman with tattoos, a motorcycle, and more sex appeal than ten-thousand Hollywood heartthrobs. He’s also an artist who paints at night and hides his work in the light of day, which Chloe knows because she spies on him occasionally. Just the teeniest, tiniest bit.
But when she enlists Red in her mission to rebel, she learns things about him that no spy session could teach her. Like why he clearly resents Chloe’s wealthy background. And why he never shows his art to anyone. And what really lies beneath his rough exterior…
I loved the whole of this series. Every book was what you would want from a typical romance story and will sure to have all your favourite tropes from forced proximity to fake dating. Each book is centered around one of Brown sisters as they navigate their ways through love and life. As much as I enjoyed each individual story, I did have a soft spot of Chloe's journey in particular. Maybe it's because it's the first one I read, maybe it's cause I ashamedly enjoy sick flicks, maybe I was just in a better mood but this one stood out to me from the rest of her sisters'. Still each book is light and witty and prone to put a smile on your face.
The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood
As a third-year Ph.D. candidate, Olive Smith doesn't believe in lasting romantic relationships--but her best friend does, and that's what got her into this situation. Convincing Anh that Olive is dating and well on her way to a happily ever after was always going to take more than hand-wavy Jedi mind tricks: Scientists require proof. So, like any self-respecting biologist, Olive panics and kisses the first man she sees.
That man is none other than Adam Carlsen, a young hotshot professor--and well-known ass. Which is why Olive is positively floored when Stanford's reigning lab tyrant agrees to keep her charade a secret and be her fake boyfriend. But when a big science conference goes haywire, putting Olive's career on the Bunsen burner, Adam surprises her again with his unyielding support and even more unyielding... six-pack abs.
Suddenly their little experiment feels dangerously close to combustion. And Olive discovers that the only thing more complicated than a hypothesis on love is putting her own heart under the microscope
Did this read like an elevated wattpad story with ridiculously unrealistic scenarios? Yes. Did I pick this up because it was splattered all over bookstagram in the same breath as Collen Hoover (whose work I absolutely do not enjoy but still read just because I obviously don't value my time)? Also yes. Did this book have almost no substance and is jam packed with artificial sweeteners and probably did to my brain what too many lollipops will do to your teeth? Absolutely. Was the writing cringe and perhaps even horrendous? Don't even get me started. But... But .. did any of this stop me from enjoying this story thoroughly for some crazy reason. Nope. Absolutely not. Now as much as the writer in me was cringing, the hopeless romantic reader in me adored this book. It was such a fun and light fake dating troped book that made all my insides fuzzy.
Let's talk about love by Claire Kann
Alice had her whole summer planned. Non-stop all-you-can-eat buffets while marathoning her favorite TV shows (best friends totally included) with the smallest dash of adulting--working at the library to pay her share of the rent. The only thing missing from her perfect plan? Her girlfriend (who ended things when Alice confessed she's asexual). Alice is done with dating--no thank you, do not pass go, stick a fork in her, done.
But then Alice meets Takumi and she can’t stop thinking about him or the rom com-grade romance feels she did not ask for (uncertainty, butterflies, and swoons, oh my!).
When her blissful summer takes an unexpected turn, and Takumi becomes her knight with a shiny library employee badge (close enough), Alice has to decide if she’s willing to risk their friendship for a love that might not be reciprocated—or understood.
This book personally felt like a hug. I'll be the first to admit it's not the best romance ever written - obviously. If I'm being totally honest there's some parts where things just seem to happen without a story being told - like sometimes the scenes seemed jumpy. But, this is the first romance novel that I've read that features an ace main character, and even though Alice and I experience asexuality differently, gawd did it make me feel seen. Socio-politics and media representation aside it's still quite a cute love story that's easy to get through. It was sweet and cute and fluffy.