Thanks to grad school, I missed the original Top 5 Tuesday post on this topic. Romance is a genre I don’t often reach for, but I’ve slowly gotten into it within the past year or so. I thought I hadn’t read enough romance-centric books for a list of five books, never mind ten. But somehow I managed it, so here is the list of my ten favorite cute romances.
This Heart of Mine by C.C. Hunter
What drew me to This Heart of Mine was that the main character has a heart transplant and that the plot revolved around her dreaming of the last memories of the boy whose heart she received. While the book did have that, the story primarily focused on her relationship with her long-time crush, who happens to be the twin brother of her organ donor. This Heart of Mine was a depiction of a healthy romance between two teenagers trying to find a reason to get back to life after both have experienced their respective tragedies.
Kiss Me in Paris by Catherine Rider
If there was ever a book that made me giddy, it was Kiss Me in Paris. It was a fun, sweet, insta-love story between an American girl and a French boy spending a day together in Paris. I read this book in under 48 hours. I could not stop reading.
The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
When I first read The Sun is Also a Star back in 2016, I had not expected anything beyond a cute insta-love story. I got way more than I expected from a romance novel. Though the book covers topics like immigration, the main focus of the story is the romance between Daniel, an idealist, and Natasha, a cynic. They meet by chance and then spend the next 24 hours together in an experiment to prove that Daniel can make Natasha fall in love with him in a day.
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
God, this book is adorable! Simon’s growing relationship with Blue through emails was too cute, the kind that makes you want to kick your feet and squeal. And their first kiss scene is goals. Plus, I loved the friendships and the side romances also added substance to the fluffiness.
The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
The Upside of Unrequited is the book that introduced me to Becky Albertalli, as well as the one that convinced me to consider giving more lighthearted young adult contemporary novels a chance. The hype surrounding it was well deserved. I related so much to Molly, who was overweight and had a lot of crushes but was too nervous to make a move on any of the guys she liked. Her romance with Reid is adorable and healthy, which I deeply appreciated the most.
P.S. I Like You by Kasie West
I probably never would have read P.S. I Like You if I had not gotten it in an Owlcrate box. It’s like You’ve Got Mail, in which the main character communicates with a boy that sits at the same desk in their science class. As you would expect, there’s another boy in her life that gets on her nerves, yet they seemed to be constantly pulled together. If you’ve seen You’ve Got Mail, you can probably guess what happens. Still, it’s cute.
Love and First Sight by Josh Sundquist
I found Love and First Sight randomly browsing my local library. It’s a severely underrated young adult contemporary romance novel. The main character, a boy, is born blind and recently transferred to a public school. There, he makes new friends quickly, one a girl the rest of the group is eager to set him up with. The two begin dating right as he finds out about an experimental surgery that could give him sight. But when he undergoes the surgery and sees his new girlfriend for the first time, he gets a hard lesson in beauty ideals.
Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit by Jaye Robin Brown
Jo is an openly gay preacher’s daughter that has go back in the closet for her senior year when she and her dad move to her new stepmother’s conservative hometown. At first, pretending to be straight is fun, until—naturally—she meets a girl that makes her question if she is willing to keep her promise to her dad to “fit in.” While the romance between the two girls is the focal point, there is also discussion of religion’s viewpoints on sexuality and how not everyone in this “modern” society is as accepting of the LGBTQ+ community as we would expect.
My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
The ideal summer romance book, My Life Next Door was a cute and fun young adult romance with a strong family element. The main character lives with her older sister and politically ambitious mother, but despite being it just the three of them, they are not close. Their neighbors, on the other hand, are a large, close-knit family. At first, she listened to her mother and didn’t associate with them. But when one of the sons suddenly sits next to her on her roof, her world opens up, blowing up her mother’s expectations of her along with it.
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simison
Look up “adorable” in the dictionary, you will see The Rosie Project. The only adult novel on the list, it follows Don, a socially awkward but well-meaning genetics scientist enlisted by a young woman named Rosie to help her find her biological father. At first, Rosie does not fit Don’s criteria for his ideal life partner, only their chemistry is undeniable. Except Rosie has a little too much emotional baggage. Even with all that going on, it’s hard not to have fun while reading The Rosie Project.