Nov 20 2011 3:00pm

Top 5 Young Adult Romance Couples

The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy NelsonWhy  do a post about the top YA couples? Well, 1) I love a YA novel with a good romance; and 2) I love (perhaps inappropriately) swooning over them.

So please, won’t you read these titles so we can swoon over them together?

1. Lennie and Joe in The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson.

Lennie is grieving for her sister, Bailey, and Joe—with his jack-o’-lantern-bright smile and musical personality—is the first person to shake her from her sadness. In the meantime, Bailey’s boyfriend, Toby, lingers around, also wallowing in his grief.

Carrie Ryan has succinctly and brilliantly pointed out that a well-executed love triangle isn’t about the protagonist picking one of two matches, but rather represents two different paths she might choose for herself. This is exactly what we see in The Sky Is Everywhere: one boy represents the past, and dwelling in it, and the other opens up a new future, where Lennie can discover who she is independent of her sister.

Not only is Lennie and Joe’s romance totally swoony (and at times, heartbreaking), but this book features some of the most gorgeous, poetic prose I’ve read in recent YA. You will fall in love not just with Lennie and Joe, but with all of the characters.

I quite liked Étienne from Anna and the French Kiss but for me, Joe wins the contest of Franco-American YA boys, hands-down.

The Demon’s Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan2. Mae Crawford and Nick Ryves from The Demon’s Lexicon trilogy by Sarah Rees Brennan.

Sarah Rees Brennan has written at length on what she calls transformative romance—where being together changes the individuals in the romantic pairing—and she succeeds admirably at it in her books. Mae is stubborn, independent, and demanding, and Nick—well, he’d rather swordfight or menace than talk about his feelings (or anything at all). I will not spoil this series if you haven’t read it, but I will just say that this relationship absolutely should not work…but it does, and such that both Mae and Nick become better through it.

Both Mae and Nick get to enjoy many sexy moments throughout this trilogy, but I have to just point out that the stormy rooftop make-out scene? Is, well… *fans self*

I should warn you, though: though TDL series is clever, often laugh-out-loud funny, and action-packed, it also may make you cry. Several times.

How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff3. Daisy and Edmond in How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff.

I know, I know, they’re cousins. But still, hear me out.

Fifteen-year-old Daisy is sent to stay the summer with cousins on their rural English farm when the third world war begins. Reeling from her father’s remarriage, Daisy is at first wary of this strange family: an aunt, a host of cousins, and animals she’s never met. Then terrorists invade England, and her aunt is stranded in Norway, leaving Daisy and her cousins to fend for themselves as the country sinks into ever greater disorder. This is a beautifully written book about survival, and grief, and the stakes are high. But perhaps the most striking thing about How I Live Now is the juxtaposition between the everyday and the extraordinary, this quiet and explosive moment of war and interpersonal conflict, which both makes possible and intensifies Daisy and Edmond’s romance.

Daisy and Edmond were a couple I thought about long after I’d closed the book, and taboo be damned, I really wanted things to work out between them. I suspect you will too.

Sweetheart by Sara Zarr4. Jenna Vaughn and Cameron Quick in Sweethearts by Sara Zarr

Jenna and Cameron were childhood best friends—each other’s only friends, actually—until Cameron moved away. Now he’s back, and though Jenna has reinvented herself (she is popular and has a boyfriend), she finds herself drawn to her old friend. The only catch: rekindling her friendship with Cameron means confronting a troubled past Jenna has tried very hard to forget.

Cameron Quick might be my all-time top YA crush, and that’s saying a lot. He might also be the YA crush who most broke my heart (also saying a lot).

This book may be for you if you like your romance mixed with a large spoonful of bittersweetness.

Jellicoe Road by Melina MarchettaMy honorable mentions (otherwise known as: couples who really could have just have easily gone on that list, but I was trying to stick to five) are: Sophie Hatter and Howl from Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones, Taylor Markham and Jonah Griggs from Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta, and Jessica Darling and Marcus Flutie from the Jessica Darling series by Megan McCafferty.

One last thing. Reading over this list I couldn’t help but think, “Whoa, heteronormativity!” I love Alex and Magnus in the Mortal Instruments series (That kiss extra? So sexy.), Cass and Heather in A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend, and will hound everyone to read Hannah Moskowitz’s 2013 release, titled in-progress Fishboy, but the most swoon-worthy queer YA romances I can think of are in slashfic.

Who are your favorite YA couples, hetero or LGBTQ?


Sarah Goldberg is a graduate student, a YA enthusiast, and a recreational minion. She tweets (@sarahbgoldberg), often about music.

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Heather Waters
1. HeatherWaters
I picked up and read The Sky Is Everywhere because of this post (had to know why Lennie/Joe was your #1!) and it was really good. I'll admit I teared up a few times. Still...I don't know that Joe tops St. Clair in my mind, maybe because I felt like I got further into his head that we get into Joe's, though maybe that's silly since both books are told from the point of view of the heroine.

Anyway, love Taylor/Jonah and Jessica/Marcus, but it looks like I definitely have a lot of yummy couples to catch up on.

My current favorites are many, including Po/Katsa (Graceling) and Tris/Four (Divergent).
2. EvangelineHolland
Alice and Patrick from Phyllis Reynolds Naylor's Alice series. ;-)
3. cynthiarox66
I LOVED How I Live Now! And Sweethearts (which has such a deceiving cover). I loved how you picked romances from books that are not so well known compared to...The Mortal Intruments for example. I can't say for the other books, since I haven't read them, but the romance in How I Live Now and Sweethearts definitely make my top five :) The Demon' Lexicon sounds interesting from your description, might look into that...
4. Badmeetsevil i think your choices are amazing but i live for the romance between Daemon Black and Katy Swatrz from The lux series by Jennifer L. Armentrout
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