As I’m sure you’ve noticed, it’s almost Valentine’s Day. This year, I’m planning to treat myself by pre-ordering some love stories. I love ordering books months in advance because I get three times the enjoyment: First, when I’m figuring out which books to buy; second, when I’ve forgotten all about ordering them and I’m surprised by their arrival; and third, when I actually get to sit down and read them.
Here are some of the titles I’m considering:
Miss Mayhem, by Rachel Hawkins
I’m a huge fan of Hawkins, who does romantic paranormal comedy like no other, and this series—about an Alabama belle who is suddenly gifted with supernatural powers—has everything you could want from the genre and more: heart, smarts, scares, swoons and best of all, LAUGHS.
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, by Becky Albertalli
After reading a pseudonymous post on Tumblr by another student at his high school, Simon writes to the author, and the boys begin to correspond. Kirkus starred this one, citing the strong portrayal of the secondary characters and their own stories as well as the group dynamics. I’m so excited to read it: it sounds warm and light, but also like it has depth and nuance.
Things We Know By Heart, by Jessi Kirby
A grieving girl tracks down the boy who received her dead boyfriend’s heart. Okay, okay. This one sounds predictable, I grant you. And Kirkus called it “a little syrupy,” even. But on the right day, predictable and syrupy can be infinitely enjoyable.
The Game of Love and Death, by Martha Brockenbrough
In 1937 Seattle, Henry and Flora—a white boy born into upper-class wealth and a black girl born into a family nightclub—are the unwitting pawns in a centuries-old game played by Love and Death. Flora is an aspiring pilot; Henry is a bass player; we hear from Love and Death directly; the writing is supposed to be beautiful, and I suddenly want this one now, now, NOW.
99 Days, by Katie Cotugno
A girl hooks up with two brothers (separately), and it all goes to hell when her mother WRITES ABOUT IT in a bestselling book. Home from boarding school for the summer before college, Molly finally has to deal with the fallout…and in doing so, she might reconnect with one of the brothers. This one sounds like solid drama, enjoyable on its own merits, but also a good one to have in reader’s advisory arsenal at the library.
The Wrong Side of Right, by Jenn Marie Thorne
A girl from East LA is orphaned; it turns out that her biological father is a Massachusetts senator running for president. She loves her new family but struggles with her father’s politics—he is campaigning on a “hard line” immigration platform, and her best friends’ parents are undocumented. As if all that wasn’t enough to deal with, the president’s son is pursuing her romantically. I’m always a bit wary about books that deal so directly with current issues; they can so easily read as didactic and preachy. This one sounds like it’s got a lot of potential, though—I’m hoping for a more realistic, much meatier Belles.
If she isn't writing Bookshelves of Doom or running the show at her local library, Leila Roy might be making stuff for her Etsy shop while rewatching Veronica Mars, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Babylon 5, Black Books or Twin Peaks. Well, that or she’s hanging out on Twitter. Or both.