Readers unfamiliar with the romance genre often have wildly inaccurate misconceptions about it. No, romances are not just predictable tales in which brawny, shirtless men sweep passive women off their feet. As these new teen titles demonstrate, romantic love is central to the lives of many different types of people. These books—populated by a broad range of characters living in a variety of settings and dealing with myriad different life circumstances—celebrate this diversity and speak to the inclusivity of the genre today.

Wren Martin Ruins It All by Amanda DeWitt (Peachtree Teen, 2023): Dating in high school is stressful enough, but when you’re asexual, it can be, as student council president Wren Martin puts it, “harrowing.” In this witty and hilarious enemies-to-lovers romance, Wren discovers that Leo Reyes—“student council vice president and perpetual thorn in my side”—might just be that special someone who sees and fully accepts Wren for who he is.

Cupid's Revenge by Wibke Brueggemann (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Jan. 2): This queer love triangle set within a London amateur dramatics society sparkles with effervescent humor. Best friends Tilly and Teddy don’t care for the arts, but Teddy’s passion for the theatrically inclined Katherine is motivation enough to follow her to an audition—and rope in Tilly for moral support. Tilly, it turns out, is not immune to Katherine’s charms, either.

Arya Khanna's Bollywood Moment by Arushi Avachat (Wednesday Books, Jan. 9): Readers seeking a sweet and lively story need look no further. Arya’s older sister’s impending wedding—a grand Punjabi affair—is just one of the things that’s causing upheaval during her senior year. Another is Dean, the handsome but irritating boy who beat her by six votes to become student council president. But forced proximity at school eventually leads to a Bollywood-worthy romance.

Dungeons and Drama by Kristy Boyce (Underlined, Jan. 9): Fans of fake-dating scenarios will be delighted by this charming, well-realized story. Musical theater fan Riley puts her thespian talents to work pretending that keen Dungeons & Dragons player Nathan is her boyfriend. It’ll show Riley’s ex that she’s moved on and pique the interest of Nathan’s crush. But it seems there’s really something to the idea that “opposites attract.”

Lunar New Year Love Story by Gene Luen Yang, illustrated by LeUyen Pham (First Second, Jan. 9): What does true love look like—and is it worth risking heartbreak for? Crushing disappointments lead Valentina Tran to accept a bargain with Saint Valentine: find true love within a year, or give him her heart and live with numbness but no pain. This vibrant graphic romance with light fantasy elements is filled with lion dancing, emotional turmoil, and heartfelt connections.

Just Say Yes by Goldy Moldavsky (Henry Holt, Jan. 30): In this thoughtful romance grounded by astute social commentary, Peruvian American Jimena is shocked to discover she’s undocumented. Suddenly, college applications are the least of her worries. Her quest for a marriage of convenience and a green card turns out to be more complicated than expected, even with—or maybe because of?—the help she gets from her friend Vitaly.

Laura Simeon is a young readers’ editor.