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Find more Top 10 Romance for Youth
Love takes many forms in this list of excellent romances for teens, all reviewed in Booklist between September 15, 2020, and September 1, 2021, which feature crushes, true love, and heartbreak—and, through it all, a healthy dose of meaningful self-discovery.
All Kinds of Other. By James Sie. 2021. HarperCollins/Quill Tree, $17.99 (9780062962492). Gr. 9–12.
This dual-voice novel tells the story of sophomores Jules and Jack, whose burgeoning relationship is tested when Jack is cruelly outed as trans. A splendid story grounded in marvelous characters and steady growth.
Blackout. By Dhonielle Clayton and others. 2021. HarperCollins/Quill Tree, $19.99 (9780063088092). Gr. 8–12.
In this collection of interlinked shorts, the YA-author supergroup of Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Ashley Woodfolk, Angie Thomas, and Nicola Yoon lights up a New York City–wide blackout with six warm summer romances featuring Black teens.
Cheer Up! Love and Pompoms. By Crystal Frasier. Art by Val Wise. 2021. Oni $14.99 (9781620109557). Gr. 9–12.
Annie reunites with her friend Bebe, the first trans girl cheerleader at school, at cheer tryouts. As Annie helps Bebe stand up for herself against transphobia, they realize how deep their feelings for each other truly are in this sweet comic.
Cool for the Summer. By Dahlia Adler. 2021. St. Martin’s/Wednesday, $18.99 (9781250765826). Gr. 9–12.
Larissa has spent most of high school madly in love with football star Chase Harding. When she finally catches his eye, it seems like a dream come true, but her burst of new confidence is thanks to a summer romance with a girl she can’t forget.
Instructions for Dancing. By Nicola Yoon. 2021. Delacorte, $19.99 (9781524718961). Gr. 9–12.
Cynical Evie suddenly can see a vision of any couple’s entire relationship. Searching for answers about her power leads her to a dance studio, where she meets Xavier—and, despite her hesitations about love, sparks fly.
Last Night at the Telegraph Club. By Malinda Lo. 2021. Dutton, $17.99 (9780525555254). Gr. 9–12.
In 1950s San Francisco, 17-year-old Lily Hu dreams of working at the Jet Propulsion Lab and finds herself attracted to Kath. As she’s drawn into a world where she feels more herself, rampant homophobia and McCarthyism put her at risk.
Love Is a Revolution. By Renée Watson. 2021. Bloomsbury, $18.99 (9781547600601). Gr. 9–12.
When fun-spirited Nala meets serious Tye Brown, she fibs about being a hardcore activist to impress him, but the spiraling lies eventually force her to be honest—and love herself for who she is—in a joyous way.
Perfectly Parvin. By Olivia Abtahi. 2021. Putnam, $17.99 (9780593109427). Gr. 7–10.
When 14-year-old Parvin gets dumped, she hatches a revenge plot: get a sophomore to ask her out. But while she’s wondering whether she’s too much for anyone, she meets someone who might like her just the way she is.
A Pho Love Story. By Loan Le. 2021. Simon & Schuster, $19.99 (9781534441934). Gr. 9–12.
Bao and Linh, teens working at Vietnamese restaurants run by rival families, are at the heart of this delicious romance, which features not only a sweet love story but also a poignant exploration of the lingering trauma of the Vietnam war.
Slingshot. By Mercedes Helnwein. 2021. St. Martin’s/Wednesday, $18.99 (9781250253002). Gr. 9–12.
Gracie has never known healthy love, but her bitter loneliness takes a back seat when she finds a deep connection with Wade. Gracie’s acerbic voice and coming-of-age confusion drive this bittersweet tale of the intense highs and lows of teenage love.
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