They meet, they fall in love, they fight, they make up. End of story. We all know how the story ends, so if a romance for teens is going to stand out from the crowd of light, fluffy reads, it needs something more. Nick and Norah had the alternating perspectives. Bella and Edward had the vampire thing.
How about the Beatles? Or twins? Or superstitions? There is a lot going on in Beatle Meets Destiny by Gabrielle Williams, but somehow it manages to work. Beatle, a nickname for John Lennon, meets Destiny McCartney when he leaves a party early on Friday the 13th. You never know what might happen on such an ominous day, or so Beatle thinks. When he meets Destiny, they have such an intense first connection that it seems like the best of fate. Except for the fact that Beatle already has a girlfriend. This book is distinctly Australian in a way that doesn’t alienate readers who are not familiar with the culture. Not to mention, it’s a lot of fun.
Paris is good for romance, and it works well in Stephanie Perkins’s Anna and the French Kiss. To be honest, this book surprised me. I picked it up wanting something very fluffy to read as a distraction from the issue-filled realistic teen fiction I usually read, but it pulled me in to the story far beyond the distraction I was looking for. The romance element is strong, but I’d hate for this book to get overlooked as “just a romance” because it is very much about Anna’s growth from being at her Paris boarding school reluctantly and fearfully to moving past that and really coming into her own identity. Oh, and falling in love with a hot, English boy.
For me, the “something extra” in The Big Crunch by Pete Hautman was the setting. I’m a Minneapolis girl through and through, and I loved seeing familiar places through June’s eyes as the new girl in town. But even if you are not from Minnesota, this romance is unique for its quiet and thoughtful tone. There is no grandiose love at first sight or high drama. June and Wes meet, get to know each other, and fall in love very realistically. Soon June’s family has to move again, and the two must navigate the separation. It is particularly impressive if you consider that this is a bit of a departure from Hautman’s usual. All in all, this was a great start to my reading year.
Anna and the French Kiss. Stephanie Perkins. 2010
Beatle Meets Destiny. Gabrielle Williams. 2010.
The Big Crunch. Pete Hautman. 2011.