13 Contemporary YA Romances That Explore The Full Range Of Teen Experiences
No two teenagers are the same. Some are charming and popular, some are awkward and isolated, and others manage to somehow feel like both at once. Covering protagonists with different genders, races, and personalities, the young adult books listed here showcase a wide range of the different circumstances and emotions that teenagers experience. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.
Young Adult Romance Books: Our 13 Picks
Fun Date Ideas For Teenagers
- Cook dinner together
- Go for a hike or a bike ride
- Get together for a karaoke night
- Go bowling
- Have a picnic on a sunny day
- Play a boardgame or video game together
- Go to a roller rink
8 Great Teen Romance Movies
- Love, Simon (2018)
- 13 Going on 30 (2004)
- The Fault in Our Stars (2014)
- Grease (1978)
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)
- 10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
- Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging (2008)
- A Cinderella Story (2004)
Stephen Fry on the Topic of First Love
Young adult readers who want to see themselves reflected in the pages of a compelling novel will not be disappointed by the diverse works listed here. These books feature characters applying to colleges, experiencing heartbreak, experimenting with drugs and alcohol, and so much more. In no particular order, here are thirteen contemporary Y.A. novels that are sure to be relatable to anyone who is, or has ever been, a teenager.
At #1 we have "Thizz, A Love Story" by Nicole Loufas. After losing both her parents, introverted high school senior Dani moves to Eureka, CA to live with her aunt. Dani keeps to herself and plans to attend her parents' alma mater, UC Berkeley. But when popular and handsome Matt asks her to meet him in the parking lot after school one day, her curiosity gets the best of her. Matt and his best friend invite Dani into their world of partying and drugs, and before long, she finds herself taking ecstasy daily to numb her pain.
In the #2 spot, we have "26 Kisses" by Anna Michels. Veda is caught by surprise when her longtime boyfriend breaks off their relationship. With the help of her best friends, Veda devises a plan to recover from her heartbreak. She will spend her summer kissing twenty-six different boys, one for each letter of the alphabet. But kiss number eleven to her sweet coworker Killian threatens to upend her entire plan. She did not expect to develop feelings for Killian, but that doesn't change the fact that she is determined to see her challenge through until the end.
Veda is caught by surprise when her longtime boyfriend breaks off their relationship.
Coming in at #3 is "My So-Called Bollywood Life" by Nisha Sharma. Bollywood film fanatic Winnie is devastated when she finds out that her boyfriend Raj is cheating on her. An Indian priest once made a prophecy about Winnie's future soulmate, and Raj had seemingly checked off all the boxes. When Winnie starts to fall for sweet and dorky Dev, she begins to reconsider her views on destiny and prophecies.
In the #4 spot is "For Always" by Danielle Sibarium. Fourteen-year-old Stephanie has already suffered so much loss in her young life that she is convinced that she is a "death magnet," and distances herself from her peers. Popular senior Jordan manages to break down her walls, but he refuses to act on any romantic feelings because of their age difference. Years pass and they both date other people, but their feelings for each other never truly fade. After Jordan fills in for Stephanie's prom date, their relationship finally starts to take shape. But when tragedy strikes, their future together seems as uncertain as ever.
At #5 we have "First Kiss" by Ann Marie Frohoff. Jake is seventeen and already living a reckless rock-and-roll lifestyle, complete with drinking, partying, and having casual sex. Alyssa is an inexperienced high school freshman. Her parents don't allow her to date, so she has to sneak around behind their backs to be with Jake. But their connection feels so strong that any risk seems worth it if it means they can be together.
Alyssa is an inexperienced high school freshman.
In the #6 spot we have "A Healing Heart" by Melissa A. Hanson. Two years ago, Bailey was the only member of her immediate family to survive a horrific car accident. Now, she lives with her aunt in Southern California. Bailey suffers severe survivor's guilt and frequently has nightmares about the night she lost both her parents and her two younger siblings. When she meets Collin, he gives her the strength she needs to begin healing from the tragedy. But when the difficulties of young love threaten to pull them apart, will she be able to continue to heal on her own?
For #7 we have "Six Impossible Things" by Fiona Wood. In this Australian book, awkward fourteen-year-old Dan has been having a particularly rough time lately. His parents' marriage dissolved when his dad came out as gay, his family's business is bankrupt, and he has to move to a new city and a new school. On top of all this, Estelle, his next-door neighbor, doesn't seem to even know he's alive. In order to tackle his problems head-on, he writes a list of six seemingly impossible things to accomplish in order to improve his abysmal life.
In the #8 spot is "Bailey and the Bad Boy" by R. Linda. Bailey's summer plans are derailed when her boyfriend breaks up with her over the phone and starts dating one of her best friends. To get even and show that she has moved on just as quickly, she pretends to date Ryder, a notorious bad boy who has his own motives for seeking revenge on Bailey's ex. It isn't long before their fake relationship begins to feel a lot more real than either one intended.
It isn't long before their fake relationship begins to feel a lot more real than either one intended.
At #9 we have "Maybe Never" by Sadie Allen. In a small Texas town, things could not be going better for Judd Jackson. He has a football scholarship, popularity, and the perfect family. When his father is outed as a trans woman and flees town, abandoning Judd and his mother in the process, the community turns on Judd. Soon after, he meets Sunny, a fellow outcast with Native American heritage and dreams of going to culinary school after graduation. They develop strong feelings for each other while they both count down the days until they can leave town.
For #10 we have "Someday, Somewhere" by Lindsay Champion. When Dominique sees Ben perform at Carnegie Hall, it's love at first sight. They are from completely different worlds; Ben is a brilliant and precocious student at NYU, and Dominique is a street-wise high school junior and aspiring dancer from New Jersey. She is willing to go to extreme lengths in order to meet Ben, even pretending to be an NYU student. At first, her dishonesty pays off and they start to date. But does a relationship founded on false pretenses have any chance of surviving?
In the #11 spot is "Friend Is Not a Verb" by Daniel Ehrenhaft. When Henry isn't playing with his band, or watching VH1 with his neighbor Emma, he's obsessing over what could have happened that forced his sister to run away with her friend Gabriel. Henry's sister was missing for over a year, and now that she's finally home, he's ready to hear what happened to her. But she won't tell him, and neither will his parents. After getting booted from his band, Henry takes bass lessons from Gabriel, hoping that he can shed some light on the mystery for him.
Henry's sister was missing for over a year, and now that she's finally home, he's ready to hear what happened to her.
Coming in at #12, we have "The Fine Art of Keeping Quiet" by Charity Tahmaseb. When she was younger, Jolia was teased so much for having braces that now she hardly ever opens her mouth to speak. After a parent-teacher conference reveals that she is failing speech class, Jolia is forced to join the speech and debate team for extra credit. Embarrassed about her academic failure, the painfully shy sophomore won't even tell her best friend the truth about why she's suddenly taking an extracurricular in her worst fear. But at least joining speech gives her an excuse to talk to her crush, who is a member of a rival school's team.
Finally, in the #13 spot, we have "Born Confused" by Tanuja Desai Hidier. Indian American teenager Dimple Lala is still preoccupied with a breakup that happened a year ago. Her conservative parents introduce her to an attractive computer science student named Karsh. At first, she is uninterested in anyone her parents would try and set her up with, but when she sees him DJing at a local club, she realizes there may be more to him than she expected. When Dimple's best friend also takes an interest in Karsh, their friendship is tested and Dimple's insecurities are put on full display.