6 Most Romantic Books to Read if You Loved The Fault in Our Stars

Bittersweet YA romance

6 Most Romantic Books to Read if You Loved The Fault in Our Stars
Photo by Victoria Priessnitz on Unsplash

Bittersweet YA romance

I remember crying buckets when I first read John Green’s novel The Fault In Our Stars. I was a teenager then, and it took me months to get out of the hangover this book induced.

Even today, eight years after its release, the ill-fated love story of Hazel Grace and Augustus ‘Gus’ Waters continues to captivate millions of readers around the world.

If you are someone who has been mesmerised by this beautiful, heartbreaking story, you might have found yourself bemoaning how there are very few Young Adult novels that capture the delicate emotions of love and loss so accurately.

If you love coming-of-age stories with bittersweet romance and dealing with matters of loss and heartbreak, here are six books that are bound to spark off some emotional, heartfelt reading sessions.

(Note: The links mentioned in this article are affiliate links. If you choose to purchase these books through these links, it will help me earn a small amount of money — at no extra cost to you. Thanks!)

The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

Nastya is a seventeen-year-old girl struggling with rebuilding her life after everything she loved was shattered by a random act of violence two years ago. She joins a new school where she meets Josh, a teenager who loves building things and prefers being left alone.

One night, through a string of coincidences, Nastya ends up at Josh’s house where she finds him in his garage surrounded with his tools. For the first time since the terrible misfortune, Nastya feels a connection with another person. She finds herself sitting by and quietly watching him work. She can’t keep herself from coming back every day after that, and thus begins this strange, yet beautiful relationship between the two emotionally damaged teenagers.

“I live in a world without magic or miracles. A place where there are no clairvoyants of shapeshifters, no angels or superhuman boys to save you. A place where people die and music disintegrates and things suck. I am pressed so hard against the earth by the weight of reality that some days I wonder how I am still able to lift my feet and walk.”

Why you should read it

This book is not your typical YA romance where boy meets girl and they flirt their way to a happily ever after. This one is more of a character-driven drama that highlights the realities and imperfections of life and love. There are some beautiful quotes and a powerfully uplifting ending to leave you with a smile.

Purchase the book here.

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

This book takes place in a version of reality where humans have discovered a mechanism to predict when a person will die, with the caveat that they can only know the date, not the exact time or cause of death. Living in this world are two teenagers, Mateo and Rufus, who both have less than 24 hours to live. Total strangers before, they meet on an app called “Last Friend” and embark on one last great adventure — to live a lifetime in a single day.

“It’s mad twisted, but surviving showed me it’s better to be alive wishing I was dead than dying wishing I could live forever.”

Why you should read it

With such a creative plot and a literal “ticking time bomb” fueling the story forward, this book will punch you in the gut with the emotional impact it leaves. The author does a brilliant job of crafting memorable characters whose laughter and struggle will almost make you believe you are right there with them — living their last moments on the planet together.

Keep the tissues handy, because, no matter what choices they make — solo or together — their finish line remains the same. No matter how they choose to live, they both die at the end.

Purchase the book here.

Crazy by Han Nolan

Fifteen-year-old Jason is still grieving the death of his mother while trying to hold his unstable father and their crumbling home together. Unable to deal with the anxiety on his own, Jason starts relying on a group of imaginary friends to help him cope. He is determined to keep himself invisible, unnoticed. Because if people started noticing his condition, his father will be noticed too, and they’ll take him away, wouldn’t they?

While the comfort of temporary relief is tempting, Jason is soon forced to seek help from the flesh-and-blood people in his life to deal with the fast-deteriorating situation at home.

“It’s perfectly natural to be angry with your mother for dying. Everybody who loses someone special goes through that. It’s just part of the grieving process.”

Why you should read it

The characters in this book are amazing. Even the minor ones are believably flawed and it’s touching how much they care about each other. The protagonist, Jason, will probably be the character that most readers will connect to strongly.

Among all the YA fiction I have read, Crazy by Han Nolan has one of the most accurate and deeply relatable representations of mental health issues. This book is not very well-known, but trust me when I say this: if you have dealt with loss in any form, this book will hit you right in the feels, and, in its own weird way, help you heal.

Purchase the book here.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

While not deeply rooted in tragedy like the rest of the books on this list, Becky Albertalli’s Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda is the story of coming out of the closet and accepting yourself as you are.

Two teenagers, Simon and Blue, become best friends while exchanging emails and before they know it, fall in love. All Simon can think about is who the mysterious, wonderful, and heart-stoppingly sexy stranger on the internet might be. But his idyllic world is broken asunder when another person in his school discovers Simon’s secret emails and starts to blackmail him. Simon hasn’t told anyone — not even his closest friends — that he is gay, and this is a secret that can ruin everything he has struggled to build. This book is Simon’s story of how he deals with the blackmailer, his identity as a homosexual, and the fire burning bright in his heart for Blue.

“Why is straight the default? Everyone should have to declare one way or another, and it shouldn’t be this big awkward thing whether you’re straight, gay, bi, or whatever. I’m just saying.”

Why you should read it

It is a light-hearted, one-time read with some moments that really shine, especially the scene where Simon comes out to his best friend, or some of the mails where he really opens his heart out to Blue and the two talk about first love, first kiss, and the inevitable lust that accompanies such feelings. I would recommend if you’re looking to read something light and refreshing with believable queer characters.

Purchase the book here.

Normal People by Sally Rooney

Connell and Marianne — two star-crossed lovers who squander every opportunity they get to be with each other and start a stable relationship. As a reader, you can feel their chemistry, the sparks flying off the page each time these two meet. And yet, the characters are blind to the threads that bind them together.

It is the story of a boy and a girl who are made for each other and everybody in the world realises this except the kids themselves. Starting from school to college, stretching all the way to post-graduation, Marianne and Connel spend time in abusive relationships, in the company of people who are blind to who they are, just because their ego and their low self-worth would not let them stay with each other.

“It’s funny the decisions you make because you like someone, and then your whole life is different. I think we’re at that weird age where life can change a lot from small decisions.”

I don’t generally enjoy Young Adult love stories, but, this was different.

Why you should read it

The premise might sound familiar, but, Sally Rooney makes her characters unique. They stand out because of their way of looking at the world, the decisions they make and the aspirations that drive them. You will fall in love with the author’s attention to detail, the little gestures and expression changes she highlighted to show us what the characters actually want, irrespective of what they are saying.

If you love good old romances, this is among the best of them.

Purchase the book here.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Aristotle Mendoza and Dante Quintana are two Mexican-American teenagers growing up in El Paso, Texas during the 1980s. They are trying to find their way in the world. But before they do that, they need to find their way to each other.

Aristotle (Ari, to his friends) is a self-doubting silent guy, who has learned from experience to bottle his feelings up. Dante, on the other hand, is an expressive, fair skinned boy who meets Ari at the pool one afternoon and asks him if he should teach him swimming. Dante reads poetry and loves painting. He makes Ari laugh and fills his world with colours, and before they know it, the two become the best of friends.

“Sometimes, you do things and you do them not because you’re thinking but because you’re feeling. Because you’re feeling too much. And you can’t always control the things you do when you’re feeling too much.”

Why you should read it

I recently wrote an entire post gushing about how beautiful this book is. But, if you are still not convinced, let me summarise in two lines.

You can call Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe a love story. But in its heart, it’s the story of being a misunderstood teenager and the struggle of dealing with a world so hell-bent on ostracising what it considers as “different”. It’s a book you MUST read, for it will leave you with tears of happiness and goosebumps all over your skin.

Purchase the book here.

More by Anangsha Alammyan in Books Are Our Superpower:

5 Most Inspirational Books to Read if You Loved The Alchemist
Novels that leave a mark
3 Most Thrilling Books to Read if You Loved the Da Vinci Code
Adventure + history + conspiracy
5 Most Magical Books to Read if You Loved Harry Potter
Young adult fantasy fiction recommendations

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