5 lovely books to celebrate Valentine’s Day with

Written By Chandni Shah, Staff Writer

Valentine’s Day might not be everyone’s favorite holiday, but we all recognize the not so subtle nuances of the February season. Red and pink hearts, crisp crimson petals and penned poems on pieces of lined paper. A day dedicated to the appreciation of love, platonic or romantic, can spark worries and sadness. Depending on circumstances, Valentine’s this year may not be something you’re looking forward to. I get it, but in my experience, the appreciation of love, friendship and romance is always better in the books. Romance novels, dare I say it, are the best ones. Page turners, full of silly cliches, oozing with that lovey dovey tension—you know what I’m talking about—and who doesn’t like rooting for your favorite characters to fall in love? These books are some of the ones I turn to when real life love gets a little too heavy, a little too hard and I just need a break.

1. “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” by Jenny Han
This book is the epitome of everything mushy and romantic. High schooler Lara Jean writes letters to all of the crushes she has ever had, but keeps them hidden away until one day she finds herself in a bit of a pickle. The letters she hides away somehow get sent to all of the boys she wrote them for. Then, Lara Jean must deal with the confusing emotions that come along with having her secret affections revealed all at the same time. Han’s novel is a light read and has a genuine feel to it. Although the odds of this happening to someone are pretty unrealistic, the reader has fun coming up with their own scenarios for if this would ever happen to them. What would you do if every crush you’ve ever had found out you liked them?

2. “Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe” by Benjamin Alire Saenz
I promise this novel isn’t as cheesy, but it is completely more heartfelt. Ari and Dante, both young Mexican American men in the 1980s, attempt to grasp at their true feelings for each other while coping with their own secrets. This novel deals with complex emotions and varying traumas, while still grasping at the simplicities of young love. Warning: this one’s a tearjerker.

3. “Eleanor & Park” by Rainbow Rowell
Set in the 1980s, Eleanor and Park are two high school outsiders whose love grows as the two sit together everyday on the bus. Their lives are full of bullies and confusion about who they are. But, they find solace and acceptance in each other. The third person perspective alternates between the two, giving the reader an interesting view of each character. Eleanor comes from an abusive home that continues to disrupt her life, and Park is beaten down by the feeling he is not living up to his parent’s expectations. Both come together and help the other become stronger and more comfortable with themselves. Rowell guides us through their story, which is equally as warming as it is heart wrenching.

4. “Carry On” by Rainbow Rowell
Is this book a sort of “Harry Potter” fanfiction? Yes. Is this book better than “Harry Potter”? Yes. “Carry On,” another Rowell masterpiece, follows Simon Snow and his journey as the chosen one at the Watford School of Magicks. Baz is Simon’s mortal enemy, but get this, they’re roommates. As the two attempt to uncover the evil ensuing at their school, which they both think is each other, the enemy to love interest trope presses on. This novel is fun and at times will have you laughing out loud. If you catch yourself smiling to yourself, I wouldn’t be surprised.

5. “First Kill” by V.E. Schwab
For those of us who are drowning in homework, I felt the addition of a short story was necessary. “First Kill” is a story about two girls, one a vampire, and the other a vampire hunter. They are mortal enemies, but the two find themselves with conflicting emotions about who they are, who they are meant to be, and how they feel about each other. Netflix announced that they are making a series based on the short story, so reading this would be a great way to get a sneak peek, as well as a little new interesting romance.

While all of these books and stories center around romance, there is still the twinge of heartbreak that always accompanies love. When reading these stories, you open yourself up to the vulnerabilities of the characters and let their emotions flow through you, which I think is fairly intimate. I guess what I’m trying to say is, opening yourself up to a novel is a form of intimacy that is often forgotten. This Valentine’s Day, fall in love with a book—they’ll treat you well and if you’re not sure you’re ready for anything long term, check it out at the library.