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Top Books About Love

In the spirit of Valentine's Day, I'm going through my favorite books that deal with every kind of love story. Whether you need a read to help you heal, give you hope that love indeed exists, or even want a book that will break your heart, I've got you covered.


Wholesome Love Stories

I had to start with this classic. Although novels from the 19th century can seem unappealing to many, the prose of Jane Austen's famous novel is light and accessible. It has one of my favorite love stories in all of fiction, a classic romantic trope of slow burn love. Mr. Darcy is one of the most loved male leads in literary history, and Lizzie Bennett is equally as charming. Slow burn love is probably my favorite love stories because it feels much more realistic than characters who meet and immediately feel attraction and undeniable chemistry. For Mr. Darcy and Lizzie, they detest each other from first meeting but slowly learn that first impressions are not always correct, which makes it all the more fun to watch their story unfold. I also adore the 2005 movie and think it is a superb adaptation of the beloved book. Don't feel like picking up the novel but want to fall in love with the story? Honestly, go watch the film. It's one of the few times I believe a movie adaptation gave its source material justice. But, if you're looking to dive into one of the most beloved love stories of all time, I couldn't recommend Pride and Prejudice enough.


This book caught the bookstagram world by storm in 2019, and for good reason. Red, White, & Royal Blue is a contemporary romance novel with an unusual twist ---- the son of America's first woman president falls in love with the Prince of Wales. Not only does it explore the complicated world of fame and politics, it tackles homosexual love in a way that feels very modern and relevant. The writing is ridiculously engaging, the characters are memorable and unique, and although it is a fun read, it's not shallow. The main character, Alex, struggles to tell the people he loves about his sexuality because he's afraid of how it will affect how the family is treated by the press and the world. His internal battle pulls sympathy from the reader, and deepens this love story to more than just boy meets boy. Although I'm not usually one for a typical romance novel, this book took the genre a few steps forward by examining celebrity culture, homosexuality, and the journey to discover oneself.


Alright, hear me out ---- this might be the same author who wrote the Twilight series (which yes, I read in high school and enjoyed at the time because it's an entertaining series), but I think The Host is of much higher quality than the previous series. Not every book has to be ground-breaking and ridiculously well-written in order for a reader to enjoy it and get meaning from it. Sometimes, books can be just purely for pleasure and entertainment and I don't think anyone should be judged for ever picking up and liking a book. The Host is a romantic sci-fi novel about a post-apocalyptic world where alien entities called 'Souls' have taken over the bodies of humans. The story is actually told from the point of view of one Soul who inhabits the body of a human who's consciousness refuses to fade away. The Soul is able to see the memories of the human woman named Melanie, including her feelings of love and sacrifice for her family, and the Soul then decides to go rogue and find Melanie's family. The plot might sound hokey, but it is an engrossing story for fans of sci-fi and really explores the depths of love and redemption. I remember being stuck at an airport overnight when I was 15, freaking out, going to a bookstore to find a book to distract me, buying this book, and then spending the next ten hours in the airport devouring this novel. Even after a decade, this story and its characters still stick with me. It made me question my ideas about romantic love and realize there are so many ways to love someone, and no one way is better than another. If you're looking for an exciting, captivating romance with unexpected turns, take a chance on The Host.


I know I just spoke about this book in my last post about my January Wrap-Up (which you can check out here), but it is still so fresh in my mind that I had to include it in this list. I won't dive too deep into it as I already covered it in-depth, but I want to highlight that although this is considered a contemporary romance novel, I enjoyed it because it's not all about the romance. I definitely have issues with books that completely center around a love story, which is why I'm typically wary of the genre. I much prefer for there to be other facets of a book that also happens to have romance in it. Evvie Drake Starts Over has a lovely slow burn story between Evvie and a man named Dean, but it's also about Evvie's struggle with her own guilt and shame after her husband she had been planning to leave passes away in a car accident. It's one of those books that goes deep into details, which I love, and centers around Evvie and Drake's everyday mundane lives. I think it's a wonderful story to get cozy with on a cold winter night with a blanket and a cup of tea (which is exactly how I read the majority of this book), and especially during this month of February.


Heartbreaking Love Stories

Call me masochistic, but there's something invigorating about consuming a heartbreaking love story. I don't necessarily like to do it too often, but every now and then and if it's done well, I find a tragic love story to be really beautiful and affecting. If you read my Top Books of Every Genre (linked here), you'll know that Gone with the Wind is one of my favorite books of all time. I love it so much it's ridiculous. What I didn't talk about in that post was the infamous love story of Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler. It's a complicated story because almost the entire novel, Scarlett is in love with another man and even detests Rhett at times, although he loves her wholly. It is so frustrating because I was screaming at Scarlett constantly, all 1037 pages of it, upset at how blind she was to the most perfect man for her. I don't want to spoil anything, but just be warned that this novel and its love story is heartbreaking yet hopeful, and I don't think I will ever be as deeply moved by a tragic love story more than Scarlett and Rhett's.


This novel was made famous by the 2017 movie adaptation that got a lot of Oscar buzz and made the world fall in love with Timothee Chalamet (myself included). I read the book first, as I tend to do, and discovered the tragic love between Elio and Oliver. This book is on the more erotic, eccentric side of the romance spectrum. It's written in a way I have never seen before in romance ---- almost a poetic, free-consciousness prose that goes deep into the character of 17-year-old Elio. It is absolutely beautiful, and I was transfixed with the writing and how Aciman approached the short but powerful love between the two men. This story really drives hard the notion that your first love is always the most poignant of your life, but it is made even more affecting by the story being about two men as opposed to a heterosexual couple. I have yet to read the sequel Find Me, although I'm not sure I even want to because I weirdly loved the agonizing ending that often mirrors real-life first love.


Dreamland is one of my favorite Sarah Dessen books, second only to The Truth About Forever. This heart wrenching book is about a girl named Caitlin who, as a way to escape her own complicated life, falls in love with a magnetic guy named Rogerson. However, he quickly becomes an even more complicated and problematic part of her life, dragging her down to awful lows. Big warning, this book details both physical and psychological abuse and can be extremely difficult to read. It is heartbreaking in the most raw sense, and Caitlin's downward spiral is baffling yet sympathetic. Dessen does an amazing job showing why it can be so hard for people to walk away from loved ones. She goes deep into Caitlin's psyche and experiencing Caitlin's pain and suffering made me weep. It is an achingly painful but beautiful story about strength, forgiveness, and salvation.


This was an odd book for me. It's a story of newlyweds Celestial and Roy who are torn apart when Roy gets accused of rape even though he is innocent, and is sentenced to years in prison. The book is told through letters between Celestial and Roy, something that is unique although I wasn't crazy about it. However, I think the narrative is extremely important and poignant, analyzing elements of American class, race, and the justice system, as well as young love. It shows how messy and devastating life can be, and how love can be altered and destroyed by unexpected circumstances. But it also explores hope, redemption, and forgiveness, making it a meaningful tale of young love.


Stories to Help Heal a Broken Heart

Honestly, I could argue that all books have the potential to heal a broken heart in their own ways. I tend to turn to books when I want to distract myself from my aching heart or any kind of pain I am experiencing, which has its benefits. In times I need extreme distraction, I'll usually reread the entirety of Harry Potter because no other series will ever be as wonderfully engrossing and nostalgic as that one. But there is incredible value in using books as a way to heal. That usually means facing your pain head on, which can hurt even more, but it has to be done eventually. I spoke about this book in my January Wrap-Up, but I absolutely had to include it in this post. This is one of the few books that I believe can aid in the healing and recovery process straightforwardly. Sparacino even asks the reader to examine their grief in order to unearth hope as well as learn lessons from the painful experience. She writes in such a warm, beautiful, poetic way that I honestly felt she knew my pain personally. Each essay or poem forces the reader to accept their grief but reminds them that there are better things out there more deserving of their love. This book has really helped me deal with my own issues over the last few months, and I keep it by my bedside for any time that I need some words of inspiration or comfort.


When I reflect on the books that have helped heal my heart, whether because it was broken by love or another reason, I always think about Wild. I am wary of hyped-up books, but this one deserves it in my opinion. This book is the memoir of Cheryl Strayed, who after some heartbreaking losses, decides on a whim to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. Now, I'm not saying that hiking will heal all wounds, but I am saying that reading this book made me want to hike a trail and be in nature for a few weeks. Strayed gets real and raw about her story, especially about the passing of her mom. It is often heartbreaking, but learning about her pain through her days on the PCT felt invigorating and uplifting. Watching her go through her own journey of healing and forgiveness helped me deal with my own, making it a perfect read for someone who might be struggling to heal their heart.


Good Morning, I Love You by Shauna Shapiro

When people think of books about love, they often think of romance or family or friendship. The idea of self-love is almost never considered. While self-love may be a more recent concept that seems to be popular with millennials, its importance cannot be stressed enough. Good Morning, I Love You is a newly published personal development book written by Dr. Shauna Shapiro, who has been studying mindfulness and self-love for over twenty years. She goes deep into the science of mindfulness, self-compassion, and kindness and it's astounding just how undervalued all those practices are, even in the modern world. I think many people think that personal shaming for mistakes is the only way to learn and grow, but Dr. Shapiro proves that the only way to heal and develop is to actually treat yourself with kindness and compassion. I definitely have struggled with this over the last few months, even questioning my self-worth at times. Reading this book has pushed me to accept my mistakes and forgive myself, while also speaking to myself with a gentle graciousness. Healing takes time and patience, but this book has made a world of a difference in my own personal healing journey. I couldn't recommend it enough.


When I am personally experiencing heartbreak, I almost never turn to traditional love stories for distraction or healing. I don't tend to want to read about characters finding love and happiness when I myself feel lost. A Man Called Ove is a wonderful, heartwarming story about a grumpy old man whose world is turned upside down when a young family moves in next door. Instead of a story about romantic love, it dives into the unexpected love that comes from opening your heart and home to someone who is struggling. The characters were so lovable, the plot was captivating, and the ending was so beautiful, I cried. It's one of those stories that warms your heart despite its heartbreak. Backman created an unexpected narrative that shows the importance of human connection no matter what age and proves that it is never too late to heal.


If you have read any of these books or decide to pick one up and want to discuss further, I am always down to have a conversation. Feel free to shoot me a message through the 'Personalized Recs' page, on Instagram or on Facebook, or you can send me an email at Happy reading, y'all.


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