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SparkLife: YA Romance Roundup

February 9th, 2012 (07:23 pm)
thirsty

Current Mood: thirsty
Current Song: Jeopardy! theme song

This piece was originally published in SparkLife in February 2009.

Valentine's Day is less than a week away now! Last week, I posted about books dealing with first crushes and then some fun series from the eighties and nineties. Today, I'm talking about four memorable books that tackle romantic plotlines in very different ways.

Have a Heart, Cupid Delaney by Ellen Leroe is the perfect Valentine's Day book for kids in middle school or high school. It's all about a fun-loving young cupid who is trying to earn her wings. She has been assigned four human subjects - two boys and two girls who go to the same high school - that she's supposed to pair up. Instead of setting up the popular boy with the popular girl and the dorky boy with the geeky girl, as she's supposed to, Cupid Delaney mixes up the matches - and then falls for one of the boys herself! I absolutely love this book. I have fond memories of reading it over and over again when I was younger. It has a sequel called Meet Your Match, Cupid Delaney, but I liked the original story better. Read my full-length review of Have a Heart, Cupid Delaney.

If This is Love, I'll Take Spaghetti by Ellen Conford is another lighthearted pick. This short-story collection was originally published in the eighties. It will make you laugh out loud. With nine comedic stories bundled up together, it's a great recommendation for someone who likes quick reads. It has crushes, set-ups, dates, dinners, posters, and rock stars. But does it have spaghetti, you ask? Read it and find out! Also see what other books I pair it with in my Suggested Sets booklist.

I have read many novels by Garret Freymann-Weyr. Stay With Me is my favorite book of hers to date. It revolves around a teenager named Leila whose life and priorities shifts due to loss: her father's first wife passes away, as does one of her much older half-sisters. One was ill; the other took her own life. While attempting to make sense of it all, Leila surprises herself by falling for an older guy. The lessons Leila learns throughout the book are important, for lack of a better word, and the writing is extremely poignant. Read my full-length review of Stay With Me by Garret Freymann-Weyr.

I am going to close this piece with Boy Heaven by Laura Kasischke, a book that sounds like a breezy summer romance and is anything but. What begins so innocently becomes creepy in a flash. One summer afternoon at cheerleading camp, Kristy, her best friend Desiree, and Desiree's new friend "Kristi with an I," whom our narrator Kristy can't stand, sneak away and take a drive. Two boys about their age spot them and pay them attention - but not exactly the good kind. Though Desiree flirts with the guys, something just feels wrong. The girls lose them on the drive back, and don't really think much of the whole thing until they think the guys are spying on them at camp. The stakes are raised when the girls are threatened in a note that appears on one of their bunks. This book is a must-have for any fan of Lois Duncan. If you like Boy Heaven, you should definitely check out Kasischke's other novels for teens and adults, including Feathered by Laura Kasischke (read my review of Feathered) and The Life Before Her Eyes, which became a fantastic movie starring Evan Rachel Wood, Eva Amurri, and Uma Thurman. Read my full-length book review of Boy Heaven by Laura Kasischke.