Books for… | Top 5 | Mini Review
So, its almost Valentine’s day – for most, it is a time where couples can give each other cute gifts and spend the day basking in each others’ love. I’ve always had a subdued feeling towards the day, for a while it was because I was bitter and single, now, I’m just bitter. Of course, I’m joking, I just never see the need to hype up Valentine’s day as much as is needed – instead my fiance and I use it as a good day to really take the time to enjoy each other’s company when we’re both super busy.
By this point you’re probably wondering when I’ll get to the books, don’t worry here we are! It takes a lot for me to thoroughly enjoy a good romance narrative, not wanting this to be the full definition of the characters involved. However, there have been the odd few romances that have really stuck with me; this is a collection 5 books of books that have done just that…
1. “One Day” by David Nicholls
Genre – Contemporary Romance | Rating – 5/5
Twenty Years. Two People. Emma and Dexter meet on the night of the graduation. Tomorrow they must go their seperate ways. So where will they be on this one day next year? And the year after that? And every year that follows? (check it out on Bookshop)
This has got to be my all time favourite example of a romance book that really gripped me. Until this one, I had an aversion to romance books, not seeing much point or enjoyment in them. However, through Nicholls’ brilliant writing and unique take on a typical love story. Watch as Emma and Dexter grow together, discovering more about each other as they never thought they would.
2. “Call Me By Your Name” by Andre Aciman
Genre – Contemporary Romance | Rating – 4/5
During a restless summer on the Italian Riviera, a powerful romance blooms between seventeen-year-old Elio and his father’s house guest, Oliver. Unrelenting currents of obsession and fear, fascination and desire threaten to overwhelm the lovers who at first feign indifference in the chare between them. (check it out on Bookshop)
A modern and popular romance story that gives gay romance the detailed and quality writing that it truly deserves. It is beautifully written, capturing the true picturesque nature of the Italian Riviera, while equally showing Elio’s confusion around his feelings for someone new. Rather than bringing another cliche bullying narrative, we’re given your normal romance narrative where the characters just happen to not be straight.
3. “Warm Bodies” by Isaac Marion
Genre – Horror/Romance | Rating – 4/5
R is a zombie. He has no memories, no identity, and no pulse, but he is a little different from his fellow Dead. He may occasionally eat people, but he’d rather be riding abandoned airport escalators, listening to Sinatra in the cozy 747 he calls home, or collecting souvenirs from the ruins of civilization. And then he meets a girl. Julie is a blast of living color in R’s gray landscape, and something inside him begins to bloom. He doesn’t want to eat this girl he wants to protect her. But their unlikely bond will cause ripples they can’t imagine, and their hopeless world won’t change without a fight. (Check it out on Bookshop)
Another strong favourite of mine, this is such a bizarre twist on both the zombie and romance genre. It is both equally horror inducing while showing a really interesting romance between two unlikely characters. This is one of those books that I can always go back and read again and still enjoy it as much as the first time.
4. “Two Boys Kissing” by David Levithan
Genre – Young Adult / Romance | Rating – 3/5
Harry and Craig, two 17-year-olds who are about to take part in a 32-hour marathon of kissing to set a new Guinness World Record—all of which is narrated by a Greek Chorus of the generation of gay men lost to AIDS. While the two increasingly dehydrated and sleep-deprived boys are locking lips, they become a focal point in the lives of other teen boys dealing with languishing long-term relationships, coming out, navigating gender identity, and falling deeper into the digital rabbit hole of gay hookup sites—all while the kissing former couple tries to figure out their own feelings for each other. (Check it out on Bookshop)
Despite the lower rating, I did enjoy reading this interesting book. I’ve always enjoyed David Levithan’s writing, and this is a great example of how he brings to gay stories to the forefront. Unlike “Call Me By Your Name”‘s more passionate/sexual approach to romance, Levithan looks at how the characters’ feelings are established and transformed by events in their lives, all centred around the changing relationship of the two main characters.
5. “Lovesong” by Abi Morgan
Genre – Play | Rating – 4/5
Lovesong is the story of one couple, told from two different points in their lives – as young lovers in their 20s and as worldly companions looking back on their relationship. Their past and present selves collide in this haunting and beautiful tale of togetherness. All relationships have their ups and downs; the optimism of youth becomes the wisdom of experience. Love is a leap of faith. (check it out on Bookshop)
This one is for my fellow theatre lovers. I went to see this play many years ago as part of a drama trip with my school. From beginning to end I was captured by this wonderful story of two people; showing their relationship when they were younger and when they’re older. Its a brilliant way of showing how relationships change with age, and brings a bittersweet reality to the audience.
I hope that you enjoyed my list of great love stories – well at least the ones that I always find entertaining to read. Let me know if you’ve read any of these and what you think, and better yet – send me across some recommendations of your own!