Looking for romance books for young adults? Here are 20 insanely adorable ya romance books to read!
This post contains affiliate links. That said, I won’t ever recommend a book I haven’t read and loved myself.
I’ve found almost everything ever written about love to be true. Yes, I did just quote Kate Winslet in The Holiday. There is nothing better than a heart-warming, uplifting, feel-good romance. A great romance book is guaranteed to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. That said, romance books for young adults can be quite hit and miss. So, I’ve compiled 20 teen romance books that are definitely worth picking up (plus get my free reading journal)
I’ve included a description, readers ratings, representation and a summary of my personal thoughts (positives and negatives) for each book on this list. Let's have a look at the best romance books for young adults.
This post isn’t meant to be an exhaustive list of every single ya romance book I’ve read. It’s a guide to the absolute best romance books for young adults. This post does contain affiliate links. That said, I won’t ever recommend a book I haven’t read and loved myself. You can rest assured every book has passed my scrutiny.
This post is all about romance books for young adults
What young adult romance novel should I read?
1. Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender
If you’re looking for summer romance, friends to lovers and a revenge plot
Felix Ever After is an own voices romance book for young adults featuring a black, queer and transgender main character.
It follows Felix Love. An anonymous student starts sending him transphobic messages. And the student publicly posts Felix’s deadname. Along with photos of him before his transition.
Felix decides to plot revenge. But his catfishing lands him in a love triangle.
Kacen Callender wrote Felix Ever After. Callender also won the Stonewall Book Award and Lambda literary award for Hurricane Child. They do a particularly good job at discussing difficult topics such as class disadvantage, transphobia and body dysmorphia. Oh and it features an adorable friends to lovers m/m romance.
Good reads rating: 4.37
2. We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia
A Dystopian with a wlw romance and dark academia vibes
This book reminds me of a Sapphic Handmaidens tale. And it also features one of the best wlw enemies to lovers romances that I’ve read!
We Set The Dark On Fire follows Daniela Vargas. She lives in a dystopian world where each man is entitled to 2 wives. A Primera and a Segunda. The Primera is intelligent, calm and analytical. The Segunda is the mother figure.
Outside the wall, the people go hungry. Dani started life outside of the wall. And she must use her wits to survive illegally in the capital. But she is also married to one of the most powerful men in the kingdom.
The premise was really intriguing. And the main character was instantly likeable But the romance is what makes this book! Two badass women who are married to a Straight man but fall in love with each other.
The world-building has such dark academia vibes. It opens in a prep school for girls. But it discusses so many important issues such as immigration politics and forced marriage.
Good Reads Rating: 3.76
3. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
If you love a magical heist, the found family trope and a twisty plot
There is so much to love about Six of Crows – magic found family and super sassy banter. But I also love the LGBTQ+ representation. Jesper is one of the best bisexual characters.
It six teenagers living in Ketterdam. Kaz Brekker, a criminal prodigy, is one of the teens. He is offered a deadly heist for a huge pay out.
But it’s an impossible heist. And Kaz will need all the help he can get to pull it off. So, he assembles five other teens to help him.
Six of Crows is like a fantasy version of Oceans Eleven. If you’re a fan of the friendship group in A Court of Mist and Fury you should read this. There was plenty of banter between the friendship group. You can get this conveniently on Amazon- you can buy it here.
Good reads rating: 4.47
4. These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling
If you are looking for an urban fantasy with sapphic witches (set in Salem)
I was sold on this book as soon as I heard Sapphic witches! It’s a YA Fantasy book about witches featuring a f/f romance and set in urban Salem.
These Witches Don’t Burn follows Hannah. She is a witch living in Salem. A dark blood ritual interrupts her end of school bonfire. And she investigates with her ex-girlfriend Veronica.
She also meets Morgan. But trying to date in the middle of a supernatural crisis is not easy and will test Hannah’s limits.
This is one of my favourite duologies! I love all the magical, fantastical elements and I really enjoyed the modern setting in Salem. And the pacing of the plot really kept me hooked. It felt more like a YA Contemporary romance rather than a fantasy.
Good reads rating: 3.76
5. Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan
If you’re looking for a ya fantasy book, set in a dystopian society with a grumpy/sunshine romance
Firstly, please can we take a moment to appreciate how beautiful the book cover is.
Girls of Paper and Fire follows Lei. She is a member of the Paper Caste. And the people of Ikhara persecute her.
She sees the royal guards take her mother. Afterwards, Lei suffers with trauma. But the guards return and try to take Lei. She has to learn skills fitting of a King’s Consort. But she falls in love.
The plot of this book is quite dark. But it was handled really sensitively. I loved the wlw romance in the book. The grumpy/sunshine trope was executed perfectly well.
The pacing did lapse a bit in the middle for me. But the character development was so good that I still enjoyed reading it.
Good reads rating: 3.82
6. Her Royal Highness by Rachel Hawkins
If you love the enemies-to-lovers, royalty and room-mates trope
Her Royal Highness has some serious Red, White and Royal Blue Vibes.
Not only does it include the enemies-to-lovers trope. But it also features the room-mates trope, royalty, an ex-girlfriend and a posh boarding school.
Oh, and did I mention it’s all set in stunning Scottish highlands.
The book follows Millie who is heartbroken when she discovers that her kinda girlfriend has been kissing someone else. After getting into a super elusive boarding school, she moves to Scotland. And this is where she meets Princess Flora.
It’s a sweet, lighthearted and irresistibly charming book. You can easily binge-read it in one sitting. If you're looking for romance books for young adults then you absolutely have to read this!
Good reads rating: 3.79
7. Love Frankie by Jacqueline Wilson
If you were a fan of Jacqueline Wilson growing up
Jacqueline Wilson wrote a lesbian romance novel!
Jacqueline Wilson was my childhood! I read recently that she has written over 100 books and is the most borrowed author from libraries.
If you were a British teen in the 90s and bookworm you will definitely have read some of her work.
If you’re familiar with Jacqueline Wilson’s work, you will find this super comforting to read. Jacqueline Wilson’s distinctive writing style very easy to read.
It follows Frankie who is struggling to cope with her mum’s MS diagnosis when she meets Sally. Problem is Sally is perfect when it’s just them. But she ignores her at school
Wilson has never been one to avoid controversial topics. And Love Frankie is no different. It explores mental health and coming out in teens.
Good reads rating: 3.98
8. The Falling in Love Montage by Ciara Smyth
If you love 90s and 00s romcoms
The Falling in Love Montage is incredible! The main character is insanely relatable, the plot is great and it has an easy-to-read writing style. It’s a well-paced lesbian romance novel you can devour very quickly.
Falling in Love Montage follows Saoirse from Ireland. She is struggling to cope with her mum in a care home with Dementia and her dad’s new relationship. She meets an amazing girl at a party. And she decides to embark on a fun summer fling. Much like the Falling in Love Montage in a 00s romcom.
I found Saoirse to be seriously relatable. And there were many lines that made me laugh out loud. Also, the book deals with mental health issues very well.
A fantastic read that will make you laugh and cry.
Good reads rating: 3.93
9. Running with Lions by Julian Winters
For fans of Sports Romance and the enemies to lovers trope.
This book follows Sebastian Hughes who is going to a summer training camp. And he is a member of an incredible team where he can be open about his sexuality. But Emir, an old best friend who hates his guts, is also at the camp.
I love how this book deals with sexuality in sports! Also, it includes the sweetest and most wholesome queer love story.
The author is Julian Winters. He started writing because he couldn’t find any books with people like him.
Running with Lions won accolades for its positive depictions of diverse, relatable characters. The relationships between the football team are insanely heartwarming. Sebastian’s team is a multi-ethnic group with many different sexual orientations and they almost become a family.
Good reads rating: 3.72
10. The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
If you’re looking for a fantasy book with a strong female lead and lots of twists
The Folk of Air series (The Cruel Prince, Wicked King and Queen of Nothing) has a captivating enemies to lovers romance. Many book lovers list this as their favourite bookish romance. It’s a slow burn romance with a dark, brooding male fae.
The Cruel Prince follows Jude who is a human. As a child, she gets kidnapped with her two sisters and is taken to live with the fae in the woods. She grows up wanting to be like the wicked fae she lives with.
This series is incredible and there is so much to love. Jude is an incredibly strong female lead and an absolute badass. The court intrigue is executed perfectly.
If you like ACOTAR ( A Court of Thorns and roses) you’ll probably love A Cruel Prince. The Cruel Prince has many similarities to A Court of Thorns and Roses such as fae, a strong female lead and an enemies to lovers romance.
Good reads rating: 4.09
11. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
If you’re looking for a retelling with a sci-fi twist
The main character Cinder is an android. She had an accident when she was younger. And she now has a cyborg hand and ankle. But the world she lives in shuns androids.
There is also a deadly plague that is affecting the world (sound familiar…heh).
She meets and falls in love with the Prince. But she can’t tell him that she’s an android.
The pace was perfect and I couldn’t put this one down. It opens straight away. And you gradually learn more about the world.
This is one of the most unique retellings I’ve ever read. If you’re a fan of retellings like A Court of Thorns and Roses, The Cruel Prince or a Curse so Dark and Lonely – then you need to read this one. It’s one of the best retellings I’ve read.
There were so many intriguing elements at the start that I kept reading to see what would happen. The world-building was really unique. I’m not normally a sci-fi fan. But the sci-fi and dystopian elements work so perfectly.
Good reads rating: 4.13
12. A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer
If you’re looking for a YA Fantasy enemies to lovers books with disability representation
A Curse So Dark And Lonely is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Prince Rhen is the Heir of Emberfall.
Emberfall is under a curse and the kingdom is enchanted into an everlasting winter. Prince Rhen needs to make a girl fall in love with him to break the curse.
Harper has cerebral palsy. And she struggles to look after her dying mother. She tries to save a stranger and is pulled into the world of Emberfall.
A Curse so Dark and Lonely is an excellent retelling. It puts a modern spin on the original fairytale. Despite Harper’s disability – she’s not a character in need of sympathy. She’s the perfect fantasy heroine – strong and with a good head on her shoulders. But also flawed enough to feel realistic.
This is the perfect slow burn romance. It takes Harper time to trust Prince Rhen. Rhen has enough inner conflicts to make him a fully developed character. And not just a love interest for Harper.
Good reads rating: 4.06
13. The Sun is also a Star by Nicola Yoon
A scientific twist on the insta-love trope
I’m usually not a fan of the love at first sight trope. I find it highly unrealistic and difficult to suspend my disbelief. However, I really like how it was done in this book.
It follows Natasha – a Jamaican immigrant and science nerd. And Danien- a Korean-American Poet rebelling against his family’s desire for him to be a doctor. Natasha is facing deportation. But when she meets Daniel, he sets out to use science to make Natasha fall in love with him.
The Sun is Also a Star balance difficult topics such as illegal immigration and family expectations perfectly with first-love.
This is another book you will either love or hate. I think many will find it difficult to get over the scepticism of the insta-love trope.
Good Reads rating: 4.02
14. The Voting Booth by Brandy Colbert
If you’re looking for a happy YA romance with profound social commentary
I first saw the Voting Booth recommended by the incredible Uncorked Librarian. It has a cute romance but also talks a lot about the difficult topic of voter suppression.
It follows Marva Sheridan and Duke Crenshaw who are both trying to vote in the elections. But Duke can’t vote. As Duke is turned away from his polling place, Marva takes it upon herself to help him.
I loved the relationship between the two main characters and how it explored the issues of voting in the USA. I listened to the audiobook which is really engaging. The voices worked perfectly.
Good reads rating: 3.91
Romance books for young adults -High school ya romance books
15. To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
If you’re looking for a sweet rom-com with a Netflix adaptation
To All the Boys I’ve Loved before follows Lara-Jean. She’s never openly admitted her crushes to anyone. Instead, she writes them a letter and puts them away in a box. But what happens when someone mails all her secret letters?
To all the boys is a heartwarming, emotional and adorable read. It features the fake dating trope which creates so many comedic moments and character growth.
The romance is adorable but I love that what shines through the most is the relationship between the sisters.
If you’re looking for romantic summer beach reads then this would be an excellent choice.
Good Reads Rating: 4.09
16. Perfect on Paper by Sophie Gonzales
A bisexual girl who gives anonymous love advice to her classmates
Perfect on paper follows Darcy Phillips. She runs an anonymous service giving love advice to her classmates via a locker. They slip in their worries and she responds with a carefully worded response. But Alexander Brougham catches her in the act. And in exchange for keeping her secret, he asks her to be his dating coach.
If you like the fake dating trope, I think you’ll really enjoy this book. The ‘dating coach’ concept worked really well. And it allowed for so much character growth and development. I also really enjoyed the romance between Alexander and Darcy.
Gonzales’ Writing style is excellent. There was no purple prose and it was very easy to read. The teenagers were also written really well. And they were very believable. I thoroughly enjoyed the banter between all the characters.
Good reads rating: 4.13
17. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
A super emotional exploration of mental health issues
This one will make you super emotional. Seriously, have a box of tissues at the ready when you read this one.
It follows Theodore Finch who meets Violet when she is standing on a ledge considering committing suicide. They are paired together for a geography project and have to explore places in their local community.
This book made me incredibly emotional. And it’s the most insanely perfect depiction of suicide and mental health issues. It is sensitively and touchingly done.
Good Reads Rating: 4.14
18. Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating by Adiba Jaigirdar
For Fans of the Fake Dating and Grumpy/Sunshine tropes
If you enjoy the fake dating trope – I guarantee you will love Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating!
Hani is bisexual but she is having trouble getting her friends to believe her. Ishu wants to be Head Girl.
They decide to fake date so that Hani’s friends believe she is bisexual. And to help Ishu in her Head girl campaign.
This book had me laughing out loud so many times. It has the perfect combination of a grumpy and sunshine main character.
The fake dating trope is executed perfectly – it leads to so many funny moments. And both characters learn from each other. It’s an absolutely adorable book and the romance is perfect. The combination of tropes is executed really well. And this book will never fail to cheer me up.
Good reads rating: 4.21
19. The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar
If you’re looking for a wlw rivals to lovers with a school competition
The Henna Wars is incredible! It’s an own voices, YA Contemporary book featuring a Muslim, Bangladeshi, lesbian main character
The Henna Wars follows Nishat as she comes out to her parents as a lesbian. They’re happy for her to be whoever she wants to be. As long as she isn’t herself – because Muslim girls aren’t lesbians.
Her life becomes harder when she is reacquainted with a childhood friend – Flavia. Especially when in a school competition they both decide to start their own henna business.
This book includes a lovely queer f/f romance. But it’s also so much more than a romance
It navigates homophobia, bullying, racism and cultural appropriation. But it still manages to remain a cute, funny and romantic debut novel. Please pick it up and read it!
Good reads rating: 4.03
20. Heartstopper by Alice Oseman
A heartwarming teen romance in high school.
Heartstopper includes an adorable romance, a supportive friendship group and the most stunning graphics!
The book series follows Charlie Spring and Nick Nelson. Charlie Spring is an openly gay student in year 10. And he meets Nick Nelson a soft-hearted rugby player in year 11. They quickly become friends. But could there be something more?
Alice Oseman wrote and illustrated the graphic novel series. She is insanely talented. And she secured her first publishing deal at just 17 years old!
The graphics are stunning! Seeing the characters faces meant that I felt so many more emotions when reading this. And I got so emotional!
Good reads rating: 4.52
Those were my picks for Romance books for young adults
There are so many incredible romance books for young adults. And this guide really is just the tip of the iceberg.
What are your favourite romance books for young adults.