If there were a YA book about my high school romances, let’s just say it would be one tiny, sad novella. But that’s part of why reading YA romance is so much fun—it allows us to experience (or relive, if you, like me, are a not-so-young-adult reader of YA) all the anticipation and butterflies without suffering any of the heartbreak. Teenage love doesn’t have to be for life, and more often than not, it isn’t. But here are seven YA couples I feel reasonably certain are in it for the long haul.
Anna and Etienne from Anna and the French Kiss, by Stephanie Perkins
Of all the romantic tropes in life and literature, none strikes me quite as hard as that of friends becoming more. Perkins’ debut isn’t just about two people falling for each other romantically, it’s about two people creating a solid foundation as friends while fighting an attraction threatened by outside circumstances. Anna and Etienne are there for each other through difficult times, but they have a whole lot of fun together, too. And as a result, so do readers.
If the words “You, yes, you” don’t make your heart melt now, you’re definitely missing out on one of YA’s most epic romances. Though the series takes place over five books, the first two are my favorites, and will make you fall in love with two semi-misfits almost as hard as they fall for each other.
Katsa and Po from Graceling, by Kristin Cashore
When two strong-minded natural-born fighters meet, some sparks and clashing are inevitable. Thankfully, in the case of Katsa and Po, those result in serious chemistry for two genetic phenoms who’ve finally met their match in each other.
Samantha and Jase from My Life Next Door, by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Adorableness, party of two! It’s pretty hard to top the cuteness of the central couple from Fitzpatrick’s 2012 debut, but the best part about them is that we get to see the good, the bad, and the awkward. Let’s just say, if you can tell a lot about a couple by the way they shop for birth control, this one’s got a wonderful future ahead.
Aristotle and Dante from Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, by Benjamin Alire Saenz
A lot of friends think they’d do anything for each other, but Aristotle and Dante are a pair who actually get the chance to make good on that, time and time again. They’re the kind of couple who learn from each other, grow from each other, and prove that love isn’t about who you thought you were, but who the right person can help you to be.
So much about a couple is in how they weather adversity, and few have shared as much struggle as this musically skilled pair. Throughout it all, including years apart between the duology’s two novels, the love between them may wax and wane, but it never truly disappears. What results is a touching, fraught, empathetic connection that lasts far beyond The End.
Taylor and Jonah from Jellicoe Road, by Melina Marchetta
I will forever preach the gospel of Marchetta’s ability to write my favorite romances in every book she does, even when the romance is barely the point at all. (It was stiff competition between these two and Will and Francesca from Saving Francesca. Just read both, honestly. You’re welcome.) Taylor and Jonah have been through the kinds of hell, both together and apart, that suggest they can weather any storm. And although both are fiercely strong and independent, they make the choice to trust and love each other, and totally steal my heart in the process.
Who’s the most epic couple in YA lit?