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The Romantics

The Romantics

4.2 5
by Leah Konen

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Perfect for fans of Lauren Myracle and Rainbow Rowell, The Romantics will charm readers of all ages. Gael Brennan is about to have his heart broken when his first big relationship crumbles on the heels of his parents’ painful separation. Love intervenes with the intention of setting things right—but she doesn’t anticipate the intrusion of


Perfect for fans of Lauren Myracle and Rainbow Rowell, The Romantics will charm readers of all ages. Gael Brennan is about to have his heart broken when his first big relationship crumbles on the heels of his parents’ painful separation. Love intervenes with the intention of setting things right—but she doesn’t anticipate the intrusion of her dreaded nemesis: the Rebound. Love’s plans for Gael are sidetracked by Cara, Gael’s hot-sauce-wielding “dream girl.” The more Love meddles, the further Gael drifts from the one girl who can help him mend his heart. Soon Love starts breaking all her own rules—and in order to set Gael’s fate back on course, she has to make some tough decisions about what it means to truly care.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Konen (The Last Time We Were Us) puts a twist on a typical teenage romantic comedy by making her narrator Love, the entity responsible for keeping everyone on track in matters of the heart. Currently, Love is attempting to put lovelorn high school senior Gael Brennan in the path of the right girl, Sammy Sutton. In a quirky narrative replete with entertaining footnotes and humor that befits a being who has seen it all (“Now let us return to Gael in his cocoon of despair”), Love provides background on Gael’s failed relationship with Anika (who hooks up with Gael’s best friend), his rebound with Cara (a serial monogamist who is clearly not the right girl), and how his parents’ relationship fell apart, all leading to a grand gesture to win Sammy’s heart (and, yes, there is an airport scene). Konen makes good use of numerous tropes of romantic comedy films, incorporating them into this light and utterly sweet read. Impressively, Konen treats her subject matter seriously while maintaining a playfulness that will keep readers engaged and rooting for Gael. Ages 13–up. Agent: Alloy Entertainment. (Nov.)
New York Times bestselling author of TTYL and The Lauren Myracle

“The Romantics is practically perfect in every way, just like love—and Love. My heart is bursting at the seams.”
author of Dreamology Lucy Keating

Altogether practical, clever, yet hopelessly romantic, this book will make you question whether many of life’s small, seemingly insignificant moments might in fact have one very important, very wonderful purpose.
author of Let’s Get Lost and Never Always So Adi Alsaid

Yup. That’s what teenage love feels like. From meet cutes and slow burns to heartbreak and divorce, Leah Konen takes a look at love in all its forms and gives it a voice.”


"A smart, snappy look at romance tropes and a feel-good love story all in one."
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"Yes, yes, love is patient, love is kind, blah, blah, but Love also happens to be delightfully saucy, and it narrates this rom-com with a tongue-in-cheek wit that still holds all the warmth and affection you’d expect from, well, Love."
Shelf Awareness

" This playful, entertaining take on love by Leah Konen (The Last Time We Were Us; The After Girls) should find plenty of ardent fans."
VOYA, December 2016 (Vol. 39, No. 5) - Stephanie Wilkes
What is not to love about a story that is told by, well, Love? In this amazing rom com reminiscent of a John Hughes film, Love narrates the story of a love-struck young man named Gael, who has picked the wrong girl, unbeknownst to him. Gael Brennan is a typical high school boy in love with a girl, and during a moment of make-out—fueled passion, he drops the “L” word a little too soon. Heartbroken and devastated by the revelations of her cheating, paired with his parents’ recent separation, Gael is now set to believe that love is pointless and only causes heartbreak. When Gael falls for a rebound relationship, here comes Love, right on time, to attempt to help Gael navigate the treacherous waters of relationships. Love definitely has his/her work cut out for him/her as Gael and the women in his life seem to ignore every warning and every obstacle that is put in their paths. Will Gael ever catch the hint? Will he ever see what the reader already knows, thanks to Love? This book is fresh and an amazingly funny look at romance when it is least expected, and Love is one of the best book narrators of all time. This one is not to be missed. Reviewer: Stephanie Wilkes; Ages 12 to 18.
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Gael Brennan is a 17-year-old high school senior in Chapel Hill, NC. He plays the sax in marching band, loves Alfred Hitchcock and Wes Anderson films, and is a smart, well-behaved kid. So why do bad things keep happening to him? The summer before his senior year, his parents separate. Almost two months into the school year, his girlfriend breaks up with him (in a horrible way). This novel follows Gael (a romantic at heart) and his quest to find love as he lives through this trying time. Or, more aptly, this is Love's quest to lead Gael into brighter times ahead. Konen cleverly personifies Love as a lighthearted and empathetic narrator. The remaining characters—Gael, his friends, his sister, and his parents—are all perfectly imperfect, creating relatable and enjoyable scenes in this slice-of-life novel. VERDICT A jaunty, entertaining work that will reach a broad range of readers, with a feel-good cast of characters teens can root for. A general purchase for most YA collections.—Stephanie DeVincentis, Downers Grove North High School, IL
Kirkus Reviews
Little does Gael know, as he stumbles into and out of romance, that here and there his life is being tweaked by Love.Delivering exactly as promised, there is not one bit of irony or shame in the book’s title or tagline, “a rom-com about love.” Narrator and semidirector of the heart Love disavows any role in great stories throughout history—Romeo and Juliet, Bella and Edward, etc.—telling readers, "humans make a lot of mistakes. I don't." Love's now focused on 18-year-old, white Gael. Love wants to make amends for slacking on Gael’s family by not being attentive enough to give some good love nudges that might have prevented his parents’ divorce. His devastation over his parents’ split propels Gael into falling too hard and too fast for the wrong girl, who breaks his heart by cheating on him with his best friend. Bitter and grieved but ever the romantic, Gael rebounds toward the next wrong girl. Eventually, with a little help from Love, Gael discovers the young woman who affirms the truth that “real love makes you better then you ever knew you could be.” It’s then that the rom-com madcap-ery really commences as Gael gets downright silly in order to reach his lady before it’s too late. Love delivers this sweet little bonbon of a story in a voice that’s always chipper, sometimes funny, and pretty darn smart. For romantics and skeptics alike, this fresh dose of optimism will warm the cockles of the heart. (Romance. 12-18)

Product Details

Amulet Books
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range:
13 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Leah Konen grew up in a small farming town in Washington before moving to North Carolina. After studying journalism at UNC, she headed to New York City to pursue her dream of becoming a writer. When she’s not writing, she enjoys biking around Brooklyn and binge-watching TV. www.leahkonen.com.

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The Romantics 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
BringMyBooks 3 months ago
The beauty of this book is that you get exactly what the synopsis tells you you'll get - a rom-com about love, by love. Love is a great narrator, and I loved the tone his(?) narrative voice lent to the story, as well as the philosophical tidbits that were offered along the way. One sort-of negative thing, though - I definitely enjoyed the book, and the subject and situations lent itself to the age group it was supposed to, but I often found myself thinking the tone of the book felt occasionally more juvenile than it should have (considering Gael was supposed to be a high school senior). Overall I definitely think this is a book worth reading, especially if you're in a slump and need something to bring a smile to your face, something that you can get through in a few days.
Alyssa75 7 months ago
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** The Romantics by Leah Konen Publisher: Abrams Publication Date: November 1, 2016 Rating: 4 stars Source: ARC sent by the publisher Summary (from Goodreads): Perfect for fans of Lauren Myracle and Rainbow Rowell, The Romantics will charm readers of all ages. Gael Brennan is about to have his heart broken when his first big relationship crumbles on the heels of his parents’ painful separation. Love intervenes with the intention of setting things right—but she doesn’t anticipate the intrusion of her dreaded nemesis: the Rebound. Love’s plans for Gael are sidetracked by Cara, Gael’s hot-sauce-wielding “dream girl.” The more Love meddles, the further Gael drifts from the one girl who can help him mend his heart. Soon Love starts breaking all her own rules—and in order to set Gael’s fate back on course, she has to make some tough decisions about what it means to truly care. What I Liked: I was sent an unsolicited galley of The Romantics from the publisher (and this in no way affected my review). I say this because it was sent unsolicited, and I rarely read unsolicited galleys. But I decided to give this book a chance. YA contemporary is not something I usually seek out and/or enjoy, but I was delighted to find that I liked this book. This book is told from Love's narration. It's the story of Gael, after his heart is broken. He tells his girlfriend he loves her... but then finds out that she has been cheating on him with his best friend. The poor guy can't seem to catch a break! Now he has no girlfriend and no best friend. This is the "aftermath", how Gael navigates the maze that is Love. I thought I might not enjoy this book, because I had a feeling that the romance wouldn't be for me. But I was surprised. Technically there is no love triangle or anything like that, though there are multiple love interests. Gael's girlfriend - ex-girlfriend within the first few chapters - could be considered one, though he never tries to get her back. A new girl that Gael meets is the second, and a girl that Gael has known for years is the third. The new girl, Cara, is the love interest that catches Gael's interest but he's not sure he actually likes her (she's represents the Rebound). The true love interest is the third girl, and this is quite evident, in the story. One thing I liked about this book is how raw and emotional it is. We all know the phrase "get hit by the feels"? Or in the feels? Well, this book does that, though in a very subtle way. It's written in a humorous way, but it catches you off-guard with the depth of emotion conveyed in the story. For example, some of my favorite scenes with a lot of emotions were when Gael was feeling angry towards Anika and Mason for cheating behind his back. I LOVE how Gael held on to this anger. I love how he threw this in Anika's face, Mason's face, etc. This is good, typical post-breakup behavior from someone whose been cheated on. Good for Konen for fleshing these emotions out, the hurt and anger and betrayal. On that note, I also liked how while Gael definitely had to work to get over Anika, he wasn't trying to get her back or anything. He accepted the fact that she cheated, he was very mad about it, and he wasn't trying to get her back (and didn't forgive her immediately). Read the rest of my review on my blog, The Eater of Books! - eaterofbooks DOT blogspot DOT com :)
UndertheBookCover 8 months ago
Thank you to Amulet Books and Netgalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for review! THIS BOOK WAS SO CUTE! I was immediately hooked by the tagline "A rom-com about love, told by Love" and it did not disappoint. While I do feel like this is a perfect book to read around Valentine's Day, I am so happy that I was able to read it when I did. Being able to get under a bunch of blankets and read this adorable book during the Fall was so much fun. Between the super cute cover and the tagline, this book is sure to be an instant favorite! The Romantics follows Gael, a Romantic who is experiencing his first big break up with his first real girlfriend on the heels of his parents' divorce. Heartbroken and angry, Gael stops believing that love is real. That is, until "fate" introduces him to Cara as she runs straight into him on her bicycle one night. Gael believes that Cara is his "dream girl" and decides that this Rebound girl is the one for him. But Love has other plans for Gael, ones that don't involve the Rebound girl, but rather the one that has been in front of Gael all along. In order to get Gael back on track, Love has to break some of her own rules and learn what it means to really care about someone. Not only did this book have a super cute plot, but it had Love as the narrator. Yes, you read that right, Love. She is sassy, funny, informative, and dedicated to making things right with Gael. Throughout the book, Love steps in with comments about the current situation, and even to provide some backstory along with helpful definitions of various types of people, such as Romantic and Serial Monogamist. Having Love be the narrator provides so much insight into things that you probably wouldn't get if you had just the main character, Gael, as the narrator. You're able to learn things from Love herself that really provide more depth to the story and allow you to understand the characters on more than just a surface level. This is such a unique way to tackle a story like this and it really made me fall in, well, love with the whole book! Gael is a Romantic, which plays a rather huge part in the plot of The Romantics. After getting his heart broken by his first serious girlfriend, Anika, he loses all faith in love and is incredibly angry. When Love tries to intervene to help set things right for Gael, the dreaded Rebound rears its ugly head in and throws a wrench in the plan. Cara literally runs Gael over with her bike after he has stormed out of an incredibly awkward birthday dinner, and Gael takes the chance meeting as a sign that Cara may be the one that he ends up with. While Love is trying to help set Gael on the right path, Gael is too busy being in love with the idea of being in love and thinks that Cara is the one for him. He's quite stubborn, which was frustrating at times, and he wanted so desperately to be in love that he almost missed the one that he was supposed to be with. There were so many times that I was almost yelling at him for being so oblivious! But the ending was so adorable, and I couldn't help but smile at the irony of how it all went down. For someone who isn't a fan of rom-com movies, Gael pulled off a picture perfect rom-com ending. Read the rest at: http://underthebookcover.blogspot.com/2016/11/book-review-romantics-by-leah-konen.html
book_junkee 9 months ago
This book wasn't on my radar until I received a mailing from Amulet, complete with matching candy. Love love loved that it was narrated by Love. That alone made it unique, but being able to get various backstories and footnotes was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed Gael and his family, especially his little sister, Piper. The family unit is having some problems, but they were supportive and present and I always love to see that. Overall, it was a quirky and cute read with a fabulous ending. **Huge thanks to Amulet for providing the arc free of charge**
MsArdychan 9 months ago
A fun, romantic YA novel: Please Note: I received an ARC copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This did not influence the opinions of my review in any way. I am a mood reader. In order to fully enjoy a novel, I really need to be in the right state of mind. I had just finished a very gloomy, emotional book (A Darkly Beating Heart by Lindsay Smith) and I was looking to read something lighter. Although the tone of this book was whimsical, it had a lot to say about how our culture and experiences shape our views about love. With it's exploration of the impact of divorce on teens, this fun book had more depth than I expected. What I Liked: Narration: It was so clever to make Love an actual character in this book. This device enabled the reader to see into each character's mind and understand why they were behaving as they did. Love was also able to explain the backstory of Gael's parents' courtship and marriage, which makes it all the more tragic when they split up. Characters: I really enjoyed all the teens who were on the cusp of becoming who they were meant to be. There are moments in every young person's life where choices are made that will affect their entire lives: Do I go to college or get a job? Will I try to hold on to my friendships and romantic relationships from high school? Am I ready to strike out on my own (and possibly fail)? Many of the characters are faced with some dilemma that will have major repercussions. If you read my reviews on a regular basis, I am very critical of YA books that indulge in "missing parent" syndrome. You know what I mean: Mom left home when I was a toddler, and dad is a mess. Mom and dad are so successful, they ignore me until I do something egregious. Dad divorced mom and we haven't heard from him for years (in fairness, sometimes this does occur, but you get what I mean). When I see that, it is an immediate red flag in my book. It just isn't realistic. That's why I particularly enjoyed the two parents of Gael. It wasn't so much that they were always there in Gael's life, it was because they were fully formed characters with complex feelings for each other. They were the inspiration (and the cautionary tale) that motivates Love to intervene on Gael's behalf. What I didn't Like: The Grand Gesture: Now, of course, this kind of event is expected in a lighthearted romantic YA book. But this novel takes the grand declaration way beyond even what the silliest movie Rom-Coms would do. It seemed to suggest that if Gael's timing were off, somehow he would never get to express his feelings for a certain girl. It would have also meant that this girl's feelings for Gael would have fizzled out, if not for The Grand Gesture. I found that to be ridiculous. Aside from the silly ending, I loved how this book showed how children and teens are really affected by a divorce. Not only is it had to live between two households (and deal with two sets of rules and consequences), but seeing a loving relationship deteriorate into bitterness and hate is devastating for kids. I think this book shows that no matter how long you are with someone, without careful tending, even the best relationship can falter.