You read the book, you’re about to watch the movie (out today!), and those post-The Sun Is Also A Star pangs are kicking in hard. After all, the National Book Award honoree is a swoony, trippy, whirlwind romance that winds its way through New York City, giving us a twenty-four-hour glimpse into a very real connection between two teens, straitlaced, science-oriented Natasha, and heart-on-his-sleeve Daniel. So we can decidedly not blame you for being bummed that it’s over. You could always reread, right? Or you could check out one of these amazing and impossible love stories that might just hit that sweet Sun spot.
Everything, Everything, by Nicola Yoon
Okay, so maybe this is a bit obvious. But if it’s more of the master you’re craving, then there’s no better hit than going directly to the source. Yoon’s debut, Everything, Everything, also got the big screen treatment, and with good reason. It tells of the impossible love story between Maddie and Olly, teen neighbors who develop an intimate connection before they actually say a word to each other. See, Maddie is the literal girl in the bubble, with an autoimmune disorder that means exposure to, well, the world, could pretty much kill her. But what’s the point in living if she can’t really live?
I Believe In A Thing Called Love, by Maurene Goo
Desi Lee has her life all figured out—or so she thinks. She’s a straight-A student, student body president, and soccer star who’s Stanford-bound. Her fatal flaw? She’s never had a boyfriend. And before high school’s over, she’s determined to fix that, setting her sights on dream boy Luca Drakos. But how to go about winning him? By turning to her father’s favorite K-dramas for romantic guidance. Because of course. Laugh out funny, with lots of heart.
The Sky Is Everywhere, by Jandy Nelson
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: fans loved Nelson’s I’ll Give You the Sun. So if you haven’t read her beautiful, wistful, devastating debut, put it on the top of your TBR list right this second. The grief is palpable from page one of this mournful, melodic tale, which follows Lennie, whose life has come to a standstill after the sudden death of her older sister, Bailey. The only thing keeping her sort of afloat: a fling with the dead girl’s also-mourning boyfriend, Toby. But then Lenny pretty much trips over Joe, a wide-smiled, heart-thumping boy who just might offer true love—if only she can get herself together enough to grab it.
There’s Something About Sweetie,by Sandhya Menon
Rom-com queen Menon is at it again, and this time she’s bringing you back to the When Dimple Met Rishi universe to hang with Rishi’s fan fave kid brother, Ashish, who’s heartbroken and in need of mending. Enter Sweetie, a fat, adorable brown girl athlete who’s so full of oomph and pizazz, her dazzle rivals Dimple’s—and that’s saying a lot. Menon is known for laugh-out-loud love stories, and this third effort is sure to please.
The Disenchantments, by Nina LaCour
Colby and his best friend (and forever crush) Bev have a longstanding pact: they’re going to blow off college for a year to backpack through Europe, bumming around and discovering the real world. But before they can do that, their band, the Disenchantments, will have their first—and last—summer tour. The first glitch: as soon as they hit the road, Bev announces she’s canceling their plans to head to art school in Rhode Island in the fall. Ouch. Can the deep love the two share—platonic, unrequited, romantic, decidedly complicated—survive the unraveling of life as they know it? LaCour’s compelling, compulsive, confounding road trip is a must-read for anyone who has ever pined. Which means pretty much everyone.
Darius the Great is Not Okay, by Adib Khorram
All he wants to be is all-American. But geeky, depressed Darius Kellner is about to take his first trip to his mother’s native Iran, and it’s a lot. His grandfather is dying, he’s meeting much of his mom’s Persian family for the first time ever, and it is intense (and entertaining—for us at least). Then he meets boy next door Sohrab, and everything changes. A touching, funny, and insightful look at the clash of cultures, the spaces between, and the way friendship can profoundly change our understanding of ourselves.
The Summer I Turned Pretty, by Jenny Han
Han knows how to work a love triangle, as we’ve seen in her beloved All the Boys series. But her first series, beginning with Pretty, set the bar high. Belly has been in love with summer boy Conrad—her mom’s best friend’s son—since forever. But his brother Jeremiah is her best friend, and as she turns fifteen and starts to bloom, he has definitely noticed. A master of the art of the impossible love story, Han pits the two brothers against each other…and things only get more complicated from there in this swoony, atmospheric summer romance.
Opposite of Always, by Justin A. Reynolds
A YA Groundhog Day featuring two teens of color in (and out of) love, this debut contemporary is about to hit you in the feels. Hard. When Jack’s girlfriend, Kate, dies, it should be the end for them. Instead, it catapults him back to their beginning, opening up the maddening, impossible possibility that he might be able to save her. Equal parts enthralling and heartbreaking, this is one you’re going to want to read again. And again. And again. (Yes, I crack myself up.)
I Wish You All the Best, by Mason Deaver
Kicked out of the house when they come out to their parents as nonbinary, Ben DeBacker finds themselves the new kid in school, trying to keep a low profile and just get through it. That is, until they meet firecracker Nathan Allan, who adopts Ben as his pet cause—and their burgeoning friendship develops into first love. An enby, #ownvoices love story, Wish is at once groundbreaking and entirely relatable.
Symptoms of a Heartbreak, by Sona Charaipotra
Last but not least—and, full disclosure, mine—check out Symptoms of a Heartbreak, a book that’s Doogie Howser (look it up!) meets The Mindy Project, with a dash of Grey’s Anatomy–style drama thrown in. At sixteen, Saira Sehgal, Girl Genius, is the youngest doctor in the world. So she’s definitely got her work cut out for her, especially since she works at the same hospital as her overbearing mom. Things get even more intense when she falls in love with a teen patient, in a book Nicola Yoon herself calls “a smart, tender and thoughtful exploration of loving in the face of heartbreaking circumstances.”