In the YA community, readers talk a lot about One True Pairings. OTPs. And while all of us certainly swoon and sigh over those perfectly written couples, there’s another true pairing I always keep in mind when snuggling up to read a good read: What snack will pair perfectly with this book?
That’s right, I’m talking about SnackTPs.
From fried food to candy, ballpark snacks to boardwalk munchies, we’ve rounded up seven books and their respective perfect nibbles. There’s a little bit of everything in here, and none of it is healthy. None of it. But it’s all delicious.
The Art of Falling, by Jenny Kaczorowski
In the first book of Kaczorowski’s Oceanside High series, we meet Bria Hale, an artsy punk rock teen with bright purple hair and a forbidden love of bacon cheeseburgers (she’s an outspoken vegan). But her struggle with food isn’t the only part of her identity crisis. Between trying to figure out what she wants to do post–high school (does she pursue her art, go into the family business?) and get a handle on what’s happening between her and Ben Harris, her best friend’s brother and the captain of the football team, things aren’t easy for her. And after a rebellious lashing out against the horrible artwork in her school lands her and Ben together after school, fixing her mistakes, those stolen kisses become much more.
What do you want to pair with this read? Skittles. The regular kind, tropical, dark…as long as they’re sweet. Throughout The Art of Falling, Bria frequently says that Ben’s kisses taste like Skittles. He must eat a lot of candy.
Play On, by Michelle Smith
In Austin’s small town, baseball is a way out. He’s got a scholarship lined up at a fantastic college, he’s the star of his team…basically, the sport is everything for him, and will take him far, far away from his home. He can’t wait, but when his grades start to falter, he might lose it all. Luckily, a brilliant new girl in Lewis Creek who loves baseball agrees to tutor him. Then the two start falling for each other, and Austin starts to see past his love of baseball and popularity.
You’ll want to gather up some baseball-themed snacks for this one. Think about the treats you’d inhale at the ballpark. While you probably don’t want to line up several giant hotdogs with all the fixins, getting yourself a plate of nachos or some Cracker Jack is a solid idea. I mean, there’s a song about that. Baseball and popcorn. Right?
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, by Becky Albertalli
Simon’s a high schooler conducting a secret online romance, and when Martin, the school’s class clown, finds out about it, it’s blackmail time. Simon’s not quite ready to talk about his sexual identity, but Martin’s threatening to reveal to the whole school that he’s gay, also compromising Blue, the boy Simon’s been emailing. Suddenly, friendships are strained and junior year has gotten infinitely more complicated.
You’ll want to pick up a bag of Oreos to go with Albertalli’s book. Simon is all about his Oreos, and there’s no way you’ll be able to read this book without craving a big ol’ bag of them. You have been warned.
September Girls, by Bennett Madison
A magical beach. A magical summer. And lots of magical…girls? Bennett Madison’s September Girls whisks you away to a tiny tourist town on the shore, a place where strange things seem to be happening. Time slows down, and Sam can’t quite figure out why all these beautiful girls seem to be really into him. Turns out, there’s something bigger at work at this mysterious beach. And he’ll have to uncover its secrets if he wants to really connect with DeeDee, one of the mysterious girls. It’s a great coming-of-age story with a fantasy twist. And while you might have figured it out just by my vague descriptions (beautiful girls who are magic, living around the ocean), there are a lot of twists you won’t see coming.
Since Madison’s novel takes place on a magical beach, you’ll want to be ready with a steady supply of boardwalk-ready snacks. Stock up on some salt water taffy, blocks of fudge, maybe some ice cream. And if you can find a place that sells funnel cake…I envy you. Enjoy.
The Espressologist, by Kristina Springer
Jane Austen’s Emma set in a café? That’s sort of sums up The Espressologist. In Springer’s fun, caffeine-fueled romance (which you can read in a single night, as it’s under 200 pages), a teen barista named Jane believes you can really know a person based on their regular coffee order. She starts writing down her theories in a notebook, calling it Espressology. Her ideas start to take off when she sets up friends based on their coffee orders, and her boss launches a promotion around it. Meet your perfect match with your perfect cup of coffee! Things are going really well…but why isn’t Jane happy?
Before you read this book, you’ll want to set yourself up with some delicious biscotti of all flavors, and make sure you’ve got a piping hot cup of coffee, or a hot chocolate, to allow for some serious dipping.
(Three more books that go great with biscotti and coffee: Confessions of a Triple Shot Betty, by Jody Gehrman; Better Latte Then Never, by Catherine Clark; and Scones and Sensibility, by Lindsay Eland.)
Under the Empyrean Sky, by Chuck Wendig
In Wendig’s sci-fi dystopian YA series, readers are introduced to a world ruined by the greed of the wealthy and by, well, genetically engineered corn. The Earth is covered in it, and the rich float in the sky in hovering cities, while the poor are forced to work the ravaged land and harvest the (possibly intelligent?) corn.
For this one, you’ll want all the corn-themed snacks you can find, especially if there’s more to it than just the kernels—after all, the corn in Wendig’s world is anything but normal. I’d recommend a bag of candy corn, maybe some corn nuts or corn chips and salsa. So long as there are a lot of other things going on in your corn snack that aren’t natural.
My Heart & Other Black Holes, by Jasmine Warga
Warga’s heart-wrenching debut features Aysel and Roman, two teenagers who make a pact to commit suicide together. And really, just about any snack will pair perfectly with this one, as you’ll want to eat your feelings thoughout this novel about love, loss, and suicide. But one snack in particular comes to mind.
There’s a great scene early in the book in which Aysel and Roman visit their hometown’s mom-and-pop fried-everything hangout. Roman inhales jalapeno poppers, devouring every last bit. He even takes time to eat the seeds, placing them on his tongue one at a time. So pick up some jalapeño-flavored chips before you start reading, the hotter the better.