Dating can be treacherous, particularly for our favorite YA characters. But despite having to contend with both mundane and magical problems, our heroes and heroines still manage to navigate their way to happiness, even if it takes a trilogy for them to do it. Luckily, their misfortune is our gain. We’ve gathered some of our favorite YA relationships and distilled their lessons into helpful tips, so that you may reap the benefits. While it might take your favorite characters 30 chapters to land a date, with this helpful guide, you’ll be able to skip straight to the kiss at the end.
Don’t Be Afraid to Show Your Strength
Rebel Belle, by Rachel Hawkins
Rebel Belle’s Harper Price is a girl who knows what’s up. She doesn’t just get one date; she gets two (which is far superior to one). To land these extremely prime dating candidates, Harper goes beyond eschewing dated notions of the quiet and dainty female, opting instead to literally flip her boyfriend over her back when he “attacks” her semi-sort-of-maybe-definitely crush. She then proceeds to impress her crush with her driving prowess in a high-speed car chase. After that, all she has to do is sit back and watch the dates come to her like moths to a flame.
Make Every Opportunity a Date Opportunity
Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell
Who needs dinner and a movie? Certainly not Fangirl’s Cath. She understands that every occasion can be turned into a date occasion. Cath may spend her free time writing epic Simon Snow fan-fic instead of prowling for her next gentleman caller, but she still makes sure to pounce on opportunities when they present themselves. When Levi arrives at her dorm room late one night, she doesn’t let silly things like being in her dorm working or pajamas or his test-induced panic get in her way. Cath wisely takes the opportunity to invite Levi in, leading to the most intense scene of reading out loud that has ever been written.
Don’t Be Afraid to Share Your Feelings
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, by Jenny Han
Sometimes just having your friends put some feelers out to assess your crush’s interest isn’t enough. If that proves insufficient, follow in the footsteps of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before’s Lara Jean and really spell out how you feel. Lara Jean, who has a questionable habit of explaining in excruciating detail how she feels about her crushes in multipage love/breakup letters, hides these treasure troves of secrets far from the prying eyes of potential love matches…until a series of events lands the letters in the boys’ hands. And the letters land the boys in Lara Jean’s hands.
Break Free of Old Habits
An Abundance of Katherines, by John Green
Nothing kills your dating game like being stuck in a rut, which is why An Abundance of Katherines’ Colin must break free of his nearly ten-year habit of only dating girls named Katherine. After getting dumped by Katherine XIX, Colin embarks on a road trip, hoping to transition from prodigy to genius and escape all the pain the Katherines have caused. On first meeting a pretty, fun girl named Lindsey, Colin discounts her just because of her name, officially proving the danger of habits. Granted, he managed to land nearly 20 girls on a Katherines-only diet, but they dumped him. And that’s important to remember.
Let Him/Her See You at Your Worst
Anna Dressed in Blood, by Kendare Blake
We’re not talking your run-of-the-mill, bad-hair, forgot to shower day. No, Anna Dressed in Blood’s Anna Korlov gives “at your worst” a whole new meaning. A ghost with a terrifying past, she turns the terror up to full blast when she meets Cas. (Also, she straight murders a dude during their first meeting, but let’s just put that to the side.) What with the dark purple veins shining through her milky-white skin, black eyes, and hair that moves like snakes, Anna knew she was making a lasting impression. She can only go up from there, right? And honestly, everyone loves a good makeover story.
And If All Else Fails, Make Bold Fashion Choices
The Selection, by Kiera Cass
Your fashion sense says a lot about you, so you should probably make that one thing it says is, “I’m ready to go on a date!” Follow the lead of The Selection’s America Singer, and don’t let yourself get bogged down in trends. America, understanding the way to her crush’s heart is through an ability to stand out from the crowd, doesn’t flock to fancy dresses like her direct dating competition. Instead, she takes the first opportunity to request, if you can believe it, pants. With one bold fashion move, she uses her newfound leg freedom to leap right into Maxon’s heart.