Confession: My wife and I don’t really celebrate Valentine’s Day. Sometimes we’ll go out for lunch or dinner, or maybe buy a card for each other, but mostly, we just get up in the morning and say “Happy Valentine’s Day” and that’s it.
That’s not to say my wife and I aren’t romantics – we are.
But for us, it’s the little things we do for each other every other day of the year that mean we don’t really need that one day to remind us to show how much we love each other.
It doesn’t mean I don’t get Valentine’s Day.
And I do write sweet romances, so…
With that in mind, I wanted to share two sweet books I’ve read recently that I think you might like too.
The first is a middle-grade book about a 12-year-old heart transplant patient who vows to live the adventurous life with her new heart that she could never have with her old one.
On her list of things to do over her summer?
Find a boy and kiss him.
There’s a complicated family situation that runs throughout the book which is handled extremely well, and those of us who are not straight will recognise those tiny little details we missed when we were just hitting our teen years that when we look back now, we realise meant we weren’t as straight as we thought we were.
It’s a lovely book that made me giggle and laugh and cry.
And it has some of the BEST almost-kissing scenes I’ve ever read.
If I have one complaint about it? The ending.
I don’t want to spoil it, except to say it’s not sad, but I felt like after the build-up leading into it, it was a bit of a let-down.
Other than that though? I really, really love this book for pre-teens.
Sunny is a wonderful character, and the book is full of courage and hope.
The other book I think you should check out is a subversion of the American Prom King and Queen tradition, You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson.
As an Aussie, I don’t really get that stuff – as far as I know, we don’t really have an equivalent of Prom Court or Homecoming.
On the book, it says it’s a “smart, hilarious black girl magic rom-com” and it’s exactly what it says on the tin.
All the tropes of the genre are in here – the mean girls, navigating high-school cliques, the mysterious newcomer, the reluctant main character doing something totally out of her comfort zone.
The secondary characters (Liz’s best friend/campaign manager and her ex-best friend in particular) are all wonderfully fun and have their own agendas that smack up against Liz’s.
And of course, I wouldn’t be recommending it if there wasn’t a romance in it, and again, it’s another sweetly drawn, fun FF romance.
This one also made me laugh out loud, and it’s extremely low angst.
It’s no surprise that this book has made it to Best Of lists. It’s perfect for the teens in your life.
And if you’re looking for something specifically about Valentine’s Day, my novella, Written in the Stars might scratch that itch.
It’s about a secret girlfriend, a crazy crush, and a best friend who takes his wingman responsibilities a bit too seriously.
And if you want me to read you a short and sweet story about a first kiss, make sure you sign up to my email list. I’ll be sending out a link to download Summer Crush for free on Sunday, just in time for Valentine’s Day.