Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is: Diverse Reads for Valentine’s Day.
Happy Valentine’s Day! I know everyone loves books with a good romance story, even if that is not the main focus of the book. There’s nothing quite like a well-written romance between two characters, with the lingering looks, fleeting touches, and soft kisses. Here are some of my favorite diverse and #OwnVoices novels with the sweetest romance storylines sprinkled through amazing plots:
THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR by Nicola Yoon
The Sun Is Also a Star is probably the fluffiest book you’ll ever read. Nicola Yoon weaves a beautiful tale of teenage love and the hardships immigrants have to face every day, all sprinkled with charming and well-developed characters as well as great and impacting dialogue. This boy-meets-girl novel is told from multiple POVs — all of which come together like pieces of a gigantic puzzle — that tell the story of Natasha and Daniel and their many chance meetings. Or I guess one could call it fate, if they’re so inclined.
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.
Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall
At seventeen, Norah has accepted that the four walls of her house delineate her life. She knows that fearing everything from inland tsunamis to odd numbers is irrational, but her mind insists the world outside is too big, too dangerous. So she stays safe inside, watching others’ lives through her windows and social media feed. But when Luke arrives on her doorstep, he doesn’t see a girl defined by medical terms and mental health. Instead, he sees a girl who is funny, smart, and brave. And Norah likes what he sees.
Carry the Ocean by Heidi Cullinan
High school graduate Jeremey Samson is looking forward to burying his head under the covers and sleeping until it’s time to leave for college. Then a tornado named Emmet Washington enters his life. The double major in math and computer science is handsome, forward, wicked smart, interested in dating Jeremey—and he’s autistic. But Jeremey doesn’t judge him for that. He’s too busy judging himself, as are his parents, who don’t believe in things like clinical depression.
Strong Signal by Megan Erickson & Santino Hassell
Garrett is a military soldier who is unhappy with his place in the military. Kai is a gamer who suffers from severe social anxiety and lives most of his life online, struggling with panic attacks and the idea of letting people close to him in real life. They never plan on their online friendship to turn into something else, something deeper, but that’s exactly what happens. Slowly but surely, they start to fall for each other.
The Dark Wife by Sarah Diemer
Persephone has everything a daughter of Zeus could want–except for freedom. But when Persephone meets the enigmatic Hades, she experiences something new: choice. Zeus calls Hades “lord” of the dead as a joke. In truth, Hades is the goddess of the underworld, and no friend of Zeus. She offers Persephone sanctuary in her land of the dead, so the young goddess may escape her Olympian destiny. But Persephone finds more than freedom in the underworld. She finds love, and herself.
The Year We Fell Down by Sarina Bowen
She expected to start Harkness College as a varsity ice hockey player. But a serious accident means that Corey Callahan will start school in a wheelchair instead. Across the hall, in the other handicapped-accessible dorm room, lives the too-delicious-to-be real Adam Hartley, another would-be hockey star with his leg broken in two places. He’s way out of Corey’s league.
Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee
Welcome to Andover… where superpowers are common, but internships are complicated. Just ask high school nobody, Jessica Tran. Despite her heroic lineage, Jess is resigned to a life without superpowers and is merely looking to beef-up her college applications when she stumbles upon the perfect (paid!) internship—only it turns out to be for the town’s most heinous supervillain. On the upside, she gets to work with her longtime secret crush, Abby, who Jess thinks may have a secret of her own.
The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie
For Cassandra Leung, bossing around sea monsters is just the family business. She’s been a Reckoner trainer-in-training ever since she could walk, raising the genetically-engineered beasts to defend ships as they cross the pirate-infested NeoPacific. But when the pirate queen Santa Elena swoops in on Cas’s first solo mission and snatches her from the bloodstained decks, Cas’s dream of being a full-time trainer seems dead in the water.
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.