TBR: A List Of Happy* Diverse Romances

I finished Sara Farizan’s If You Could Be Mine this morning and as wonderful and important as it is, it was simply not the tone I was going for this month. You see, History Is All You Left Me was supposed to be the only heart-breaking romance I suggest this month! And I’m sure I’ll review Farizan’s book at some point, but just … not in February, okay?

This month’s theme was meant to be a celebration of diverse people in love and so! I’ve made a list of happy books to read/look forward to instead:

Books That Are Already On Shelves

Everything Leads To You by Nina LaCour:

Emi is a film buff and a true romantic, but her real-life relationships are a mess. She has desperately gone back to the same girl too many times to mention. But then a mysterious letter from a silver screen legend leads Emi to Ava. Ava is unlike anyone Emi has ever met. She has a tumultuous, not-so-glamorous past, and lives an unconventional life. […] And she is about to expand Emi’s understanding of family, acceptance, and true romance. — [X]

I know it sounds like Emi fell for a manic pixie dream girl, but I promise that isn’t the case. If you could watch the story instead of read it, everything would be slightly over-exposed because everything around these two girls is so sunny and promising, it hurts your eyes a little to look. Short, sweet, and just the right pacing makes this one of the easiest romances to sink into.

Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit by Jaye Robin Brown:

Joanna Gordon has been out and proud for years, but when her popular radio evangelist father remarries and decides to move all three of them from Atlanta to the more conservative Rome, Georgia, he asks Jo to do the impossible: to lie low for the rest of her senior year. And Jo reluctantly agrees.

Although it is (mostly) much easier for Jo to fit in as a straight girl, things get complicated when she meets Mary Carlson, the oh-so-tempting sister of her new friend at school. But Jo couldn’t possibly think of breaking her promise to her dad. Even if she’s starting to fall for the girl. Even if there’s a chance Mary Carlson might be interested in her, too. Right? — [X]

This book is one of my favourites. It’s smart, funny, and is one of the few same-sex romances I’ve read where the characters involved complicate how people see religion and, in turn, see them/their relationship. If you’re curious about this sweet novel–and you really should be–Leah has a lot to say about here.

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova:

Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation…and she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo boy she can’t trust. A boy whose intentions are as dark as the strange markings on his skin.

The only way to get her family back is to travel with Nova to Los Lagos, a land in-between, as dark as Limbo and as strange as Wonderland … — [X]

Obviously, this is primarily a fantasy novel, but it does have a pinch–or maybe even a small dollop–of romance. It comes like a lovely surprise, so I’m just going to let you experience it all firsthand. If you’re curious about the book and the author, here, we participated in a blog tour back when it came out!

The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon:

Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true? — [X]

I haven’t read it yet, but I am itching to get my hands on a copy. I have not heard a single bad thing about this novel. Not one.

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. Then there’s the budding attraction to her fellow intern, the mysterious “M,” who never seems to be in the same place as Abby. But what starts as a fun way to spite her superhero parents takes a sudden and dangerous turn when she uncovers a plot larger than heroes and villains altogether. — [X]

Again, a book that isn’t primarily romance, but has a definite romantic subplot. I haven’t read it so I can’t guarantee a happy romance, but I’m willing to bet on it not being unhappy at the very least?

Ghost Girl in the Corner by Daniel José Older:

H E L P

Trying to shake off the strange malaise that separates her from even her girlfriend Izzy, Tee decides to take over the Bed-Stuy Searchlight for the summer. But then she finds an alluring violet dress in the newspaper office, and a cute ghost girl no one else can see. Who is she? What does she want? And why is she revealing herself to Tee?

H E R

Izzy can tell Tee’s drifting away from her — she misses Izzy’s shows and skips shadowshaper practice to spend time alone at the newspaper — and she won’t stand for it. Yet when a girl goes missing in Bed-Stuy, Izzy needs Tee to get the word out and help investigate. Can they break through their distance and reconnect before someone else dies? — [X]

Ghost Girl in the Corner a novella that takes place between the first Shadowshaper novel and the upcoming one, and omg, I love it so much?! Tee and Izzy are such brilliant characters, together and apart, and hey, there’s a reason this one made it into my happy TBR list, right? Definitely recommended.

Fresh Romance from Rosy Press:

Issue 1 of Fresh Romance features three stories:

School Spirit is a lighthearted take on classic high school romances with two queer women in the lead. Because Malie and Justine want to keep their romance a secret, they pretend to be competing over the same guy, Miles, but Miles also has a secret.

Ruined is a classic Regency romance, with lots of attention to period details. Catherine and Andrew are getting married – but neither one of them is happy about it.

The Ruby Equation is a story about love in a coffee shop – where barista Ruby is on a mission to help people find love so she doesn’t have to deal with people anymore. — [X]

This is an ongoing series that focuses on, well, fresh romances. There are eight issues out and I can’t wait to devour them all. (I picked the first issue to showcase here because of Kevin Wada related reasons.)

Books That Will Be On Shelves Soon

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon:

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways. — [X]

Basically, when I’m not reading, I am daydreaming about reading When Dimple Met Rishi. I can’t wait to see this book in stores, I can’t wait to get my own copy, and I may just frame the cover because it makes me just that happy.

I Believe In a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo:

Desi Lee knows how carburetors work. She learned CPR at the age of five. As a high school senior, she has never missed a day of school and has never had a B in her entire life. She’s for sure going to Stanford. But—she’s never had a boyfriend. In fact, she’s a disaster in romance, a clumsy, stammering humiliation-magnet whose botched attempts at flirting have become legendary with her friends. So when the hottest human specimen to have ever lived walks into her life one day, Desi decides to tackle her flirting failures with the same zest she’s applied to everything else in her life. She finds her answer in the Korean dramas her father has been obsessively watching for years—where the hapless heroine always seems to end up in the arms of her true love by episode ten. It’s a simple formula, and Desi is a quick study. Armed with her “K Drama Rules for True Love,” Desi goes after the moody, elusive artist Luca Drakos—and boat rescues, love triangles, and fake car crashes ensue. But when the fun and games turn to true feels, Desi finds out that real love is about way more than just drama. — [X]

Ugh, doesn’t it sound awesome? I need it.

Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han:

Lara Jean is having the best senior year a girl could ever hope for. She is head over heels in love with her boyfriend, Peter; her dad’s finally getting remarried to their next door neighbor, Ms. Rothschild; and Margot’s coming home for the summer just in time for the wedding.

But change is looming on the horizon. And while Lara Jean is having fun and keeping busy helping plan her father’s wedding, she can’t ignore the big life decisions she has to make. Most pressingly, where she wants to go to college and what that means for her relationship with Peter. She watched her sister Margot go through these growing pains. Now Lara Jean’s the one who’ll be graduating high school and leaving for college and leaving her family—and possibly the boy she loves—behind.

When your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to? — [X]

Okay, it might not belong on this list. It’ll probably kill me. But the first two books were like drinking hot chocolate on a cold morning and I owe it to that feeling to mention: I am looking forward to seeing what happens with Lara Jean and Peter in this instalment.

So, what diverse romance titles are you guys looking forward to this year?

* well, as happy as YA will let us be, I guess.

 

  • JanetThistle

    WHY do you do this to me, Yash? These books all look so good, they have to go on that unmanageable, tottering, impending avalanche of a stack known as the tbr list. I am going to die (happily, obviously) and it is all your (and these authors’) fault. <3

    • Yash K

      Oh, no, don’t die. We shall survive the avalanche together! <3

  • YES! Not every YA or romance title has to be all about the ANGST, and this is especially true for diverse titles. Everyone deserves a happy ending! Life can be tough, and of course we need titles that tackle the tough stuff, but dang it, we all deserve some happiness, excitement and adventure in our novels!

    • Yash K

      Yes! To all of the above. 🙂

  • The Sun is also a Star will make you CRY LOUDLY UGLY TEARS. And well okay. It’s bittersweet. Ah happy love, what a myth. I need to read the majority of these.

    • Yash K

      *snort* SO not a myth, but I take your point about The Sun Is Also A Star. Will approach with caution. ^_^ Hey, did you see the trailer for Everything, Everything? Wish I could go see it with my BC Book Warriors. :/

  • Huntress of Diverse Books

    I wasn’t sure if I should look at this list because I find romance as the main plot boring most of the time, but I’m glad I did. I already have Labyrinth Lost and Not Your Sidekick on my TBR and for a moment, I thought, oh dear, there’s romance in them. However, it’s great that it’s just a subplot – I’m looking forward to them even more now.

    I can’t wait to read When Dimple Met Rishi!

    • Yash K

      I’m glad you found your way to this list, whatever your feelings on romance. I understand. And I hope your TBR doesn’t let you down! 🙂

  • I don’t even care what The Sun is Also a Star is about: if Yoon wrote it I want to read it. Not Your Sidekick sounds awesome! Labyrinth Lost was on the shortlist for the Cybils award, and it was very cool, both fantasy-wise and character wise.

    When Dimple met Rishi is the best cover and title I’ve seen in a long time, and I want it now. I really enjoyed A Bollywood Affair, by Sonali Dev, which also plays with the idea of arranged marriages and reconciling tradition with modern life.

    Having recently become addicted to K dramas, I think I also need to read I Believe in a Thing Called Love, though the cover and title would not have grabbed me if you hadn’t highlighted it.

    • Yash K

      I really want to read The Sun Is Also A Star too! And Not Your Sidekick! And most of the others that I haven’t already read! I may have screwed myself with this post–SO many books to read. *sigh*