So You Want to Read YA?: Guest Post from librarian/blogger Sarah Bean Thompson

This week’s post comes from librarian and blogger Sarah “Greenbean” Thompson!

Sarah Bean Thompson is a Youth Services Manager and loves being a librarian. She served on the 2013 Printz Committee and blogs at When she’s not reading she enjoys playing board games.

Kelly asked me to write a post about reading YA and I jumped at the chance. As a librarian, there’s nothing I love more than talking about books. But can I admit something? When I was a teen, even though I was an avid reader and loved going to the library and getting books, I had a hard time finding books I wanted to read. Plus, add in the fact that I was told over and over again in school that I could read at a higher than grade level reading level and I was convinced I had to be reading adult lit, which I hated. I could never find what I wanted. And I really wanted to be reading romance. I think that’s one reason why I love YA today-they are publishing the books I wanted to read as a teen. 

So you’re wanting to read YA Romance? Here’s what I suggest:

Graceling by Kristin Cashore

This is the book I wanted to read as a teen. Fantasy, strong female character who kicks butt and is generally awesome, and Po who shares in great witty banter with our protagonist and can hold his own against strong Katsa. Katsa doesn’t need to be with Po but she chooses to be and that makes her even more awesome.

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

If If I Stay doesn’t break your heart and put it back together again, you must be made of stone. This is the story of Mia, her family, and her relationship with her boyfriend Adam. It’s beautiful, romantic and gorgeously written and the sequel is the sequel you didn’t know you needed but always wanted.

The Luxe Series by Anna Godbersen

Before Downton Abbey took over the swooning over historicals world, there was The Luxe, a gossipy, soapy, historical series that is the perfect romantic guilty pleasure. It’s tons of fun with lots of pretty dresses, pretty boys, and lots of drama.

Sean Griswold’s Head by Lindsey Leavitt

This is a book I want to give to girls who think love happens at first sight and it’s all swoony and paranormaly. I love, love, love Payton and Sean and how they grow from random classmates to friends to something more. It’s realistic and I appreciated that it’s not just about the romance but about Payton dealing with difficult family issues as well. It also has one of the cutest flirting scenes ever.

Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Road trips and romance? Yes please! Plus add in awesome playlists made the author, hilarious dialogue and characters and a great friendship first that becomes something more as the novel goes on-it’s one of the books where in my head the characters stay together forever.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Ok seriously, who can resist a romance set in Paris? Anna loves movies, she’s in Paris for school and Etienne St. Clair is irresistible. It’s also a book where the friendship develops so much before the romance and I love that.

The Georgia Nicholson Series by Louise Rennison

Oh Georgia, you’re just too funny! I love her crazy antics and how she’s torn between Robbie the Sex God and Dave the Laugh. You can’t help but laugh out loud at these books each time you read them.

Song of the Sparrow by Lisa Ann Sandell

A historical novel in verse set in the world of King Arthur with a nice twist on the usual tale. Told from the point of view of Elaine of Ascolat (the Lady of Shalott) is a fantastic retelling and a great historical romance.

The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder

A fantastic mystery/romance told in verse that made me believe in the one special day romance. It’s also one of the few books that I would happily ask for a sequel and stay in the world with the characters much longer if I could.

What My Mother Doesn’t Know by Sonya Sones

This was one of the first books I read when I became a librarian and I was hooked on YA. I love the romance aspect of this book as the main character begins to fall for a boy that’s thought of as a bit of a nerd and not popular. Very sweet and the sequel, What My Girlfriend Doesn’t Know, also rocks. It was also the book that introduced me to the novel in verse format which I love.

Something, Maybe by Elizabeth Scott

I love all of Elizabeth Scott’s books, but there is just something so wonderful about the romance in this book. Maybe it’s because Hannah is at times a bit awkward and I love her for it. I also love that as readers we totally know who Hannah should be with, even if she doesn’t, and it’s so fun reading about her getting there.

Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin

I don’t know if I can explain how much I loved this book. I think what sold me was that there was somewhat of a love triangle happening in this book, yet I didn’t hate it and it didn’t annoy me. Instead, I liked both guys and the love triangle made sense in the story. It’s also a fantastic best friends turned crush story.

Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle

I’m a sucker for sappy holiday romances, but this one is my favorite. I love how all three stories weave together and the whole book is just so darn cute, you can’t help but curl up with hot chocolate when it’s snowing outside and swoon over the romance.

I could go on and on, but I’d love to hear what romances everyone suggests. I need to add to my reading pile!

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  1. says

    i love reading this post

    (at first i thought the title said YA recs from Sean Bean! had a classic what the? moment!)

    i've actually read most of these! and i loved the day before and also the elizabeth scott pick. i love all of scotts books.

    • says

      That would be awesome if Sean Bean would give YA recs! I always say that's he's my relative who doesn't know we're related. 😉

      I love all of Elizabeth Scotts books as well-she's a wonderful author!

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