Like many heavy readers, I like to file my books and reading experiences into tidy categories. I went through and pulled out a few of my favorite relationship stories to share today. Try curling up with one of these reads next time you’re ready to lose yourself in a love story.
- Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell. If you aren’t a reader of YA fiction this might not be a good match for you, but don’t write off the idea completely. We were all sixteen at one point, and Eleanor and Park are of the innocent and likeable variety. The day I started this book I had a bridal shower to attend and wanted so badly to skip it because I couldn’t bring myself to put this book down and get dressed and leave the house. This one just swept me up from the beginning and carried me at an increasing pace towards what I knew was going to be a heart breaking end. And it was heartbreaking, but honest and real and full of purpose. Brilliant job.
- Me, Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews. So, Greg is this typical, self-centered teenage boy who finds himself stuck in a friendship with Rachel who is dying of cancer. It’s a relationship driven by guilt because her illness makes it difficult for him to be anything other than gracious. I didn’t realize just how cleverly brilliant this book is till I got near the end and had that ‘duh’ moment where I suddenly saw the whole thing differently. Sounds cryptic, I know, but if I try to explain any more I might mess it up for someone else. Awkward, funny, sad… you might be grateful to not be in a relationship by the end of this one. This has been made into a film but I haven’t seen it so I can’t really comment on that.
- One Day by David Nicholls. This is about the up and down and all over the place relationship between Emma and Dexter. Each chapter takes place on the same day of different years, hence the name, and chronicles their complicated friendship. I can’t say enough good things about this book. I actually had to stop reading it in public because I would laugh and look like an idiot. I was reading in the waiting room while my teenage son was having his physical therapy and when he walked back into the room I was literally SHAKING laughing. He just raised his eyebrow like, “Oh my God my mom is so embarrassing.” This has also been made into a movie which I have seen and loved.
- What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty. Alice falls at the gym, hits her head and when she wakes realizes she has lost the last 10 years of her life. Before the accident she was newly married, happy and pregnant, but the woman she woke up being is divorcing, cynical and grim. Naturally, while reading, I was consumed with wondering what my 28-year-old self would think of my 38-year-old self. I’ve caught myself sitting quietly, thinking about my life and where I’ve ended up versus where I thought I was headed.
- Neanderthal Seeks Human by Penny Reid. Janie talks a mile a minute and makes awkward conversation. Quinn is pretty much the perfect guy who could have any girl… and then they meet. I oved this book so much I want to go back in time so I can read it again for the first time. I mean, this is hilarious stuff and so sweet and romantic. Quinn is the ultimate swoon-worthy guy for me. I love Janie, probably my new favorite heroine. For the life of me I can’t believe the reviewers who complain about her rambling. That is her personality! That’s what makes her so unique and hilariously funny. Seriously, I laughed so hard at times that my daughter would look at me like I’d lost my mind. It’s just nice and sweet and romantic. Sexy, but not so explicit that I can’t have someone read over my shoulder for a minute. You can tell by my status updates that this story had me all over the place, and I literally said, “AWW!!!!” at the last line, then “ARGH!!!!!” when I realized it was the last line because I didn’t want it to end. Seriously, best ending line in the history of histories. I can’t wait to read the rest of this series… and then probably everything else P.R. has written. I am thoroughly impressed.
Have you read any of these or have any other suggestions? I’d love to know what you think.