To try and get myself in the mood for this holiday of love, I thought that I would turn my "Friday 5" into a "Friday 15" and mention my Top 15 "Love" Stories for Teens. It should be noted that I do not consider myself a "gushy, romance, love story" kind of girl, but I had trouble cutting this list DOWN to 15 so I might have to start re-thinking my self-image.
Street Love by Walter Dean Myers. What's that you say? Walter Dean Myers wrote a love story? Absolutely! Told in free verse, this story is set against a background of street gangs and poverty in Harlem in which seventeen-year-old African American Damien takes a bold step to ensure that he and his new love will not be separated.
Shakespeare Bats Cleanup by Ron Koertge. When a fourteen-year-old baseball player catches mononucleosis, he discovers that keeping a journal and experimenting with poetry not only helps fill the time, it also helps him deal with life, love, and loss. Simple, yet wonderful. The sequel, Shakespeare Makes the Playoffs, is equally enjoyable!
Seth Baumgartner's Love Manifest by Eric Luper. Looking for laugh-out-loud funny with your love story? Here's the book for you! After his girlfriend breaks up with him and he sees his father out with another woman, high school senior Seth Baumgartner, who has a summer job at the country club and is preparing for a father-son golf tournament, launches a podcast in which he explores the mysteries of love as only a teenage boy could.
The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson. I honestly cannot say enough about this wonderful book about love and loss, and trying to find love again. In the months after her sister dies, seventeen-year-old Lennie falls into a love triangle and discovers the strength to follow her dream of becoming a musician. There is so much in this book for readers to fall in love with.
Son of the Mob by Gordon Korman. Another brilliant title by Mr. Korman! When teenage Vince Luca--whose family connections make dating difficult--finally finds a girl worth pursuing, her father turns out to be the FBI agent whose life's goal is to take out Vince's mob boss dad. If you want to really enjoy this book, listen to the audio which is read by Max Casella...you know, "Vinnie" from Doogie Howser, MD. Terrific narration!
The Things a Brother Knows by Dana Reinhardt. Again, not your "traditional" love story, but it is such a compelling story of a brother's love and wanting to fix someone who is clearly broken.
This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen. You didn't think that I was going to pick 15 titles without having a Sarah Dessen book on the list, did you? Remy, a master at getting rid of boyfriends before any emotional attachments form, finds herself strangely unwilling to free herself from Dexter, a messy, disorganized, impulsive musician who she suspects she has come to love.
Thwonk! by Joan Bauer. This book should come with a warning label: "Be careful what you wish for..." A cupid doll comes to life and offers romantic assistance to A.J., a teenage photographer suffering from unrequited love.
Riding Invisible by Sandra Alonzo. If you are into traditional, gushing love stories where boy meets girl and they all live happily ever after, this might not be the book for you. However, if you like survival, adventure, and a little edge to your love stories, I think you will see how Yancy's devotion to protect his beloved horse makes this a love story. Fifteen-year-old Yancy details his adventure in the wilderness after he decides to run away from home because he is scared of his older brother's threats. Yancy ends up staying on a ranch in the desert where he reflects on his relationships with his sibling, parents, and a girl from school.
On a side note, my 13-year-old son who really dislikes to read LOVED this book. He was equally surprised that his mom recommended a book with swear words in it...gotta love it!
So, what are your favorite love stories? I'm sure I'm missing something good. Maybe next Friday, I'll make a list of the ones I had to delete to narrow it down to 15.