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February 15, 2016 BOOKLIST
Find more Top 10 Romance Fiction for Youth
Novels shaped by fantasy and fairy tales dominate this year’s list of heart-pounding romances, all reviewed in Booklist in the last 12 months.
Bewitching Season. By Marissa Doyle. 2008. Holt, $16.95 (9780805082517). Gr. 7–10.
Doyle combines fantasy, mystery, and romance in this debut novel about twins who use their magical knowledge to search for their missing governess, finding love along the way.
Book of a Thousand Days. By Shannon Hale. Illus. by James Noel Smith. 2007. Bloomsbury, $17.95 (9781410405821). Gr. 7–10.
Based on a little-known fairy tale from the Brothers Grimm and set in an imagined land in ancient Central Asia, this thrilling, romantic fantasy follows a young lady’s maid through both battlefield heroics and a secret love with a lord.
Cassandra’s Sister. By Veronica Bennett. 2007. Candlewick, $16.99 (9780763634643). Gr. 9–12.
Inspired by Jane Austen’s life and work, this engaging novel about Jenny (Jane’s childhood name) and her sister’s teenage romantic quandaries blends romance with tart courtship commentary.
Deep Down Popular. By Phoebe Stone. 2008. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine, $16.99 (9780439802444). Gr. 5–7.
In a small Virginia town, sixth-grader Jesse Lou has a chance to befriend cool Conrad after his popularity rating goes downhill. In a rough-edged, poetic voice, Jesse Lou narrates this exploration of preteen social politics, love, and longing.
Impossible. By Nancy Werlin. 2008. Dial, $17.99 (9780803730021). Gr. 7–11.
In this dark, suspenseful fantasy that begins with a date rape, 17-year old Lucy sets out to break a curse on her family lineage and discovers that destiny cannot be altered, especially when guided by tender and true love.
Kissing the Bee. By Kathe Koja. 2007. Farrar/Frances Foster, $16 (9780374399382). Gr. 9–12.
In the spring before high-school graduation, Dana struggles with her self-absorbed, demanding best friend, Avra, and with her secret feelings for Avra’s boyfriend. Filled with memorable characters, Koja’s realistic, spare novel captures the earth-shattering joy of first love.
Mistik Lake. By Martha Brooks. 2007. Farrar/Melanie Kroupa, $16 (9780374349851). Gr. 9–12.
After her mother’s death, 17-year-old Odella feels crushed by the weight of family secrets and her Icelandic heritage. Brooks beautifully captures Odella’s feelings of first love and her realization that painful family burdens can also be life-changing gifts.
Princess Ben. By Catherine Gilbert Murdock. 2008. Houghton, $16 (9780618959716). Gr. 8–11.
Set in a snowbound kingdom, this rousing, vividly imagined fantasy stars an iconoclastic princess who discovers magical talents, life-threatening adventure, and deep love where she least expects it.
The Swan Maiden. By Heather Tomlinson. 2007. Holt, $16.95 (9780805082753). Gr. 6–10.
Layered, elegantly written, and filled with unexpected twists, this narrative blend of French fairy tales centers on a young noblewoman who discovers her magical identity and tender love even as she struggles against traditional gender roles.
Undercover. By Beth Kephart. 2007. HarperCollins/Laura Geringer, $16.99 (9780061238932). Gr. 7–10.
While operating an undercover business ghostwriting love messages for inarticulate boys, Elisa develops deeper feelings for one of her clients. A moving story of a young teen whose first powerful crush is tempered by the aching sense that her family is falling apart.
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