I’ve noticed that the books I pick, whether I know it or not, have had a romantic bent recently. While I’m not someone who searches out romance and love stories in my reading generally, here are some not-too-saccharine love stories featuring some great characters that I hope you might enjoy as well.

Cover image of Beast by Brie Spangler

Beast by Brie Spangler 

Whether or not Dylan intended to jump off the roof of his house is not the biggest issue. Dylan is big, and hairy, and definitely doesn’t fit in, but he doesn’t think he fits in in the group for self-harming teens that he gets sent to either. At least he thinks it’s a waste of time until he meets Jamie, who takes pictures of rust and broken things and makes them beautiful.

Cover image of Girl Mans Up by M-E-Girard

Girl Mans Up by M-E Girard 

Pen is a girl. No question. She steals from her brother’s closet of awesome clothes, and hangs out with her friends who are all dudes. When Pen and her best friend are both interested in the same girl,  things start to get complicated.

Cover image of Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Fangirl and Carry On by Rainbow Rowell 

Rainbow Rowell hasn’t written a book that I haven’t read and loved (so far). If you enjoyed Eleanor & Park, or even if you didn’t, you will find something great in Fangirl. In this YA novel, two sisters head off to college, and though they’ve spent their entire lives embracing the whole twin thing, they start to drift apart and Cath starts to lose herself in her fanfiction. Carry On  is a companion novel to Fangirl, bringing Cath’s fanfic to life.

Cover image of Audacity by Melanie Crowder

Audacity by Melanie Crowder 

This book takes a look at the life of Clara Lemlich, a Jewish immigrant from Russia who is forced to work in New York’s garment district to support her family. As she sees the injustice of the working conditions that she and the other female garment workers face, she begins her fight for workers’ rights and has to choose between the life she’s always wanted and the cause that she’s taken up. 

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