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Underrated YA Reads

Hi Everyone,

Happy Friday! Today’s post is all about young adult contemporary romances. Specifically, ones I think deserve some more hype. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for reading YA books that have lots of hype but I also like finding ones that aren’t talked about quite as much but still great reads. The books on this list are all ones I’ve read within the past year that I thought should be talked about more.

Recommended for You - Laura Silverman

A cute and entertaining lower-YA read that’s great for the holidays. Shoshanna works at Once Upon, her favourite local bookstore and a welcomed escape from her home life. With the holidays approaching Shoshanna’s boss announces a holiday bonus to the person who sells the most books. Shoshanna thinks she can easily win the bonus until the new hire Jake comes along and threatens her chances. Despite being someone who doesn’t really read Jake quickly becomes her biggest competitor for the bonus which makes them enemies in her eyes. And when the bookstore is potentially closing down, the stakes to sell more books are even higher. But as the challenge intensifies and Shoshanna and Jake spend more time together, feelings start to get a bit blurry and they might agree about more things than they originally thought. I loved this bookstore rivalry. The dynamic between Shoshanna and Jake made for such an entertaining read. The banter between the two is adorable and seeing their relationship change throughout the book was the best to see. This book also has great Jewish representation and is something that’s talked about quite a bit throughout the book. This is certainly a book I’ll be rereading this holiday season.

The Upside of Falling - Alex Light

After being teased for not having a boyfriend Becca Hart impulsively says she’s been secretly seeing someone to get people off her back. Brett Wells, the captain of the football team who focuses more on his future than romance, overheard Becca’s lie and offers to step in and help with the lie. Brett’s all for faking a relationship to keep people off of his back as well. Becca’s still recovering from her world falling apart years ago and believes true love can only be found inside books, so the idea of an irl romance doesn’t come easy. Faking a romance might be a bit harder than either Becca or Brett anticipated, especially when they barely know each other, but as stye start to spend more time together they start to make it more believable. Only problem is the time spent together makes emotions start to blur and what started off as fake ends up becoming real. I thought this book was super cute and loved seeing the relationship grow and change between Becca and Brett. I will say I was slightly alarmed when Becca’s romance books got thrown into the water - a bookworms worst nightmare, but honestly worked well in the storyline. Fake dating never goes as planned and this story was no exception. It was such a wonderful light-hearted upbeat romance.

New Year’s Kiss - Lee Matthews

This was the perfect holiday book, especially to read in one-sitting. Tess and her older sister spend the week between Christmas and new year’s at their Grandmother’s holiday resort. Their grandmother isn’t the nicest or warmest person but the visit starts to look up when Tess meets Christopher. Tess is a shy and more refined girl and over the course of her visit to the resort Christopher helps her to get outside her comfort zone and create a bucket list of things to accomplish before New Year’s. I loved that Christopher helped push Tess outside of her comfort zone, but knew not to push her limits too much. Even thought the story is based around the holidays I certainly think it’s a book that can be read any time of the year. The focus is on having fun and trying new things, and maybe a bit of romance. I loved how fun and upbeat the book was, not to mention fairly fast-paced which i enjoyed since it was a shorter read. I loved all of the fun and adventures everyone had throughout the book. Karaoke to check singing in public off the bucket list, skiing a black-diamond slope, even something as simple as wearing heels. Everything seems perfect except for one little secret Christopher has that could change everything. There can’t be a romance without a bit of drama but in the end everything turned out happily.

The Code for Love and Heartbreak - Jillian Cantor

Emma is great with numbers, she’s even co-president of the coding club, but she’s not only the nest when it comes to people. When the coding club needs a concept for their new project to enter in a competition Emma comes up with the Code for Love. The Code for Love is a matchmaking app that uses an algorithm to calculate compatibility between people. Emma’s co-captain George disapproves of the idea and Emma is determined to prove him wrong. At the start Emma’s code seems to be flawless, couples are getting together and they all seem quite happy. But things start going awry and the couples start breaking up and Emma can’t seem to figure out where things went wrong. Maybe there isn’t a specific algorithm or code that can solve love after all, no matter how hard that is for Emma to accept. Even scarier than that, what happens when she starts to realize she might just have feelings for someone.

I like seeing Emma as a main character being super into math and coding. I find when there’s books where the MC is more of a nerd it’s more often than not arts related. Emma being really into coding was a concept I really liked. It was also kind of funny reading her thoughts about George throughout the book and her not realizing her feelings were a crush. Emma was quite obvious to her feelings for a while. The ending was really sweet and I was happy with the way everything worked out in the end.

One Way or Another - Kara McDowell

A great read if you’re looking for anxiety rep, and an absolute adorable plot line. When Paige is presented with two choices for how to spend her holidays she has no idea how to choose. When she slips on a slippery floor at the grocery store and her life splits into two quite different parallel paths. The first path leads Paige to New York City, a place she’s always dreamed of going. Seeing NYC during the holiday season is a dream come true to Paige, and having a charming tour guide makes it even better. The other path leads to the mountains and a chance to be with her best friend, and crush, Fitz. But in both paths her anxiety threatens to ruin anything and she has to face her struggle with it before either path can lead to a happy ending. Learning not everything has to be perfect is a harder lesson to face. This book really focused on Paige’s anxiety which I thought was really great. I loved getting to read about both of the paths that Paige ended up going down and honestly couldn’t choose which one I liked better. Reading about Paige getting to explore her dream city, and start to fall for a new person was really exciting. On the other hand, getting to go to a romantic mountain cabin with her long-time crush and childhood best friend was such a sweet storyline and I loved the friendship that Paige and Fitz shared. I really loved the ending and how both paths ended with similar conclusions.

Between You Me and the Honeybees - Amelia Diane Coombs

I loved the entire concept of this book, modern day Romeo and Juliet but with beekeeping. Just graduated high-school, Josie plans to spend her summer helping her mom with the family business Hazeldine Honey. She just doesn’t want to think about the fact that She’s lying to her mom about going to college in the fall. When Josie meets Ezra, the cute artsy boy who catches Josie’s attention right from the start. The mutual attraction is noticeable right away but there’s just one little problem. Ezra is a Blumestein - the sworn enemies of the Hazeldines. Nor wanting to stop seeing each other the two start a secret flight, but that kind of thing can never end well. Not only did this book have the most adorable romance, but it also has great anxiety rep. I always love when characters are honest about mental health and there’s actually talk about anxiety. I always like being able to relate to character about mental health and am glad that it’s something that was actually talked about. I loved how dedicated Jsoie was to the family business and how much effort she put in to prove to her mom that was where she was meant to be. I also thought the change in relationship as well as the outcome between Josie and her long-time “friend” was interesting - And no I don’t mean that in a bad way at all. I liked that nothing was just pushed under the bridge and overlooked, it showed that not all friendships are perfect, and not all have to last beyond high-school. The book was such an amazing read and it’s one I have high on my re-read pile to read again soon.

I hope you enjoyed the post and the books. I'd highly recommend checking any of these books out. And of course, if you want more recommendations head over to my instagram or check out what I'm reading on goodreads. . And I'll be back on Monday with another review.

Emily Marie

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