3 on a YA Theme: Best Friends Falling in Love

This list of YA books about best friends in love is sponsored by The Fall of Crazy House.

Escape is just the beginning. Twin sisters Becca and Cassie barely got out of the Crazy House alive. Now they’re trained, skilled fighters who fear nothing–not even the all-powerful United regime. Together, the sisters hold the key to defeating the despotic government and freeing the people of the former United States. But to win this war, will the girls have to become the very thing they hate? In this gripping follow-up to James Patterson’s YA blockbuster Crazy House, the world is about to get even crazier.

One of my favorite tropes in books is when love interests are friends before falling in love. While instant attraction and heart pounding crushes are exhilarating, there’s something really satisfying about seeing the friendship foundation put down before moving into romantic territory. Here are three of my favorite books that feature this kind of relationship!

The Astonishing Color Of After Emily X. R. Pan coverThe Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan

In Pan’s amazing debut, Leigh comes home one day to find that her mother has died by suicide. She’s wracked with grief and guilt over the fact that as her mother was dying, she was kissing her best friend, Axel. The novel goes back and forth between the present, as Leigh distances herself from Axel and visits Taiwan to try and feel closer to her mother, and the past, as Leigh and Axel move from best friends into something more. Axel and Leigh’s relationship is very important to Leigh’s journey, even when he’s thousands of miles away, and their connection is explored beautifully as Leigh processes her grief.

Love and Other Foreign WordsLove and Other Foreign Words by Erin McCahan

Josie doesn’t get love. The romantic kind. She doesn’t understand why feelings for someone else would drive you to do wild things. But she does love her family, which is why when her older sister gets engaged to absolutely the wrong guy, she becomes determined to break them up before it’s too late. But over the course of one tumultuous school year, and a few surprising romantic twists of her own, she finds that love is unexpected—but sometimes in the best way possible. Josie’s best friend Stu is a steadfast presence for Josie throughout the book, and their friendship-to-romance is so sweet to watch.

The Accident SeasonThe Accident Season by Moira Fowley-Doyle

Every October, Cara’s family is plagued by accidents. They start small, but some years they escalate into deadly. This year, Cara and her best friend and ex-stepbrother Sam are determined to discover the impetus behind the accident season, but as they probe into their family’s past—and spark unexpected feelings for each other—they find that they may be ill-equipped to handle the truth. I loved how Cara and Sam’s relationship unfolded—tentative, yet utterly inevitable, providing a wonderful romantic contrast to the eeriness of the plot.

What are some of your favorite YA reads featuring best friends falling in love?

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3 on a YA Theme: YA Books Set in the 1970s

This list of books set in the 1970s is sponsored by Roar, an imprint of Lion Forge.

After stepping on a crack and breaking her mother’s back, Alex Mills must journey to Haphaven, the world where Earth’s superstitions draw their power. All she needs is a rabbit’s foot to save her mom but retrieving it won’t be easy. Not only is the lucky foot guarded by Haphaven’s most formidable creature, the Jinx, there’s also a forest full of trees that knock back, people named Penny who don’t like to be picked up, and a vindictive black cat who will not be crossed. Haphaven by Norm Harper and Louie Joyce is in stores now from Lion Forge’s Roar imprint!

I get a kick out of reading YA books set in the 1970s, as my parents graduated from high school in 1974. It’s fun reading about teens in the decade that my parents were teenagers and imagining what their lives were like back then. Believe it or not, these books are technically considered historical fiction in YA, even though they took place not that long ago. These three YA books set in the 1970s cover important moments and issues that dominated the decade, and give us a peek what what it was like when the Baby Boomers were teens.

Dreams of Significant GirlsDreams of Significant Girls by Cristina García

Three very different girls become unlikely friends when they’re assigned as roommates in a Swiss summer boarding school in 1971. Although they’re from vastly different backgrounds, they form an unbreakable bond that weathers school years spent apart and is reaffirmed each summer when they reunite. Through their connection, the girls come of age and reckon with family secrets while striving to find their own paths.

The Smell of Other People's HousesThe Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

In this lyrical debut, four teens find unexpected connection and luck in 1970s Alaska: Ruth has a secret, but she won’t be able to keep it for very long. Dora has led a difficult life, but an unexpected windfall will bring change—and not always the good kind. All Alyce wants to do is dance, but a future beyond a fishing boat seems impossible to imagine. And Hank and his brothers make the brave choice to run away from an abusive home—only to find more danger. Hitchcock weaves these four storylines together in a surprising and exciting way.

Girls Like UsGirls Like Us by Randi Pink

Four girls, all from different backgrounds, all dealing the reality of an unplanned pregnancy in the summer of 1972. From rural Georgia to Chicago, Pink tells the story of what it meant to be a pregnant young woman the year before Roe vs. Wade was decided by the Supreme Court.

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