Books to read if… you just love love.

There are two types of reactions one might have when you bring up Valentine’s Day.

If you are an eye-rolling, big-sigh, “blech” person, this might not be the post for you.

BUT, if you’re a fellow heart-eyes, “awwwww”, hopeless romantic, WELCOME.

While I would call myself hopeless romantic, these novels don’t usually fill my shelves, unless it’s the driving force behind a murder storyline. The ones I do read, though, I often fall head-over-heels in love with the story. Here are some of my faves.

Normal People

by: Sally Rooney / Amazon Link

My favorite quote from this one: “All these years they’ve been like two little plants sharing the same plot of soil, growing around one another, contorting to make room, taking certain unlikely positions”.

Connell and Marianne’s love story is gentle, while also being troubled. It’s such a beautiful coming-of-age story. They go from acting like strangers in high school on completely ends of the popularity spectrum, to falling in love. They attend college together, date others, but are always magnetically brought back together.

It has too many tragic moments to be too “lovey-dovey”, but the characters have one of the most real connections I’ve ever read. I was genuinely FIGHTING for them to find happiness the whole dang way.

SIDE NOTE: Do not watch the Hulu series first. It doesn’t hold a candle to this one.

The Two Lives of Lydia Bird

by: Josie Silver / Amazon Link

This one is really different, but I was so glad I finished it. Freddie was Lydia’s first love. They have always been together, until Freddie dies suddenly. She is given the chance to visit and relive her life with Freddie, but it really affects her ability to grieve and cope in her normal life.

To be honest, I was not sold on this book when I started it. It took me a while to get into, because of this “other world”. Normally I don’t gravitate towards books like this, either. By the end, I was crying right along with the main characters. It’s a relatable story about grief. So, push past the first 100 pages, and you’ll love it.

In Five Years

by: Rebecca Serle / Amazon Link

I read this one cozied up next to my TV playing a fake fireplace, cozy socks on my feet, and a cold wind blowing outside. It was perfect.

Dannie is a Type A, over-planner, and always looking 5 years ahead. When she scores her dream job and an incredible marriage proposal, she knows she is on her dream track. Then, she wakes up the next morning in a different apartment, with a different ring on her finger, next to a very different man. When the news comes on, she sees it is five years in the future.

That night, returns to the present, a little shook up. She forgets about it, until she meets the man in her vision four-and-a-half years later.

This book is so different. It’s a powerful love story that covers the importance of loyalty, friendships, and our own destinies.

Park & Eleanor

by: Rainbow Rowell / Amazon Link

This one is for all of my adults who still gush over young-adult. No shame, I am also one of these people.

Eleanor is a force to be reckoned with. She is new to town, lives in a home full of chaos, and has bright red hair. Park strives to make himself invisible with all black clothes, headphones in, and his nose in a book. Through their very own mix-tapes, these two fall in love like we all remember doing. They have nothing to lose and love each other in such a pure and reckless way.

I spent this entire book wishing that these two were my students so that I could hug them both.

The Pact

by: Jodi Picoult / Amazon Link

The Pact: A Love Story by [Jodi Picoult]

This book is heartbreaking, riveting, and deep. Period.

Two families and neighbors, the Golds and Hartes, have been inseparable for years. Their two teenagers have shown signs of loving one another for years. While at first, it was just friends, it has moved beyond that, the older that they get. A phone call starts the book off, telling each family that the young girl, Emily, has been shot by her beloved Chris, as part of their suicide pact. Both families are devastated and desperate for answers to children they never knew.

It’s a modern and contemporary story that rocked my world when I read it.

28 Summers

by: Elin Hilderbrand / Amazon Link

I don’t care what season it is, what the weather is like, or where you are in the world, this is a must-read. I thought I needed to wait until summer and I would have just been missing out.

Mallory and Jake have a “same time, next year” agreement. For 28 summers, he goes to stay at her beach house on Nantucket, no matter what their love lives are otherwise. A lot happens in those 28 years, but they truly can not be kept from one another. The book opens with Mallory on her death bed, telling her son that he must call Jake Mccloud. Jake is a stranger to her son, but is also married to the woman who is about the become the president of the United States.

This is sprinkled pop culture references and how EVERY character reacts to and is affected by them. The two main characters are the main storyline, but I was just as invested in all the other lives involved.
I also thought I would grow to hate them for continuing this affair, but the characters are so real and relatable that I just understood.

Let me know if you read or enjoy any of these and follow along at my online instagram book journal, @baylees_books.

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