Sometimes a great story is better than a Valentine. We put together our favorites — from tales of true friendship to all too familiar stories of heartbreak.

Happy reading!

THE SONG OF ACHILLES by Madeline Miller

Recommended by Rakkel B.

The Song of Achilles narrates in poetic and intimate detail the much-debated relationship between Trojan War hero Achilles and Patroclus, his closest comrade. Told from Pat
roclus’ point of view, this coming-of-age story allows us to see Achilles not as a demigod but as someone with very human emotions and experiences, including being helplessly drawn towards Patroclus. I’ve read it thrice, and it has melted my stone cold heart every single time.

 

 

BLANKETS by Craig Thompson9781770462182_bd57d20151210-3-1mhylob

Recommended by Ilia U.

I’ve wanted to read Blankets from the moment I saw it displayed on the bookstore shelf. Years later, I finally got my hands on a copy and read the whole thing in an evening. The lines and shadows of Thompson’s art immerses you into his Wisconsin childhood and the story of his first love. Reading “Blankets” is like swimming through the entire range of the emotion spectrum

 

 

THE BEAUTY AND THE BEAST by Gabrielle-Suzanna Barbot de Villenueve

Recommended by Mari P.

If there’s a story that taught us that love can bloom through a connection not based on physical attraction, it’s Beauty and the Beast. This time-old tale (it’s influenced by Cupid and Psyche) tells us to see beyond notions of attractiveness and look for lasting and true affection.

 

 

 

GONE WITH THE WIND by Margaret Mitchell

Recommended by Mats C. 

The love triangle of Rhett Butler, Scarlett O’Hara, and Ashley Wilkes set against the tumult and chaos of the American Civil War makes for a sweeping romance for the ages. Just imagine, all the declarations of love, the heated arguments, the vacillating moods, and the pleading to be loved—on par, in terms of volume, with the rumbling and booming happening outside. Indeed, Pat Benatar, love is a battlefield.

 

 

THE MISSING PIECE MEETS THE BIG O by Shel Silverstein

Recommended by Hannah B.

Shel Silverstein’s story shines in its simplicity, and it’s a welcome reminder—mostly to those of us who have forgotten with age—that sometimes finding who we are means letting go of those we once called home.

 

 

ELEANOR & PARK by Rainbow Rowell

Recommended by Catherine L.

It feels like a cliché but despite its seemingly typical premise — two people who don’t belong find each other — Eleanor and Park comes with a lot of gravitas, dealing with issues like cultural identity, domestic abuse, and body issues. The bond between Eleanor and Park is rooted in their mutual understanding of each other and the struggles the other face.

 

 

 

JANE EYRE by Charlotte Brontë

Recommended by Ilia U.

The chemistry between Jane and Mr. Rochester almost literally jumps off the page to give the reader a wave of goosebumps. But more than the love story of their intellectual and temperamental compatibility hindered by their unequal footing in society — the triumph of Bronte’s novel is Jane and how she determinedly and stubbornly made her own way in a world seemed designed to break her.

 

 

ROMEO AND/OR JULIET by Ryan North2d8p2m1

Recommended by Ish V.

Ryan North takes a timeless tale of love overcoming the animosity between the families of Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet (both of whom would rather die than not end up together) — and lets the reader play with the story. Now you get to choose your own ending for the OG love-shall-prevail story that inspired many telenovelas.

 

 

 

EVERY DAY by David Levithan

Recommended by Hannah B.

A true testament to the saying, “love knows no bounds.” David Levithan goes beyond the conventional, even transcends our physicality as human beings, to show that true love can exist, no matter who—or what—you are.

 

 

 

 

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by Jane Austen

Recommended by Eirene L.

When I think of love stories, the first that come to mind is Lizzie Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy’s story of skewed first impressions and eventual character redemption. Lots of people swoon over Pride and Prejudice but I love it for its comedy. Mrs. Bennet’s scheme to make Jane sick so she can stay over at the Bingley’s to recuperate — what can be better than that?

 

 

 

BY THE RIVER PIEDRA I SAT DOWN AND WEPT by Paulo Coelho

Recommended by Shanna L. 

I first read this novel 10 years ago when I was 15 years old and I read it again when I turned 24 because it was just too good.

The struggle of the male protagonist in choosing between the Priest life as a Spiritual Healer and the normal life with Pilar, his childhood sweetheart from their hometown of Zaragoza, really tugged at my heartstrings. It’s an emotional adventure where romance and religion meet.

 

 

THE VELVETEEN RABBIT by Margery Williams

Recommended by Hannah B.

This story taught me what it means to be Real. There’s no way for me to explain it because the Skin Horse said it perfectly:

“Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand. Once you are Real you can’t become unreal again. It lasts for always.”

 

 

MAYBE SOMEDAY by Colleen Hoover

Recommended by Cez M.

For all of the bookworms-slash-music lovers out there—this is an extremely LSS-inducing book that will take you in a roller coaster of emotions.

I kid you not when I tell you that I laughed and I cried and I bawled and I fell in love then got heartbroken, only to fall in love again, all in one sitting (try reading and listening to its original soundtrack at the same time. *feeeeeeeeeeeels*

 

 

A LITTLE LIFE  by Hanya Yanagihara

Recommended by Chris C.

Yanagihara’s second novel is not at all romantic. But it does show us a picture of real friendship and devotion. Jude and Willem’s relationship through the years changes and grows but it always remains true.

 

 

 

THE BRIEF WONDROUS LIFE OF OSCAR WAO by Junot Diaz

Recommended by CJ B.

Oscar, a chubby Dominican boy living in New Jersey, longs for love — real, true love  — and he’s been pursuing it all his life, to less than successful results. The story is colorful, hilarious, and alive. What I most enjoyed was the glimpses it showed me of life in the Dominican Republic as well as the immigrant life. It’s not really a love story but it’s a story about love. And in the end, love turns out to be a matter of life and death for Oscar de Leon.

 

 

NEVER LET ME GO  by Kazuo Ishiguro

Recommended by Jo L.

The quiet, seemingly uneventful story of Kathy, Tommy, and Ruth wrecked me. As they go through their predetermined lives, the three boarding school friends ask what it means to love and what makes one human. As the story progresses, the mystery around Hailsham school and the lives of its students is unveiled, but what stayed with me is how Kathy and Tommy sought to reveal their souls capable of love.

 

 

LOVE IN THE TIME OF CHOLERA by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Recommended by Karen B.

Though it isn’t my favorite among Marquez’s novels, Love in the Time of Cholera examines loves in its many forms — from the ideal and romantic to the perverse. Marquez turns the “love story” on its head by making us root for Florentino even when he is unfaithful and selfish. Marquez is definitely telling us to scrutinize the disease that is love.

 

 

 

WHY WE BROKE UP by Daniel Handler

Recommended by Adriane S.

Read a beautiful dissection of an unexpected romance between Min, a film geek, and Ed, a high school jock. Because you already know how it ends, you can savor the story — anchored on the little things that passed through the couple — and linger on the shared memories of your first heartbreak.

 

 

 

MYTHOLOGY CLASS by Arnold Arre

Recommended by Rain S. 

If you love stories of folklore and mythical creatures — you get to live vicariously through the characters of Mythology Class as they discover a world where tikbalang and engkangto walk among us. As you read Mythology Class, you’ll discover a love for your own culture, nation, and fellowmen at the same time the class does.

 

 

CHARLOTTE’S WEB by E.B. White

Recommended by Eirene L.

A friendship between a pig and a spider is hilariously unlikely but White’s heart-wrenching story of the Charlotte and Wilbur transcended my childhood reading and remained with me till adulthood. The scene at the end of the fair still makes me cry.

 

 

 

 

We know we said 20 Love Stories, but we can’t help but add this classic:

GUESS HOW MUCH I LOVE YOU by Sam McBratney

Recommended by Allan B. 

As kids, we had a hard time grasping the idea of love and how to express this utterly alien concept. Big Nutbrown Hare and Little Nutbrown Hare helped us understand how to express how much we love someone.

 

 

What’s your favorite love story? Share with us in the comments!


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