It’s only been a few weeks since To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before premiered on Netflix, Peter Kavinsky moved the popcorn bowl, and all of our hearts were forever changed. A few weeks ago, I cared about silly things, like my friends and family, but now all I care about is whether Lara Jean is ever going to get her scrunchie back. In an attempt at distraction, I have put together this Very Helpful List of books that will hopefully hit your heart in the same way as this wonderful, wonderful movie. Also, check out Zoraida Cordova’s list of “12 Books to Keep You Swooning After Watching To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” over on the B&N Teen blog!
Look, you want more Peter Kavinsky to swoon over. I know this because I also want more Peter Kavinsky to swoon over. Luckily for us, there are literally hundreds of pages of Peter and Lara Jean swooning over each other, all available in paperback at your local library or indie bookstore. Jenny Han’s incredible trilogy is sweet and earnest, and don’t you want to know what happens? Not to mention that the books offer plenty of wonderful moments between Lara Jean and her sisters, especially Kitty. I know you don’t think John Ambrose McLaren could ever worm his way into your heart, but he just might…The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang
This is the sweetest graphic novel you’ll read this year. Queer, hopeful, and full of heart, The Prince and the Dressmaker tells the story of Frances, a seamstress hired in secret by Prince Sebastian to create the dresses he dons at night when he becomes Lady Crystallia. Only Frances knows that Sebastian and Crystallia are the same person. And as her fashion designs begin making waves in Paris, Frances wants nothing more than to claim credit for her creations. But she’s the prince’s secret weapon. And it’s hard to be someone else’s secret when you have dreams of your own. Beautifully illustrated and utterly charming, this story will make your heart feel just as full and near bursting as it did when Peter changed his phone lock screen to a picture of Lara Jean’s face.
Sandhya Menon is the current queen of fluffy YA romance, and my goodness are her books full of butterflies and sweet moments and love stories that glow. This book is about Dimple and Rishi, two Indian American teens whose parents have agreed they would make a wonderful fit for marriage. They’re sent to the same summer coding camp, but Dimple’s parents neglect to tell her anything at all about Rishi. So when the first thing he stammers to Dimple is, “Hello, future wife,” Dimple is so surprised and put off that she dumps her iced coffee on him—as one does. And, of course, because this is a teen rom-com, they end up as partners for a project at camp, and a very cute friendship (and maybe some actual love!) ensues. Sandhya Menon’s second novel, From Twinkle With Love, is similarly light and fluffy, and you’d better believe Lara Jean would be a big fan.
Letters. Fancy period clothing. A fake relationship. And magic. This little tale is one of my absolute favorites of all time and the book I took out of the library the most when I was younger. Two charming and mischievous cousins, Cecelia and Kate, send letters back and forth as they become embroiled in London high society, an engagement of convenience, and a rather dangerous rivalry between skilled magicians. People keep getting turned into trees, but it’s all very polite of course because they’re British, and there’s rather a lot of correcting people on ascots versus cravats a lá Lara Jean’s homecoming crush, Lucas. If you want to be thoroughly delighted, I recommend finding a copy immediately.
I can just picture Lara Jean browsing in a bookstore, picking this pretty book up, and squealing with delight. Short but highly entertaining, this illustrated book charts the connections—romantic, platonic, and obsessive—between various creatives of the 20th century. Gossipy and fun, this little book is packed with information I had no idea about. Did you know Marilyn Monroe was so taken with Ella Fitzgerald’s voice that she got the singer one of her first L.A. nightclub gigs? Or that Gore Vidal had affairs with both Anais Nin and James Baldwin? Anais Nin had so many lovers that she has her own fold-out spread in this book. For a girl like Lara Jean who loves reading about romance and watching era-defining movies like Sixteen Candles, this offers the perfect combination of love and drama—and it’s all true!
Featuring a whirlwind, one-day romance between a first-generation Korean American boy and an undocumented Jamaican girl on the verge of deportation, this YA novel will make you laugh and cry and, possibly, shriek a little bit at the surprise ending. Daniel and Natasha meet in New York City twelve hours before her family is due to be deported, and they frantically try to find a way for her to be allowed to stay. This book examines the myriad ways that our lives overlap and affect the lives of those around us, and just how much of our story is within our own control. It’s hopeful and heartbreaking but it’s also adorable and overflows with the small moments between two people that are fascinated by each other. A movie starring Yara Shahidi and Charles Melton is due out next year, so you should probably read it before then.
The Nomeolvides girls are magic: they sink their fingers into the soft dark earth and buds spring up out of the ground into lush blooms. But the women of the Nomeolvides family are also cursed: anyone they fall too deeply in love with disappears. So when Estrella and her four cousins—the current generation of Nomeolvides girls—realize they are all in love with the same girl, they take action: each buries a treasured possession in the gardens they tend, sacrificing a part of their hearts to the earth in the hope they can keep one living, breathing being. But instead of protection, the gardens offer something else: a strange boy appears the next morning, covered in dew. Estrella and her cousins will enchant you, and the way Anna-Marie McLemore describes the flowers they call forth is unlike anything I’ve ever read. I know when Lara Jean swept all the romances off her bookshelf in agony, she didn’t dare touch this one.