I have left it up to Goodreads for the bulk of the Chick Lit titles with their nearly exhaustive list. I do love a good romance but, if you haven't noticed, most YA contemporary fiction and Chick Lit have elements of romance tangled up in their storylines. Below, I list some of my favorite romantic books...there are a whole lot of paranormal stories here because fantasy is awesome and also often has a side of romance for added flavor! I've also included links to some great YA romance lists.
This series is amazing! The characters are compelling and the story riveting, with all its twists and turns and twisted fairies. If you like dark intrigue and star-crossed lovers, this is the series for you!
Clare, Cassandra City of Bones (Immortal Instruments)
Clary and Simon go to their favorite club, just like any other night. Tonight, however, ends up being the exact opposite of "normal". Tonight, Clary witnesses a murder. She sees the murderers do it. They are covered in strange tattoos that seem to glow. Just as the murdered boy hits the ground, he...disappears! Poof, into thin air. Clary screams and Simon comes running doesn't see what's happening right in front of them. The tattooed teenagers simply walk away with hardly a backward glance. This is Clary's introduction to the world of Shadowhunters and the end of her belief in all things normal.
Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifacts)
I actually liked this series as much as I did City of Bones. Same formula, which worked so well before, but there was just something extra with this one that added to the richness of the story.
Cashore, Kristen Graceling
Okay, this isn't technically a romance but boy, what a fantastically complicated relationship is born out between the main character and an unusual man. Oh, there's also a bit of a love triangle, as if things couldn't get more complicated!
Most of the time, when people use the word "grace" it's a good thing. There are some, however, who are Graced with skills so powerful that they are feared and exploited. Katsa is one who is Graced with the unimaginable power to kill and to do so with ease. She is the niece of Randa, King of the Middluns and is his strong-armed lackey. She hurts people because they offended the king, somehow. She hates her job and herself for doing it. To try to off-set the horrible way she feels about what Randa has her do, she starts The Council, an organization that rescues those who've been hurt or imprisoned at the whim of a king. On one such rescue mission she meets Po, who is graced with combat skills. Katsa has no idea how this young man with the silver and gold eyes will turn her neat, orderly life up-side down and it starts with friendship, something she's never experienced before. Through this relationship, she learns new truths about herself and her grace. Together, she and Po learn that there is a Graced one in one of the kingdoms that has the power to destroy all they hold dear by merely speaking a word.
Dessen, Sarah Pick a title, ANY title if you like a side of dysfunction along with your love.
Maas, Sarah J. Court of Thorns and Roses
Marillier, Juliet Daughter of the Forest
This is high fantasy at it's best. The romance here is haunting, beautiful, painful and complicated. Sorcha is the youngest and only girl in her family. She and her six brothers live an idyllic life with their parents in the mystical land called Sevenwaters. One horrible day, tragedy strikes and Sorcha witnesses her mother's brutal death when a huge, otherworldly wolf attacks her. The children are devastated but not more so than their father Colum. He cuts himself off from them, retreating into his own misery. Years later, their father returns from a long journey with a beautiful woman at his side. His people and most of his children are completely smitten with her. Sorcha, however, knows that she is not what she seems. After they are married, the terrible truth of who their new mother's identity is born out through a curse placed upon the boys. They are turned into swans and are doomed to remain so unless Sorcha can break the curse. The task is nearly impossible, as most curse-breakings are. The suffering and pain, both physical and emotional, take their toll on the young girl, but she is her brothers' only hope to return to humanity and to save Sevenwaters from certain annihilation.
Marillier has also written a version of the Beauty and the Beast story that is at once heart-wrenching as it is sweet. With the death of her father comes a new horror, her aunt and his vile son. Battered and abused, Catrin finally finds the courage to run. She is a well trained scribe and is determined to make her own way in the world, not dependent on anyone. Her hasty travels bring her to a remote village. Here she finds a village full of suspicion and strangeness. On her first morning, she hears that the chieftain needs a scribe to translate old family histories. She needs money and a place to hide from her brutal cousin so she volunteers to go but she finds much more than she bargained for. Anluan is a man crippled early in life who rules over a land of mystery and ghosts. Hidden somewhere in his family's library is the key to fighting against the evil that has long wandered his lands. But the longer that Catrin stays the more she realizes that she may hold the key not only to victory against evil but also to the bitter heart of Anluan.
McKinley, Robin Beauty
Beauty is a sensible girl whose father's fortunes have blown up. She and her sisters must now make their way to a distant land, far from the luxury and comfort they are used to. The change in circumstances doesn't really bother Beauty but she is loath to leave behind her roses. Still, she's young enough to see this as an adventure. One evening, her father returns from the city pale and exhausted and full of terror. He tells a tale so fantastic that at first, the girls cannot believe it. A beast lives in the woods behind their home and he has requested that one of the girls return to his palace to live in exchange for her father's life. Beauty doesn't hesitate. She swallows her fear, mounts her beloved horse, Great Heart, and rides either to destiny or death.
McKinley's version of Beauty and the Beast is the best I've ever read. The characters are rich and completely realistic, including the Beast.
Meyer, Marissa Heartless
The Red Queen was once a kind-hearted girl. What could have turned her into the megalomaniacal woman so fond of beheadings? Love? Greed? Betrayal?