There’s nothing us FYAers love more than a good swoon (and a cocktail to go with it, obvs). Whether it’s the Mysterious Loner Dude two lockers down or the suddenly handsome Duckie next door, young adult literature is AFLUTTER with awkward, sweet, super hot SIZZLING ROMANCE!
In celebration of our YA love affair, AND due to popular demand, i.e. because someone made a comment about it that one time, we decided to compile our top five young adult couples in all of literary history. I KNOW, right? As you can imagine, it took us hours and hours of intense research and agonizing debates to generate our lists, but ultimately we persevered IN THE NAME OF LOVE. Of course, we couldn’t include all of our favorites, because then it would be like, a list of 100, and that’s not as catchy, plus it takes way too long to read, BUT between the four of us, I think we managed to capture the swooniest of the swoons.
Ladies and gentlemen, PREPARE YOUR SMELLING SALTS!
SARAH’S TOP FIVE
Taylor Markham & Jonah Griggs (Jellicoe Road): Is there anything hotter than two teens with dark pasts reaching past their emotional walls to embrace each other (and, ok, make out a little bit)? NO THERE IS NOT. The emotional intensity of this book raises the chemistry between Taylor and Jonah to scorching levels, but you know what really got this couple into my top 5? The fact that they are equals and treat each other as such. Respect is sexy, y’all. And so is JONAH GRIGGS GOOD LORD.
Macy & Wes (The Truth About Forever): When it comes to YA, these two were like, the pioneers of swoon for me. This is the book that made me a Sarah Dessen swimfan-4-life, and not just because there’s a lot of food involved (Macy and Wes both work for a catering company, holla!). Macy is an anal super-nerd just like I was in HS, and the fact that she develops a relationship with someone as hot and artistic and awesome as Wes is just… well, it gave me hope. Unrealistic hope, perhaps, but THIS COULD TOTALLY STILL HAPPEN TO ME OK? p.s. Runner up: Remy & Dexter from This Lullaby, my other fave Dessen novel.
Jessica Darling & Marcus Flutie (Sloppy Firsts series): The relationship between Jessica and Marcus is, to put it simply, EPIC. Not only does it span five books and, like, eight years, it also features insanely amazing moments against a backdrop of harsh realism. I love Jessica and Marcus because their struggles are as authentic as their chemistry. And of course, because Jessica is the most hilarious heroine I’ve ever read, and Marcus Flutie is a sex god.
Katniss & Peeta (DOUBLE DUH): As we all learned in Speed, crisis-type situations create bonds between people. So it makes sense that when Katniss and Peeta are dropped into an arena so they can kill each other, mega swoons ensue.
Jenna & Cameron Quick (Sweethearts): Cameron Quick is the ultimate Mysterious Loner Dude, and the ethereal, bittersweet purity of his relationship with Jenna still haunts me to this day. This novel is a killer combination of romantic ideals and painful reality, and I still can’t say “Cameron Quick” without sighing deeply.
MEGHAN’S TOP FIVE
Not quite YA, but Meg and Calvin (A Wrinkle In Time): because I love how she’s an outcast and he’s kinda cool and he sees how beautiful and smart she is and loves her for it and is in awe of her when she has no confidence in herself. Plus, their relationship is just super sweet throughout the L’Engle books.
Ooh just remembered — Lyra and Will (His Dark Materials series): At first it was kinda ick because they’re only 12, but Holy Kleenex Batman! The ending! Tragic and heartbreaking.
Can I say Jane and Mr. Rochester, since I first read that book when I was 11, and therefore technically a target YA reader? Probably not.
Suze and Jesse (The Mediator Series by Meg Cabot): Hello – he’s a ghost and she’s a ghost mediator person and there’s so much tension and angst, and plus Jesse’s just dead sexy. Um, pardon the pun.
Katsa and Po (Graceling): I know I said there were things about their relationship that let me down, but DAMN if they were sizzling – especially when fighting. Plus I loved the way they learned to trust each other with their graces and how Po let her be herself (unlike that creep who proposed to her) and understood her need to be independent, even if it broke his heart.
I can’t leave out Katniss and Peeta, even though they’ve already been mentioned. I mean, really – do you have to ask why?
ERIN’S TOP FIVE
Cameron and Jenna (Sweethearts, obvs): Because I love the idea of childhood sweethearts. Which reminds me, I looked up my kindergarten best friend on Facebook last weekend and he’s sort of hot and I don’t know how to feel about that.
Bea and Jonah (How to Say Goodbye in Robot): I love the idea of freaks/weirdos/strange folks finding each other in ways which, when you look at it, seem very random. It always reminds me of my friends, and how I’ve managed to amass all of these crazy people in my life who like all the same things I do, like champers and dance parties and sci-fi all in one night, and what a miracle that would have been in jr high/high school.
Katniss and Peeta: I am not stating a reason. Please refer to my arguments with Henri.
Gemma and Kartik (Gemma Doyle trilogy): I HAVE SUCH A CRUSH ON KARTIK. I don’t even know why; but I know that I want him to inhabit my dreams and carry around a cricket bat and be my boyfriend. I don’t want my boyfriend to turn into a tree, though.
Mary and Dickon (The Secret Garden): BECAUSE DICKON IS AWESOME AND HE TALKS TO ANIMALS.
JENNY’S TOP FIVE
Anne Shirley and Gilbert Blythe: Although their story encouraged me to do violent acts to boys I may or may not have been crushing on, (thank goodness they were all out of slates by the time I came along!) who can compare to these two? I mean, really?
Alec Ramsey and The Black (The Black Stallion): Because there is no greater love than that of a boy and his horse.
Katniss and Peeta/Gale: I mean, c’mon!
Pony Boy Curtis and Johnny Cade (The Outsiders): Because I still want to run away with them.
The Dashwood sisters and their suitors (Sense and Sensibility): My favorite Austen ladies. Their romances still make my heart soar and my nose sniffly.
Bonus-Bella and Edward/Jacob: Whether you love them or love to hate them, in the world of current YA, it doesn’t get much epic-er.
And now, swoon fans, it’s your turn! Who’d we leave out? Which YA literary couples get your pulse racing and your heart fluttering and your mind shrieking, “WHY IS THIS NOT MY REAL LIFE?” Sigh away in the comments!