by Tara Lago
February has come and gone. Winter is packing its bags. The sun is shining longer, and the grass is becoming green again. Spring is coming, along with new beginnings. But some things remain, like love, because as Dr. Helen, a biological anthropologist, said, “love is primordial, adaptable; it is eternal” (2022). Love continues on just like the changing of seasons. It is a part of nature and humanity. So in keeping with the romantic prose, here are 10 books centered around love, beginnings, or a little bit of both.
Love comes in all shapes and sizes. It is not limited to romance; it can be platonic and familial too. The following books, in no particular order, come from a variety of genres, showcasing themes of love in its unique and beautiful forms.
- Me and Earl and a Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews is a hilarious subversion of books with the “illness-romance trope.” The main character Greg is forced to hang out with childhood friend Rachel who is diagnosed with leukemia. While she does die in the end (hence the dying in the title), the story is about a celebration of life and forming bonds with each other even if there’s reluctance.
- The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian is a historical fiction novel that alternates between two timelines: one during the Armenian Genocide and the other in present day New York as an Armenian descendant tries to uncover her history. Be warned that this book will break your heart but it will also teach you about love and the perseverance of the human spirit.
- Loveless by Alice Oseman is a heartwarming story about identity and self-acceptance. It is a novel with an asexual and aromantic protagonist, which means she does not experience sexual and romantic attraction. The book champions friendship and platonic love, conveying that all of these are as important and as worthy as romantic “norms.”
- The Degenerates by J. Albert Mann is a multiple POV book about 4 girls sent to live in the Massachusetts School for the Feeble-Minded due to being “unfit” for society. The four girls learn to trust and empower each other to understand their own worth and to escape the institution that convinced them that they were unworthy. The found family and romance in this novel develop the characters into people you can relate to and empathize with.
- The Pharos Gate by Nick Bantock is a magical love story told through collages and letters. As you flip through the pages, you can open up an envelope and read the correspondence between the two lovers. Its interactive nature immerses you in their goals, dreams, and emotions.
With the spring equinox fast approaching, the next five books will get you ready for the season and the positive things it represents.
- Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings by Margarita Engle is a memoir in verse about her growing up as a Cuban and as an American during the Cold War. While spring can be tranquil and beautiful, like Engle’s love for her two cultures, it can also bring thunder and rain, like the conflict between Cuba and America that divides her family.
- Some of the Parts by Hanna Barnaby is a book about Tallie, a girl coping with the loss of her brother because of a car accident. It follows her as she tries to track down the organ recipients of her brother’s parts in order to find closure and maybe even forgive herself. This is a moving novel about grief and the struggle to move beyond it.
- World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments by Aimee Nezhukumatathil is a collection of essays about the natural world and the lessons she’s gained from it as a child, wife, mother, and beyond. It is a book of joy and gratitude for the environment surrounding us, making it a perfect read for spring and growth.
- When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi is a memoir where the author tries to answer the question: what makes life worth living? While spring is about life and birth, a shadow of death is behind every flower; this book will make you appreciate your mortality and the fleetingness of time.
- Heretics Anonymous by Katie Henry is a novel about change and tolerance. It follows five characters who form Heretics Anonymous, a group that goes against their school’s traditional Catholic beliefs and its hypocrisies. Their mission is for everyone to coexist and have the freedom to decide what they want to believe in. Spring is just as transformative of a period like how this book transforms faith and the individual.
I hope these books will be an enjoyable, enlightening, and exciting ride for you. For what better way to feel the poetic stirrings of love and the hope of renewal that spring brings than through reading?