To me, summer feels like the perfect time to read a bunch of YA romcoms, so I have. And it’s helped me zero in a bit on what I find most enjoyable in this type of book: a story that’s sweet and funny but also has a bit of substance to it. And, of course, great characters. Comedy and romance are both inextricably character-driven, so that makes sense! Anyway, here are some I’ve read and enjoyed recently.
The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo
I really liked this one; the main character is prickly without being so mean that I was put off (I know this makes me sound like one of those people who hates ‘unlikable’ characters. I don’t! I’m also not convinced that a romcom is the best place for one? anyway.). Also, I really liked that the growing friendship felt as important, grounded, and central as the romance. Woo! The mom aspect wasn’t my favorite, but overall this was great. I need to read more Maurene Goo.
From Twinkle With Love by Sandhya Menon
Awwwww, I really super liked this one. It’s a cute story and I thought it worked just as well as When Dimple Met Rishi. The conceit of Twinkle writing to her favorite female directors could have felt gimmicky, but it was just earnest enough to pull it off. I did realize where the story was going pretty quickly, but it was still effective for me.
Listen to Your Heart & By Your Side by Kasie West
So, I strongly prefer Listen to Your Heart, since By Your Side largely features the male main character not talking to the female main character while she tries to draw him out. It just made me uncomfortable; while I’m sure it was meant to be an update of the taciturn hero trope, this version didn’t work for me. (Also, I am a pedant and I know it, but: libraries have phones and doors that open from the inside even if locked!) But I really liked Listen to Your Heart, and the whole podcast scenario seemed pretty solidly depicted. And I did like the characters in that one a ton, especially the rivalry between Kate’s family and the local hotshots.
Always Never Yours by Austin Siegemund-Broka and Emily Wibberley
This one veers a bit more into drama territory (wow, this was not intentionally a pun but I’m just going with it) and is a lot less light-hearted than the other books here. But I’m including it anyway, because I think it still hits a lot of the same emotional beats as most romcoms. I liked it a lot! It’s thoughtful about a lot of stuff and I liked having a theatre story that focused on directing as well as acting. I’m also very curious about the fact that this is a husband and wife writing team but this is not a book with dual narrators! Intriguing.