A YA Valentine's Day Tug-of-War: He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not
Valentine's Day is a polarizing holiday, particularly for women. Some tie up their hair in pink and red ribbons and hand out homemade valentines to all their friends. Others shun valentines as commercial trickery and skip the holiday all together. If you're in a relationship, it can be a pressure-filled day, second only to New Year's Eve in terms of expectations, but if you're single, it can be a great excuse to go out and party with girlfriends. It seems no matter where you are on the relationship spectrum, there are reasons to love and hate the holiday.
Literature is ripe with romance, first love, and forbidden affairs, but how you interpret the stories can tell you a lot about your approach to Valentine's Day. Take the arguable greatest love story in history: Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet. It's the archetype of the first, forbidden love story, where two star-crossed lovers would rather literally die than be apart. Swoon! On the other hand, Romeo and Juliet died, you guys. (Romeo, you couldn't wait three more seconds to see Juliet is alive?!) It's a story about two shortsighted kids in lust — Romeo weren't you just in love with Rosaline? — who barely know each other, yet make these proclamations of undying love and kill each other over a five-day relationship. Five days. Sigh.
Whether you're an eternal romantic optimist or you think love is built to crush souls and dreams, there's a novel for you. These 13 YA novels speak to the polarizing nature of Valentine's Day; a tug-of-war of love and heartache.