When it comes to Gilmore Girls, the "ships" are many and complicated. Both Lorelai and Rory meet various men, with varying levels of emotional intelligence and relationship readiness, as they flit in and out of their lives. There is, of course, the ultimate question of whether Lorelai and Christopher, her high school sweetheart and father of her only child, or Lorelai and Luke, the diner owner who has carried a flame for her since the moment they met, are truly meant to be. And then there is Rory, whose three boyfriends — Dean, Jess, and Logan — have caused major divides in the fandom.
While very strong arguments can be made both for and against each of these men, almost 20 years after the show's premiere, it's Dean Forester who remains perhaps the most controversial. Devoted viewers — staunch Team Jess or Team Logan members, especially — will remember Dean as undeniably possessive, jealous, suspicious, and, ultimately, unfaithful in his obsessive pursuit to win back Rory's affections (after she had already dumped him.) But to focus only on those attributes would be to erase other truths: Dean was Rory's first love. He was the guy that changed the hot water bottle, the guy who accompanied Rory on hours-long bookshop crawls, the guy who was predictable, steady, and safe.
I think, to truly understand the Rory and Dean shipper is to understand the nostalgia that comes with earnest and un-jaded first love, and the hopeful beginning of any new relationship. Below are 11 books about first loves, new romance, and second chances with the ones who got away: