5 Weekend Reads If You're Not Feeling A Love Story

Look, I like romance as much as the next sap. It doesn't even have to be particularly good romance (I've seen The Phantom of the Opera twice on Broadway). But even I will admit that our media is inundated with romance. Nearly every book, movie, and TV show involves some kind of love interest. So every once in a while, it's nice to read a story that doesn't revolve around meet-cutes, love triangles, and people who hate each other so much that they start making out in a rain storm. The trouble is, when you start looking for books without romance, you find a whole lot of nonfiction and experimental meditations on the nature of existence. It can be hard to find a romance-free book that's also fun and perfect for beach weather. So here are a few books that read like a breezy love story without any of that pesky love.

You don't need a specific reason to go romance-free on your next read. Maybe you're tired of the dating scene. Maybe you need a break from aggressively gendered genres. Maybe you just aren't a fan of romance, and you prefer stories about friends and families. However you feel, you're sure to fall in platonic like with one of these lovely, mostly love-free books:

'A Step from Heaven' by An Na

When Young Ju was only four, her family left their small fishing village in Korea for the distant "paradise" of Mi Gook. But as Young Ju settles into life in what turns out to be America, she begins to realize that this is not quite the heaven-on-earth she's been imagining. A Step from Heaven follows Young from four years old all the way to college, caught between family pressure and strange new cultural "norms."

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'This Savage Song' by Victoria Schwab

Kate Harker and August Flynn are heirs to a city of monsters. That's not a euphemism, either — actual monsters roam freely through their city, feeding on flesh or threatening to steal human souls. And August is one of them, albeit one who can pass for human. When Kate discovers his secret, the unlikely pair will have to (platonically) team up to save the city and all who inhabit it.

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'Summer of the Mariposas' by Guadalupe Garcia McCall

This re-telling of The Odyssey starts with five sisters who find a dead body. Rather than completely ruining their summer, though, this discovery sends them on a quest to return the dead man to his family in Mexico. The sisters will have to face witches, warlocks, and bloodthirsty barn owls on their journey, but they'll also have the help of a few goddesses and ghosts along the way.

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'Salt to the Sea' by Ruta Sepetys

Joana, Emilia, and Florian are three of many refugees, escaping the end of World War II and (hopefully) headed towards freedom. But first they will have to survive a harrowing journey on an overcrowded ship, where the three very different individuals must unite if they have any hope of making it out alive.

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'Imaginary Girls' by Nova Ren Suma

Ruby is the older sister who everyone longs for, the girl who everyone wants to be. Chloe is the younger sister who finds a dead body floating in the reservoir, and who is sent away from town for two long years. Now Chloe is back, and with her comes the dangerous truth that Ruby has been hiding for so long, maybe even the truth about what really happened to the dead girl floating in the water.

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