Books that say 'I love you'13th February 2023
Valentine’s Day can mean different things to different people, whether you celebrate all things ‘Love’ or think of it as a way to con us into buying flowers and chocolates. Whatever your view, Valentine’s Day can make us think about how thankfully single we are, or how happy and in love we are.
Love comes in many forms, from heartfelt friendships to sparkling romances. Whether you prefer classic romance, epic love stories, or heart-warming contemporary tales, there's a book for everyone to enjoy on February 14th.
We have recommended some of our favourite books that convey all the traditional and modern aspects of ‘love’ into handy age ranges for you to explore yourself or share with others.
Read on for our top picks for 3–10-year-olds who are exploring friendships and peer relationships for the first time; for some the friendships that they make in these early years can last a lifetime. I'm sure we can all remember the days when we used to sing the K-I-S-S-I-N-G rhyme to tease our friends just for looking at others, and hearing our family tell us the old wives' tales when we lose our teeth it must be from kissing!
The boy who loved everyone
3+ picture book
A sweet and charmingly illustrated picture book about the ways we express love to all who may be in our lives.
"I love you." Dimitri tells everyone, from his friends at nursery to the big tree in the playground. But why does no one say it back? Dimitri worries that no one loves him - until he finds out there are lots of diverse ways love can spread through the world.
This is truly a lovely and touching book about the importance of kindness and how simply it can be spread.More Details
Love grows everywhere
4+ picture book
This beautiful and warmly told story teaches kids that love really does grow everywhere, in all shapes, forms and sizes.
Feel the love in a close-knit family who grow plants and sell them in their local market and discover the types of love that exist in the many homes of their diverse community.
There's old love, new love and everything in-between!More Details
This is an exploration of an often-overlooked part of the queer community, for young readers to hopefully read and show them they are not alone in the world if they relate to this title
Even though Rick is told that he is just ‘a late bloomer’, that he will eventually be attracted to someone, he is not so sure. He researches if there is something wrong with him, but when he meets the rest of the school’s LGBTQ+ club, he realises that he is not alone.
There are so many storylines about diverse relationships running alongside each other in this book, these are great to see portrayed for younger readers as they try to find their feet in the scary high school world.More Details
Alcott, Louisa May
This much-loved classic is an inspiring, coming-of-age tale of four sisters trying to navigate financial hardships in the time of the American Civil War. As the sisters grow, we see the way their personalities develop and become distinctive, taking them all on their separate paths.
We have chosen this title for Valentine’s Day because it perfectly communicates that it is okay to change and do your own thing. No one stays the same forever and those around you who love you, will be by your side through the good, the bad and the downright ugly.More Details
Next up is our selection for 11-16s, when you may be exploring your very first relationships and how to cope with all the questions, emotions and experiences you and your friends may face. Your first crush can be complicated and scary – but it is also an amazing feeling! The books listed in this section can help you to learn about different subjects like friendships, identity, love and heartbreak. These books usually star characters who are still in school and so relatable when trying to navigate the relationships in your own life. These books will keep you believing in love no matter what it may be that you’re experiencing - even if you’re going through your first heartbreak. Whatever your experience, there is a book out there for you!
Felix ever after
Felix ever after is a story about finding love, being in love, loving yourself, and loving those around you. This book is sad and fierce, funny and hopeful – the perfect read for Valentine’s Day!
Felix Love has never been in love, but he is desperate to feel it for himself. He is proud of himself and his identity, but also fears that he is one marginalisation too many – black, queer and transgender – to ever find true love.
Following Felix’s journey will have you grinning from ear to ear at some parts, and you’ll have tears running down your cheeks at others. A truly emotional read about identity and understanding yourself and others.More Details
Highly suspicious and unfairly cute
Could you brave the wilderness with your HIGHLY SUSPICIOUS and UNFAIRLY CUTE ex-best friend?
When Celine signs up for a survival course in the woods, she is surprised to see Brad there too. Celine and Bradley are now forced to work together and trudge through their messy past in order to complete this course. At last Celine can confront Brad about his betrayal of their friendship, and Brad can express his frustrations with her. A real enemies-to-lovers rom-com to make you laugh and swoon at the same time. This book includes LGBTQ+ representation, plus it covers mental health and overcoming your own internal thoughts.More Details
L[symbol of a heart]ve is for losers
For those who think that falling in love is stupid, as if you are just going to fall into a big hole... It's not hard to look where you are going!
Sarcastic fifteen-year-old Phoebe has no interest in falling in love and vows that she never will. After her best friend, Polly, finds her first love, their friendship is forgotten and Phoebe is abandoned - affirming the idea that love is for morons, and she will avoid it at all costs. But then she meets Emma, and Phoebe doesn’t know what to think…
Honest, heart-warming, wonderfully sarcastic and a great portrayal of teenager feelings like awkwardness and confusion.More Details
Pride and prejudice
Pride and Prejudice has remained one of the most popular romantic novels since its initial release in 1813. Set in an age where the only thing women could do was marry wealthy husbands…
Elizabeth Bennet, however, refuses this idea and decides she will only marry for love. Elizabeth meets Fitzwilliam Darcy, she finds him arrogant and vain, and he pays no mind to her good looks and spirited mind. But as he starts to fall for Elizabeth’s wit and charm, the question remains – can they overcome their pride and prejudices to get a better understanding of love?More Details
For the 16+ age group we have chosen books featuring more complex romances and books that look at how to progress your relationships into the next stages, regardless of your sexual preference and identity.
Maybe you are getting ready to ask your crush on a first real date, that is not on your parent's dime, or you are the receiver of such an invitation. We like to think a bit outside the box and love the more unconventional date ideas, instead of going for a nice meal (nothing wrong with classic romance!) you could head off to a rock-climbing wall, take a trip to the zoo or even go paintballing.
Have fun - the possibilities are endless and don’t be afraid to try new things, you only have one life so go and live it!
The other ones
If you liked the Heartstopper series – then get ready for The Other Ones! A story about love, identity, grief and struggle. A unique read that gives you the warm feeling of romance – perfect for fans of Valentine’s Day and Halloween!
Sal is desperate to be ordinary, which is tricky considering he lives in a haunted house. Then one day, Pax, the new boy in town arrives and Sal’s life turns upside down. They become unlikely friends through Pax’s love for anything spooky... including Sal. Can Sal, Pax and their friends conquer his ghosts, or will Sal lose Pax for good?More Details
The many half-lived lives of Sam Sylvester
In this queer contemporary YA mystery, a nonbinary teen with autism realizes they must not only solve a 30-year-old mystery but also face the demons lurking in their not-so-distant past for being ‘different’. This book is brilliant and covers so many identities, there is bound to be a character that you can relate to and there is a little something for everyone.
Sam had an unpleasant experience when they came out to their old school friends, they were bullied and received death threats, so they move to a new school and instantly things seem different with their rainbow group and a new love interest. But not everyone is always so open as we discover in this suspenseful story that also feels like a hug.More Details
Things we never got over
A classic ‘grumpy x sunshine’ romance trope. Time to laugh, cry and definitely blush with these spicy and steamy encounters.
After Naomi ditches her wedding when her twin sister, Tina, messages her for help, she realises she’s been tricked! Her sister has left her with no car or money – and people can't tell the difference between the two sisters. Can Naomi clean up the mess that her sister has made, and can Knox be true to himself and his feelings towards Naomi? This is a perfect example of the rom-com genre – a must-read for Valentine's Day!More Details
It only happens in the movies
Kisses in the rain, climbing through bedroom windows... it only happens in the movies.
Audrey knows that love and romance is a cliché. When she meets Harry, she finds him just like every other boy, flirty and a bit of a player. So why is there something different about him? Why has she chosen him to let into her heart...?
There are some heavy topics that Holly Bourne tackles head on in this book. Honest and super funny, a perfect read for young adults. For those of you who are not soppy romantics you will be able to relate to Audrey as she struggles to decipher what feelings are real and which are her just being swept up in the moment of romance.More Details
Finally, we present some absolutely perfect reads for any adults this Valentine’s Day. They show us that romance is not straightforward as it may seem, and everyone can struggle to hold everything together. Try losing yourself in one of these stories and you may find yourself inspired to follow your own path in luuurrrrrvvvveeee!
Bridget Jones's diary : a novel
“Oh God, Valentine’s Day tomorrow. Why? Why? Why is the entire world geared to make people not involved in romance feel stupid when everyone knows romance does not work anyway.”
The much-loved classic follows Bridget Jones and her New Year's Resolutions – lose weight, drink less, stop smoking, get a boyfriend; basically, just get her life together!
The hilariously honest and boozy diary entries of Bridget Jones are a pleasure to read at any stage of your adult life. It is a raw, realistic and very, very funny account of navigating relationships, showing that not everything is straightforward when it comes to love.More Details
The song of Achilles
Soulmates in Ancient Greece. Achilles is the perfect son of the sea goddess Thetis and legendary King Peleus – he is destined to be the greatest warrior in all of Greece. Patroclus is an awkward and shamed young prince who has been exiled to King Peleus’ court. These two boys build an inseparable friendship with one another, despite risking the wrath of the Gods. When Achilles is sent away to learn the art of battle from Chiron the Centaur, but not wanting to lose him, Patroclus follows Achilles and their bond develops into something deeper. But after word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, all the heroes of Greece are called to go and battle – including Achilles. Can their love survive a war?
Rumour has it that it took Madeline Miller 10 years to write this book and every second of that was worth it! Written with love and showing a different side to an ancient story, a perfect Valentine’s Day read.More Details
The back up man
How would you cope if the universe threw this curveball at you? Breaking up with your long-term boyfriend, losing your job and then having to move out of your nightmare house share. This is what is happening to Anya, so as you can imagine – things could be going better.
This has ‘Letters to Juliet’ vibes - chasing your old crush and hoping that they will remember you. Such a brilliant story, the main characters are likeable and have a relatable emotional journey and many of us can relate to not quite knowing if you are going to find that elusive love…More Details
Ayesha at last
A modern-day, Muslim Pride and Prejudice!
Sure, Ayesha might constantly be reminded that she is single and lonely, but she is not going to go through with an arranged marriage! She just needs to find ‘The One’. Then one day, she meets Khalid, a man conventional and critical, but also devilishly handsome and sharp. Khalid is happy to wait for his mother to find him a suitable bride. So why can’t he get the candid and alluring Ayesha out of his mind?
A beautifully written book with plenty of laughter and tears. A perfect Rom-com for Valentine's Day.
The author tries to stay away from the judgemental depictions of what can sometimes occur in South Asian families, but rather it was depicted with wry amusement and showed that even if your family and peers can have expectations of what your life should be, choice usually exists.More Details
We hope that some of these have taken your fancy and you enjoy whatever you have your heart set on this Valentine’s Day.
Happy reading and happy swooning!