Literary Swoon, Day One: Nova Ren Suma

February 7, 2012 2012, author interview, literary swoon, nova ren suma, Wendy 36

Photos courtesy of D. Sharon Pruitt & Nova Ren Suma

To get you into the Valentine’s Day mood, we’ve asked some of our favorite young adult authors for their help! We asked two questions:  

What is your favorite romantic scene from a novel? Why has it stayed with you? 

The answers we received were surprising and touching, and provide a little glimpse into each writer’s reading world. Books are often an emotional experience, after all, and through them we often see our own breathless dreams and longings and aspirations reflected. Fair warning that each day features a scene that probably contains some spoilers, so you may want to skip them if you haven’t read the book and plan to do so soon.

There’s no better person to start off our series than Nova Ren Suma, the author of one of my favorite books published last year: Imaginary Girls! Without further ado, here is

Nova Ren Suma’s Favorite Romantic Book Scene:

In trying to come up with an answer for this question, I discovered something twisted about myself: I don’t seem to enjoy happily-ever-romance in stories—at least, my most-loved novels are utterly lacking in this, and I seem especially attracted to sad endings.

But then I remembered there was one scene in a book I once read that I found terribly romantic, and I’m going to tell you what it is even though it’s an embarrassing one since it is just…so…obvious.

Anyone read The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger? So I’m talking about the tiny scene at the very end of the book—spoiler if you haven’t read it—a scene told from two perspectives: Henry has time-traveled into a far future he doesn’t recognize, and he sees an old woman at a table drinking tea. It takes him a moment to realize it’s his wife, Clare. Then we turn to Clare’s perspective, and there she is, an old woman, sitting at a table drinking tea, many years after Henry has died. But she’s waiting and holding out hope that he will visit one last time… because he once told her he would. So every day she wonders if this is the day he’ll come. The book ends with Clare not knowing that he’s about to appear, but we know because we just saw the scene through Henry’s eyes, and it just slays me. That she’s waiting for him. That they’ll get this one last chance to connect after all those years… 

I believe in the fairy-tale idea of a “one true love,” I think because I found mine when I was a teenager and we’re still together. This scene really spoke to me, and I very vividly remember closing the book, tears running down my cheeks, all choked up and desperately needing a tissue, and running into the next room to find E, my boyfriend at the time (now my husband), and going, “I’d wait for youuuuuu!”

Of course E had no idea what I was talking about. He probably said something like, “Uh, what???”

And I had a difficult time articulating it, but I remember that scene striking me as the most beautiful and devoted thing. And it was wonderfully sad, too.

Nova Ren Suma is the author of Imaginary Girls (2011) and Dani Noir, which is being reissued as Fade Out for YA shelves in June 2012. Her next YA novel is 17 & Gone, due out from Dutton/Penguin in 2013.She can be found at, on her blog, or on Twitter as @novaren, distracting herself endlessly.

Check out the rest of the Literary Swoon series! 

Nova Ren Suma, author of Imaginary Girls
Gail Carriger, author of Soulless
Rebecca Lim, author of Mercy
Deborah Cooke, author of Flying Blind
Cynthia Hand, author of Unearthly
Shirley Marr, author of Fury 
Lauren Oliver, author of Delirium

Kendare Blake, author of Anna Dressed in Blood
The Midnight Garden Bloggers

36 Responses to “Literary Swoon, Day One: Nova Ren Suma”

  1. Stewart and Clarissa Foss

    Really? I hated that scene. I wanted to punch Henry for stealing potential happiness from Clare. She spends all this time waiting for him to return for a few moments alone with him when she’s a hunched back little old lady. How terribly sad. Everyday she wonders if she’ll see Henry again, when she could have been finding happiness with someone else. I believe there isn’t just one great love in our life. I think we can have more than one. I would have preferred it if that scene was left out, like in the movie. This is one book where I liked the movie better than the book.

  2. The Sagacity Quest

    I’ve not read The Time Traveler’s Wife, but I sure will be checking it out soon. The way Nova put it, the scene sound so romantic and sad. Wonderful post, Wendy!

    I’m going to check out the other two posts now!

  3. Alison Can Read

    My favorite scene from TTW is probably a tie between when Henry first meets his daughter and then when he visits the future and sees his daughter after he’s died and Clare just misses him. Makes me sob every time.

  4. Heidi

    I loved The Time Traveler’s Wife, and agree that this bittersweet ending is so perfect and easy to fall for. I personally prefer these types of endings, and I’m not sure what that says about me. Literary Swoon is a great idea for a series!

  5. Vegan YA Nerds

    I haven’t read TTTW but now I really want to, what a great way to end a book.

    I also need to read Nova’s books too!

    And Wendy I think you should definitely read the Ashbury/Brookfield series :)

    • Wendy Darling

      I adore Imaginary Girls–it’s very Twilight Zone-y, in the best possible way. :) And I will definitely pick up Jaclyn Moriarty sometime!

  6. The Night Bookmobile

    Nova has such a way with words. I read TTW and sobbed like a baby. I’ve always been interested in time travel so to throw this sort of love story on top of it… I never stood a chance. Then last season’s scenes with the Doctor and River on Doctor Who reminded me of the book a bit and I cried then too. Time travel and romance is clearly the way to embarrassing tears for me.

  7. Jaskirat@SeeitORreadit

    I still need to read the Time Traveller’s Wife but I’ve heard wonderful things about it and will definitely be picking it up soon :) Awesome post Wendy and an absolutely adorable, perfect for Valantine’s Day scene!!!


  8. A Canadian Girl

    I haven’t read The Time-Traveler’s Wife but that scene sounds so sweet and romantic. I loved Suma’s reaction after reading it even more.

  9. roro

    i know i know i’ve heard of it but not read it
    it sounds awesome/ hoping 2 read it soon
    gr8 event

  10. Nova Ren Suma

    Thank you so much for having me here today, Wendy! I love this series and I can’t wait to hear about the other romantic scenes and books… especially if they’re sad ones ;)

    • Wendy Darling

      Aw, thank you so much for participating and for writing such a lovely post, Nova! It was such a great way to start off the series. :) Look forward to hearing more about 17 & Gone when you’re ready to share.

    • Nova Ren Suma

      Cillian, you are so sweet! Oh, I’m sorry to say this because you got so excited. That’s the paperback version of DANI NOIR. They gave it a new title and cover (and I made some new updates to the story).

      My *real* new book is coming out with Dutton and it’s called 17 & GONE… I’ll have more news about it I hope soon!

  11. Cillian Beyond Birthday

    I haven’t read The Time Traveler’s Wife, but I read Imaginary Girls (a 2011 absolute fave) and I’m electrified to see her here. I wish she’d join GoodReads so we can see her more often.
    And she has a new book coming out, I need that book in my life NOW!

  12. Sam

    Great choice of book! Some of the romantic scenes in The Time Traveler’s Wife are so lovely. I think I need to re-read some day. :)

  13. Racquel (A Book Barbie)

    “I’d wait for youuuuuu!” LOL. I’m still laughing xD o never watched or read the time travelers wife but my sister is a huge fan and being a hopeless romantic herself, I bet this was a nice pick for swoon-ness. The scene mentioned is definitely heart moving!

    The Midnight Garden gals, I looove this guest post feature thingy! A great idea, I love romance so seeing it on full display this month is awesome:D

    Racquel @The Book Barbies
    -thank you&come again.

  14. Amy

    I loved The Time Travelers Wife. It was such a great book. I love that scene. I think that it’s very beautiful. It’s just so touching.

  15. Rebecca

    OK, I am just going to say it. This post made me cry. Now I have to go call my husband. Then I have to read The Time Traveler’s Wife. You are not supposed to read book blog post and cry, but that really got to me:) Wonderful post.

  16. Tatiana_G

    This is a very sweet scene and personal story:) I think I’m drawn to tragic romances as well, because somehow they are sweeter when there is bitterness in them.

  17. K.

    I’m the same way about bitter-sweet endings. I think its because, in a way, its way more romantic. You explore the limits, or lack thereof, of what you would do to do the right thing in the name of love. People say sometimes love isn’t enough, and I agree. But sometimes it is. Sometimes love is so great and so pure, that a fleeting glance is fills your soul enough to last a lifetime.

    But anyway, that whole running to your boyfriend afterwards is sooo something I would do ;)

  18. Leanna (Daisy Chain Book Reviews)

    I tried twice (and failed twice) to read The Time Traveler’s Wife. I know, I know – everybody loves that book. I am so hard to please. I just couldn’t get into it at all. Maybe I should give it another try sometime.

    I need to read Imaginary Girls too. It’s my on my TBR for a while!

  19. Missie, The Unread Reader

    OMG! Yes, that scene slayed me too. I loved everything about The Time Traveler’s Wife. I read the book and then listened to the audiobook!

    Henry and Clare’s devotion to each other was so heartwarming. I’ll never forget it. :)

  20. Melliane

    I don’t think I’ve read this book, but I think I saw a movie like that. I agree with you it’s a wonderful end, so beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing with us.

  21. Flannery Anderson

    This idea is lovely, Wen. And to Nova Ren Suma, I loved the scene you picked out and your story about your husband. This is the perfect way to kick off the Literary Swoon week. I can’t wait to see what else is in store:)

  22. Mimi Valentine

    I feel the exact same way! I don’t know what it is about sad and heartbreaking endings, but I tend to hold them closer to my heart than happier ones. Maybe it’s because they’re not as common or something else — I’m not really sure! x) And I haven’t read The Time Traveler’s Wife yet but I watched the movie the other day and I bawled like a baby!

    Thank you so much for sharing your favourite romantic book scene, Nova! And another HUGE thank you to you for having this event too, Wendy! <3 :) I think the blogosphere is getting me more into the Valentine's Day mood than my sister's love stories haha! ;)

  23. Sarahbotbonkers

    Aww. Bittersweet endings just kills me. I’d prefer my endings upfront and clear. The Time Traveler’s Wife was one heck of a good book, though. So I didn’t mind the river of tears I shed. :)

  24. Julianna Helms

    What an awesome post! :) I haven’t read The Time Traveler’s Wife yet, but my goodness, I have a feeling that, if I did, the tissues would be rampant and probably run over the world what with my crying-ness. :]

  25. Natalie (Mindful Musings)

    I remember reading The Time Traveler’s Wife in high school, and while I know I liked it, I’ve gotten kind of fuzzy on a few of the details. It might be time for a reread!