Ahh, what better way to cap off summer than with our favorite bookish couples. We’re all suckers for some swoon here at TMG (I mean, is there anyone who isn’t? Show yourselves; I want answers.), but we all have definite–and differing–opinions on just which YA couples work and which make us want to take a very long shower.
So, who gives us the swoons, and who gives us the shivers?
Peyton’s Favorite Couple
Karou and Akiva from the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy. It’s the star-crossed lovers story, but it’s also about two broken people trying to make their love for each other thrive in a world that knows nothing but war. I loved both these characters individually and as a couple. Every scene with them just made me want to melt.
Peyton’s Least Favorite Couple
Juliette and Warner from the Shatter Me trilogy. It wasn’t that I didn’t like this couple as much as I didn’t think the two people who ended up together at the end were the two people I was introduced to in the first book. They were just so different in Ignite Me, especially Warner, that I couldn’t be excited about their romance.
Betsy Ray and Joe Willard from Maud Hart Lovelace’s Betsy, Tacy, and Tib books. As readers we first meet Joe Willard (dreamy! forthright! playful!) when Betsy starts high school in Heaven to Betsy, but despite their immediate interest in each other, they never really work out as a couple until later in the series (and date and swoon over other folks in the interim). And this makes a lot of sense: they’re freshmen in high school and very much still figuring out who they want to be as people and they both challenge each other a lot and scare each other a little. They’re also both passionate about their writing and are incredibly competitive as a result. What I like most about their relationship, though, is that they end up changing – together – into people who are very different from their high-school selves but still want to be together.
Layla’s Least Favorite Couple
Cathy and Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights. This is a PSA: no story is a love story if it involves hanging someone’s dog at your wedding. Even if you’re not marrying the girl of your dreams. Even if it’s not her dog. This is less about the book – I don’t think Brontë intended for Cathy and Heathcliff to win any best fictional couple contests – and more about the book’s interpretation over the years (MTV, I’m looking at you). Love the book, but Cathy and Heathcliff are messed up to me.
Kate’s Least Favorite Couple
Adam and Mia, If I Stay. This book was all about Mia’s parents and little brother for me, and since I tend not to take high school relationships super seriously anyway, everything to do with Adam just felt kind of shallow to me.
Kate’s Favorite Couple
Adam and Mia, Where She Went. The story of how these two tried to stick together following the loss of Mia’s family, and the way their inevitable breakup shaped their adult lives, left me sobbing uncontrollably, and after I finished reading it the first time I flipped to the beginning and reread it immediately.
My favorite fictional couples are the ones who have a values in common, traits that help each other grow, and serious, serious chemistry. Rose and Dimitri from Vampire Academy exemplify two strong, principled characters who understand each other perfectly–even when that means that they have to break each other’s hearts. And if you ever thought that book-lovers who are trying to do the right thing in Victorian England could not be full of passion and romance, you haven’t met Tessa and Will from The Infernal Devices! They go through hell with their relationship, in no small part because they both love Jem–as a friend-turned-suitor, and as a brother. I love Jem too, but it’s Tessa and Will together who have my heart.
Wendy’s Least Favorite Couples
I occasionally get annoyed by a wimpy heroine or a boy who’s a jerk, but it takes a lot for me to really despise two characters as a couple so much that I cringe at the very thought of them. But there are two relationships that are so toxic that I can’t help but make a TERRIBLE face whenever I see them come up in conversation: Patch and Nora from Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick and Daniel and Lucinda from Fallen by Lauren Kate. No, no, no, no, no. Please don’t let the men in your life treat you like garbage.
Juliette and Warner from the Shatter Me series. I don’t have anything against Juliette as a character, but I very much have a lot against Warner and I especially hate them as a couple. There is no doubt that Warner was incredibly abusive and manipulative to Juliette in the first book. It blows my mind that this individual would ever be considered a legitimate love interest. The fact that nearly all instances of abuse/dangerous behavior were explained away (“he really wasn’t that bad after all, guys!”) in the final book was not only supremely disappointing but also irresponsible and a terrible example to young readers.
Kim’s Favorite Couple
Celaena and Chaol from the Throne of Glass series. Why are they my favorite? BECAUSE THEY ARE PERFECT OBVIOUSLY. Let’s be real here. I just adore the way these two play off of each other: Celaena’s sassy swagger and Chaol with his stolid seriousness. love how they tease and banter. I love that they are on opposite sides when it comes to national loyalties but still fall for each other. Mostly, I love the moments when they’re able to put all differences aside, and swagger aside, and stoicism aside and really connect with each other. When these two take the time to show how much they care it’s just magical. I’m still so heartbroken and yet simultaneously happy sighing over these two. I have high hopes for these kids.
Tonya’s Favorite Couple
Froi and Quintana from Melina Marchetta’s The Lumatere Chronicles. (Let’s be real, we all knew this was going to be one of Marchetta’s couples. #JONAH #GRIGGS.) Marchetta is a master of the emotional journey, but never have I read such depth as she was able to give Froi and Quintana’s story. Broken beyond measure, but harboring unimaginable strength, the damaged and the damned found their courage within each other, and rose together to bring peace to a nation. I can’t say enough and at the same time I don’t want to say anything at all about them. SIGH. *runs to reread for the 30th time*
Tonya’s Least Favorite Couple
Rhine and Linden from The Chemical Garden series. (Full disclosure: I only read the first book.) I just. What. Even. Is. This. Book. Girl, you are kidnapped at gunpoint and sold into sexual slavery, and you’re gonna get all googly eyed over this milquetoast bigamist dude who’s only into you because you look like his dead wife, and by the way just got his other THIRTEEN YEAR OLD wife pregnant? NO. There are so many things wrong with this story I don’t even know how to talk about it coherently.
Which couples do you love, or love to hate?