It’s that time of year. Teddy bears, roses, and boxes of chocolate are crowding store aisles as everyone prepares to celebrate love on Valentine’s Day.
We love love here at Nymeria, and before you roll your eyes, let’s be clear: we’re celebrating ALL kinds of love!
We’re talking romantic love (yes, we love a good rom-com every now and then), love between family members and friends, and, of course, self-love. Like RuPaul says, if you can’t love yourself, how in the hell can you love anyone else! Can we get an amen?!
So, without further ado, here are some of our favorite love stories to read in February.
Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
At first glance, you might mistake this novel by The Sun is a Star author Nicola Yoon as just another teen romance novel a lá Twilight but without the vampires. You’d be wrong.
This story follows Maddy, a girl with a rare disease that forces her to live in a literal bubble, as she falls for her new neighbor. Through vignettes, diary entries, beautiful illustrations, and breath-taking storytelling, we get to follow Maddy and Olly as they experience the ups and downs of young love with the added intensity of Maddy’s disease.
You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll feel a lot of things but none of them will be regret once you read the final sentence in this inspiring and heartbreaking romance.
We Are The Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson
To be very honest with you, this one is weird. This story centers around Henry, a teenage boy who has been abducted by aliens multiple times and now faces the ultimate decision: let the aliens destroy Earth or push a button and save everyone. Seems like an easy choice, right?
Well, Henry isn’t so sure the world is worth saving. He’s dealt with a lot in his life — a dysfunctional family, friendship woes, and the loss of his boyfriend just to name a few.
What follows is a fascinating and all-too-relatable story of a boy navigating his feelings towards his family, his schoolmates, and most importantly, himself. It’s a poignant tale of love and loss with comedic moments sprinkled throughout, making it one of our favorites.
Love Makes a Family by Sophie Beer
While this story was written with kids in mind, we think it’s a great example of love for everyone, regardless of their age.
This fun and colorful book features many different kinds of families — those with a mom and dad, two moms, two dads, just one parent, and more. Each turn of the page reveals these families enjoying different activities together like baking, waking up early, and riding a bike.
At the center of these depictions of family is one common theme: love is what makes a family. And love can take many different forms. It’s a timeless and valuable lesson that all of us, whether we’re 5 or 75, can use a reminder of.
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
You might know this book by its movie adaptation, Love, Simon. But you’re doing yourself a disservice if you haven’t taken the time to read the source material.
Becky Albertalli’s debut novel explores the life of Simon Spier, a high school boy who is figuring out how to come out to his friends and family when emails between Simon and another boy get posted to social media. The rest of the novel follows Simon as he comes to terms with his sexuality while balancing his new identity with his friendships, family, and a budding romance.
It's fun, sweet, and a tad geeky which is what makes this story one of our favorites. The masterful blend of coming-of-age and coming out teaches us about how to love ourselves so that we can love others — an act we think we can all relate to.
The Strength in Our Scars by Bianca Sparacino
The last entry on our list might also be the most powerful. This haunting collection of poems and short stories offers words of encouragement for dealing with and moving on from some of life’s toughest moments.
Ultimately, this collection is about self-love. Sparacino crafts beautiful and thought-provoking prose that details how the heartbreaking and dark things that happen to us are a chance to learn and grow. Tucked into each page is a friendly reminder that you are strong and you are worthy.
The Strength in Our Scars encourages healing and taking the time to learn to love yourself, no matter what may have happened in the past. With the stressors of everyday life and the added pressures of our changing world, this message of love resonates far past the page and is a must-read for anyone and everyone.