*Yes, these books exist. I know, shocking.
Are you someone who loves reading Young Adult books but are tired of trying to find books in this particular genre without Love Triangles or Insta-love? Then look no further, fellow Bookaholic, because it is a daily purpose of my tireless life to hunt down such books and read them. Hence, I have had a fair share (though not enough) of some great books that I came across in my quest. So, these are some of my favorite Anti-Love Triangle, Anti-Insta-Love YA Book Recommendations-
1. Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout [LUX #1]
I absolutely heart this series. Obsidian is the first book in LUX and is told from the POV of Katy Swartz, a seventeen year old girl, who moves to West Virginia with her Mom soon after her Dad dies of Cancer. Here, she comes across her peculiar, but oh so hot, neighbors- Daemon Black and his twin sister, Dee. Things happen, people get exposed, boom. Turns out, the Blacks are aliens. And Daemon and Katy? They hate each other.
I know, I know. You’ve heard it all before. A quite, introverted girl moves to a quite, remote town, meets someone who is just… weird but so, so dangerous and then falls in love. Well, hear this then- no. This book is different and unique and kickass and absolutely brilliant.
When you first read Obsidian, you might get faint insta-love vibes- because I did too and that’s why I had DNF’d it the first time I read it- but don’t repeat my mistake. If you don’t like the first book then just hang on because the rest of the series is so frigging worth it. A lot of people compare this book with Twilight and they are not exactly wrong but I would describe it as a version of Twilight in an alternate universe where it actually worked.
A reviewer described it as- “It was as if the author felt obligated to fix Twilight catastrophe and tried make it right again” and another said, “It was like Armentrout woke up one day and said, “I’m going to write a book using all the tropes and clichés people usually hate and they’re still gonna love the shit out of this book” and I completely agree with both.
Also, there is a faint love triangle in the second book, Onyx, but it’s not even a love triangle. Trust me when I say this, don’t worry about it. It’s just a slight twist in the plot, nothing else. It’s actually a bit hilarious.
2. Bloodlines by Richelle Mead [Bloodlines, #1]
Oh, my. Bloodlines is one of my favorite series of all time. I love Adrian Ivashkov, I love Sydrian, I love a lot of things in this series. If you don’t know, Bloodlines is a spin off series of Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy books (another great series, by the way) but it’s alright if you haven’t read the Prequel VA Series. Feel free to Goodreads the book because the synopsis is a bit complicated to explain.
The reason why I recommend this series is because it has a slow burn romance but one that is so satisfying that it will sweep you off your feet. Sydney and Adrian’s relationship is so realistic because they start off as “enemies” by blood, then slowly start trusting each other, become partners in crime, then friends and then realize that they have feelings for each other- and even then, there is so much of angst and romance and, oh, wow. You need to read this one, guys. Hell, the whole of the first book is just them becoming friends!
Another reason why you need to read these books is because I take it as my personal responsibility to make sure you’ve been introduced to Adrian Ivashkov in your life. His snarky, sarcastic personality and devil-may-care attitude will draw you in at first but when he peels off his layers and you see the other passionate, struggling side of him? Yeah, that’s when you’ll fall in love with the piece of art that is Adrian. Also, he’s so handsome (I imagine him looking like Chase Crawford- Google him and thank me later).
3. Angelfall by Susan Ee [Penryn and the End of Days, #1]
Angelfall is a dark urban fantasy trilogy set in a post- apocalyptic world. It’s another one of my favorite books because it’s so dark, gritty and pure fun. It revolves around a girl named Penryn Young who’s trying to survive and support her crippled sister and crazy Mom in a world that’s no longer civilized and is ruled by the fear of angels during the day and the recklessness of human street gangs at night.
The plot unfurls when, one fateful night, Penryn and her family comes across a full blown Angel brawl and one of the angels kidnap Paige, Penryn’s sister. Now, all Penryn can do is reluctantly team up with Raffe- a snarky, broody angel who is in a wicked avenging mood to get back his torn wings- in order to find and save her sister.
Guys, this trilogy is so good. Personally, my favorite is the last book of the trilogy- End of Days- but all three of them are break neck, spit fire incredible. Penryn and Raffe are hilarious; their constant banter and bickering are to live for. And Penryn? She’s no damsel in distress. That’s one heroine who can fend for herself, kick some serious ass and has a sword-sharp tongue. She’s brilliant.
The romance is slow burning and full of angst but it takes a backseat to the plot. And the plot- take my word for it, it’s Genius with a capital G. As the trilogy builds up, the whole political plans of the angels and the apocalypse unravel in a way that gruesomely makes sense. Like I said, it’s dark, gritty, action-packed, hilarious and the romance is addictive and just the way you want it.
4. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir [AEITA, #1]
Okay, okay, I almost don’t have a concrete reason to add this book but it’s one of my favorite books and it’s so good. Sabaa Tahir is one of my favorite authors and, yes, she only has two books out yet but both of them are incredible and she is so funny. She is my Queen, y’all. I’ll probably go assassinate some people if she asks me to.
An Ember in the Ashes in set in a fanstasy world inspired by Ancient Rome. It revolves around the lives of Laia, who is a Scholar- a race of people who are enslaved by the cruel Martians- and Elias, one of the deadly soldiers trained at Blackcliff Academy, a school which breeds the Empire’s most dangerous Martians to become Masks, cruel assassins. Without giving away much, the plot unfurls when Laia and Elias’s paths meet at the Academy where Laia is sent to spy on the Commandant, ruthless leader of Blackcliff.
Ugh, just Goodreads it, I can’t explain plots well.
Now, you have to take my word for it that everything about this book is amazing- the writing, the characters, the plot development, romance- everything. The thing is, there is a love triangle in the book- well, more like a love quadrilateral so this isn’t a very appropriate addition to these Recs…. but, if you catch my drift, you don’t need to worry about that. Not in the second book, at least. It takes a backseat to the action so it’s not like one of those annoying trilogies which revolves only around the romance. Not even close.
See, I have zero tolerance for love triangles- so if I tell you that this one isn’t that bad and worth tolerating- then it is. More importantly, this series has some great romance. It’s slow burning and instant OTP declaration material. It does not take up the whole plot but it’s definitely satisfying. Oh, Elaia, I ❤ you.
[Cheeky addition of some fanart to convince you guys]
Yup, it’s just that good.
Note: Only the first two books of this series are out yet (An Ember in the Ashes and A Torch Against the Night) so if you’re one of those people who ask themselves, “Why am I like this” upon starting an unfinished series and then dying of suspense- then I suggest you wait, even though both the books have very satisfying ends.
5. Lacey Flint Series by S.J. Bolton
This one is a bit off the shelf recommendation as I’m not entirely sure if it even falls under the YA genre but I’m going somewhere with it. If you’re someone who would like a good crime thriller but aren’t into all the Agatha Christie stuff or just plain ol’ crime novels because you can’t relate with the age of the characters and there’s just not enough… I don’t know, angst to keep you hooked then Now You See Me and the rest of the Lacey Flint series is just your cup of tea.
I’m exactly the person that I described above so imagine my pleasant surprise when I accidentally stumbled across this one at the library. Now You See Me is the best crime thriller I’ve read to date and my shocks and surprises when I read it for the first time will always be ingrained in my heart.
There is everything in these books that you’d like. A very interesting protagonist, brilliant side characters, a specific theme for every book and, the attention grabber for you, a really slow burning KISS ALREADY romance between Lacey Flint and Mark Joesbury. Ah, I love these two.
Best of all, they start off as enemies (enemies to lovers is another one of my favorite romance themes) and their banters and the slow, chilling romance is a total “gripping” material.
S.J. Bolton’s writing is bone chilling and I’m not just saying that- her brilliant plotting and plot twists are jaw dropping and so, so addictive. I don’t read a lot of crime thrillers myself but if you read one in a year, then make it this one.
6. Nevermore by Kelly Creagh (Nevermore, #1)
Nevermore is a one of a kind, unique book that will blow your socks off and leave you astonished. This book is an absolute gem in the YA Paranormal genre and is probably one of this genre’s best books that I’ve read.
Isobel, a popular cheerleader, and Varen, a quiet goth, are teamed up by their English teacher to work on a project on Edgar Allan Poe. The plot unravels when Poe’s work bleeds into the real world and Varen seems uncharacteristically drawn to it while Isobel tries to distinguish between reality and fiction and fights to save Varen from the clutches of the dangers born through Edgar All Poe. It’s haunting, beautiful and heartbreaking.
Let me just say that this book is a masterpiece. It’s been a long time since I read this but I do remember how much I adored this book when I first read it. This isn’t your normal cheerleader falls in love with the goth Rom-Com, oh no, this book is dark and poetic and sad. And the best part? You’ll actually feel scared while reading it. Yes, yes, I know- a YA Paranormal Romance which would actually scare you? Well, this book will.
The Gothic element adds to the haunting factor and you’ll fall in love with the writing, the prose, the characters and their love and relationships with each other. The romance is so slow burning that it will actually annoy you (but, again, that’s why it’ll keep you hooked).
You don’t see books like Nevermore often and I guarantee you that this book will not disappoint you. ❤