Make 2020 the Year of the Rom-Com!

Graphic created by the fabulous Adiba Jaigirdar!


Paging all YA rom-com readers! How would you like to give yourself (or someone you care about) the ultimate Valentine’s Day gift: a delicious assortment of light-hearted love stories? From Feb. 9-16,we here at The Book Bratz are hosting the Make 2020 The Year of the Rom-Com Giveaway. One lucky winner will receive 12 YA rom-coms (!!) by exciting new authors. Check back daily as each 2020 debut shares a fave rom-com (or two). 

But before we get into more details about the giveaway -- we asked all of these amazing authors to tell us about their favorite rom-coms down below!

Marisa Kanter: In 2017, I spent a perfect snow day falling in love with The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli. It’s the book I will forever shout from the rooftops about, the book I solidly declare to be my favorite rom-com because it was the first time I ever saw a Jewish character centered in one. Molly Peskin-Suso, an anxious Jewish girl with twenty-six unrequited crushes, has my whole entire heart. This book is so sweet and cute, laugh out loud funny, and all around happy making. It’s the book I desperately needed as a teen, but never knew I could have. It validated to me that Jewish characters do have a place in rom-coms stories, and gave me the confidence to write my own. 

Emma Lord: I feel like it’s cheating to say To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before since it’s everyone and their uncle’s favorite rom com, but it will always hold a special place in my heart because it’s both romantic and family-driven. I picked it up because fake dating tropes are the sauce that keeps my blood running, but it left a forever impression on my heart because I’m also one of three sisters, and it was a book I read and anticipated the next installments of with one of my sisters — the first book was a shared experience right at a time when my littlest sister was old enough that we were reading from the same genres, and I’ve loved bonding with her about the series for all these years, and for getting to swoon with the entire internet over it after the first movie came out. It’s a romantic comedy that’s rooted in so much love and self-discovery  and family ties that I think it’s impossible for it not to be one of my forever favorites. 

Syed Masood: I love rom-coms and always have. I’ll watch The Big Sick or Crazy Rich Asians or Bridget Jones's Diary or The Family Stone any day. However, since I have to pick one, I’ll go with Katie Henry’s HERETICS ANONYMOUS. It is a coming of age novel that deals with complex issues of faith and doubt, family and forgiveness. Also, the writing is brilliant. There’s nothing more satisfying than having to pause at the end of a sentence or at a turn of phrase just to appreciate it properly. It’s truly a joy, because of the genre, yes, but also because of the themes and craft involved.

Cameron Lund: Maybe this is cheating, but there were two books growing up that made me fall in love with rom-coms and inspired me to become a writer: Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine (yes this is a rom-com!) and Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. The hilarious letters back and forth between Ella and Prince Char will never fail to make me laugh and the mutual pining will-they-won’t-they between Anna and Etienne gets me in the feels every time. I’ve always wanted to write a book that could make someone feel the way these books made me feel as a teen. I love a romance based upon friendship, shared history, and inside jokes. It’s no surprise my debut features a best friends-to-lovers trope. 

Amy Noelle Parks: I adore Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, mostly because it’s flat-out hilarious. I’ve always a little bit resented the college coursework definition of comedy as work that ends in marriage instead of death. That’s a depressingly low bar. When I read a rom-com, I want laughs as well as swoons, which Dash and Lily definitely provides. I don’t know how many times I’ve reread this book, but I laugh out loud everytime Dash sits on Santa’s lap to retrieve the clue Santa’s hiding under his shirt. Plus, the chemistry between dour, bookish Dash and ball-of-sunshine Lily is perfect, and a climactic scene that includes a visit to an unabridged Oxford English Dictionary is always going to send me.

Suzanne Park: Sandhya Menon’s WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI is the rom-com I think about most often when I start working on a new project. As a second generation Korean-American, I could relate to Dimple and Rishi both being so worried when they saw a future for themselves that didn’t align with their parents’ wishes.  I loved the distinct voices of the two main characters and Menon does a great job with building their relationship so their chemistry is believable. My favorite thing about the book though was that first Starbucks encounter— it makes me laugh every time I think about it!

Ciara Smyth: You’d think seeing as I wrote a book all about rom-coms that I’d know what my favourite one was. But I have a complicated relationship with them, particularly the films. On the one hand they almost always centre a smart, lovable, funny woman. On the other hand they’re usually about her finding a man to make her life complete. But I think if you dig a little deeper you find that a lot of the time the stories are really about these women’s insecurities, their fears, the things that have hurt them and made them wary.  Take While You Were Sleeping, a favourite of mine (Sandra B has my heart): Lucy is isolated and living in a fantasy. She’s pining for the guy who buys a subway token from her every day, but is unable to make a genuine connection. She doesn’t feel good enough for the guy she imagines Peter to be. Then she saves Peter’s life and is mistaken for his girlfriend. Peter is in a coma and can’t refute this. So Lucy in a time of loneliness and emptiness develops a true bond with Peter’s family, who accept her and love her just for being there and being herself. Yes, she finds love with Peter’s brother in the end but isn’t it just the story of a woman who was finally able to be comfortable with being herself and opening up to the possibility of something real, rather than a fantasy? As cheesy as it sounds While You Were Sleeping is not just about a woman finding love with a man, but about a woman finding and loving herself. I think the very best rom-coms are telling a story about how we make connections with other people and the reasons we sometimes find that so difficult. They tell us to let our guard down and be open, after hurt, after pain, after loss. They tell us that even if you find yourself at a point in life that feels lonely or empty you can still have a happy ending. 

Jamie Pacton: I love Love, and Happily Ever Afters, and all the amazing Shakespearean tropes (mistaken identity! missed messages! comic misunderstandings!) that go into a good rom-com. So, though I find many rom-coms problematic, I definitely have favorites. I’ve watched BRIDGET JONES so many times, I could probably recite it (though, seriously, someone please tell Bridget she’s not fat, because good grief). A KNIGHT’S TALE is a perpetual favorite (and huge inspiration for my debut, THE LIFE AND (MEDIEVAL) TIMES OF KIT SWEETLY). And THE BIG SICK and CRAZY RICH ASIANS are movies I re-watch every few months. I also devour adult rom-com novels at a truly alarming speed. Mention WELL-MET, THE KISS QUOTIENT, THE HATING GAME, or RED, WHITE, AND ROYAL BLUE around me at your own peril, because I can-- and will-- talk about those books all day long. I even love romances with a darker or sadder edge-- think PS I LOVE YOU (still not done crying over this movie) or FLEABAG (oh my heart)-- because they show the ache of loving someone as well as the giddy joy, which I think is important as we consider love and the stories we tell about it in all of its nuances. 


Leah Johnson: If you ask me to name my favorite romantic comedy on any given day, and set any number of different parameters, the answer might be different. If you’re asking me for the rom-com that made me want to study abroad, the answer would be Anna and the French Kiss. If you’re asking me about the romance that made me laugh and cry in equal measure, the answer would be The Sun is Also a Star. But if you’re asking me which novel made me fall in love with New York City, my adopted home, or the book that instilled in me a passion for live music—the freedom it can give a girl and the magic is can make of a night—the answer is and will always be Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn. Growing up, it was such an aspirational text—the characters unbelievably smart and unbearably cool—that it became something more than a book, it was a roadmap. And that, at any age, is the thing I treasure most about great YA. (Not to mention That Scene in the ice room???? If you know, you know.) 

Amanda Sellet: My favorite recent discovery in rom-com land is Mhairi McFarlane’s DON’T YOU FORGET ABOUT ME. The dialogue crackles, the friend group reaches Bridget-Jones levels of excellence, and the ex-boyfriend is almost as horrifyingly bad as the restaurant where hapless heroine Georgina (briefly) works as a waitress. And of course I love the way Georgina and Lucas fall in love (the first time) while discussing English literature. The whole thing is a beautifully balanced mix of humor, romance, and more serious undertones that make Georgina’s hard-won HEA incredibly moving.   

Adiba Jaigirdar: There are so many rom-coms that I absolutely love. If you had asked me this question when I was a teenager, I would have no doubt chosen The Princess Diaries series by Meg Cabot because I was obsessed with those books. But the romcom that made me feel like I just wanted to sit down and write a rom-com? That is, without a doubt, To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han. There are so many reasons for this. First of all, because it’s still rare to read rom-coms where the lead is a woman of colour, and where a diaspora character’s relationship to their culture is explored. Jenny Han does that so brilliantly in her series. The scene where Lara Jean dresses up as Cho Chang for Halloween because people will know who she is, as Cho Chang is also East Asian, resonated with me so much because when I was in primary school during World Book Day I could only dress up as one the Patil twins because they were the only South Asian characters I had ever read about! I also love how To All The Boys is a book (and a movie) that just really leans into its fluffiness and sweetness. And I love love love that it’s a book with such a young voice, that it really seems to speak to a teen audience. Reading the book really helped me find the voice that I wanted to capture in The Henna WarsIn fact, I love To All The Boys so much that for a few months last year I simply passed the entire trilogy from co-worker to co-worker and I’m pretty sure half the people in my staffroom have now read Lara Jean’s tale (and are all better off for it, let’s face it)!

Amelia Diane Coombs: I’ve always adored rom-coms! But my favorite is, without a doubt, 10 Things I Hate About You. The 90s were ripe with rom-coms, but most I find incredibly unappealing (I’m looking at you, Sleepless in Seattle!) but as another Seattle-based 90s rom-com, 10 Things held up pretty well, and it’s my go-to comfort movie. Kat isn’t your typical rom-com protagonist. She’s mean and edgy and fearless. There’s nothing cute or soft about her, and she’s an unabashed feminist. Then you have Patrick Verona, the bad boy with the pretty face with enough rumors about his life to fill an entire gossip rag. (Heath Ledger will always be a winner in my book. Also see: A Knight’s Tale) Kat and Patrick’s hate-banter is one of my favorites in both film and books, and it’s incredibly rewarding as they grow closer. Maybe I find their romance so appealing because Kat and Patrick are both outcasts that bring out the best in one another. Not only is the script hilarious, but Patrick’s serenade scene gives me serious heart-eyes. It’s just the perfect combination of swoony and hilarious!

Now that we've heard from everyone else, it's time to hear from you!

Tell us your favorite rom-com in the comments for a bonus entry!  

Plus, the best part of this giveaway is that all of these authors will be mailing their books to you individually -- so you have the option of indicating separate addresses in case you wanted to send any of your winning books to a friend! In the spirit of Valentine's Day, it's a super sweet way to treat both yourself AND someone you love to some great new reads!

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY HERE:


We'd like to extend a HUGE thank you to all of the incredible authors who teamed up and put together this giveaway to do with us -- we're HUGE rom-com fans here at The Book Bratz, so having the opportunity to share twelve AMAZING new stories with our readers is so exciting! Good luck to everyone who enters!

Also, if you're interested in any of the new books above, here are their release dates:

Jan. 21: Tweet Cute
April 7: The Perfect Escape
April 7: What I Like About You
April 7: The Best Laid Plans
May 5: The Life and (Medieval) Times of Kit Sweetly
May 12: By the Book
May 12: The Henna Wars
June 2: You Should See Me in a Crown
June 9: The Falling in Love Montage
June 23: Keep My Heart in San Francisco
Aug. 4: More Than Just a Pretty Face
Sept. 8: The Quantum Weirdness of the Almost Kiss



19 comments

  1. Ahhhhh I'm so excited for these books!

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  2. I read Tweet Cute as an ARC and it is now my favorite rom-com of all time.

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  3. You Should See Me in a Crown looks brilliant and I’m so excited!

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  4. I reread The Start of Me and You and then followed up the sequel, The Map from Here to There. I love everything Emery Lord writes. I’m also a diehard Sarah Dessen fan: Just Listen and This Lullaby are my all-time faves

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  5. Red White and Royal Blue was my favorite of last year. I just got Yes No Maybe So yesterday which i'm excited for!

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  6. There's nothing I love more than a rom com so I'm super excited for these books

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  7. My all time fav rom-com is Fangirl but I really love Layoverland that was released in Jan! Thanks so much for the awesome giveaway!

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  8. One of my faves will always be TATBILB! I also love Stephanie Perkins' books!

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  9. I adored Lucky Caller by Emma Mills recently. Her books always bring a smile to my face. Sweet and fun, with a little bit of angst is always my jam.

    Thanks for the chance!

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  10. My favorite rom-com book...I think right now, it is Would Like To Meet, by Rachel Winters!

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  11. Favorite romcom has to be Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talía Hibbert.

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  12. One of my most recent rom-com Dave's is Only Mostly Devastated. It was so much fun.
    Field Notes on Love by Jennifer E. SMITH was wonderful too.

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  13. Thank so you for this chance that you have given to us readers!!I have a lot of favorite rom-com books, but some of my faves are The Hating Game by Sally Throne, Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuisto, and The Bride Test by Helen Hoang!

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  14. So far this year, Tweet Cute is the best rom-com I have read.

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  15. As good as possibly winning all of these books are all the recommendations. +1 for Marisa Kanter's rec of THE UPSIDE OF UNREQUITED because it also features a plus-size MC, which is also what made me love it. Anyway, my list is that much longer, now, for the titles I haven't read, yet!

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  16. Fave rom-com: Opposite of Always

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