Book recommendations based on your relationship status

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With Valentine’s Day around the corner, whether you are enjoying a romantic meal with a long-term partner or watching a chick flick with your best friends, we have a book for everyone, from the hopeless romantics to those living their best single life.

Newly in a Relationship 

Both The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks and Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren follow characters navigating past mistakes, communication, and coming to terms with new priorities. Sparks’ book is about star-crossed loved Luke and Sophia trying to focus on their careers whilst falling in love. In Love and Other Words, we follow Elliot and Macy, childhood sweethearts, who reconnect and have a second chance at their relationship. Christina Lauren highlights the infatuation that comes in the early days of a relationship when her character says “I’ve been waiting for you to come home for eleven years. I’ll go anywhere you go.”

Long-term Relationship 

If you’re in a long-term relationship, then you will appreciate the relatability of Emily Henry’s Happy Place. A realistic portrayal of the challenges and joys of having a committed partner, when Harriet and Wyn pretend to still be together after a secret separation, the forced proximity after 8 years of romantic history causes them to question why they decided to split up in the first place. The book explores how individuals evolve over time, both separately and as a couple, spotlighting the difficulties, compromises and sacrifices made in a relationship. The concept that ‘[l]ove means constantly saying you’re sorry, and then doing better,’ is emblematic of the novel.

The book explores how individuals evolved over time, both separatel and as a couple

On-and-off Relationship 

Normal People by Sally Rooney is a great example of the extreme highs and lows of an on-and-off relationship. The book follows Marianne and Connell throughout high school and college as they struggle with personal identity, miscommunication and change, as their relationship fluctuates. Moments of miscommunication are offset with Rooney’s lyrical storytelling. Marianne muses that ‘I’m not a religious person but I do sometimes think God made you for me.’ Stephen Chbosky also depicts the unpredictable nature of relationships in The Perks of Being a Wallflower, where Charlie, an introverted 15-year-old, has just begun high school and is trying to navigate differences and intersections between romantic and platonic relationships. 

Friends-with-Benefits 

Hoover’s Ugly Love follows Tate and Miles working through their undeniable mutual attraction. But when Miles’ traumatic past begins to directly affect the progress of their relationship, the situation becomes an incredibly messy “friends with benefits” situation. Hoover portrays the frustrations that come with the battle between self-worth and knowing what you deserve, and the belief that you can be in this dynamic without catching feelings.

The frustrations that come with the battle between self-worth and knowing what you deserve

Recent Break-Up 

If you have recently experienced a break-up then Honey and Spice by Bolu Babaloa and Everything I know about Love by Dolly Alderton are crucial reads. Honey and Spice explores the importance of change, the multifaceted nature of love, and those who are not meant to be.  Dolly Alderton’s memoir showcases the importance of platonic bonds in providing comfort and redefining one’s identity outside of the confines of a past relationship. In Alderton’s words, ‘[n]early everything I know about love, I’ve learnt from long-term friendships with women.’ In a series of bad date diaries, her funny anecdotes about her poor taste in men make this a cathartic and relatable read for us all. 

Single 

Finally, if you are single and have nothing to do on Valentine’s Day, then why not binge a series such as Chestnut Springs by Elsie Silver or Dirty Air by Lauren Asher. Silver’s small-town romance about a family of cowboys in very exciting yet different relationship dynamics is just a fun and easy read that is guaranteed to keep you captivated. Asher’s series is more for the F1 fans, following four drivers balance fame and success with falling in love.

Image credit: Verity Laycock

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