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Best romance in a YA novel
You'll note the careful wording of this month's topic, and I am very, very glad of it. I am glad they chose the best romance in YA and not the best YA romance. Because I don't read a lot of YA that is only romance. A lot of the YA I read has elements of romance, but cannot be classed as romance per se in the same way Outlander or the Lords of the Underworld can be. But even with my picks for romance novels I tend towards choices like the above where the romance itself isn't the sole element of the novel. That being said it was still really hard for me to make a choice here. I feel like I had a couple of good options rolling around in my head that were all good for various reasons, but I still discarded them for my ultimate winners:
Hazel Grace Lancaster & Augustus Waters from The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
"I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, then all at once."
Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten.
Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning author John Green's most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.
-- via Goodreads
It will be 2 years this month since I finished reading and reviewed John Green's The Fault in Our Stars and the book's impact on me has not lessened since the moment I hit publish on that review. I still vividly remember how emotionally wrecked I was after reading it. It honest to goodness was one of the most beautiful and heartfelt stories that I have ever read. If you haven't read it yet, I highly recommend it, I seriously can't say enough good things about it. If you have read it you're probably wondering to yourself why/how I could ever choose Hazel and Gus as having the best romance in YA given how their story ends. And I answer you, I think that it is because of the way their story ends that theirs is the best romance I have ever encountered in YA. It doesn't end in a happily ever after, how could we ever have expected it to given the story Green was telling?
If their romance had ended happily it would have been trite and weak and wrong. The beauty and importance in their romance comes from how real and raw it is and that realness and rawness would not have been possible if it had ended any other way than how it did. Not every romance in real life can end in an HEA and John Green captured that perfectly with Hazel and Gus's story. Life is not perfect, and neither is love, but something doesn't need to be perfect to make it the best.
Do you agree with me? Or do you think I am horribly wrong in my choice? Does a romance need to end in a happily ever after to be a good romance?