Mother’s Day is all about celebrating your mom by doing things she loves — and if she loves to read, there’s no better way to honor her than with a book. If you’re a mom passing on your love of reading to your daughter, you’re probably always on the lookout for the perfect title to encourage your budding bookworm. For all the moms looking for a swoony read and similar titles for their kids, here are 16 perfect pairings of romance novels and their fitting YA match.
No Good Duke Goes Unpunished by Sarah MacLean and The Season by Sarah MacLean
We love us some Sarah MacLean, and whether you’re looking for a steamier read for mom or a YA title, we’ve got you covered. MacLean’s first novel The Season has just been re-released, and it’s a YA tale full of all the things readers have come to love about her work — strong-willed heroines, intrigue, and a devilishly handsome hero. No Good Duke Goes Unpunished similarly deals with a mysterious death and Temple’s long-simmering guilt over the woman he believes he killed. When Mara Lowe reappears in his life 12 years later, it stirs old feelings and wounds for both of them. There’s a little bit of Sarah MacLean for every age group.
A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole and The Princess Diaires by Meg Cabot
In both of these effervescent novels, the heroines are leading normal lives in the U.S. — Cole’s Naledi is a graduate student in the sciences, while Cabot’s Mia is a high-school student — when they discover they are actually royalty. Mia is the Princess of Genovia, by virtue of her birthright, but all she wants is to get through high school and maybe find a boyfriend. Ledi initially doesn’t believe the emails she receives informing her she’s betrothed to the prince of Thesolo — and it doesn’t help that the prince worms his way into her life under another name. Both of these novels are funny, romantic explorations of the sacrifices it requires to be a royal — and find your truest self in the process.
The Rose by Tiffany Reisz and Inside the Walls of Troy by Clarence McLaren
If Greek mythology is your thing, look no further than this pairing. The Rose is an erotic tale of a young woman who comes into contact with an enchanted cup that will bring to life her deepest sexual fantasies, all of which happen to be based in Greek myth. Inside the Walls of Troy tells the story of the Trojan War through the eyes of two of the women at its heart — the infamous Helen and seer Cassandra. Mother and daughter can both Greek out.
American Dreamer by Adriana Herrera and Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Both American Dreamer and Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda are beautiful tales of identity and a testament to how love is love. The heroes of both novels — Simon, and Nesto and Jude — grapple with embracing their identities, navigating how their relationships impact their ties to their families, and more. We want to see more LGBTQ romance out there in the world, but this pairing is a great start for books that celebrate love and finding the people who make us proudest of who we are.
The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang and To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
We never met a fake relationship trope we didn’t like, and the two in these novels will leave you weak at the knees. In The Kiss Quotient, the autistic Stella hires Michael, a professional escort, to help her get comfortable with intimacy — but soon their transanctional relationship begins to mean something more. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before offers up a different kind of “fake love becomes real” story when Peter Kavinsky agrees to pretend to be Lara Jean’s boyfriend to help her cover up the release of embarassing letters to her crushes. Now, who wants to be in a fake relationship with us?
The Accidental Beauty Queen by Teri Wilson and Dumplin' by Julie Murphy
Beauty pageants are always an ideal setting for narrative drama — the gowns, the hair, the misconceptions. Both The Accidental Beauty Queen and Dumplin’ feature heroines who hate their family’s association with beauty pageants, but when they actually participate in one in earnest they find the joy, self-confidence, and sisterhood (as well as some romantic bliss) that comes along with them. Both books use the setting for their heroines to learn to love themselves, and what’s more beautiful than that?
Long Shot by Kennedy Ryan and The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan
Both of these novels tackle the difficult process of self-love in the context of extreme trauma. Long Shot’s Iris DuPree craves a second chance at love with NBA hot shot Augustus West, but first she must overcome the domestic abuse she suffers at the hands of her longtime boyfriend. The Astonishing Color of After’s Leigh Chen Sanders is reeling from realizing she finally kissed her crush at the exact moment her mother died by suicide. Both of these heroines have to wrestle with their demons and the pain wrought by others in their life to reach peace, self-acceptance, and their happy ending.
Hate to Want You by Alisha Rai and I Love You So Mochi by Sarah Kuhn
The heroines of both these novels are looking for ways to escape but must grapple with long-standing family drama to reach their happily-ever-after. In Hate to Want You, Livvy is struggling with depression and an enduring family feud as she continues an illicit relationship with her high school ex Nicholas Chandler. I Love You So Mochi is a more light-hearted wander through Japan as Kimi Nakamura visits her estranged grandparents and falls for a cute med student who moonlights as a Mochi mascot. Along the way, she learns more about her mother. Both Livvy and Kimi also share a love of bold artistic statements — Livvy with her work as a tattoo artist and Kimi as an aspiring fashion designer. If you’re looking for tales of two women finding love and making peace with their family along the way, this is an unexpected tonal pair but they make a delightful mix.
Nightchaser by Amanda Bouchet and Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza
Both of these novels will tumble you into new sci-fi series headfirst. Nightchaser follows Captain Tess Bailey, the leader of a Robin Hood-esque band of space thieves. When her ship breaks down and brings her across the path of scoundrel Shade Ganavan, sparks fly as they get caught up in intergalatic intrigue. Empress of a Thousand Skies follows another pair, Princess Rhee (who everyone thought was dead after an assassination attempt) and her accused murderer Aly, as they discover a plot against her space dynasty and embark on a mission to save the galaxy. If you want to get lost in a space adventure, both of these books will transport you to another galaxy.
A Kiss at Midnight by Eloisa James and Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
Fairytale retellings are always popular, and we love both of these takes on the Cinderella story. A Kiss at Midnight transports the tale to a romance novel bursting with Eloisa James’ signature wit, love of puns, and references to classic literature. Ella Enchanted uses a curse of obedience for a winning take on the overly submissive Ella — not revealing until its final third that it’s actually the Cinderella fairy tale. If you want an extra heaping of magic sprinkled over your reads, these happily-ever-afters should bibbidi-bobbidi-boo you to reading bliss.
The Austen Playbook by Lucy Parker and Always Never Yours by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka
We love some theatrical drama in our drama. Both The Austen Playbook and Always Never Yours use the theatre and the associations of the classics (Austen for one; Shakespeare for the other) as springboards for their romantic journeys. If you’re looking for two feel-good reads about young women who use the theatre to make major realizations about their own self-worth, this is a perfect pair. Both books are breezy, fizzy reads you can’t help but fall head over heels for.
When Katie Met Cassidy by Camille Perri and Her Royal Highness by Rachel Hawkins
We love ladies going on journeys of self-discovery, and both of these novels have that in spades, extending to the heroine’s sexuality. In When Katie Met Cassidy, Katie is stunned to find herself attracted to a fellow lawyer, self-assured Cassidy — and embarks on a journey to discover what it is she really wants. Her Royal Highness follows Millie to the hills of Scotland where she immediately finds herself befriending and then falling for Flora, who just happens to be a princess. Love comes when we least expect it and both of those books are a testament to that and a celebration of sexuality and female power.
Stripped by Zoey Castile and Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison
Did we choose to pair these books because thongs are central to both plots? Maybe. But they’re both joyous, unfiltered, at times hilarious tales of women grappling with learning how to be who they are rather than who someone else wants them to be. Not to mention, they both feature some fabulous snogging (and more!).
One and Only by Jenny Holiday and The Bridesmaid by Hailey Abbott
Bridesmaids galore! Jenny Holiday’s wry, warm Bridesmaids Behaving Badly series kicks off with this tale of eager-to-please Jane and the sparks that fly when she has to babysit the groom’s bad boy brother. The Bridesmaid is a take on the wedding narrative for younger readers — heroine Abby has no interest in her family’s wedding planning business, but is dragged into one when her sister names her maid of honor. If you want some good bridesmaid stories with a hearty helping of romance, these two books were “maid” for each other.
The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren and Field Notes on Love by Jennifer E. Smith
Is there anything better than a very impromptu vacation to spark love? The Unhoneymooners sends two sworn enemies off on a “honeymoon” together when the bride and groom get food poisoning, leaving the trip up for grabs. Field Notes on Love finds Hugo seeking out a woman named Margaret Campbell to take his ex-girlfriend’s nontransferable ticket on a cross-country train journey. In both cases, the events of the trip and their instant chemistry send unexpected sparks flying. Though Unhoneymooners begins with a stronger instant dislike, these two books are funny, touching takes on how one trip can change our lives.
The Idea of You by Robinne Lee and Grace and the Fever by Zan Romanoff
Boy bands forever! What would happen if you suddenly embarked on a romance with the irresistible member of a boy band? Both of these novels entertain that notion. The Idea of You has a young mother falling for a significantly younger pop star, causing her to grapple with his fame and all the things they want out of life. Grace and the Fever is about a recent high school grad who meets her boy band idol and falls for him, discovering dark truths along the way. Both novels plumb the cost of fame, the enduring intrigue and obsession of boy bands, and honor this pop culture phenomenon while taking a very honest look at its realities.