Happy Valentine’s Day!
The true origins of Valentine’s Day are unknown – in 496, it signified the start of spring. It was also believed Valentine was a person who gave love to the world. Similar to what we now know as Cupid? Whichever story is true, both represent joy and happiness.
At The Winged Pen, we help spread happiness by talking about our love of books and authors, but today, Valentine’s Day, we are celebrating our love of literary couples.
Jessica: Alma and Evan from DREAM THINGS TRUE by Marie Marquardt. One of my favorite couples is Alma and Evan from DREAM THINGS TRUE. They come from different cultures and classes, but forge a meaningful connection while struggling with the very real issues facing undocumented immigrants.
Marie Marquardt: Mikey and Ellie from YOU AGAINST ME by Jenny Downham. In Young Adult, my favorite literary couple is Mikey & Ellie from the fabulous novel YOU AGAINST ME. Mikey and Ellie are classically star-crossed: when the story opens, we find that her brother, Tom, has been accused by his sister, Karyn, of rape. Needless to say, Mikey and Ellie’s relationship is complicated — but in all of the beautiful ways.
Halli: Spencer and Hope from TAXONOMY OF LOVE by Rachael Allen. Spencer and Hope’s meeting was not love at first sight, at least not for Hope, but they did become fast friends. And it was a friendship that could not have happened if it wasn’t for their compassionate personalities. From the very beginning of their story, these friends suffered through bullying, relationships, sibling rivalry, and death. And through it all Spencer and Hope supported and understood each other, even if they did not always show it. What I loved so much about this literary couple was that their relationship was true, painful and joyous, just as most are in real life.
Rachael Allen: Virginia and Tourmaline from DONE DIRT CHEAP by Sarah Lemon. I love reading stories with friendships that carry the emotional punch of a love story. I can think of so many favorite female friendship books, but my most recent favorite is DONE DIRT CHEAP. Especially because Virginia and Tourmaline aren’t often the kinds of girls who get to have star-crossed friendships, particularly Virginia, who I could see becoming a trope in a weaker writer’s hands. The fact that these girls are fierce and strong, the fact that they’re on opposite sides and they should be enemies – it only made me root for them that much more. I could talk about them all day, but I’ll leave you with my favorite quote: “We’re friends because when girls – women – are alone in this world, they’re easier to pick off”
Rebecca: Jo and Mary Carlson, Jo and her Dad from GEORGIA PEACHES AND OTHER FORBIDDEN FRUIT by Jaye Robin Brown. One of my favorite themes in Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit is about how sometimes we hurt the people we love because we love them. So I’m cheating and choosing two couples from Brown’s novel as my favorite: Jo and Mary Carlson as well as Jo and her dad. Both Jo and her dad make decisions, poor though they are, out of love for the other person. Jo, rightly, doesn’t want to hold back Mary Carlson, and Jo’s father (rightly?) fears for his daughter’s safety. But both Jo and her dad vastly underestimate the hurt and betrayal of their choices. Neither shy away from the fallout or their parts in causing it because love means being fear-less and heart-full. This book fills me with hope and inspiration, and the last lines are a love letter to all readers: “I can’t know what the future holds for any of us. But what I do know is I’ll never again let my own fear hurt someone I love. Because love like this, it’s the only thing that really matters.”
Jaye Robin Brown: Grace and Luca from HOW TO MAKE A WISH by Ashley Herring Blake. Though I loved the girl/girl romance in HOW TO MAKE A WISH, it’s the friendship between Grace and Luca I’m going to highlight. In the book, Grace is dealing with a problematic mom. Bouncing between apartments, crazy business ventures, and always a different man, Grace’s mom often leaves Grace in the role of adult instead of child. Mostly Grace handles it, but on occasion things get the best of her. Enter best friend, Luca (and his awesome mom, Emmy). From the time they were children and Grace was left at home alone for a couple of days when her mom was out gallivanting, Luca has had her back. Now, as teens, Luca and Grace work together at LuMac’s, the family diner owned by Luca’s mom. When Grace’s mom secretly moves in with a new man while Grace is out of town, Luca is there to pick up the pieces. He’s the kind of bestie who understands the stress of her home life and just shows up, pizza fries in hand. He doesn’t ask prying questions or make judgements. He’s that kind of friend who’s simply there. And to quote mutual friend Eva (and Grace’s love interest), “…Luca would commit legit murder for you and you’d do the same for him.” I loved their friendship. It was all the things—funny, biting, caring, loyal, honest— that make a relationship between two people work.
We would love to hear your favorite literary couples! Please put them in the comments below.
I could not write a post about love and romance without wishing my husband an early 25th year anniversary!
HALLI GOMEZ teaches martial arts and writes for children and young adults because those voices flow through her brain. She enjoys family, outdoors, reading, and is addicted to superhero movies. She’s represented by Deborah Warren of East West Literary Agency. You can find Halli on Twitter.