- Jude and Cardan
The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
It might be because I just read The Wicked King but I love Jude and Cardan’s relationship. It’s twisted and messy, and they’re both morally grey characters to say the least, but I love how they can’t help but understand each other’s true self, despite not wanting to in the least.
- Ron and Hermione
Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling
This is a classic pairing, and one that’s grown on me over the years. When I first read the books I didn’t have much time for the romance aspect, but I love how they bring out different sides to each other, and they have what is definitely the best first kiss of all time.
- Lucy and Lockwood
Lockwood and Co. series by Jonathan Stroud
I feel like this pairing is the epitome of that gif of Finn from Adventure Time desperately shoving a goose and a fox together and trying to make them kiss.
They are clearly interested in each other, especially in the later books, but romance is not the focus of the series- which I do appreciate. Honestly, I do. And despite the lack of kissing they do show their feelings through other gestures, which are pretty damn cute.
- Lazlo Strange and Sarai
Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
This feels like a fairytale romance, given that the two first get to know each other inside Lazlo’s dreams, a perfectly constructed wonderland without any of the complications of the outside world. I love them both so much.
- Nick and Charlie
Heartstopper by Alice Oseman
Heartstopper is a webcomic (now a published book!) written and illustrated by Alice Oseman, one of my favourite YA authors. Nick and Charlie appear in one of her novels, and this is the story of how they got together. It’s a sweet romance, which also addresses issues including mental illness, homophobia, and biphobia.
- Jane and Rochester
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
This is the definition of a ‘problematic fave’. I love this book to the bottom of my heart, and the main reason I love this relationship is that they’re both outcasts who find each other and find happiness. Yes, Rochester did imprison his own wife in the attic and lies to Jane about a pretty major part of his life, but the key part for me is that she leaves after this revelation and then chooses to return to him.
- Danny and Harry
Picture Us in the Light by Kelly Loy Gilbert
I love this relationship because they start as best friends, before both coming to terms with the fact that they feel more. Both Danny and Harry are Asian-American, which tells the story of coming to terms with your sexuality from a new perspective and debunks certain stereotypes, like that Asian parents are automatically less tolerant than white parents.
- Tommy and Tuppence
Tommy and Tuppence series by Agatha Christie
This book is very different to other Agatha Christie stories; it’s a gentle pastiche of crime tropes, including ones that Christie uses herself, and a very cute romance between the titular characters. They’re childhood friends who are both flat broke, living in London after the First World War, and decide to start a detective agency together. The mystery is pretty compelling, Tuppence is badass, Tommy is a sweetheart, and they are #couplegoals.
- Lyra and Will
His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman
Lyra and Will are one of the first couples that I really believed in and loved. It’s so innocent and fumbling, but their relationship is treated seriously and given the weight it deserves.
- Bathsheba and Gabriel
Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
I love this couple, because they seem so modern despite the book being over a hundred years old. It’s also such an interesting power dynamic, with Bathsheba being in a position of power over Gabriel, but Gabriel being the man and thus having another kind of power in this society.