11 YA Romance Novels To Satisfy Your Summer Romance Cravings

11 YA Romance Novels To Satisfy Your Summer Romance Cravings

We all love a good romance now and again.

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Ah, summer: that lovely three months in the middle of the year characterized by outdoor fun, vacation, and for some, a craving for summer fun with your boo. For those of you bookless this summer, here are some of my absolute favorite (mostly young adult) romance novels to spice up your summer.

​1. "Halo" by Alexandra Adornetto

"Halo" is a story about three angels that come down to Earth to help the world out for a while. Bethany is a younger angel that is accompanied by her two older angel siblings, Ivy and Gabriel. She's eager to learn the ways of the world but is also a bit younger and clumsier and the ways of high school get her all sorts of confused. Things take another turn entirely when she meets a boy named Xavier and they hit it off right away.

This is a series of three books with three thrilling continuations on Bethany's story. It's got some really interesting religious themes going for it too. I would, by no means, consider this a religious book, but there are definitely some ties to the Christian faith as the angels follow the typical Christian idea of what angels are. It was kind of cool to see that play out in a realistic setting.

​2. "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen

If you haven't read "Pride and Prejudice" by now, it is way overdue for this to be next on your reading list. For those of you unfamiliar with "Pride and Prejudice," it tells the story of the five Bennet sisters in England in the early 19th century. All five of the ladies are of marriageable age and their mother is determined to marry them all off to wealthy gentlemen. Elizabeth Bennet, the second eldest Bennet daughter, is determined to find her own way through the world and will find her husband or whatever else comes her way the way she wants.

This book is honestly a classic. It's pretty dense and hard to understand at times, but I read an annotated version of the book which helped me to understand the old English words and phrases a whole lot easier. I didn't think that I would find so much entertainment from something so dated, but in relationships, some of the messages you come across are absolutely timeless.

​3. "The Goddess Test" by Aimee Carter

"The Goddess Test" tells the story of Kate, whose mother is terminally ill and dying. Her dying wish is to return to her hometown one last time before she goes and Kate takes her on this journey. While she's there, she meets a tall, dark, and mysterious guy named Henry who says that he's Hades. He tells her that he can save her mother if Kate can pass seven tests to become a goddess.

This is a series of three books, with a fourth book of short stories from other characters' point of views. This series is packed full of different twists and turns all in the realm of Greek mythology. It was really cool to see all of the different gods and goddesses get their own characters and personalities. It was also very interesting to get to see the characters from Kate's outsider's perspective.

​4. "The Selection" by Kiera Cass

"The Selection" series might be my favorite series that I've ever read. It's set in a dystopian United States that's now run by a monarchy called Illea and organized into a caste system. When a prince of Illea comes of age, the kingdom holds a competition for local girls throughout the kingdom to compete for the prince's heart in what's basically a royal version of "The Bachelor." The story starts when Prince Maxon comes of age in the kingdom and follows the story of America Singer, who gets chosen to be a part of "The Selection."

This is a series of three books, two books in a series that comes after the first, and with one additional book with short stories from other characters' perspectives. This is a series that I regularly come back and read. I've done so about three or four times now in its entirety. It's thrilling and there are so many different twists and turns that nothing is ever certain and it's always exciting to see what's going to come next. Even after reading it before, I get just as emotionally invested as the last time I read it.

​5. "Dirty Pretty Things" by Michael Faudet

"Dirty Pretty Things" is a collection of poetry that focuses on love, sex, falling in love and out of it, and all the other wonderful and terrible things that come with being a person trying to be with another person.

Poetry isn't usually everyone's thing, but I rather enjoy a good collection of poetry, especially when the poems aren't terribly long. This has plenty of short and sweet poems that pack a punch, mixed in with a few that span maybe two or three pages. The book has a really nifty look going for it too and will add some pretty art to any bookshelf.

​6. "Haunting Violet" by Alyxandra Harvey

"Haunting Violet" will likely always be in my top five favorite books. It follows the story of Violet Willoughby in England in the late 1800s. As long as Violet has remembered, she has traveled with her mother and a boy they took in, Colin, to many seances. Her mother is a medium, but as Violet has assisted with her for forever, she knows it's all smoke in mirrors and that her mother is a complete sham. Things start to take a different turn, however, when Violet realizes that she's a true medium and there's a ghost out there that wants Violet to help her.

This book is sadly a standalone, but it's one of the most unique and interesting mystery/love stories ever. You'll never see the ending coming and there are so many different intense twists and turns along the way. I seriously love this book and hope you do too.

​7. "Pushing The Limits" by Katie McGarry

"Pushing The Limits" follows the story of Echo Emerson, a girl who used to have it all and now has scars up both arms and no recollection of receiving them, and Noah Hutchens, a bad boy in foster care who is trying to get custody over his younger brothers after his parents' untimely death. Both of these two are fighting their own battles, but when fate keeps pushing them together, who knows what could happen?

"Pushing The Limits" is the start of a series of four spin-off romances. This book tells the story of Echo and Noah's romance, the next book tells Noah's foster sister's love story, the next book tells Noah's foster brother's story, and so on. Katie McGarry, however, is easily my favorite romance author. Although they all follow the same general story arc, I am still here for it every single time. She creates a love to root for and puts it up against every possible challenge to see if it can stand the test of time. There is not a single book of hers I will not read. Seriously, check her out.

​8. "Crash Into You" by Katie McGarry

"Crash Into You" tells the story of a seemingly perfect rich girl, Rachel Young, and tattooed foster kid, Isaiah Walker. Both with a need for speed, the two find themselves in a sticky situation where everything is on the line. This book explores the lengths that the two will go to for love and save each other.

Yes, another Katie McGarry book. This is my absolute favorite Katie McGarry book of all time. This is the third book in the series of spin-offs and I don't know what it is, but I just can't get enough of Rachel and Isaiah's story. It's seriously good.

​9. "Wake" by Lisa McMann

"Wake" follows the story of seventeen-year-old Janie who has the power to get sucked into people's dreams. This means that, whether she likes it or not, she gets to see the dreams of anyone who falls asleep near enough to her. She's lived with this secret her whole life, but what happens when she lets Cabel in on her secret?

This is a trilogy that I read when I was fairly young and I remember it being a pretty interesting story. It's a superpower that not many people explore the boundaries of and it's pretty cool to see it play out in the life of a teenager in a realistic setting.

10. "My Life With The Walter Boys" by Ali Novak

"My Life With The Walter Boys" is about Jackie Howard, whose family dies so she is sent to live with family friends who have 11 sons and one tomboy daughter. She's met with confusion, romance, support, and surprises at every turn in this quirky novel.

This book was originally a Wattpad book that got really popular and was published. I had it saved on my Wattpad to read for ages, but never really got around to reading it until I bought the physical copy. There were a lot of different romantic interests and it was pretty exciting to get to try and guess which one Jackie would end up with.

​11. "Shiver" by Maggie Stiefvater

"Shiver" tells the story of Grace, a girl who has always been obsessed with the wolves that live at an icy distance from her backyard, and Sam, one of the wolves who live in her backyard. When Grace meets Sam for the first time as a human, their connection is undeniable. But can their love endure the challenges of Sam's condition?

This is the first book in a trilogy and this is another series that I've reread several times over. I seriously love the chemistry between Sam and Grace and I love the way that Maggie Stiefvater writes. The whole world she creates is beautiful and I want to live in it forever.

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15 Things Only Lake People Will Understand

There's no other place you'd rather be in the summer.
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The people that spend their summers at the lake are a unique group of people. Whether you grew up going to the lake, have only recently started going, or have only been once or twice, you know it takes a certain kind of person to be a lake person. To the long-time lake people, the lake holds a special place in your heart, no matter how dirty the water may look. Every year when summer rolls back around, you can't wait to fire up the boat and get back out there. Here is a list of things you can probably identify with as a fellow lake-goer.

1. A bad day at the lake is still better than a good day not at the lake.

It's your place of escape, where you can leave everything else behind and just enjoy the beautiful summer day. No matter what kind of week you had, being able to come and relax without having to worry about anything else is the best therapy there is. After all, there's nothing better than a day of hanging out in the hot sun, telling old funny stories and listening to your favorite music.

2. You know the best beaches and coves to go to.

Whether you want to just hang out and float or go walk around on a beach, you know the best spots. These often have to be based on the people you're with, given that some "party coves" can get a little too crazy for little kids on board. I still have vivid memories from when I was six that scared me when I saw the things drunk girls would do for beads.

3. You have no patience for the guy who can’t back his trailer into the water right.

When there's a long line of trucks waiting to dump their boats in the water, there's always that one clueless guy who can't get it right, and takes 5 attempts and holds up the line. No one likes that guy. One time my dad got so fed up with a guy who was taking too long that he actually got out of the car and asked this guy if he could just do it for him. So he got into the guy's car, threw it in reverse, and got it backed in on the first try. True story.

4. Doing the friendly wave to every boat you pass.

Similar to the "jeep wave," almost everyone waves to other boats passing by. It's just what you do, and is seen as a normal thing by everyone.

5. The cooler is always packed, mostly with beer.

Alcohol seems to be a big part of the lake experience, but other drinks are squeezed into the room remaining in the cooler for the kids, not to mention the wide assortment of chips and other foods in the snack bag.

6. Giving the idiot who goes 30 in a "No Wake

Zone" a piece of your mind.

There's nothing worse than floating in the water, all settled in and minding your business, when some idiot barrels through. Now your anchor is loose, and you're left jostled by the waves when it was nice and perfectly still before. This annoyance is typically answered by someone yelling some choice words to them that are probably accompanied by a middle finger in the air.

7. You have no problem with peeing in the water.

It's the lake, and some social expectations are a little different here, if not lowered quite a bit. When you have to go, you just go, and it's no big deal to anyone because they do it too.

8. You know the frustration of getting your anchor stuck.

The number of anchors you go through as a boat owner is likely a number that can be counted on two hands. Every once in a while, it gets stuck on something on the bottom of the lake, and the only way to fix the problem is to cut the rope, and you have to replace it.

9. Watching in awe at the bigger, better boats that pass by.

If you're the typical lake-goer, you likely might have an average sized boat that you're perfectly happy with. However, that doesn't mean you don't stop and stare at the fast boats that loudly speed by, or at the obnoxiously huge yachts that pass.

10. Knowing any swimsuit that you own with white in it is best left for the pool or the ocean.

You've learned this the hard way, coming back from a day in the water and seeing the flowers on your bathing suit that were once white, are now a nice brownish hue.

11. The momentary fear for your life as you get launched from the tube.

If the driver knows how to give you a good ride, or just wants to specifically throw you off, you know you're done when you're speeding up and heading straight for a big wave. Suddenly you're airborne, knowing you're about to completely wipe out, and you eat pure wake. Then you get back on and do it all again.

12. You're able to go to the restaurants by the water wearing minimal clothing.

One of the many nice things about the life at the lake is that everybody cares about everything a little less. Rolling up to the place wearing only your swimsuit, a cover-up and flip flops, you fit right in. After a long day when you're sunburned, a little buzzed, and hungry, you're served without any hesitation.

13. Having unexpected problems with your boat.

Every once in a while you're hit with technical difficulties, no matter what type of watercraft you have. This is one of the most annoying setbacks when you're looking forward to just having a carefree day on the water, but it's bound to happen. This is just one of the joys that come along with being a boat owner.

14. Having a name for your boat unique to you and your life.

One of the many interesting things that make up the lake culture is the fact that many people name their boats. They can range from basic to funny, but they are unique to each and every owner, and often have interesting and clever meanings behind them.

15. There's no better place you'd rather be in the summer.

Summer is your all-time favorite season, mostly because it's spent at the lake. Whether you're floating in the cool water under the sun, or taking a boat ride as the sun sets, you don't have a care in the world at that moment. The people that don't understand have probably never experienced it, but it's what keeps you coming back every year.


Cover Image Credit: Haley Harvey

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My Goals for 2019

I'm not really into resolutions, but I am into goals. Here are my top ones for 2019.

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I dont think I've ever actually made a new year's resolution. Since my birthday is the second day of the year, it doesn't really ever make sense to do one for diet, because on your birthday, diets don't exist. Despite not having any resolutions, this year included, I do have a lot of plans for the year in terms of what goals I want to achieve. Mainly, they include getting in the habit of taking care of myself in every aspect of my life.

The Basic One, Fitness

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I don't have any set numerical goals about how many pounds or inches I need to lose, I simply want to focus on taking care of myself every day as I should. Water, exercise, cute gym fits, adequate sleep, low sugar, and high protein. I think when you focus on taking care of yourself daily instead of stressing about the results, the results happen naturally. I've been doing this for the past few months and a lot of my clothes are basically falling off of me. But as long as you're eating enough and are healthy, nothing should be about a number on a scale. 2019 isn't about being a certain size or looking like a Barbie- It's about self care. For me, this looks like staying hydrated all day, working out at least five days a week, keeping my gym bag stocked with clean and cute gym clothes, and eating vegan protein, complex carbohydrates, and lots of veggies!!

My Career Goals

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My first goal is to absolutely kill it at my internship and learn as much as I can in my position as a Salesforce Administrator. I'll be attending OU's next career fair in February and talking to the only other company in OKC that I would be interested in working for outside of where I intern, so I can ask about what they most typically hire for MIS students in entry-level jobs. That will give me enough time to prepare before September when I actually start applying! It's so crazy to think that in 8 months I'll be preparing for jobs after graduation. I would LOVE to work for Dell in OKC, so I'm excited to see if it's a good fit for me to hopefully work my way up to Microsoft!! I really want to live at home for the first few years after I graduate because it's only 20-30 minutes to the city and close to where I will hopefully be going to get my OU MBA!!

School Goals

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I'm shooting to graduate with a 3.75 GPA, so I basically need all A's outside of one class this semester (which will be calc 2). I'm also working to be as time efficient as possible in 2019. This means quitting my side retail job, planning out the week's outfits, meal prepping a little bit more, and studying early in the semester. ALSO I have to complete 10 seminar hours a semester in Price School of Business, so my goal is to attend 5 hours per week in the first 3 weeks of school to get everything done ASAP! That is what I did last semester, and it was so worth it to be done with my hours by the time I started my internship- which of course was entry-level- but getting used to my internship time commitment was hectic. I want to work hard this year by studying EVERY week and spending time in office hours, because that is where A's are made!!

Social Goals

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This year I will be in Norman every Sunday for Green Week Committee, so I'm shooting to be at LifeChurch in Norman on Sunday mornings. Even though I live at home and commute, I want to be even more plugged in to Norman than I already am, because Norman is one of my favorite places ever. I feel completely at home at OU and love the people so much, so I'm excited to make my church my home while I'm there. You don't need a religious organization to accomplish being more social, but when you frequent places that involve your interests, you'll meet people you can relate to.

I also am so excited to continue going to my younglife bible study at OU that we formed last semester. We're the only group that's continuing into '19 because we all had such a good connection. The girls are super sweet and amazing and are just another reason that I feel so grateful for how things are going in my life at the moment. I have my St. Louis and Illinois besties, but I'm so excited to also have close besties in Norman and OKC! .

Internet Goals

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I've been wanting to do YouTube since I was literally 14 years old but have always had reasons that have held me back. In 2017 and 2018, I felt like I needed to do more growing as a person, and in my life, before I started posting. I think I'm finally at the point where I'm ready to start creating, and it's only from watching some of my favorite channels kill it from people who are honestly not much different than I am. I'm a perfectionist, and probably won't post much until I can afford to splurge 10's of thousands on equipment, but this year I want to post 2-3 videos that I'm really proud of. I love watching videos about style and design, and these are the niches I want to move into eventually. So I'm going to try to make videos about shopping and dorm room transformations! It's 2019, so why not *cue that song by hilary duff from literally 15 years ago*.

On Instagram, I want to start posting and creating a cohesive theme that I'm really proud of, and that accurately matches my aesthetic. This past year I've realized that my favorite clothing pieces are light pink, white, and pale blue, so I'm going to be working on a wardrobe and Insta feed that matches this. I'll be using Snapchat and Insta stories strategically to post anything I love that doesn't match my Insta feed on those to keep things cohesive. I've already got some ideas of what I want to shoot for my Instagram photos in 2019, but you'll have to follow to find out! (xsarahbryanne ;) )Oklahoma City has so many murals and cute places for photo-ops that I think I'm set until I move to Dallas Fort Worth and tackle Deep Ellum. (The murals there are INSANE!)

Style Goals

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This year I want to redo my bedroom, and continue dressing in a way that makes me feel confident and happy. I've noticed from my iPhone screenshots that my favorite outfits mix pinks and blues- whether it be with denim jackets, cute booties, or lace bralettes. I'm also really into neutrals at the moment; specifically cool neutrals like black, grey, and ivory. Having a wardrobe that you're obsessed with isn't about spending thousands, it's about finding out what you like and finding it for as cheap as possible. I'm a big supporter of window shopping Pottery Barn campaigns for room decor, and finding cheaper options on Amazon. I'm also planning on DIY-ing furniture from Goodwill for my room this year, because the price differences are insane. Redoing furniture from Goodwill just takes a few Youtube videos, creativity, and vision, and you will save HUNDREDS. I'll let you know when I have videos to prove it!

BIG ways that I'm shopping this year include frequenting LOFT clearance, Dainty Hooligan (a Norman boutique that always has GOOD sales online if you search), Target, Goodwill, and cute OKC boutiques! LOFT takes care of a lot of the essentials and classy trends, but they also have insane markdowns on anything that's been in the store for awhile. I worked there for about a year and a half, and during that time, I got so many things for $5 or less; cute jeans for $3, a $100 coat for $5, a $100 blazer that I got for $13...there's seriously so much that goes to final sale that's super adorable. A lot of times it's thrift store prices for things that are new! Dainty Hooligan is trendy boutique that doesn't really advertise their clearance, but honestly, that's better because it means more for YOU. I look at all the dresses and find a lot that are $20 or less. I got my NYE dress for $10 and I'm going to a prom for teens with special abilities soon, so I've picked out a dress only $15. In terms of prices, it kind of puts Goodwill to shame. Goodwill has a lot of options, but this year I'm going to try and only buy things that I know are within my streamlined aesthetic. Going in with an idea of what you want, like a color scheme or a list of items that you need, is super helpful and keeps you on track. It can be fun to find things that are outside of your box, but it's easy to buy things while thrifting that you don't love because they simply stand out from the pack. Don't buy something unless you can really picture how you will use it.

Overall, I am really, really excited for 2019. I'm ready to go after these goals and make them a reality. I don't know what it is, but I have a feeling like it's going to be the best yet. Here's to being a girl boss and making my own dreams come true.

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