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February 13, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Books We LOVE

Posted by emily

Welcome back, readers! What better way to celebrate the return of Throwback Thursday than with the books we love that are all about LOVE? In honor of Valentine's Day, Nikki, Emily and Meghan reminisce about the love stories --- conventional or otherwise ---  that got their minds racing and their hearts pounding. So whether you're single, in a relationship or undecided, throwback with us this pre-V Day, because S.O.s come and go, but book-love is forever.

 Nicole: 50 Shades of Grey
The best thing about TBT is that it's a set time to not only remind ourselves of ALLLLLLL the books we've read, but also of all the books we've loved (zing!). And since this is the month (cough cough, DAY...yes, Valentine's Day, you only get one day) for L-U-V, what could be a better way to talk about our love for books, our love for love (someone get a count on how many times we've said that all over this site) and our love for books about love. We've all said it before and we'll all say it again that love comes in so many shapes, forms, flavors, types and varieties. A unique, but very real love is that between Anastasia and Christian Grey from the 50 Shades of Grey series by E.L. James. Their love manifests itself in ways different than the "norm," but is nevertheless, beautiful, evolving and complex. In case you've been living under a rock, the theatrical version is set to come out in exactly one year from today, February 13, 2015. That gives you one year to pick up a copy, give someone a hug, get in touch with your kinkier side and whip yourself into erotica novel-loving shape.

In honor of Valentine’s Day, our theme this week is love, which --- if you’ve read our latest newsletter --- we here at 20SomethingReads are not limiting to just romantic love. And I know that there’s plenty of romantic love in Louisa May Alcott’s classic, LITTLE WOMEN, but the heart of the story was always the love the four March daughters had for each other, and, of course, for Marmee, the matriarch of matriarchs. The girls (little women?) have an unbreakable bond, one that survives heartbreak, illness, death, marriage and a burnt manuscript. I myself was desperately in love with Laurie (it didn’t hurt that he was played by Christian Bale in the 1994 movie), and was shocked when Jo rejected him. As a 20Something, though, it strikes me how incredibly modern Jo’s refusal to settle for the familiar was, how cool it was that she was able to stick to her own path. Jo’s commitment to her own personal and artistic growth was completely lost on me the first (couple of) time(s) I read LITTLE WOMEN --- my own nagging sentimentality still roots for Laurie --- but now I understand that the most important thing, for all of us who are coming-of-age, is a loving support system, strong-minded independence and a whole lot of self-acceptance. Jo may have married Fritz in the end, but --- two more books about them or not --- that always felt beside the point.

Anyone who is familiar with Sarah Dessen knows that her YA novels are pretty much the equivalent of Nicholas Sparks for teenagers. So in honor of Valentine’s Day, I’ve decided to throw it back to my favorite of her books, THE TRUTH ABOUT FOREVER. Main character Macy is trapped for the summer between her desk job at the library (which she only took out of loyalty to her uptight boyfriend) and helping at home with her neurotic mother, who still hasn’t coped yet with the death of Macy’s father. Miraculously, she stumbles upon Wish Catering Company, run by a disorganized but loving crew, who take Macy in as one of their own and finally bring some adventure into her life. The requisite love story emerges as Macy develops a close relationship with Wes from Wish, the clichéd but still adored tattoo-bearing mystery man with a soft heart and troubled past. Wes and the rest of her new ‘family’ help Macy to let go of the past, realize what she truly wants and embrace the unknown. For anyone who has ever dreamt of a summer romance (or at least of reading about one), this is it. It’s not just flirty and fun but seriously romantic and heartwarming, and Wes is unquestionably the ideal literary love interest.  If you don’t have a valentine this year, don’t worry --- it’s still perfectly okay to swoon over fictional characters.