Share 11 Unconventional Love Stories to Set Your Heart Pitter-Pattering

11 Unconventional Love Stories to Set Your Heart Pitter-Pattering

Erica Nelson works in marketing at Hachette Book Group.

As many of us have learned over the years, true love doesn’t always turn out the way we thought it would, or show up when we want it to. As we grow and learn to be better givers and receivers of love, these unconventional love stories remind us to be open to romance where we least expect it.


The Rosie Project
by Graeme Simsion

The protagonist of Graeme Simsion’s romantic comedy THE ROSIE PROJECT is the most refreshingly unique, honest, and hilarious character I have read in a long time. I don’t generally read romantic comedies, but this one stole my heart right from the first paragraph.

Read Sarah Jane Abbott’s review here.

The Rosie Project
Graeme Simsion

The protagonist of Graeme Simsion’s romantic comedy THE ROSIE PROJECT is the most refreshingly unique, honest, and hilarious character I have read in a long time. I don’t generally read romantic comedies, but this one stole my heart right from the first paragraph.

Read Sarah Jane Abbott’s review here.

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Super Sad True Love Story
by Gary Shteyngart

In the very near future, in a world where the global economy is collapsing and romantic prospects are judged with the click of a button and everyone is obsessed with being young forever (sound familiar?), Lenny Abramov still has the audacity to look for love.

Super Sad True Love Story
Gary Shteyngart

In the very near future, in a world where the global economy is collapsing and romantic prospects are judged with the click of a button and everyone is obsessed with being young forever (sound familiar?), Lenny Abramov still has the audacity to look for love.

MENTIONED IN:

11 Unconventional Love Stories to Set Your Heart Pitter-Pattering

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And Tango Makes Three
by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell

The only thing cute enough to warm my cold New Yorker heart is penguins in love. This illustrated children’s book fictionalizes the true story of two male penguins who became partners and, with the help of a kindly zookeeper, raised Tango, a penguin chick in the Central Park Zoo.

And Tango Makes Three
Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell

The only thing cute enough to warm my cold New Yorker heart is penguins in love. This illustrated children’s book fictionalizes the true story of two male penguins who became partners and, with the help of a kindly zookeeper, raised Tango, a penguin chick in the Central Park Zoo.

MENTIONED IN:

11 Unconventional Love Stories to Set Your Heart Pitter-Pattering

By Erica Nelson | February 11, 2016

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Etta and Otto and Russell and James
by Emma Hooper

This quiet novel moves from the hot and dry present of a quiet Canadian farm to a dusty, burnt past of hunger, war, and passion; from trying to remember to trying to forget. It is an astounding literary debut of unlikely heroes, lifelong promises, and last great adventures.

Etta and Otto and Russell and James
Emma Hooper

This quiet novel moves from the hot and dry present of a quiet Canadian farm to a dusty, burnt past of hunger, war, and passion; from trying to remember to trying to forget. It is an astounding literary debut of unlikely heroes, lifelong promises, and last great adventures.

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The First Bad Man
by Miranda July
Sometimes love arrives in the form of a slap in the face that’s just what we needed to get back to reality. When Cheryl, a tightly wound, vulnerable woman who lives alone with a perpetual lump in her throat, meets twenty-one-year-old Clee, her eccentrically ordered world explodes—and she unexpectedly finds the love of a lifetime.
The First Bad Man
Miranda July

The First Bad Man by Miranda July is one of my top five favorite books of 2015. Over the past year, I’ve given several copies of it to friends—which is why I need a new copy (or three!). July is an artist who is willing to share a world that is even stranger than what I experience in my fantasies. The characters in this novel use imagination as a tool for emotional healing and challenge readers to go beyond their comfort zones in a way that no novel I’ve read has done before. —Erica

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Me Before You
by JoJo Moyes
When two people at their weakest moments meet, the odds of their love persevering are unlikely. But when Lou, who’s just lost her job and is on the rocks with her boyfriend, meets Will, whose recent motorcycle accident has taken away his desire to live, they find the strongest people they’ve ever known—or loved.
Me Before You
JoJo Moyes

Will Traynor is an attractive but brooding young man grieving the life he lived before the terrible accident that left him paralyzed. Louisa Clark is the quirky and charming young woman that Will’s parents hire to cheer him up and remind him that life is worth living. You will fall as hard and deeply in love with Will as Louisa does.

Read the review of ME BEFORE YOU and AFTER YOU.

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Just Kids
by Patti Smith
In JUST KIDS, Patti Smith details the great love story that is her lovers-then-friends relationship with the late photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. Taking readers on a journey through New York City, Coney Island, and the Chelsea Hotel in the late sixties and seventies, this is a tender and artful unconventional love story.
Just Kids
Patti Smith

Set against the color and creativity of downtown New York in the 1960s and 1970s, Smith’s story is made for the movies. Covering her relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, the determination and resilience that led to her fame, and the tragedy and struggles that went along with it, her cinematic memoir is an enjoyable read and would make an equally enjoyable viewing experience. Happily, Showtime has it in development.

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Love Is a Mix Tape
by Rob Sheffield

Attention, suitors—I am such a sucker for a Spotify or YouTube playlist. If you are, too, you’ll love the memoir LOVE IS A MIX TAPE. Rob Sheffield brings readers back to the days of tape decks and Nirvana by talking us through the loves and losses he memorialized on fifteen of his favorite mix tapes.

Love Is a Mix Tape
Rob Sheffield

Attention, suitors—I am such a sucker for a Spotify or YouTube playlist. If you are, too, you’ll love the memoir LOVE IS A MIX TAPE. Rob Sheffield brings readers back to the days of tape decks and Nirvana by talking us through the loves and losses he memorialized on fifteen of his favorite mix tapes.

MENTIONED IN:

11 Unconventional Love Stories to Set Your Heart Pitter-Pattering

By Erica Nelson | February 11, 2016

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Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
by Philip K. Dick

After the World War destroyed most life on earth and most humans have emigrated to Mars, companies begin building incredibly human-like artificial intelligence. It’s so realistic that most people can’t even tell the difference between a “real” human and a “fake.” The relationships and loves that ensue are sure to please fans of science fiction and romance alike.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
Philip K. Dick

After the World War destroyed most life on earth and most humans have emigrated to Mars, companies begin building incredibly human-like artificial intelligence. It’s so realistic that most people can’t even tell the difference between a “real” human and a “fake.” The relationships and loves that ensue are sure to please fans of science fiction and romance alike.

MENTIONED IN:

11 Unconventional Love Stories to Set Your Heart Pitter-Pattering

By Erica Nelson | February 11, 2016

Close

The Time Traveler’s Wife
by Audrey Niffenegger
Sometimes, our love is affected by forces that we cannot control or predict. Henry suffers from chrono-displacement disorder, meaning his genetic clock randomly resets and he finds himself misplaced in time. This affliction renders his relationship with his love, Clare, fraught with disappearances that are spontaneous and unpredictable. The resulting love story is intense, moving, and unforgettable.
The Time Traveler’s Wife
Audrey Niffenegger

“I love you, always. Time is nothing.”
A dazzling novel in the most untraditional fashion, this is the remarkable story of Henry DeTamble, a dashing, adventuresome librarian who travels involuntarily through time, and Clare Abshire, an artist whose life takes a natural sequential course. Henry and Clare’s passionate love affair endures across a sea of time and captures the two lovers in an impossibly romantic trap, and it is Audrey Niffenegger’s cinematic storytelling that makes the novel’s unconventional chronology so vibrantly triumphant.

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Brokeback Mountain
by Annie Proulx
This love story is for those who want to get out of the “friend zone.” This is a deeply original and unconventional novel about a friends-then-lovers affair that happens between two ranch hands one summer on the range. The bonus with this is that you can watch the movie starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger afterward. It’s worth it.
Brokeback Mountain
Annie Proulx

Many of us have seen the ineffably beautiful Ang Lee film starring Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, but how many have read the Annie Proulx short story that was the basis for it? Originally published in The New Yorker in 1997, this elegant literary work manages to convey the magnitude of the film in very few pages—and is a revelation for those who believe the short story too narrow to contain multitudes. If you love this story, you'll want to read the original story collection, Close Range.

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