Christina Lauren’s newest book, THE SOULMATE EQUATION comes out May 18! This book explores intriguing questions of fate and first impressions, and it’s got us thinking about our ultimate soulmates that we’d match with—no, not people, we mean books of course! The books on this list are those special gems that mean the most to us, making us believe in bookish destiny. They captured our souls and never let go.
Courtney’s Pick: From the first chapter of DEAR EMMIE BLUE, I knew it would have a special place in my heart. While I may not have put a note in a balloon and fallen in love with the boy who found it, her dedication to being a good friend and putting others first, sometimes to her detriment, is almost too relatable. Throughout her entire story, I felt like I was reading about a dear friend. Lia Louis’s writing allowed me to feel Emmie’s highs and lows as if they were my own, and I was cheering her on the entire way. It's been about a year and a half since I first read Emmie’s story and yet I still think about it often and recommend it to anyone looking for a feel-good story.
In this charming and poignant novel that “oozes charm and wit and speaks beautifully about friendship and love, and the differences between the two” (Laura Pearson, author of I Wanted You to Know), teenager Emmie Blue releases a balloon with her email address and a big secret into the sky, only to fall head-over-heels for the boy who finds it. But fourteen years later, everything Emmie has planned is up in the air.
At sixteen, Emmie Blue stood in the fields of her school and released a red balloon into the sky. Attached was her name, her email address…and a secret she desperately wanted to be free of. Weeks later, on a beach in France, Lucas Moreau discovered the balloon and immediately emailed the attached address, sparking an intense friendship between the two teens.
Now, fourteen years later, Emmie is hiding the fact that she’s desperately in love with Lucas. She has pinned all her hopes on him and waits patiently for him to finally admit that she’s the one for him. So dedicated to her love for Lucas, Emmie has all but neglected her life outside of this relationship—she’s given up the search for her absentee father, no longer tries to build bridges with her distant mother, and lives as a lodger to an old lady she barely knows after being laid off. And when Lucas tells Emmie he has a big question to ask her, she’s convinced this is the moment he’ll reveal his feelings for her. But nothing in life ever quite goes as planned, does it?
Filled with heart and humor, Dear Emmie Blue “beautifully captures the heartache and frustrations of carrying our teenaged selves with us wherever we go” (Anstey Harris, author of Goodbye Paris) that is perfect for fans of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine and Evvie Drake Starts Over.
Jordyn’s Pick: THIS IS HOW YOU LOSE THE TIME WAR spoke to me right away just based on the cover. It’s so striking and glitchy birds, for some reason, are my jam. Beyond that, this book is the perfect blend of speculative, sci-fi, and romance. Honestly, I think I read each line twice; it’s such a short novel that I wanted to savor every bit of it. This checks so many of my boxes from enemies to lovers, gorgeous writing, time travel, and a love story that defies logic and time. That last one is a very niche box, so it makes this book even better knowing it’s in there. I plan to reread this every year when I need a reboot that can only be solved by time travel love.
“[An] exquisitely crafted tale...Part epistolary romance, part mind-blowing science fiction adventure, this dazzling story unfolds bit by bit, revealing layers of meaning as it plays with cause and effect, wildly imaginative technologies, and increasingly intricate wordplay...This short novel warrants multiple readings to fully unlock its complexities.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review).
From award-winning authors Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone comes an enthralling, romantic novel spanning time and space about two time-traveling rivals who fall in love and must change the past to ensure their future.
Among the ashes of a dying world, an agent of the Commandment finds a letter. It reads: Burn before reading.
Thus begins an unlikely correspondence between two rival agents hellbent on securing the best possible future for their warring factions. Now, what began as a taunt, a battlefield boast, becomes something more. Something epic. Something romantic. Something that could change the past and the future.
Except the discovery of their bond would mean the death of each of them. There’s still a war going on, after all. And someone has to win. That’s how war works, right?
Cowritten by two beloved and award-winning sci-fi writers, This Is How You Lose the Time War is an epic love story spanning time and space.
Allie’s Pick: I read JELLICOE ROAD for the first time over a decade ago, and I’ve been returning to it almost annually since then. JELLICOE ROAD follows a group of teenagers in a remote Australian town as they partake in an annual territory war between the town residents, the boarding-school attendees, and the cadets that come for a six-week training exercise every year. At least that’s what I thought it was about before I read it. I soon discovered a gorgeously told story about 17-year-old Taylor Markham and her search for home and family after being abandoned by her mother when she was 11. The plot is compelling and the characters are endearing, but it was Melina Marchetta’s incredible writing that cemented this book firmly in my heart.
Saimah’s Pick: Hazel has always been a little quirky and hasn’t had success with dating because men just can’t handle her eccentric personality. Josh, on the other hand, has always been cool and confident and able to handle whatever life throws his way. From the night they first met in college—when she hurled on his shoes—to when she sent him a mortifying email while in a post-surgical haze, Josh always considered Hazel more as a spectacle than a peer. But now, several years later, they run into each other again. A cheating girlfriend has turned Josh’s life upside down and hanging out with Hazel is a breath of fresh air. They decide to help each other get back in the dating game by setting each other up on progressively terrible double-blind dates. But if they are dating other people that means there’s nothing between them…right?
Most men can’t handle Hazel. But her best friend Josh isn’t most men. Don’t miss New York Times bestselling author Christina Lauren’s new novel about two people who are definitely not dating…no matter how often they end up in bed together.
Hazel Camille Bradford knows she’s a lot to take—and frankly, most men aren’t up to the challenge. If her army of pets and thrill for the absurd don’t send them running, her lack of filter means she’ll say exactly the wrong thing in a delicate moment. Their loss. She’s a good soul in search of honest fun.
Josh Im has known Hazel since college, where her zany playfulness proved completely incompatible with his mellow restraint. From the first night they met—when she gracelessly threw up on his shoes—to when she sent him an unintelligible email while in a post-surgical haze, Josh has always thought of Hazel more as a spectacle than a peer. But now, ten years later, after a cheating girlfriend has turned his life upside down, going out with Hazel is a breath of fresh air.
Not that Josh and Hazel date. At least, not each other. Because setting each other up on progressively terrible double blind dates means there’s nothing between them...right?
Sharon’s Pick: It would be an understatement to say that ME by Elton John encompasses every single one of my interests in one book. Firstly, I have been a huge Elton John fan since sixth grade; the first album I ever bought from iTunes was Rocket Man: Number Ones, a compilation album of his number one songs. Additionally, I love reading memoirs, particularly ones written by LGBTQ+ authors, and I love reading about the history behind music and popular culture, which ME covers in spades. Elton John’s wit, candor, and vulnerability shines through the pages.
Emily’s Pick: I hadn’t watched the movie before reading this book, and I remember being confused by the narration at the beginning so it may seem odd that this became my book soulmate, but love is mysterious like that. Once I caught on to the hilarity of the fake-autobiographical narration and the metafiction aspect of this book, I was delighted, which soon turned into infatuation and then a deep, deep love. Sticking close to the plot of the movie, THE PRINCESS BRIDE has fantasy, adventure, and humor, all of which are essential qualities for my favorite books, but what sets this book above the rest is the framing of the story. Structured by a father telling a fairy tale to his son, this book evokes the wonder and magic of stories in an interwoven loop that gripped me so much more than my usual favorite fantasy reads.
If Your Favorite Character is Dustin Henderson
In the mind of “Toothless,” his best friend didn’t almost die. His comrade was captured by a monster, thus his band of merry adventurers went on a quest to rescue him. For more eccentric goofballs in perilous situations, try the book that preceded the classic movie “The Princess Bride.”
If this list has got you thinking about everything soulmate related, then check out Christina Lauren’s newest release. THE SOULMATE EQUATION has a genius premise: founders of a start-up company use people’s DNA to match them with their soulmate, but they’re mystified when two polar opposites pair as rare diamond matches. Are the results right, or is true love not as easily wrapped up into an equation as they thought? The company’s very reputation depends on finding out the answers, so they urge the two possible lovers to date and see what happens—in the name of true love and in the name of good press.
The New York Times bestselling author of The Unhoneymooners returns with a witty and effervescent novel about what happens when two people with everything on the line are thrown together by science—or is it fate? Perfect for fans of The Rosie Project and One Plus One.
Single mom Jess Davis is a data and statistics wizard, but no amount of number crunching can convince her to step back into the dating world. Raised by her grandparents—who now help raise her seven-year-old daughter, Juno—Jess has been left behind too often to feel comfortable letting anyone in. After all, her father’s never been around, her hard-partying mother disappeared when she was six, and her ex decided he wasn’t “father material” before Juno was even born. Jess holds her loved ones close, but working constantly to stay afloat is hard...and lonely.
But then Jess hears about GeneticAlly, a buzzy new DNA-based matchmaking company that’s predicted to change dating forever. Finding a soulmate through DNA? The reliability of numbers: This Jess understands.
At least she thought she did, until her test shows an unheard-of 98% compatibility with another subject in the database: GeneticAlly’s founder, Dr. River Pena. This is one number she can’t wrap her head around, because she already knows Dr. Pena. The stuck-up, stubborn man is without a doubt not her soulmate. But GeneticAlly has a proposition: Get to know him and we’ll pay you. Jess—who is barely making ends meet—is in no position to turn it down, despite her skepticism about the project and her dislike for River. As the pair are dragged from one event to the next as the “Diamond” pairing that could make GeneticAlly a mint in stock prices, Jess begins to realize that there might be more to the scientist—and the science behind a soulmate—than she thought.
Funny, warm, and full of heart, The Soulmate Equation proves that the delicate balance between fate and choice can never be calculated.
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