The best “I hate you, now kiss me” young adult books

Who am I?

Why do I have a passion for the “enemies to lovers” trope? The tension and the anticipation! The buildup and the development of two characters' relationship are sometimes better than the outcome. You get to witness the ups and downs, the hate and disgust, the heart flutters, the lingering looks...the change in each character. And then when they ultimately come together, you get that sense of satisfaction. They belong together and they finally realized it. Of course, it was something you knew all along!

I wrote...

Sweet Burden

By K.L. Ogden,

Book cover of Sweet Burden

What is my book about?

Hitomi Beaumann isn’t supposed to live to see her 18th birthday. Hitomi has always been just an average girl in a small town. But now she's being followed and her skin prickles every time the eyes are on her. After escaping a brutal attack thanks to a mysterious young man, she discovers he is one of the ones who have been watching her. Obsidian has jet black hair, red eyes and an attitude to match. She realizes that he might just be as evil as he wants her to believe. With someone trying to kill Hitomi, she finds herself plunged into a reality where a power struggle has been raging for years between mystical realms, humans are not the only beings and most of her life has been a lie.

The books I picked & why

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The Cruel Prince

By Holly Black,

Book cover of The Cruel Prince

Why this book?

The Cruel Prince is a deliciously dark fae novel. Jude is a human living in fairie land and all she wants to do is belong. Cardan is the youngest prince and despises everything about Jude. Or does he? I love the development of Jude's character and how strong she is despite having Cardan be one of the worst bullies. Jude will not be broken and declares she will become “so much worse” than the fae that torment her. And she does. And it's lovely.


By Susan Ee,

Book cover of Angelfall

Why this book?

Angelfall is a post-apocalypse novel, but not because of zombies or aliens. Angels are not the good guys they've been depicted as and they've caused chaos across Earth. Penryn's sister has been taken by the angels and her only hope of getting her back is an angel, Raffe, whose wings have been ripped off. Penryn and Raffe are absolutely two of my favorite characters. Raffe is beautiful and utterly sarcastic. Penryn is just your average girl trying to save her sister. These unlikely allies must find a way to work together and some sparks fly along the way. The ending had me reaching for the second book in the series immediately.

Dance of Thieves

By Mary E. Pearson,

Book cover of Dance of Thieves

Why this book?

Jase is the leader of an empire. Kazi is sent by the queen of the kingdom to investigate misconduct by that empire. Jase becomes Kazi's prisoner and then the adventure begins. Each character has their secrets they must keep from the other while working together. The distrust and disdain but passion they end up feeling for one another are addicting. The second book in the series is on the top of my “to-read” pile.

These Violent Delights

By Chloe Gong,

Book cover of These Violent Delights

Why this book?

These Violent Delights is a retelling of Romeo and Juliet set in 1920s Shanghai. Roma and Juliette are from rival gangs. Roma is Juliette's first love, but he betrayed her. Events unfold that end up forcing Roma and Juliette to work together to uncover a supernatural mystery. Old feelings reemerge and tensions peak. Being from rival gangs makes this a delectable forbidden romance. I devoured this book over a few very late nights.

Daughter of the Pirate King

By Tricia Levenseller,

Book cover of Daughter of the Pirate King

Why this book?

Alosa is described as “a female Jack Sparrow” (without the rum) and she doesn't disappoint. She's on a quest to retrieve a portion of a map and allows herself to get captured by her enemies to complete her mission. Unfortunately, the handsome first mate, Riden is just as cunning and intelligent as Alosa. The characters challenge and thwart each other causing complete exasperation and tension. I finished this book in one day because I couldn't wait until their passion bubbled over.

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Pirates, China, and the end times?

5,309 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Pirates, China, and the end times.

Pirates Explore 53 books about Pirates
China Explore 377 books about China
The End Times Explore 21 books about the end times

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like The Wicked King, Pirates of the South China Coast, 1790-1810, and The Thief Lord if you like this list.