The best books about star-crossed soul mates

Carol Van Den Hende Author Of Always Orchid
By Carol Van Den Hende

Who am I?

As mom to a special needs child and an Asian American author, I’m passionate about diversity and inclusion. My mission is to inspire hope and empathy for people and planet. I believe that love can conquer all, whether it be familial, romantic, or love for humankind. Star-crossed love puts that power to the test. That’s why I’m drawn to these emotional, beautiful books. I’m proud that author Karin Tanabe recommended my work in Glamour Magazine as “a modern, important take on the power of love,” that my books have won Royal Dragonfly Awards for Disability Awareness and Cultural Diversity, and that Springboard Consulting named me Disability Hero of the Year. 

I wrote...

Always Orchid

By Carol Van Den Hende,

Book cover of Always Orchid

What is my book about?

Shortlisted for the Hawthorne Prize, Always Orchid explores forgiveness, redemption and compassion after a disabling accident shapes the relationship between an entrepreneur and the woman he loves.

He almost let her go. Her past could tear them apart. But a love like theirs is worth fighting for… Phoenix Walker will never be the same. Nine months after a heroic act leaves forever changed, he refuses to hurt Orchid Paige ever again. Orchid is ready to forgive. Convincing her guy she still loves him, no matter his injuries, she works to rebuild their intimacy. But their move to her family’s ancestral country unveils China’s superstitions against people with disabilities. Will Phoenix and Orchid will find a way to beat the odds and turn discrimination into acceptance?

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Fault in Our Stars

Why did I love this book?

Talk about star-crossed soul mates! Hazel and Augustus meet at a cancer support group for young adults. What unfolds between them is authentic, never maudlin, and beautiful. 

The Fault in Our Stars taught me about writing. But more importantly, through an unflinching look at death, John Green taught me about life. 

I strive to have my writing move people in this way. 

5 unreserved stars, no fault at all.

By John Green,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked The Fault in Our Stars as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The beloved, #1 global bestseller by John Green, author of The Anthropocene Reviewed and Turtles All the Way Down

"John Green is one of the best writers alive." -E. Lockhart, #1 bestselling author of We Were Liars

"The greatest romance story of this decade." -Entertainment Weekly

#1 New York Times Bestseller * #1 Wall Street Journal Bestseller * #1 USA Today Bestseller * #1 International Bestseller

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters…

Book cover of Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow

Why did I love this book?

John Green is right. Gabrielle Zevin's novel is spectacular on multiple levels.

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow is an incredible 5-star accomplishment. 

Zevin's work is nuanced, not cliched. The ending is not neatly wrapped, but messy like real life. No cringeworthy romantic sentences, nothing maudlin.

She makes everyday activities and the passage of time where little happens interesting through quirky and authentic details. The imagery of a Clownerina statue whose foot can't move is a nod to main character Sam's disabling accident and echoes my own protagonist's dilemma. 

At one point, the novel says that art doesn't tend to come from people who are happy. Yet by creating her art, she's made readers satisfied, and curious, and if my reaction is any indication, more alive.

By Gabrielle Zevin,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

* AMAZON'S #1 BOOK OF 2022 *

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow takes us on a dazzling imaginative quest, examining identity, creativity and our need to connect.

This is not a romance, but it is about love.

'I just love this book and I hope you love it too' JOHN GREEN, TikTok

Sam and Sadie meet in a hospital in 1987. Sadie is visiting her sister, Sam is recovering from a car crash. The days and months are long there, but playing together brings joy, escape, fierce competition -- and a special friendship. Then all too soon that time is…

The Next Thing You Know

By Jessica Strawser,

Book cover of The Next Thing You Know

Why did I love this book?

The Next Thing You Know resonated with me on several levels. First, main character Mason grapples with a disabling injury that hampers his career as a musician. Second, the death doula that works with him to heal emotionally is faced with the difficult decision whether she should cross professional client lines to share her true feelings. 

There are beautiful scenarios that reminded me of my series. In moving scenes, Nova shows Mason that there are other ways to create music other than performing. And he realizes that he has a lot to live for. 

This is an emotional story told with heart and insight!

By Jessica Strawser,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Next Thing You Know as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When Nova Husson, an end-of-life doula, meets Mayson Shaylor, everything she knows is cast into doubt. Committed to a world and profession that allows the elderly to bow out gracefully, taking on a younger man's case is unique, and tragic. Not to mention the fact that the once beloved singer-songwriter now must hang up his guitar for good, after a debilitating degenerative disease takes away the use of his hands. He's determined that there is no future for him, while she's determined to make him see there's life, even as death approaches. But Nova also holds powerful secrets of her…

The Sentence

By Louise Erdrich,

Book cover of The Sentence

Why did I love this book?

Could there be more star-crossed lovers? Pollux must arrest Tookie after she's tricked into driving a man's body over state lines, inadvertently transporting drugs as well. 

After she serves her time, they connect through kindness and care, and marry. She works in a bookstore, haunted by annoying customer Flora. Tookie's convinced that Flora was killed by a powerful sentence in the last book she'd read. The word "sentence" becomes a clever device, connoting Tookie's incarceration, as well as being implicated in Flora's demise.
There are many layers to The Sentence, with themes of indigenous people, marital love, mothers who are linked to us by biology and circumstance. Through the backdrop of the pandemic, she paints a story of Pollux and Tookie's love, one that saves them both.

By Louise Erdrich,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Sentence as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?



In this stunning and timely novel, Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning author Louise Erdrich creates a wickedly funny ghost story, a tale of passion, of a complex marriage and of a woman's relentless errors.

Louise Erdrich's latest novel, The Sentence, asks what we owe to the living, the dead, to the reader and to the book. A small independent bookstore in Minneapolis is haunted from November 2019 to November 2020 by the store's most annoying customer. Flora dies on All Souls' Day, but…

Book cover of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

Why did I love this book?

V.E. Schwab’s premise is brilliant. Her writing is stunning.

In The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, “The Darkness” grants Addie LaRue immortality but in return, no one can remember her for more than a day and she can’t even say her own name. For centuries, she travels through distant lands and historical events, growing more solitary and despondent until she meets Henry, the first human to remember her. Alas, their meeting isn’t mere fate. “The Darkness” has tricked them.

Addie LaRue’s perseverance reminds me of my own fierce female protagonists. Can her cleverness outsmart the star-crossed dilemma he’s devised? Don’t miss this unforgettable tale! 

By V. E. Schwab,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"For someone damned to be forgettable, Addie LaRue is a most delightfully unforgettable character, and her story is the most joyous evocation of unlikely immortality." -Neil Gaiman

A Sunday Times-bestselling, award-nominated genre-defying tour-de-force of Faustian bargains, for fans of The Time Traveler's Wife and Life After Life, and The Sudden Appearance of Hope.

When Addie La Rue makes a pact with the devil, she is convinced she's found a loophole-immortality in exchange for her soul. But the devil takes away her place in the world, cursing her to be forgotten by everyone.

Addie flees her tiny home town in 18th-Century…

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