The best YA romances set in the (American) Deep South

Brandy Woods Snow Author Of As Much As I Ever Could
By Brandy Woods Snow

Who am I?

There’s never been a time I haven’t had a pen in my hand, crafting a good story. And as the YA literature movement grew, so did my love of it. There’s not a more “blooming” time of life when life and love and friendship can grow with such authenticity and excitement. And true to my Deep South roots, I write and gravitate to romance novels that capture the beauty of first love and Southern culture in tandem, from the slow, relaxed pace to the sometimes gritty culture to the never-meet-a-stranger, colorful personas. Where humidity is thick but the accents are thicker, that’s where you’ll find my Southern-fried heart!


I wrote...

As Much As I Ever Could

By Brandy Woods Snow,

Book cover of As Much As I Ever Could

What is my book about?

After a fatal car crash takes her mom and sister, CJ quits driving and isolates herself from the world. When her dad sends her to spend a summer with her estranged Memaw in Edisto Beach, South Carolina, she never expects to meet a boy, especially champion race car driver Jett.

When CJ loses a bet that lands her in Jett’s driver’s seat, he reintroduces her to driving while they confide in each other, and CJ learns she’s not the only one suffering through a loss. As their connection deepens, Jett’s focus on the track is called into question, and CJ refuses to be the cause of another crash. Can CJ learn to put her heart in drive or will she throw it in reverse?

The books I picked & why

Shepherd is reader supported. We may earn an affiliate commission when you buy through links on our website. This is how we fund this project for readers and authors (learn more).

Along for the Ride

By Sarah Dessen,

Book cover of Along for the Ride

Why this book?

When Auden spends the summer with her dad and his new family in coastal North Carolina, she never expects that a friendship with a new boy Eli will change everything she’s believed about life and love. A burgeoning romance and deep secrets shared under a Carolina moon on late-night adventures while the rest of the town sleeps? Can you get any more magical than that? This one is all about healing and blooming and taking the chance to be yourself against the backdrop of a quirky-cute beach town.

Along for the Ride

By Sarah Dessen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Along for the Ride as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A New York Times bestseller

Up all night.
 
Nights have always been Auden’s time, her chance to escape everything that’s going on around her.
 
Then she meets Eli, a fellow insomniac, and he becomes her nocturnal tour guide.
 
Now, with an endless supply of summer nights between them, almost anything can happen. . . .
 
“As with all Dessen’s books, [this] is a must-have” —VOYA, starred review
 
Also by Sarah Dessen:
Dreamland
Just Listen
Keeping the Moon
Lock and Key
The Moon and More
Someone Like You
That Summer
This Lullaby
The Truth About Forever
What Happened to Goodbye


Maybe This Time

By Kasie West,

Book cover of Maybe This Time

Why this book?

Set in small-town Alabama, Sophie is working at the local florist while dreaming all the big city dreams but slowly falling for love interest, Andrew. I’m a sucker for slow-burn romances told in unconventional ways while enjoying a good Southern setting, and this book has it! Enemies-to-lovers over the course of a year’s events and with a heavy dose of family dynamics bubbling to the surface? Yes, please!

Maybe This Time

By Kasie West,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Maybe This Time as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Beloved author Kasie West brings her signature witty banter and rom-com fun to a bold, fresh format. Think Four Weddings and a Funeral for YA.

One year. Nine events. Nine chances to . . . fall in love?Weddings. Funerals. Barbecues. New Year's Eve parties. Name the occasion, and Sophie Evans will be there. Well, she has to be there. Sophie works for the local florist, so she can be found at every big event in her small hometown, arranging bouquets and managing family dramas.Enter Andrew Hart. The son of the fancy new chef in town, Andrew is suddenly required to…


Meet the Sky

By McCall Hoyle,

Book cover of Meet the Sky

Why this book?

There’s just something about the man-versus-nature struggle, especially when the sheer force of Mother Nature is so vividly described in the pages of this book based in North Carolina’s Outer Banks. Main characters Sophie and Finn, no strangers to backstories brimming with tremendous pain and loss, face down the eye of the hurricane, learning to lean on each other while learning more about the beauty of life. With such immersive descriptions (including the location’s wild horses!), readers can expect to be transported to the Southern coast on a true journey of self-discovery and second-chance love.

Meet the Sky

By McCall Hoyle,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Meet the Sky as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From award-winning author McCall Hoyle comes a new young adult novel, Meet the Sky, a story of love, letting go, and the unstoppable power of nature.

It all started with the accident. The one that caused Sophie's dad to walk out of her life. The one that left Sophie's older sister, Meredith, barely able to walk at all.

With nothing but pain in her past, all Sophie wants is to plan for the future-keep the family business running, get accepted to veterinary school, and protect her mom and sister from another disaster. But when a hurricane forms off the coast…


Emergency Contact

By Mary H. K. Choi,

Book cover of Emergency Contact

Why this book?

Talk about an all-out emotional whirlwind in this Texas-based book that explores that all-too-often overlooked time of incredible growth during the college years for main characters Penny and Sam. Woven together through a textual relationship, love grows in a charmingly authentic, open, and honest way. Well-developed secondary characters, a deep exploration of a range of emotions, and some yummy baked goods make this book unputdownable! 

Emergency Contact

By Mary H. K. Choi,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Smart and funny, with characters so real and vulnerable, you want to send them care packages. I loved this book." -Rainbow Rowell

From debut author Mary H.K. Choi comes a compulsively readable novel that shows young love in all its awkward glory-perfect for fans of Eleanor & Park and To All the Boys I've Loved Before.

For Penny Lee, high school was a total nonevent. Her friends were okay, her grades were fine, and while she'd somehow landed a boyfriend, they never managed to know much about each other. Now Penny is heading to college in Austin, Texas, to learn…


Until Friday Night

By Abbi Glines,

Book cover of Until Friday Night

Why this book?

This Field Party series starter is my go-to when I need a good dose of Friday Night Lights, a splash of steam, and a heavy dose of drama. I mean, football meets love in bloom—can you get any more Southern that that? Main characters West and Maggie are both suffering through a recent/impending significant loss in their families, and this pain unites them on a deeper level than either has known before against the backdrop of a small Alabama town. 

Until Friday Night

By Abbi Glines,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Until Friday Night as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Synopsis coming soon.......


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the Deep South, survival, and change?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about the Deep South, survival, and change.

The Deep South Explore 9 books about the Deep South
Survival Explore 134 books about survival
Change Explore 29 books about change

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like The Sky Is Everywhere, Cinder, and My Fair Godmother (Godmother, Book 1) if you like this list.