Which YA Character Is Your Back-to-School Crush?

Our favorite things about going back to school? New clothes, shopping for books, and sitting in class pretending to listen while sneakily checking out your crush. Are you always on the lookout for a new fictional character to fall in love with? Same here. So we’ve done our homework and are here to school you on our favorite YA books with crush-worthy love interests. Whether your ideal crush is confident or sensitive, sweet or dangerous, we have all the options. Check them out and then come back and tell us who you’re crushing on most!

If you can’t resist a charming, irresistible bad boy, your back to school crush is Braden from Coming Up for Air by Nicole Tyndall.

Do you love angsty romances about falling in love with the last person you think you should be with? Then you’ll be crushing hard on Braden from Coming Up for Air by Nicole Tyndall. This deeply emotional contemporary YA features a girl who’s determined to protect her heart and a gorgeous, charismatic guy who makes her want to risk everything for him. To make things even more intense, he has a secret. Have tissues handy, because there’s plenty of emotion in this one!

Coming Up for Air

Coming Up for Air

By Nicole B. Tyndall

For fans of Nina LaCour and The Spectacular Now, a powerful coming-of-age story about a girl with creative aspirations and the boy who charms his way into her life, centering on themes of addiction, loss, and the tumultuousness of first love--and how to find strength when everything falls apart.

Ever since her mom's cancer scare, Hadley hasn't been one for taking risks. And after seeing her sister go through one too many heartbreaks, s...

If you fall out of your chair when you discover that the most popular person in school might be secretly crushing on you, then your back-to-school crush is Bryson from Date Me, Bryson Keller by Kevin van Whye.

We’ve all been there: in class, staring at your secret crush and feeling like they don’t even know you exist. But what if you found the courage to ask that person out, and they said yes? Even better, what if they were crushing on you, too? Date Me, Bryson Keller by Kevin van Whye is a cute and charming YA rom-com about having the courage to be yourself and go after what you want. It will put a smile on your face that will last the entire school day!

Date Me, Bryson Keller

Date Me, Bryson Keller

By Kevin van Whye

"One of the most adorable, big-hearted, charming books in existence." --Becky Albertalli, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

What If It's Us meets To All the Boys I've Loved Before in this upbeat and heartfelt boy-meets-boy romance that feels like a modern twist on a '90s rom-com! 


Everyone knows about the dare: Each week, Bryson Keller must date someone new--...

If you believe in romantic love that’s a little bit dark and obsessive, then your back-to-school crush is Ellis from A Lesson in Vengeance by Victoria Lee.

Does your ideal romance lean toward the angsty and dramatic? Then you’ll be crushing hard on Ellis from A Lesson in Vengeance by Victoria Lee. She’s a high school student and a brilliant, acclaimed novelist, and she’s a little unconventional, believing that abandoned buildings and creepy woods are the perfect places for romance to flourish. If you prefer your love stories tinged with danger, this book really delivers!

A Lesson in Vengeance

A Lesson in Vengeance

By Victoria Lee

A dark, twisty thriller about a centuries-old, ivy-covered boarding school haunted by its history of witchcraft and two girls dangerously close to digging up the past. The dangerous romance and atmospheric setting makes it a perfect read for fans of dark academia.

The history of Dalloway School lives in the bones it was built on. Five violent deaths in the first ten years of its existence. Sometimes you can still smell the blood on the...

If you always root for the underdog, your back-to-school crush is Malcolm from Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus.

Does your heart always go out to the person who seems to have the odds stacked against them? Then we think you’ll fall in love with Malcolm from Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus. Malcolm’s older brother was accused of murder, and as a result, he’s a little bit on the outside of things in the small town of Echo Ridge. If you dream of being half of a crime-solving couple, this YA mystery is the perfect fit for you!

Two Can Keep a Secret

Two Can Keep a Secret

By Karen M. McManus

The "must-read YA thriller" (Bustle) from #1 New York Times bestselling author of One of Us Is Lying about a small town with deadly secrets.

"When it comes to YA suspense, Karen M. McManus is in a league of her own..." --Entertainment Weekly


Echo Ridge is small-town America. Ellery's never been there, but she's heard all about it. Her aunt went missing there at age seventeen. And only five years ago, a homec...

If you love books that give you two compelling love interests, your back-to-school crush is either Gage or Daniel from You’d Be Home Now by Kathleen Glasgow.

You’d Be Home Now by Kathleen Glasgow is a heart-wrenching story of addiction and complicated family dynamics. Emory doesn’t feel like she has time for love on top of all the other things she’s trying to cope with: school, the aftermath of a terrible car accident she and her brother Joey were in, helping Joey in his battle with heroin addiction. Is a casual, secret romance with star athlete Gage the best choice for her? Or should she go for Daniel, who has his own secrets and vulnerabilities? You’ll root for Emory as she fights to overcome her challenges.

You'd Be Home Now

You'd Be Home Now

By Kathleen Glasgow

From the New York Times bestselling author of Girl in Pieces comes a raw, deeply personal story about a town ravaged by the opioid crisis, and a teenaged girl struggling to find herself amidst the fallout of her brother's addiction.

For all of Emory's life she's been told who she is. In town she's the rich one--the great-great-granddaughter of the mill's founder. At school she's hot Maddie Ward's younger sister. And at home, she...

On Sale 09.28.21

If you’re all about the slow burn, friends-fall-in-love romance, your back-to-school crush is Matteo from You’ll Be the Death of Me by Karen M. McManus.

You’ll Be the Death of Me by Karen M. McManus is another unputdownable YA thriller by Karen M. Manus. The book features three former friends, Ivy, Cal, and Matteo. One day they run in to each other and impulsively decide to skip school to re-create their Best Day Ever from eighth grade. But things turn deadly when the trio stumbles on a murdered student and decides they will have to team up to solve the crime.

You'll Be the Death of Me

You'll Be the Death of Me

By Karen M. McManus

From the author of One of Us Is Lying comes a brand-new pulse-pounding thriller. It's Ferris Bueller's Day Off with murder when three old friends relive an epic ditch day, and it goes horribly—and fatally—wrong.

Ivy, Mateo, and Cal used to be close. Now all they have in common is Carlton High and the beginning of a very bad day. Type A Ivy lost a student council election to the class clown, and now she has to fa...

On Sale 11.30.21

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