Some books just feel like partners to me. Some are from the same author and/or have complementary themes; others have similar titles or covers. Either way, whenever I see one, I think of the other, even though unlike a sequel or companion book, they were not designed to go together. Does that make sense? Maybe my examples will.
1. Sign Language / Second Chance Summer
Titles that start with S, authors with alliterative names, cursive-script covers, but most importantly, both show middle school as well as high school years in the life of a girl whose father dies of cancer. The first one is much less well known, though, and if you liked the second I can't recommend it enough.
2. After the Moment / Stay With Me
These two have nothing in common except their author and their size (small and compact). But to me, they complement each other as real solid examples of thoughtful, well written YA. One male protagonist (the one w/ the girl on the cover, which I remember annoying the author), one female, each of them a little more worldly and mature than the average book teen -- he's in his early 20s at the start, reflecting on what happened his senior year of high school; she's a 17-year-old dating an adult, about which barely anyone even says boo because her sisters and most of the other people she spends time with are also adults.
3. Wherever Nina Lies / Where the Truth Lies
I can't remember anything specific about either of these, but I always get them mixed up because of their similar titles and the fact that both authors' last names start with W.
4. Ordinary Beauty / All Out of Pretty
(FIVE STARS ALL AROUND, CANNOT RECOMMEND ENOUGH)
Both feature a fatherless only child, raised by a grandmother until the latter's passing and then stuck in the custody of a drug-addicted mother, facing homelessness and forced to rely on a dealer for shelter. Both girls are subject to relentless physical/verbal abuse and neglect, but never lose their immense sweetness or sense of self worth and determination to stick to the path of good.
5. Wanderlove / Like Mandarin
Another pair by the same author, her first 2 novels are thematically very different, but are each an example of incredibly well written realistic contemporary YA, featuring girls in beautiful settings. Even more so than in # 2, these books are peak examples of my ideal in the genre. I wish she had more.
6. Astor Place Vintage / A Vintage Affair
The similarities start with a title word in common and do not end there. One's in the U.S. and one's in England, and one's more comic than the other, but both feature a woman with a less-than-perfect romantic life running a vintage clothing shop, as well as dual timelines as an item from the present gradually reveals a story from its original owner's past.
(Bonus fact: these two were instrumental in getting me to into the "grown up fiction" I mentioned during the Changes In My Reading Life week)
7. The Lit Report / I Now Pronounce You Someone Else
(click image to embiggen & read the book-stack titles!)
This one is solely down to cover similarity -- two floppy paperbacks w/ girly script, featuring a stack of books with a Plot Element on top.
Note: of the two, I enjoyed the second book much more, even though the cover of the first one is amazing. (In fact, that's literally what my Goodreads review says about it: "Don't judge a book by its super-attractive cover." I don't remember much about it, but I rated it 2 stars and I trust Past Me's warning.)
8. Lifting the Sky / Dream of Night
These aren't very similar, besides being contemporary middle grade girl-and-horse stories, but I read them within a month of each other, and since I read very few contemporary standalone horse books in this day and age, that linked them in my mind. Plus there's the black/white dichotomy in the horses' coats.
9. My Lost and Found Life / Torn to Pieces
Mom goes missing, possibly dead, and the daughter left behind on her own has to scramble to figure out what happened and keep her life together. The former is more slice-of-life and serious, while the latter is more of a high-stakes mystery, but they're linked in my memory because I read them in such close succession.
10. Love and Other Unknown Variables / The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight
What's black and white and re(a)d all over?? Today the answer to that joke is these two YA novels with math terms, love and hearts on their covers. Only one of which I've actually read, and I do not recommend it because Charlotte sucks, but the second one piques my curiosity, not least because it's the more memorable title, so I keep thinking that's the one I've read and then having to check my reading list to remember the title of the actually-sucky one.
11. Want To Go Private? / Are U 4 Real?
What's black and white and pink and blue all over? These two question-titled books about teens communicating with a stranger online! One is a cautionary tale about pedophiles, though (a gross one), and the other is about how sometimes the teen you're talking to online is, in fact, another regular teen.
12. Since You've Been Gone / The Unexpected Everything
Two very complementary green-based and summery covers, no matter which version of the latter you choose, by the queen of extra-long contemporary YA. Not proper companion novels but set in the same town and in summer, these two feel more closely linked than any of her other novels do with each other.
Honestly, I am sure I have even more, but these are the ones I've been carrying around in my head longest so I am FORCING myself to stop (BUT ALSO WHAT ABOUT The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo vs. The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Harding, like I will ever be able to remember the difference between those until I've read one or both).
Any others you can think of?
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