At this point, we think our love for love has been well-documented. We kind of can’t stop talking about it. Give us a good love story of any kind—friends-to-lovers, enemies-to-lovers, love triangles, meet-cute, hate–cute—we’ll gladly take them all. And star-crossed lovers? Don’t even get us STARTED on this trope. We could cry just thinking about it.
Two people desperately in love? But forced to be apart? Because of family, society, or an untimely demise? A story you just know is going to break your heart? We are not well.
Star-crossed lovers are a staple of literature, and can pop up anywhere—contemporary books like Since We Last Spoke, dark fantasies like Carve the Mark or This Savage Song, or speculative fiction like They Both Die at the End. Basically, anywhere you can find people in love, you can find someone or something trying to keep them apart. It makes for riveting, heartbreaking reads, and we are HERE FOR IT. We mean, just check out this epic quote about doomed love from Aggi in Since We Last Spoke:
“Six thousand two hundred and five days for me to fall in love with Maxwell Granger and seconds for our relationship to smash apart.”
COME ON! If you’re ready to fall head over heels and get your heart broken along with us, scroll down for some star-crossed lovers we love!
16 Star-Crossed Lovers In YA
THAT GIVE US ALL THE FEELS
1. Aggi and Max from Since We Last Spoke
A modern-day Romeo and Juliet, this couple forced apart by warring, grieving families is… everything. We can’t get over the love these two share, and how hard they fight to save it all.
When Aggi Frank and Max Granger finally admitted their feelings for each other last December, it felt like love was beautiful and endless . . . until it wasn’t.
A fatal car accident involving their older siblings throws their lives into sudden chaos. And with a restraining order now in place between the two bitter households, Aggi and Max’s love runs cold. Being together again seems like a distant fantasy, even though they share the same driveway.
Still, Plum Lake is a small town, and staying apart can’t last forever. Aggi and Max eventually reunite at a lake-house party and break the ice after a year of silence.
But just as they begin to rebuild their relationship, the unthinkable happens, leading them to confront each other and their families in the hope of mending the broken pieces.
2. Mateo and Rufus from They Both Die at the End
These two absolutely BROKE us. Finding the love of your life and coming out of your shell only to literally die hours later? Mateo and Rufus are practically the definition of star-crossed.
On September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They’re going to die today.
Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure—to live a lifetime in a single day.
In the tradition of Before I Fall and If I Stay, They Both Die at the End is a tour de force from acclaimed author Adam Silvera, whose debut, More Happy Than Not, the New York Times called “profound.”
3. Stella and Will from Five Feet Apart
Stella and Will both have cystic fibrosis and must remain six feet apart at all times to lower the risk of cross infection. The thing is, they have an instant connection and you can’t help but WANT them to be together. But with no touching, no kissing, no anything… how can they ever be anything more than friends? This one ripped us to shreds and, yes, we cried over the book AND the movie.
Stella Grant likes to be in control—even though her totally out of control lungs have sent her in and out of the hospital most of her life. At this point, what Stella needs to control most is keeping herself away from anyone or anything that might pass along an infection and jeopardize the possibility of a lung transplant. Six feet apart. No exceptions.
The only thing Will Newman wants to be in control of is getting out of this hospital. He couldn’t care less about his treatments, or a fancy new clinical drug trial. Soon, he’ll turn eighteen and then he’ll be able to unplug all these machines and actually go see the world, not just its hospitals.
Will’s exactly what Stella needs to stay away from. If he so much as breathes on Stella she could lose her spot on the transplant list. Either one of them could die. The only way to stay alive is to stay apart. But suddenly six feet doesn’t feel like safety. It feels like punishment.
What if they could steal back just a little bit of the space their broken lungs have stolen from them? Would five feet apart really be so dangerous if it stops their hearts from breaking too?
4. Bella and Edward from Twilight
Bella and Edward HAD to be on this list. C’mon, a human and a vampire? A tale as old as time and honestly a recipe for disaster… except, we all know what happens in Breaking Dawn, so at least this particular pair of star-crossed lovers got a happy ending.
About three things I was absolutely positive.
First, Edward was a vampire.
Second, there was a part of him—and I didn’t know how dominant that part might be—that thirsted for my blood.
And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him.
5. Cyra and Akos from Carve the Mark
A stellar example of warring families and societal expectations forcing two people apart, Akos and Cyra’s story is complex and everything we want from a star-crossed lovers story.
Cyra Noavek and Akos Kereseth have grown up in enemy countries locked in a long-standing fight for dominance over their shared planet. When Akos and his brother are kidnapped by the ruling Noavek family, Akos is forced to serve Cyra, the sister of a dictator who governs with violence and fear. Cyra is known for her deadly power of transferring extraordinary pain unto others with simple touch, and her tyrant brother uses her as a weapon against those who challenge him. But as Akos fights for his own survival, he recognizes that Cyra is also fighting for hers, and that her true gift—resilience—might be what saves them both.
When Akos and Cyra are caught in the middle of a raging rebellion, everything they’ve been led to believe about their world and themselves must be called into question. But fighting for what’s right might mean betraying their countries, their families, and each other.
When the time comes, will they choose loyalty or love?
6. Kate and August from This Savage Song
Romeo and Juliet but with monsters and (even more) death? The fathers of this pair rule over two warring halves of the city, and if that’s not enough, August is a sunai, so getting close to Kate could literally reap her soul from her body. Uh, need we say more?
Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters.
All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it.
But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.
7. Denna and Mare from Of Fire and Stars
Nothing says “doomed to fail” quite like being betrothed to the brother of the literal love of your life. Denna and Mare’s love is too strong to be ignored!
Betrothed since childhood to the prince of Mynaria, Princess Dennaleia has always known what her future holds. Her marriage will seal the alliance between Mynaria and her homeland, protecting her people from other hostile kingdoms.
But Denna has a secret. She possesses an Affinity for fire—a dangerous gift for the future queen of a land where magic is forbidden.
Now Denna has to learn the ways of her new kingdom while trying to hide her growing magic. To make matters worse, she must learn to ride Mynaria’s formidable warhorses before her coronation—and her teacher is the person who intimidates her most, the prickly and unconventional Princess Amaranthine, sister of her betrothed.
When a shocking assassination leaves the kingdom reeling, Mare and Denna reluctantly join forces to search for the culprit. As the two work together, they discover there is more to one another than they thought—and soon their friendship is threatening to blossom into something more.
But with dangerous conflict brewing that makes the alliance more important than ever, acting on their feelings could be deadly. Forced to choose between their duty and their hearts, Mare and Denna must find a way to save their kingdoms—and each other.
8. Karou & Akiva from Daughter of Smoke & Bone:
Guys, this book literally opens with “Once upon a time an angel and a devil fell in love. It did not end well.”
Around the world, black hand prints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.
In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.
And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly war.
Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”, she speaks many languages – not all of them human – and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.
When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?
9. Hazel and Augustus from The Fault in Our Stars
“That’s the thing about pain. It demands to be felt.” WE CERTAINLY FELT IT IN THIS ONE.
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 suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.
Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning author John Green’s most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.
10. Ben and Arthur from What If It’s Us
Three first date do-overs? The universe is definitely not on Arthur and Ben’s side here, folks.
ARTHUR is only in New York for the summer, but if Broadway has taught him anything, it’s that the universe can deliver a showstopping romance when you least expect it.
BEN thinks the universe needs to mind its business. If the universe had his back, he wouldn’t be on his way to the post office carrying a box of his ex-boyfriend’s things.
But when Arthur and Ben meet-cute at the post office, what exactly does the universe have in store for them… ? Maybe nothing. After all, they get separated. Maybe everything. After all, they get reunited. But what if they can’t nail a first date even after three do-overs?
What if Arthur tries too hard to make it work and Ben doesn’t try hard enough? What if life really isn’t like a Broadway play? But what if it is?
What if it’s us?
11. Rose and Dimitri from Vampire Academy
Rose and Dimitri are basically soulmates in every sense of the universe, but THEY CAN’T CROSS THAT LINE. He’s her mentor, and they can’t let their love get in the way of protecting the last Dragomir princess. And if you’ve read the series, you know things get even more complicated at the end of Shadow Kiss…
Lissa Dragomir is a Moroi princess: a mortal vampire with a rare gift for harnessing the earth’s magic. She must be protected at all times from Strigoi; the fiercest vampires – the ones who never die. The powerful blend of human and vampire blood that flows through Rose Hathaway, Lissa’s best friend, makes her a dhampir. Rose is dedicated to a dangerous life of protecting Lissa from the Strigoi, who are hell-bent on making Lissa one of them.
After two years of freedom, Rose and Lissa are caught and dragged back to St. Vladimir’s Academy, a school for vampire royalty and their guardians-to-be, hidden in the deep forests of Montana. But inside the iron gates, life is even more fraught with danger . . . and the Strigoi are always close by.
Rose and Lissa must navigate their dangerous world, confront the temptations of forbidden love, and never once let their guard down, lest the evil undead make Lissa one of them forever.
12. Jack and Kate from Opposite of Always
The perfect meet-cute followed by an untimely death… followed by the perfect meet-cute, followed by an untimely death, and on and on and on… Even with all the do-overs, fate is not on Jack and Kate’s side.
When Jack and Kate meet at a party, bonding until sunrise over their mutual love of Froot Loops and their favorite flicks, Jack knows he’s falling—hard. Soon she’s meeting his best friends, Jillian and Franny, and Kate wins them over as easily as she did Jack.
But then Kate dies. And their story should end there.
Yet Kate’s death sends Jack back to the beginning, the moment they first meet, and Kate’s there again. Healthy, happy, and charming as ever. Jack isn’t sure if he’s losing his mind.
Still, if he has a chance to prevent Kate’s death, he’ll take it. Even if that means believing in time travel. However, Jack will learn that his actions are not without consequences. And when one choice turns deadly for someone else close to him, he has to figure out what he’s willing to do to save the people he loves.
13. Sahar and Nasrin from If You Could Be Mine
Heartbreaking for its relevancy and raw depiction of forbidden love, If You Could Be Mine had us ugly crying into our pillows for a loooong time.
Seventeen-year-old Sahar has been in love with her best friend, Nasrin, since they were six. They’ve shared stolen kisses and romantic promises. But Iran is a dangerous place for two girls in love—Sahar and Nasrin could be beaten, imprisoned, even executed if their relationship came to light.
So they carry on in secret—until Nasrin’s parents announce that they’ve arranged for her marriage. Nasrin tries to persuade Sahar that they can go on as they have been, only now with new comforts provided by the decent, well-to-do doctor Nasrin will marry. But Sahar dreams of loving Nasrin exclusively—and openly.
Then Sahar discovers what seems like the perfect solution. In Iran, homosexuality may be a crime, but to be a man trapped in a woman’s body is seen as nature’s mistake, and sex reassignment is legal and accessible. As a man, Sahar could be the one to marry Nasrin. Sahar will never be able to love the one she wants, in the body she wants to be loved in, without risking her life. Is saving her love worth sacrificing her true self?
14. Lexi and Jane from Missing, Presumed Dead
Jane is a literal ghost. Lexi is decidedly alive. With mounting danger, and all the odds against them, can this oddly adorable duo make it work??
When eighteen-year-old Lexi foresees the brutal murder of a young woman outside a club in downtown L.A., she is powerless to stop it.
But then the girl’s ghost appears, seeking vengeance, and Lexi is swept into a dangerous search that could put her directly in the path of a serial killer. From the author of Devils Unto Dust, this fast-paced and literary thriller will haunt fans of Maureen Johnson’s Truly Devious and Karen M. McManus’s One of Us Is Lying.
With a touch, Lexi can sense how and when someone will die. Some say it’s a gift. But to Lexi it’s a curse—one that keeps her friendless and alone. All that changes when Lexi foresees the violent death of a young woman, Jane, outside a club.
Jane doesn’t go to the afterlife quietly. Her ghost remains behind, determined to hunt down her murderer, and she needs Lexi’s help. In life, Jane was everything Lexi is not—outgoing, happy, popular. But in death, all Jane wants is revenge.
Lexi will do anything to help Jane, to make up for the fact that she didn’t—couldn’t—save Jane’s life, and to keep this beautiful ghost of a girl by her side for as long as possible.
15. Sora and Daemon from Circle of Shadows
Daemon has fallen hard for Sora, but geminas are forbidden by The Society to be together. Watching Daemon try to force his feelings to disappear is utterly heart-wrenching.
Sora can move as silently as a ghost and hurl throwing stars with lethal accuracy. Her gemina, Daemon, can win any physical fight blindfolded and with an arm tied around his back. They are apprentice warriors of the Society of Taigas—marked by the gods to be trained in magic and the fighting arts to protect the kingdom of Kichona.
As their graduation approaches, Sora and Daemon look forward to proving themselves worthy of belonging in the elite group—but in a kingdom free of violence since the Blood Rift Rebellion many years ago, it’s been difficult to make their mark.
So when Sora and Daemon encounter a strange camp of mysterious soldiers while on a standard scouting mission, they decide the only thing to do to help their kingdom is to infiltrate the group. Taking this risk will change Sora’s life forever—and lead her on a mission of deception that may fool everyone she’s ever loved.
Love, spies, and adventure abound as Sora and Daemon unravel a complex web of magic and secrets that might tear them—and the entire kingdom—apart forever.
16. Lena and Alex from Delirium
Lena doesn’t want to fall in love, and is about to undergo a procedure that would make it impossible. Imagine her surprise (and our delight, tbh) when she meets Alex…
In an alternate United States, love has been declared a dangerous disease, and the government forces everyone who reaches eighteen to have a procedure called the Cure. Living with her aunt, uncle, and cousins in Portland, Maine, Lena Haloway is very much looking forward to being cured and living a safe, predictable life. She watched love destroy her mother and isn’t about to make the same mistake.
But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena meets enigmatic Alex, a boy from the Wilds who lives under the government’s radar. What will happen if they do the unthinkable and fall in love?