I feel like everyone – or most of everyone – loves books that are filled with yearning and who can blame us? I don’t have a problem with couples who have a fast, strong connection but characters who take their time getting together for one reason or another and who yearn and pine for each other in the meantime? 🥺 Those pairings are superior, I don’t make the rules.
Today, I brought you nine books that are filled with yearning and longing. I picked three F/F, three M/M, and three M/F pairings and I really hope you’ll enjoy my list.
🌸 The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo: Y’all, this one hurts, but it’s so worth reading, I swear. 🥺 I think everyone and their mother knows this book by now – mine sure does, I made her read it lmao – but just in case you don’t, let me introduce you to this fantastic book. The novel tells us the story of Evelyn Hugo, an aging Hollywood actress, and her complex and tumultuous relationship with another woman, aka the love of her life. Their relationship has some ups and downs, and is absolutely filled with yearning. Beautiful. 😭
🌸 Crier’s War: If you haven’t read Crier’s War, what are you doing with your life!? This fantasy novel has an enemies to lovers, extremely slow-burn romance, full of my favorite type of pining. I love the trope where character A wants to hate character B… but they can’t because they’re slowly falling in love with them. 🥺 Ayla trying to remind herself that all Automae are horrible and so Crier must be horrible while being so fascinated by Crier fucking killed me. You all, read this.
🌸 Something to Talk About: Do not believe the low average rating this novel has on Goodreads, it deserves all the love and hype. It follows Jo, a Hollywood writer, and her assistant, Emma who are photographed together looking suspiciously like a couple. The media jumps on this rumor, which changes the dynamic between Jo and Emma and makes them question their feelings for each other. This is such a slow-burn romance! It takes time for Jo and Emma to come to terms with their feelings, but when the yearning kicks in? It’s extremely soft. 🥺
🌸 Six of Crows: I know they aren’t the main characters of the duology, but Jesper and Wylan have such a beautiful, opposites attract relationship. 🥰 And look, the pining is not as bad/good as with most of the others on this list, but it’s certainly there in the second novel. The mistaken identity kiss scene and its aftermath? *chef’s kiss*
🌸 Only Mostly Devastated: Again, I feel like the pining isn’t as remarkable as it is in some of my other picks, but it’s pretty fantastic still! Ollie and Will had a beautiful summer romance which is why Ollie is surprised when Will effectively disappears.. and even worse, when Will doesn’t acknowledge an ounce of their history after they end up at the same high school. As it turns out, Will is not out to his friends and family, which means that the two boys are forced to keep their distance from each other. 😔 This book is so painful at parts, oh my god, but it has many-many bright moments and will ultimately leave you with a big smile on your face.
🌸 Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda: I read this novel ages ago, but as far as I remember there is quite a lot of longing on Simon’s part, especially as he starts to want to know the identity of his online friend, “Blue”. I feel like my picks for the M/M section are rubbish – the books are great, but I’m not sure how much yearning there’s in them – so hit me with your recs if you have them.
🌸 The Raven Cycle: Look, I have my issues with Maggie Stiefvater, but I have to admit, she executed the deep yearning between Blue and Gansey extremely well. 🥺 Firstly, this is a very-very slow burn romance that takes multiple books to build.. and even when it does, it seems rather hopeless as Blue’s been told that whoever she has her first kiss with will die. There’s a lot of pain and pining, especially in the last book.
🌸 You Had Me at Hola: This novel follows two actors who play romantic leads in a rom-com television show. They both have reasons for not wanting a relationship, particularly one that would be picked up by the press, which lead to them trying to stay far, far away from each other despite their attraction. While the pining doesn’t last for a particularly long time here, it’s really well-written, in my opinion, so I’m recommending You Had Me at Hola for that reason.
🌸 North and South: When it comes to classics with pining, many would think of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. For those who want something similar but with more yearning, let me recommend North and South. It’s an extremely slow burn romance with an excellent BBC miniseries adaptation that did an equally good job of conveying the pining between these two fools. 😊
Do you like slow burn romances? What are your favorite books with yearning? I’m forever looking for recommendations. 🥺 Have you read any of these novels?