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Great YA Books Without Romance

I’m not one who would typically endorse YA books without romance, but after reading a book recently that was glaringly void of hormones, I found it refreshing.

I wouldn’t read books with no romance ALL the time, but for every once it awhile, it’s really nice and a nice change.

Great YA Books Without Romance

These are a few books that I’ve read that have almost no romance

Harry Potter 1-3

harry potter ya books without romance

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban really have zero romance. I mean, Harry is 11 years old.

It’s not until book 4 that Harry starts to notice cute lil Cho Chang. And even then, the romance aspect of the book is minimal – especially compared to more modern YA series.

It’s this series that reminds me – “HEY, these are my favorite books of all time and they have almost no romance AT ALL. I should really give more romance-less books a chance!”

The Abhorsen series

abhorsen series garth nix young adult books without romance

Clariel is what started this whole post idea. I had just finished reading – and enjoying – it, when I realized how few YA books I read without romance.

And, you guys, this book is pretty epic. So much action, so much magic and adventure. It’s incredible.

Plus, Clariel is a prequel of sorts. The other books in the series are Sabriel, Lirael and Abhorsen. And all of them are focused on leading ladies who are kick-ass and don’t have a lot of time to focus on their love-life cuz their keeping the dead…dead.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

absolutely true diary of a part time indian ya books without romance

I read this novel for a book club meeting last year. It’s so deep and moving and a surprisingly easy read.

Plus, although there is a little romance, it’s definitely not the focus of the story by any means. It’s really about Junior and his journey inside and outside his reservation.

Finnikin of the Rock

finnikin of the rock melina marchetta book review high fantasy

Finnikin of the Rock is a YA fantasy classic, and it is heavy. Sometimes emotionally heavy books seem to stray away from romance, which is probably what makes them so dense at times.

But, this book will make you think and feel all the feelings. That really surprised me considering the teensy bit of romance in its pages.

The Giver

the giver by lois lowry book review ya dystopia

Despite what the previews will show from The Giver movie, this book does not actually contain much romance. At all. This is another situation where the main character is fairly young (I want to say 13…?) and there’s some attraction business, but nothing super serious.

Which is all great because it doesn’t distract from the amazing writing and the beautiful story. The Giver is truly the mother of all dystopian books.

The Book Thief

the book thief ya books without romance

This was another book club pick, and I really enjoyed the original storytelling and perspective. I’ve never read a book about World War II from this point of view, and it was eye-opening for sure.

I liked how so many other types of relationships were highlighted in the book – father/daughter, mother/daughter, best friends, neighbors. I loved seeing how all of those relationships played out.

There is some innocent boy/girl feels, but they’re sweet and tame and unintrusive.

The Hero and The Crown

the hero and the crown ya books without rormance

I am really kicking myself for not having talked about this book more on the blog. I read it in high school, and fell in love with Robin McKinley’s writing.

It’s a fantasy-rich story that has an interesting and light-touch with love. I remember being wrapped up in the rich details and the epic-style storytelling.

Definitely a great series starter to check out!

Do you read YA books without romance?

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.
  • Jeannie

    This is an awesome list! If I’m remembering the Abhorsen series correctly – though it’s been ~10 years since I read the last book – Sabriel does have a little romance. But the rest don’t; and you’re right, it doesn’t take away from the “women kicking ass and taking names” theme. I’m so glad to hear that Clariel is epic though, and I hope you write a review on it. =) I’m going to have to reread that trilogy before October!

  • Rachel

    This is awesome. I am always looking for a series with minimum romance!

  • Michelle Dolan

    Thank you so much for this list, I have a 9 yr old who had a high reading level and loves to challenge herself. It is just tricky to find things for her that don’t have sexual or romantic themes.