Have a Non-Romantic Valentine’s Day

For the past couple of years, I have done Valentine’s Day posts about books which focus on friendship rather than on romantic relationships:
Friends Forever
Friends before Flowers

This year, I wanted to do something a little bit different again. I wanted to focus on books with characters who were asexual or aromantic. But in searching for them, I kept running up against books that were about sexual relationships and romance, but from or including an ace/aro perspective or character. And I realized that wasn’t what I was looking for. I was looking for books that did not focus on romance at all. Where sex and romance were not the focus of the story, or even a subplot.

Eventually, I did find a few posts and lists that were more of what I was looking for, and I’ll list them below. But first, some of my books that do not have romantic plots or subplots.

My Books

Some of these characters are asexual or aromantic, and some are simply not in a time/place where they are safe enough to pursue a relationship and their sexual or romantic preferences do not come into play.

Stand Alone

Is Justine crazy?

Everyone thinks so…

Her mother. The kids at school, and the teachers and administrators too. Even the police who pick her up from her night rambles. Maybe them most of all.

Justine’s therapist says she is ‘troubled’, but it means the same thing. He thinks that her vivid, reoccurring nightmares and atrocious behavior point to some trauma in her past; but Em, Justine’s mother, can’t explain it.

Justine used to have Christian, her best friend and skateboard partner. He was the only one who accepted her. Maybe because skating is the only time that Justine is really free to be herself. Now that Christian is gone… Justine keeps thinking things can’t get any worse.

Even as she sees her life spinning further and further out of control, Justine can’t give up her sense of who she is—someone far different than the loving daughter Em expects her to be—to just fit in and be happy. She is sure that Em secretly holds the key to who Justine really is. But if she does, Em isn’t talking.

Making Her Mark

Secrets and lies.

When everything changed, Kelli thought she would be happy. But nothing really changed.

Kelli’s life has never been easy. She’s always faced her problems head on. She’s strong and savvy and in charge of herself. All of that is about to change.

Her life is turned upside down when she discovers the secret that her mother has been hiding from her for years.

Kelli thinks this is her one chance at happiness. But is it?

Cynthia Has a Secret

One day, fifteen-year-old Carmina Knight’s life was perfect, and the next, she’d lost everything. Her family, her home, almost everything that she knew. Alone on the streets, she can’t trust anyone, but she also can’t make it alone.

Neil Crowther is the investigator on the Knight case. He knows that he has to unravel the web of deceit and track Carmina down quickly, or there will be no one left to save.

By-Pass

It’s better when she’s happy.

Bobby is a geeky teen who is convinced that his new foster home is everything he has ever hoped for.

His foster mom Katya is so different than any he has ever had; but as her behavior becomes more and more unpredictable and disturbing, he comes to realize that both he and Katya’s daughter Zane are in trouble.

The crazy thing is, Bobby doesn’t want to leave her, and new revelations from Bobby’s own forgotten past throw his quest for a real family into further turmoil.

Loose the Dogs

You’ll never look at your dog the same way again.

Seven dogs are adopted by families all across the country who do not know their history…

“Of one thing I am sure,” Glenn declares. “These dogs are perfectly harmless.”

Frank knew it wasn’t true.

He would never forget walking into that trailer. He saw it in his mind every time he closed his eyes. He woke up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat, seeing those eyes and those teeth, screaming soundlessly, gasping for breath.

“He never saw those dogs. How could anyone make such a stupid a decision, knowing what they did?”

And more…

And some honorable mentions. (My notes may contain spoilers.)

Medical Kidnap Files – while Gabriel and Renata are partners in crime and sleep in the same room/tent, they are not romantically involved. There are some hints that there could be a relationship in the future, and a little bit of jealousy and tension as they are faced with outside friendships. But there is no sex or romance in at least the first four books of the series (which is what is out now.)

Don’t Forget Steven – there is a friendship between Steven and Sasha, with attempts at something more intimate, but with no resolution in the book. Steven has been too damaged by the abusive relationships with his family members to pursue a relationship with Sasha during the timeline of the book.

Tamara’s Teardrops Series – Tamara does not have any romantic relationships or any interest in romance in the series, but she is coerced into intimate relationships more than once.

Lion Within – while Leo considers a the possibility of a relationship with Elizabeth, they are both struggling with deep personal issues and he realizes that there is no possibility of a romantic relationship.

Once Brothers – there is a passing mention of Jacob’s girlfriend, but they break up very early on and there are no romantic subplots in the book’s timeline.

Other posts to explore:

Here are some of the other resources that I found as I prepared for this post that you might find helpful or enlightening.

Contribute to the Conversation

Do you have some non-romantic favorites? Share them in the comments section!

Comments

  1. A friend messaged me with these recommendations that she had received for non-romantic stories:

    AN UNEXPECTED INVITATION: Ceillie Simkiss
    THE DARKEST HOUSE – Caroline Richmond
    GIVE UP THE GHOST – Megan Crewe.
    THE STORY OF OWEN – EK Johnston
    SUMMER BIRD BLUE – Akemi Dawn Bowman
    THIS SAVAGE SONG – Victoria Schwab

  2. Venette Schafer says

    Amazing articles! I went back and read your other two. I guess I never really thought about books that were not a Romance, though I have read quite a few.. your list of recommendations is very nice.

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