Favorite Book Couple(s) of the Year

I found this totally awesome contest from a tweet, and after reading through the blogposts related to the Christmas Countdown? Totally. Awesome. And I started thinking about the couples in the books I've read this year ... Turns out, there have been several whose stories I adored. Sometimes they started out rocky (or worse!), sometimes you could tell there was an intense, very-real connection between them, and sometimes ... it was just one of those things that catches your heart. And so, without further ado, my favorite book couples of the year (listed in order of the books read, not in a hiearchical sense):

1: Laura Ingalls & AlmanzoWilder
So these are 'old' books, but I reread them for the first time in ten years back in January, and realized so much about myself in the rereading. I have a better understanding of who I am now, how I came to be the girl I am. And I fell head-over-heels in love with Almanzo 'Manly' Wilder. Looking back, theirs was the first romance I ever read, at the sweetly innocent age of 5 and 6. The sweet simplicity of their growing romance made a lasting impact on me, which I didn't see until rereading. But seriously, what girl wouldn't want the boy who gentles wild horses with a whisper and has dark, bluest-blue eyes? Sa-woon.

2: Cassie & Bear
I am an absolute sucker for a polar bear. Now that we have that out in the open, I'm also mesmerized by the Norse fairy tale/legend "East of the Sun, West of the Moon" and try to read every variation of it I can get my hands on. Sarah Beth Durst's Ice is an amazing contemporary retelling that had me holding my breath. For a chapter or two, I was convinced it was all going to fall apart - even though I *know* how the story has to end. It's a beautiful story, friends becoming lovers ... a bit of Beauty & the Beast feel, but with a twist. I liked Cassie, I liked how stubborn she was, and how her stubbornness is what re-won her Bear. (Plus, how amazingly gorgeous is this cover?!)

3: Malva & Orpheus
This is one of those romances you see coming, but also don't. Malva is the runaway Princetta, and Orpheus is the young sea captain searching to bring her home to an arranged marriage. But he doesn't. Things change, people change. There's an insane adventure, with lots of trials and tests and moments of revelation. But Malva and Orpheus find each other through it all, and theirs is an Ultimate Love. Definitely unexpected, The Princetta (also listed as The Princess and the Captain) is one of those books you have to read for yourself.

4: Ellen & Marek
The romance between Ellen and the mysterious Marek is complicated but beautiful, as it should be - WWII looming on the horizon, and then fully ravages Europe. There's mystery and confusion, heartbreak and heartachingly-beautiful twists. A Song for Summer was definitely a surprise for me, in that I became deeply attached and connected to the characters. It's a romance that reflects humanity, with all its flaws and beauties.

5: Selene & Juba
I hesitated including this couple in my list, because I hate to give anything up when I talk about Michelle Moran's amazing Cleopatra's Daughter. But I can't leave them off, because theirs is a story that stuck with me for a while ... I won't say a lot, because I really do believe everyone should read this for themselves - it's THAT good, people! - but I loved watching this one.

6: Jane & Nico
I have loved Jane Eyre since I first read it in high school. And April Linder's new retelling Jane is just as engrossing: a quiet student working as a nanny + a badboy rockstar with a mystery ... Oh yeah, it's good. It's real good. Their romance obviously follows the pattern of Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester's from the original, but that makes it no less powerful or breathtaking. If anything, having it so very contemporary makes it real-er, more identifiable. Definitely a memorable couple.

7: Slyvi & Ebon
Okay, so this one isn't really a romantic couple, but it's a powerful, powerful bonded relationship. (Literally). This one has been fascinating me, it's a girl and her pegasus. And they are closer than anyone ever thought they would be - or should be. In a sense, it's a forbidden relationship. Yet, it's so very, very right. I love Robin McKinley's ability to spin a story, and Pegasus is an amazing, engrossing, surprising read, with Slyvi and Ebon right at the very heart of it all. Personally, I'd love to have my own pegasus ...

I still have a few weeks left in 2010, and a tantalizing pile of books to read, so chances are good I may discover another amazing couple. But I think this list is a pretty good start.

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