My Favourite Meet-Cutes in YA Fiction | Romance Week 2021
Happy Romance Week! This week my single-self is celebrating everything wonderful about love and along with some of the books and characters that prove that love is real and magical! I thought I’d manifest some of my own romance by going back to where it all started and sharing some of my favourite fictional ‘meet-cutes’!
So what is a meet-cute? It’s an amusing or charming first encounter between two characters that eventually leads to the development of a relationship between them. Eli Wallach’s character Arthur from The Holiday (2006) put it’s best, when he explains what a meet-cute is:
“It’s how two characters meet in a movie. Say a man and a woman both need something to sleep in, and they both go to the same men’s pyjama department. And the man says to the salesman, ‘I just need bottoms.’ The woman says, ‘I just need a top.’ They look at each other, and that’s the meet-cute,” he says.
This initial spark between characters pave the way for different and sometimes less traditional relationships and I can’t help but squeal with excitement when this moment occurs especially when two characters who are destined to be together meet but they just don’t know it yet…
Below are 12 of my favourite unexpected moments of serendipity, all of which include swoon-worthy meetings that us readers can’t help but love, from love-at-first-sight to enemies-to-lovers, awkward encounters and heart-warming beginnings that make our hearts flutter.
Elisabeth and Nathaniel from Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson – I love the innocence behind this encounter and the relationship between these too. The pair meet when Elisabeth is discovered spying on the mysterious Magister Nathaniel, in an attempt to discover if he had pointy ears and cloven hooves or not. After destroying a couple of bookshelves and faking a not-so-convincing stumble, the two engage on magical adventure that strengthens the romantic bond between them.
Natasha and Daniel from The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon – These two characters meet through a twist of fate and then, of course, fall in love. Daniel saves Natasha from being hit by a car, after briefly meeting in a record store, and continues to spend the day together and prove to her that love is real with just 36 questions. But this isn’t your typical romance, as the book tackles immigration and all types of love and expectation and if you haven’t read it yet I highly suggest that you add it to your TBR.
Elizabeth and Darcy from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen – The ultimate enemies-to-lovers duo and a classic fictional couple that I can’t help but adore. Darcy first meets Elizabeth Bennet at a ball, where he makes rather demeaning remarks about her while she is within earshot and it is in this moment that the romantic spark between them is ignited!
Daphne and Simon from The Duke and I by Julia Quinn – As much as I love Anthony and Kate, it’s Daphne and Simon’s first meeting that earns them a spot on this list. Their meeting is slightly different in the books, but it does still involve Daphne’s punching Lord Berbrooke. Simon then stumbles upon her and Berbrook’s unconscious body, and the two devise a plan to remove him before anyone sees.
Josh and Hazel from Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren – I’ve been on a Christina Lauren binge this week, and the chaos that surrounds their meet cute is brilliant. The pair originally meet at collage, after a few unsuccessful and unfortunate run in’s that include Hazel gracelessly throwing up on Josh’s shoes and a post-surgical and unintelligible email. Fast forward ten years when the pair meets again and realise that maybe (after some unsuccessful blind dates) that they’re exactly what each other needs.
Vin and Elend from The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson – Now it wouldn’t be a favourites list without including Sanderson, would it? Vin (disguised as Valette) first meets Elend when she discovers his reading spot at a ball, and from then the two develop a comforting friendship that ultimately blossoms into something more.
Henry and Addie from The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E.Schwab – He REMEMBERED her! My heart grew two sizes when Henry recognised Addie, even if he did catch her attempting to steal another book. The relationship between these two star-crossed lovers was beautifully heartbreaking and one of my favourite reads of last year.
Bryce and Hunt from Crescent City by Sarah J Maas – As soon as these two met, I knew I was in for a wildly intense relationship that I was going to fall utterly in love with. The banter and attitude between the two instantly establishes that enemies-to-lovers dynamic that us readers can’t get enough of and leaves us wanting more.
Celia and Marco from The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – One of my favourite fictional couples ever! Marco meets his opponent Celia initially when she auditions for the circus, but it’s not until 1894 that Celia learns the identity of her opponent when she mistakenly takes Marco’s enchanted umbrella from a cafe in Prague and he chases her down for its return. The two then embark on a magical whirlwind and heartbreaking romance that truly defines the power and wonder of love.
Blue and Gansey from The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater – I know this one isn’t particularly romantic or charming but this moment is the beginning of everything. Blue meets Gansey soon-to-be dead spirit in a graveyard and is drawn to him, in a way she can’t entirely explain. The two then officially meet a Nino’s, which ends in a disaster and Blue walking away Gansey’s journal with his notes on Glendower. The relationship isn’t instant and is ladened with all sorts of problems (Blue’s prophecy in particular) but they soon became one of my favourite fictional couples.
Lara Jean and Peter from To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han – The ultimate meet-cute and another one of my favourite contemporary moments. Many of you probably know how these two meet, but for those who don’t know it all starts with a secret letter that was never meant to be sent and from there the rest is history.
Nesta and Cassian from A Court of Mist and Fury – The two meet when Feyre and the Inner Circle visit her family’s estate and it’s clear that Nesta is an equal match to Cassian’s quarrelling and taunting. It’s only a couple of days now until the release of A Court of Silver Flames and I can’t contain my excitement for much longer!