The Love Month: Odes to Romance and Friendship

February 13, 2023
A photograph of a heart charm on a necklace
Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash

February can be daunting for those unable to escape the lovestruck couples surrounding them, while others look forward to the feeling of being swept off their feet in the so-called love month. No matter where you fall on the relationship spectrum, you’ll enjoy this collection of international stories displaying romantic relationships, friendship, brotherhood and sisterhood, and, most importantly, love.


Ann Napolitano

Hello Beautiful

Dial Press, 2023

Ann Napolitano’s most recent novel, Hello Beautiful, anticipating a March release, describes the life of young William Waters, who escapes his lonely childhood to play collegiate basketball. While in college, William meets a bright and family-oriented girl named Julia, who introduces him to her structured, close-knit family. For the first time, William is exposed to the ties of a strong, bonded family that accepts him for who he is—until he is the one who ultimately tears them apart. This story characterizes family, mental health, forgiveness, tenderness, and, as the author says herself, “what’s possible when we choose to love someone not in spite of who they are, but because of it.”


Hanya Yanagihara

A Little Life

Doubleday, 2015

The novel A Little Life, by Hanya Yanagihara, transforms readers’ perspectives on friendship, loss, trauma, human endurance, and brotherly love in the twenty-first century. The narrative is based on four young men navigating life and career paths in New York City—an actor; an aspiring painter; an entry-level architect; and a litigator, who remains the friends’ center of gravity. The men all attended the same college in a small town in Massachusetts and now play a critical role in each other’s lives as they learn to navigate the triumphs and tribulations of the adult world.




Min Jin Lee


Grand Central, 2017

Pachinko, the second novel by Min Jin Lee, constructs a story of passionate characters, female empowerment, ambition, sacrifice, love, and indifference. In the early 1900s a young teenager named Sunja, the daughter of an impaired fisherman, meets a wealthy man by the shore in Korea. The stranger sweeps her off her feet and makes promises to her, only for Sunja to discover she is pregnant—and he is married. She decides she will not be someone’s mistress and accepts a marriage proposal from a benevolent minister. The two decide to move to Japan despite her crippling fear of her son’s father, which proves to haunt not only Sunja but her family for generations to come.


Aliyyah Eniath

The Yard

Speaking Tiger, 2016

Aliyyah Eniath’s debut novel, The Yard, recounts a story of growth, love, redemption, and the struggles of the Indo-Muslim culture in Trinidad. This literary romance novel features a young, orphaned boy named Behrooz, who is brought to a familial complex called The Yard. He finds a home with an adoring family but struggles with the concept of belonging. While at The Yard, Behrooz finds companionship and romance with a young, rebellious girl named Maya. As their relationship starts to form, Maya flees to London due to fear of punishment for being with Behrooz. Behrooz undergoes a severe sense of heartbreak and starts to rebuild his life by deciding to marry. After a tragedy, Maya returns home and reconnects with Behrooz, only to face old demons that still feel like fresh wounds.


Norman, Oklahoma

Peyton Winter is a senior at the University of Oklahoma pursuing a bachelor’s degree in advertising with a minor in editing and publishing. In addition to interning with World Literature Today, she works with Brandlink Media and The Brides of Oklahoma.