Book List

7 Unforgettable Forbidden Romances

May 17, 2018
Casey Nugent
Riveted Editorial Board

Who doesn’t love a good love story? Two people brought together against all odds in a hectic world; best friends who realize, slowly, they were meant to be together forever; two paths intertwined by destiny…*sigh* I’m a sucker for them. But what I really love are love stories where people aren’t meant to be together, or more specifically, aren’t allowed to be together. Where, for some reason or another, their love is forbidden — by the government, by society, by their families, by fate, or sometimes by the universe itself.

I’ve rounded up some of my favorite forbidden romances below!

7 Unforgettable Forbidden Romances

1. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Clary Fray thinks her life is perfectly normal until the night her mother disappears. This is her introduction to the Shadowhunters, a secret group of warriors dedicated to driving demons out of our world and back into their own. Clary must team up with blonde, handsome, and infuriating Shadowhunter Jace to track down her mother. As Clary and Jace’s attraction grows, things get increasingly complicated. After all, Clary’s not a Shadowhunter, she’s just a regular human . . . isn’t she?

2. Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

It isn’t really a Shadowhunters book without some delightful forbidden romance, which means sequel series The Dark Artifices is filled with it too. Emma and Julian are parabati, who, by Shadowhunter law, cannot be in a romantic relationship. So, when the two start developing feelings for each other, things get messy. Oh, and on top of all of that, there’s a war brewing. It all makes for thrilling reading!

3. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

On their 16th birthday, everyone undergoes extensive plastic surgery to become Pretty. Tally Youngblood wants to be Pretty more than anything. Her friend Shay wants nothing less. When Shay defects from society to join a band of rebel Uglies, Tally is tasked with bringing them down. But when she finds the rebels, she finds herself surprisingly attracted to David, their leader.  This one’s twofold forbidden: not only is David a rebel, and therefore their relationship would prevent Tally from achieving her dream of being Pretty….he’s also Shay’s boyfriend.

4. Lizzie by Dawn Ius

In this modern-day retelling of the Lizzie Borden case, painfully shy Lizzie spends most of her time in the kitchen of her family’s B&B, dreaming of becoming a chef and escaping out from her tyrannical parents. When the B&B hires Bridget Sullivan as a new maid, Lizzie is instantly drawn to her — a bond that quickly becomes more than friendship. But Lizzie’s parents forbid it, and as Lizzie chafes against their restraints, she starts to feel as if she’s going mad.

5. American Panda by Gloria Chao

Seventeen-year-old Mei is an early freshman at MIT, having skipped fourth grade. This is all part of her parents’ master plan for her future — become a doctor, marry a preapproved Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer, and produce a litter of babies. But Mei has to face some harsh truths. Like that she hates germs and biology lectures, that she doesn’t want to give up her passion for dancing, and that she definitely has a crush on her classmate Darren Takahashi — who is decidedly not Taiwanese.

6. An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson


Artistic prodigy Isobel may work with the fair folk, painting them for favors, but she knows better than to trust them. When she’s tasked with painting Rook, the autumn prince, Isobel makes a grave mistake and paints mortal sorrow in his eyes. Furious, Rook takes her away to his kingdom for trial. But things are amiss in the world of the fair folk, and Rook and Isobel find themselves relying more and more on each other — a dangerous thing, considering love between fair folk and mortals violates the fair folk laws.

7. The Wicked Deep by Shea Earnshaw


Two centuries ago, three sisters living in Sparrow were sentenced to death for witchery and drowned. Now Sparrow is cursed, and for a brief time each summer, the sisters return, stealing the bodies of three weak-hearted girls so they may seek their revenge, luring boys into the harbor and pulling them under. Penny Talbot has accepted the fate of the town. But this year, on the eve of the return, a strange named Bo Carter arrives. And as Penny and Bo start to fall for each other, someone else starts to fall for Bow as well — one of the Swan sisters. And so Penny must choose: save Bo, or save herself.

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