As one of the most satisfying coming-of-age adventures out there—with a lovable cast of characters, captivating animation, and a kick-butt redemptive arc—there’s a lot to talk about when we talk about Avatar: the Last Airbender. But our personal favorite discussion topic? The romantic ships of ATLA. Are you Team Kataang or Zutara? Or are you still holding out for Zuko and Sokka’s time in the sun? Check out our list of every ship (canon and non-canon) in ATLA and get a book rec that captures the essence of that ship!
Books to Read Based on Your Favorite Avatar Ship!
1. Sokka and Yue – Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott
The most tragic of all Avatar ships, Sokka and Yue, must be paired with the most tragic of YA romances, Five Feet Apart. With no spoilers—both pairs are pretty doomed from the start, with Yue engaged to another man and devoted to her nation, and Will and Stella both risking their lives if they dare to be closer than six feet apart because of their Cystic Fibrosis. However, it doesn’t stop us from swooning for these star-crossed pairs every step of the way.
2. Sokka and Suki – When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
Sokka and Suki’s relationship can be traced back to Sokka’s misogynistic embarrassment over being taken down by Suki and the other Kyoshi warriors, and the strength of their pairing comes from his determination to learn from Suki rather than be stubborn in his ways. So Sokka and Suki shippers are sure to appreciate When Dimple Met Rishi where strong-willed, ambitious Dimple Shah butts heads with traditionalist, romantic Rishi Patel at a coding summer program in San Francisco.
3. Katara and Jet – The Victoria in My Head by Janelle Milanes
Katara has her bad boy phase when she falls for radical “Freedom Fighter” Jet. While he ultimately is not everything he seems, he inspires her and breaks her out of her comfort zone. Fans of that dynamic should take a look at The Victoria in My Head, a contemporary romance about shy, rule-following teen Victoria Cruz who dreams of becoming a rock star but cannot imagine ever getting over her stage-fright. Her life changes forever when she crosses paths with Strand, an unattainably gorgeous boy whose band is looking for a new lead singer.
4. Zuko and Mai – Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi
Zuko and Mai find their power in their shared hatred for the world, struggling to even find enthusiasm for their own friends. Emergency Contact’s Penny and Sam similarly feel like they don’t have anyone in their corner—until they meet each other and decide to become each other’s emergency contact. Navigating their personal problems and artistic aspirations together, the pair finds themselves connecting on a level they never thought possible, all via text.
5. Katara and Haru – Something Like Gravity by Amber Smith
Though their screen-time is limited, Katara and Haru’s connection is strong—Katara empathizes with Haru’s trauma of having his father taken by the fire nation, and Katara helps Haru embrace his identity as a bender. Something Like Gravity’s central couple also finds connection through processing trauma and exploration of identity. Chris has recently come out as transgender and is still processing a frightening assault. Maia is grieving the loss of her older sister and trying to find her place in the world without her. Falling in love is the last thing on either of their minds. But would it be so bad if it happened anyway?
6. Zuko and Sokka – In Deeper Waters by F.T. Lukens
Sokka and Zuko have the ultimate bromance—or is it a romance? Their shared understanding of “honor” launches their one-on-one adventure to save Sokka’s father which sets the stage for their memorable “That’s Rough, Buddy” conversation where they bond over their lost loves. Diehard romantic shippers of Sokka and Zuko will be giddy over F.T. Lukens’ action-packed and swoon-worthy In Deeper Waters where a young prince is kidnapped by pirates and his only hope for escape is a handsome, mysterious stranger with whom he has an intense, undeniable connection…
7. Toph and Sokka – Overdrive by Dawn Ius
Toph’s crush on Sokka is only referenced once, but it’s pretty easy to imagine the type of relationship Toph would envision for herself and Sokka: a life of scamming, indelicate humor, and carefree living. Toph would admire Overdrive protagonist Jules Parish who has been boosting cars for three years and is too good to get caught—until now. Unless Jules can pull off the biggest heist of her life, she and her sister will out on the street. As a part of the deal, she must pull this heist off with three strangers, one of whom has the kind of looks and bad attitude that may just drive her crazy.
8. Ty Lee and Azula – Sweet & Bitter Magic by Adrienne Tooley
Team Anti-Avatar has many revelations on Ember Island, but perhaps the biggest revelation is Azula’s jealousy over Ty-Lee’s social ease, and Ty-Lee’s genuine admiration of Azula. While they never have the chance to grow from this dynamic, those looking to have this sapphic polar-opposite attraction wish fulfilled should read Sweet & Bitter Magic, Adrienne Tooley’s debut about a girl hoping to save her ailing father by enlisting the help of a witch cursed with the inability to love. Wren promises to sacrifice the love for her father to Tamsin in return for Tamsin’s help, but the pair has a perilous journey ahead of them, and love bargains are always a tricky thing…
9. Sokka and Ty Lee – Harley in the Sky by Akemi Dawn Bowman
Sokka and Ty-Lee fans are mainly rooting for Ty-Lee’s happiness—the intrepid acrobat expresses an interest in Sokka on multiple occasions, but Sokka is mainly overwhelmed (and outmatched) by Ty-Lee. Harley in the Sky stars another fearless, flexible heroine, Harley Milano, who has a swoon-worthy romance of her own. Harley is an aspiring trapeze artist whose parents run a famous circus in Las Vegas. Like Ty-Lee who leaves her family (and many sisters) to carve out her own identity, Harley leaves home after a huge fight with her family, who wants her to go to school instead of pursue her dreams, and joins a rival circus, the Maison du Mystère.
10. Toph and Zuko – Chasing Lucky by Jenn Bennett
The most iconic Zuko blush in all of ATLA is elicited by Toph when she declares that it’s her turn to go on a life-changing adventure with Zuko. Though their relationship is never further explored, Toph and Zuko fans can still romanticize them bonding over complicated familial relationships and misunderstood public personas. Shippers of this duo should read Chasing Lucky which pairs rebel Lucky Karras with his former best friend, Josie, who returns to her hometown to find herself the target of damaging local gossip. When a poorly executed act of revenge backfires on Josie, Lucky unexpectedly takes the blame, and Josie is determined to find out why.
11. Katara and Aang – Lost Book of the White by Cassandra Clare and Wesley Chu
Team Kataang sees their pair as a driving force in the series, soulmates from the start, and canon, canon, canon. For more canon OTP adventures, Cassandra Clare’s Eldest Curses series revolves around a Shadowhunters favorite OTP: Malec. In the series, Magnus and Alec’s death-defying missions abroad also double as romantic getaways. The upcoming newest in the series, The Lost Book of the White, takes them to Shanghai, with Clary, Jace, Isabelle, and Simon as back-up.
12. Katara and Zuko – These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong
Zutara’s enemies-to-lovers dynamic is parodied by The Ember Island Players, but if you’re looking for a real enemies-to-lovers story to rival the fire of Zutara, we’d suggest Chloe Gong’s These Violent Delights, a thrilling retelling of Romeo and Juliet in 1920s Shanghai with a fantastical twist of a monster in the depths of Huangpu river. Just like the animosity between Zuko and Katara stems from Zuko’s betrayal of Katara in the crystal catacombs combined with the history of their warring nations, Roma, These Violent Delights’ Romeo, is not only the heir to a rival gang, but also was once Juliette’s first love—until he became her first betrayal.