YA characters J. Elle would love to see under the mistletoe

"Give me a YA book with a strong romance main plot or subplot and I’m hooked!"


Give me a YA book with a strong romance main plot or subplot and I’m hooked! But there’s nothing as disappointing as shipping two of your favorite characters and they don’t ever end up together. I’m going to pick the brooding bad boy like, all of the time. But what if we could mix and match some of our favorite YA characters? Could you imagine?! I was giddy just thinking about it and decided to dream up some of the most droolworthy YA pairings! Here are 16 of my favorite YA characters who I’d love to see under the mistletoe!

The Darkling & Cardan

From Shadow & Bone by Leigh Bardugo and The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Okay, yes, this would be super dangerous but hear me out! These two both crave power, so it would be so fun to watch their chemistry as they try to work together. I think The Darkling would be surprised by Cardan’s effectiveness and we love a shaken Darkling. Mwuahhahhah. I imagine them trying to work together would become impossible at some point, and I would drool at these two as enemies. Ahhhh, I want it!

Kaz & Inej

From Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

This one I feel like we’ve sort of gotten to see, but not fully. I want to shove these two under a mistletoe so bad! I love how deep their bond goes and how they really do look out for each other. There’s an unspoken love between them and its fierce and fiery. A lot of thier connectedness I think is girded by the respective wounds they each carry. I just get goosebumps thinking about these two diving full on into LOVE. Give it to us Leigh, puhhleaseee, ha ha!

Bree & August

From Legendborn by Tracy Deonn and A Forgery Of Roses by Jessica S. Olson

August is a character many of you may not have met yet because Forgery of Roses does not release until March 2022, but, prepare yourselves! He is a socially anxious governor’s son caught in the cross hairs of a murder investigation to find who killed his brother. Bree from Legendborn is such a lovable heroine. She is powerful and vulnerable. The way she copes with growing into understanding her past and dealing with grief I think would make her the sweetest companion to August. And he to her! Fanfiction writers, give me this, I beg you!

Jesper & Legend

From Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo and Caraval by Stephanie Garber

I love Jesper! Borderline obsessed if I’m honest. And I love his penchant for trickery and recklessness. He has a sweet side to him, too, which I adore. But he is also quite skilled, ambitious and dangerous. It would be electrifying to see him and Legend under the mistletoe. Picture Legend’s illusion magic with Jesper influencing it. That would be so cool. I’m also so curious to see what would happen if Jesper leaned into more of a powerful stride! I could honestly read an entire book on just Jesper. Give it to me!

Those mixed matches were fun. And I fully expect any fanfic writers out there making this happen to hit up my DMs, ha ha. Because I wanna read!!! But aside from those above, there are some of my favorite YA couples that I just could never ever split up (or tire of seeing). I forever ship these next eight under the mistletoe!

Lara Jean & Peter

From To All The Boys by Jenny Han

These two are super swoony and before you go on and tell me that book two is where the real love interest is, let me plug my ears, ha ha. I love the deeply rooted friendship that Lara and Peter have. It’s the core of their relationship and I adore romances like that. This is why I was Team Gayle, don’t @ me. Also, the fake dating is super cute. When I think of adorable couples, they’re among the first to come to mind. Forever shipping!




Shazi & Khalid

From The Wrath and The Dawn by Renée Ahdieh

This book is one of my favorite YA fantasy’s of all time. It’s a classic and I could read it again and again. So this is another ship I could never mix up with anyone else. Just imagining it almost gave me hives! I love how Khalid is technically the one in power in their relationship, but he’s drawn to a power, a freedom of sorts, that Shazi has that he doesn’t. Shazi doesn’t put up with Khalid’s crap and she’s super clever. She enthralls him by being herself and I love their dynamic. I swear I didn’t breathe anytime there was a scene with both of them on the page!




Ace & Karina

From Counting Down With You by Tashia Bhiuyan

This book is oh my goodness! It’s up there with my top five favorite ever contemporary romance reads. I could never separate these two because they’re perfect for each other. I adore them so much! I love that they both give each other the love they need. And how with each other they feel safe enough to be their vulnerable selves. Isn’t that the best kind of love, one that’s entirely disarming, with no pretenses or veneers. Karina gives Ace a security he can’t get from his family and he gives her a love and comfort that Karina struggles to get from her family. They’re the perfect fit. Fullstop!



Bri & Marie

From This Poison Heart and This Wicked Fate by Kalynn Bayron

The attraction between Bri and Marie is electric almost right away. And while in book one of this series, This Poison Heart, the romance isn’t a major plot thread, I soaked up each dreg of it that I could. I also squealed when I saw the cover of book two, This Wicked Fate, which is dynamically beautiful and suggests that we will be seeing much more of Bri and Marie. I love the imbalance of knowing between them. Meaning, Marie knows a lot more than Bri does and I think that makes their attraction very alluring, magnetic! I can’t wait to see where this goes and am keeping my fingers crossed the author gives us so much more of these two in This Wicked Fate.




Get your copy of Wings of Ebony by J. Elle here.

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