24+ of Your Favorite Unusual Love Stories

This Riot Recommendation about unusual love stories is sponsored by The Shape of Water by Guillermo del Toro and Daniel Kraus.

The most celebrated movie of the year is now the must-read novel of 2018.

Visionary storyteller Guillermo del Toro and celebrated author Daniel Kraus combine their estimable talent in this haunting, heartbreaking love story.

“Most movie novelizations do little more than write down what audiences see on the screen. But the novel that’s accompanying Guillermo del Toro’s new movie The Shape of Water is no mere adaptation. Co-author Daniel Kraus’s book and the film tell the same story, of a mute woman who falls in love with an imprisoned and equally mute creature, in two very different ways.” —io9


There’s the meet cute, happy times, misunderstanding, separation, and reunion. Followed by a happily ever after, of course. Many of our most treasured love stories follow that formula. And many more stories do so with forgettably interchangeable players. So wanted to know: What’s your favorite unusual love story? What couple side-steps all the cliches? What twists and turns caught you by surprise? What tale turned out to be a stealth love story? Here are some of your answers! What would you add?

Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir by R. A. Dick

The Magician’s Assistant by Ann Patchett

Lab Girl by Hope Jahren

Every Day by David Levithan

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

Wintersong and Shadowsong by S. Jae-Jones

Love Me with Lies series by Tarryn Fisher

Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Ahab’s Wife by Sena Jeter Naslund

The French Lieutenant’s Woman by John Fowles

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

The Para-Investigators by John Desouza

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

Gods in Alabama and Backseat Saints by Joshilyn Jackson

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson

The Cut and Run series by Abigail Roux

The Silver Metal Lover by Tanith Lee

The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson

Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin

Exit to Eden by Anne Rice

Fifth Life of the Cat Woman by Kathleen Dexter

The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner

Half & Half by J. L. Smith

What are your favorite unusual love stories? 

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