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Anime Inspired

There are many different ways to explore the pangs of first love in books, but lately it seems like every book I’ve read has one of two ways:

1. First love blossoming into “true love.” These are the stories where the MC has never been in love before, and either longs for love, or thinks/hopes it will never happen to her…until she sees…him.


2. First love blossoming into “false love,” to be replaced by “true love.” In these stories, usually the MC is dating her first love, only he’s clearly not the right person for her. Unfortunately, it takes her a while to figure this out, and meanwhile the “right” guy is waiting around in the wings. But he won’t wait forever…

Don’t get me wrong, I like both of these formulas and I’ve seen them done very well in multiple ways. However, when I think back to my own experience with first love, well, it was more like this:

(option 3 – the less talked about option): First love blossoming into absolutely nothing. This is where the MC falls in love, or thinks she’s in love, but the guy never even notices.

When writing Mystic Cooking, we decided we wanted our MC, Lailu, to get to share our fun experiences, so this is what first love looks like for her:

His eyes were deep blue like the ocean, and Lailu remembered all those days spent lost in them, waiting for him to notice her, and here he was, like something out of a dream, standing in the doorway of her restaurant. He was so tall the top of her head barely reached his chest, and his shoulders practically filled her doorway. Lailu noticed he was wearing a loose shirt the same color as his eyes, the neckline hanging open, giving her a nice view of his muscular chest. She also noticed that it was belted over extremely snug trousers. Flushing, Lailu forced her eyes back up to his face.

“Vahn, I–I mean, uh, that is…” Lailu stumbled, the words crashing into and over each other as her tongue seemed to suddenly fill her whole mouth.

Vahn’s smile widened. “I often have that effect on people.”

Lailu felt her face flush even brighter and hoped he wouldn’t notice. “Wh-what are you doing here? Not that I mind, or anything,” she added quickly. 

“I’m in the city on some business, and I promised your brother I’d stop by and check on you.” Vahn shifted his weight back and forth like he was already impatient to be on his way.

Lailu’s heart sank. “That’s all, huh?” 

“Pretty much.” She felt his eyes on her and was suddenly very conscious of the fact that she’d dressed for comfort instead of style.  What had she been thinking, wearing this shirt? “I must say, though, Lillie, you haven’t changed a bit.”  

“Lailu,” she corrected automatically. “It’s Lailu.” Someday he would remember, she promised herself. He would see her as the woman she was, and not just her brother’s kid sister. It had to happen; they were meant to be together. Someday.

How about you? What are your favorite kinds of first love stories?