If I had to pick a favorite grammatical symbol, it would definitely be an ampersand. It’s all curves and swooping lines, and it’s just as fun to write as it is to say. Look at this little guy and tell me you’re not in love: &
When an ampersand is added to a book title, it instantly lends a certain panache to any novel. The title suddenly flows, making those books using the word ‘and’ seem needlessly long. While it’s not quite as common to see ampersands in titles as of late, a few authors are still holding onto the trend (bless their hearts!). Plus, there are always the classics to refer back to again and again.
Here are nine awesome books that feature the stylistic splash of an ampersand in the title:
Love & Gelato, Jenna Evans Welch (Simon Pulse, May 3, 2016)
This charming debut YA novel is one of the sweetest reads of the summer. After her mother’s death, teen Lina finds herself in Italy, forced to bond with the father she never knew. But when she finds her mother’s old journal, Lina discovers secrets that have long been buried. It sends her on an epic journey of her own, where she finds love, the truth about her mother’s life and what it means to truly be family.
Eleanor & Park, Rainbow Rowell (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2013)
Three years after it came out, Eleanor & Park is still one of my favorite ampersand-titled books. Or maybe it’s just one of my favorite books in general. Set in 1986, teens Eleanor and Park meet on the school bus one day and slowly fall in love. But Eleanor’s abusive home life and the disapproval of Park’s parents threaten their intense bond. Still, these two are so crazy in love — this is one ampersand love story that you do not want to miss.
Fire & Brimstone, R.L. Mathewson (Rerum Industries, Inc., August 23, 2016)
Part of Mathewson’s popular Neighbor From Hell series, this ampersand-featuring novel tells the story of Lucifer Bradford, owner of well-known restaurant Fire & Brimstone. Lucifer suffers from OCD and has a temper that can rival any of the hot-blooded Bradford men. But he meets his match in Rebecca, the waitress he’s been (unsuccessfully) trying to fire for years.
Tumble & Fall, Alexandra Coutts (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013)
This is exactly how I like to see my ampersands on a cover: taking over the whole thing. It helps that the image behind it is just plain lovely (as is the story itself!). Coutts debut young adult novel is about an asteroid that’s headed to earth, guaranteeing that the world will end in one week. Three teens living on an island spend their final days contemplating life and dealing with the past as they face the prospect of their shortened futures.
& Son, David Gilbert (Random House, 2013)
Gilbert’s 2013 novel was named one of the best books of the year by places like The New Yorker, The Washington Post, Flavorwire, and many more. Is it because it has an ampersand in the title? It probably didn’t hurt, is all I’m saying. The story is about reclusive author A. N. Dyer as he reunites with his three sons for the first time in years. This is an epic tale of family, loyalty and how our choices define us.
Pizza & Chill? ;): How to Sorta Kinda Date, Lisa Ramos (Mango, September 13, 2016)
Ramos is known for her time on America’s Next Top Model, and MTV’s Guy Code. In this hilarious self-help style memoir, she recounts her experiences with modern dating and doles out advice to readers everywhere. Funny, smart and genuinely helpful, this book probably has the coolest ampersand on the list.
Dreams of Gods & Monsters, Laini Taylor (Little Brown Books for Young Readers, 2014)
This is the third and final book in Taylor’s beloved young adult fantasy series, which began with 2011’s Daughter of Smoke & Bone. While the entire trilogy is amazing, Dreams of Gods & Monsters holds a special place in my heart (that awesome ampersand doesn’t hurt!). Taylor introduces new characters in this heart-racing conclusion, as well as wrapping things up for those we’ve come to know and love. Do yourself a favor and read this unbelievable story ASAP.
Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog, John Grogan (William Morrow, 2005)
This memoir about a man’s relationship with his badly behaved dog has become a modern classic and was even made into a movie starring Owen Wilson. Grogan and his wife adopted Marley as a little puppy who grew into a 97-pound ball of terror. But they deeply loved their sweet dog and this memoir is surprisingly moving and heartfelt.
Charm & Strange, Stephanie Kuehn (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2013)
Kuehn’s award-winning young adult novel is a complex character study that’s difficult to boil down into a brief synopsis. It’s also lovely, deeply moving and definitely worth a read (or 100). Win is a teenage at an isolated boarding school in Vermont, struggling to make sense of his past and the darkness inside of him. We learn about his childhood and past mistakes, as well as the mental health issues he constantly battles. This isn’t an easy read, but it is a great one — made all the better by that prominent ampersand, of course.