Coming of-age storylines of romance and friendship make for great dramas as the characters navigate growing pains and a sea of emotions never felt before. These stories also evoke nostalgia of the wonder days gone by. From childhood crushes to passionate teen love affairs, or the distress and anguish of the broken-hearted, these are feelings many resonate with. Here are five heart-melting young adult C-dramas to revisit this summer.

Lighter and Princess

When Zhu Yun (Zhang Jing Yi) enters university, she has no idea that her life will turn on its head with the arrival Li Xun (Chen Fei Yu). Zhu Yun has led a sheltered life and is not one to rebel. She studies computers since that’s what her educationist mother wants her to do. The mysterious and enigmatic Li Xun is a maverick genius who creates softwares, solves technical glitches, and is a programmer par excellence. Zhu Yun is attracted to Li Xun, who keeps her at a distance, even though he is equally taken in by her innocent charm. As the two fall hopelessly in love and dream of a future together, it seems fate has other plans for their happily ever after. Li Xun, who comes from the wrong side of the tracks, is also disliked by Zhu Yun’s mother for a mistake he had made in school. While in college, the impulsive Li Xun once again puts himself in the line of fire for the sake of love. He is imprisoned and breaks up with Zhu Yun. They meet three years later in different circumstances, and even though Zhu Yun still carries a torch for Li Xun, he does not want her in his life.

The scorching chemistry between Zhang Jing Yi and Chen Fei Yu is the true star of the show. “Lighter and Princess” is a heart-fluttering romance between the bad boy and the good girl. As the two deal with competitive classmates and parental opposition, the love story and moments between the lead couple are truly endearing. Though long with a lot of time spent on the computer programming bits, Zhang Jing Yi and Chen Fei Yu make this one a delightful watch.

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“Hidden Love”

Back when Sang Zhi (Zhao Lu Si) was in middle school, she fell in love with her older brother’s best friend Duan Jia Xu (Chen Zhe Yuan). Wearing her heart on her sleeve, the infatuated Sang Zhi is starry-eyed every time she see Jia Xu, who, though indulgent toward her, regards her as his friend’s sister and nothing more. Sang Zhi decides to distance herself from Jia Xu and stops all communication with him. Years later, Sang Zhi goes to university in Jia Xu’s hometown and runs into him. And though her “hidden love” resurfaces, she tries to keep away from him. But it is Jia Xu who starts to pursue her and tells her categorically that he does not want to be an older brother figure to her any more.

“Hidden Love” is a beautiful coming-of-age love story of a young girl’s childhood crush transitioning into the greatest love of all time. The adorable dynamic between Zhao Lu Si’s and Chen Zhe Yuan’s characters strikes a chord. “Hidden Love” will captivate you with its innocent charm.

Exclusive Fairytale

Xiao Tu (Zhang Miao Yi) and Ling Chao (Jun) have known each other since they were babies. Now inseparable as high school seniors, the childhood innocence of those wonder years has given away to something a bit more complicated. The self-assured Ling Chao, not known to articulate his feelings, feels the first pangs of jealousy when he sees Xiao Tu getting infatuated by a classmate and later a friend’s cousin. The quirky Xiao Tu, who adores Ling Chao as a friend, is surprised to see his attitude change toward her. Even though both their parents see the two as an ideal match, for Xiao Tu the thought of a romantic alliance with her childhood bestie is out of the question. Or is it? As it becomes tough for her to resist Ling Chao’s feelings, what develops is a sweet love story as two best friends transition to becoming lovers.

“Exclusive Fairytale” is a relaxed and breezy romantic comedy. The characters are cute and adorable, and there is no unnecessary drama, raging bullies, or mean girls thrust into the story.

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When I Fly Towards You

Zhang Miao Yi is the queen of teen romances. In “When I Fly Towards You” she plays Su Zai Zai, a transfer student who is smitten by the aloof and cool Zhang Lu Rang (Zhou Yi Ran). Zhang Lu Rang is a brilliant student whose academic records are perfect, but he is constantly plagued by self-doubt. His mother, who is constantly comparing him to his younger brother, makes Lu Rang feel he is not good enough, and he keeps away from people. Though Lu Rang comes across as an arrogant and haughty person, he is far from it. On the other hand, Zai Zai, who is bubbly and vivacious, dotes on Lu Rang. As she breaks through the many chinks in his armor, she also instills confidence in him with her optimism and cheerful nature. Though they have starkly opposite personalities, the two form an endearing friendship which translates into a meaningful love story.

“When I Fly Towards You” is like taking a walk down memory lane. The characters are relatable and strike a chord. As the story highlights peer pressure as well as hyper parenting which can have serious repercussions, the love story which develops between the two characters is soft and cute.

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A Love So Beautiful

Love is tough, especially when you are a lovestruck teenager. Jiang Chen (Hu Yi Tian) is a class topper, whose good looks and academic achievements have made him one of the most popular students. He is also the sole object of Chen Xiao Xi’s (Shen Yue’s) affections. The two have been neighbors, but Jiang Chen does not indulge Xiao Xi and even rejects her when she confesses. Xiao Xi is at the bottom of the ladder in class and is often mocked by all for her bad grades. But she is a faithful and empathetic person, who can go to any lengths for her friends. However, when Xiao Xi befriends a swimming champ who confesses that he likes her more than a friend, you can see the first stirrings of jealousy in Jiang Chen. It is a classic case of “she fell first, but he fell harder.”

“A Love So Beautiful” is a light and typical teen romance. It does meander a bit, and some moments seem stretched, but you don’t mind it as much as the characters grow on you.

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Hey Soompiers, which one of these is your favorite C-drama to watch in summer? Let us know in the comments below!

Puja Talwar is a Soompi writer with a strong Yang Yang and Lee Junho bias. A long time K-drama fan, she loves devising alternate scenarios to the narratives. She has interviewed Lee Min HoGong YooCha Eun Woo, and Ji Chang Wook to name a few. You can follow her on @puja_talwar7 on Instagram.

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