“It’s the most wonderful time of the year” Oh, did I get my holidays mixed up? No I didn’t! Because this really is a great time of the year for me! I’m such a sucker for romance (hence why cute, fluffy contemporaries are my favorite books ever) and so today I am bringing you all the love in the world!
Love comes in all shapes and sizes and times and tropes. Basically, love is pretty awesome. And there are so, so many novels out there that have cute romances in them. Too many for me to even list, really! So! I decided to give you just a few of my favorites. Feel free to browse by age group, genre, or trope and to leave me even more suggestions below!
Note: To see the books on Goodreads, just click the cover!
Let’s start off with some of the cutest novels out there!!! While I don’t read young adult contemporaries as much anymore, they still have a super special place in my heart. The characters and the romances always seem to turn out so soft and precious! Ouch, my little heart…
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han (trilogy) 🌿 This series is so precious. Lara Jean lives with her dad and two sisters: one younger (Kitty) and one older (Margot). She deals with her crushes like all teenage girls: by writing the boys a letter and safekeeping them, never sending them out. But when Kitty decides to make Lara’s letters public, all hell breaks loose — and with it comes smoking-hot Peter Kavinsky, the high school “cool boy” who gets under Lara’s skin.
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell 🌿 Omaha, 1986 — There’s a new girl in town, but most of the school doesn’t seem to be fond of Eleanor’s presence: a big girl with bright and poofy red hair and all the wrong clothes. But Park, a Korean-American kid who doesn’t seem to fit in either, doesn’t seem to mind her. And as time goes on, they bond over their shared love for music and comic books. However unkind the world may seem, the connection these two sixteen-year-olds share is pure bliss.
Heartstopper by Alice Oseman 🌿 Charlie is in year ten at his all-boys high school in England. He might seem like an open book, but Charlie is hiding the fact that he has a secret boyfriend he makes out with between classes. Well, maybe he’s just a make-out buddy. And now he is really nothing since Charlie put a stop on things. But then in comes Nick, a soft boy who loves hanging out with Charlie and teaches him to love rugby. And maybe even teaches him a lot more than just a sport…
Blankets by Craig Thompson 🌿 Craig and Raina meet one summer at camp and keep in touch. Both of them come from conservative Christian families who raise them up to be faithful disciples of the Lord. But as all teenagers do, they want to explore not only their bodies but also their youth. And so, Craig and Raina get to spend one cold winter in Wisconsin, always under the eye of Raina’s parents. This is a heart-warming coming-of-age story that has some mature themes (and illustrations).
Although I haven’t read nearly enough (new) adult books featuring a kickass romance at the center, that is about to change!!! Nonetheless, here is my list of books I read (and loved).
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie ✨ Ifemelu and Obinze fall in love in a Nigeria under a military dictatorship in their youth. They both go to the same university but are separated by fate when Ifemelu leaves for America, to try and forge a better life for herself. The young couple stay in touch, but when 9/11 happens and immigration policies tighten, Obinze cannot join her. Years later, Ifemelu returns to Nigeria and crosses paths with Obinze, to whom she hadn’t talked to in years. But while time is forgiving, different commitments also come in the way of the lovers.
Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann ✨ Alice thinks she has aced romance, until the day right before finals when her girlfriend breaks up with her because Alice is asexual. Now, she has her whole summer in front of her — living in a tiny room in her best friend’s apartment and working at the library. Things will fall into place for Alice! But what she hadn’t anticipated was her falling in love with Takumi, and having to sort out her asexual, biromantic identity.
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell ✨ (one of the sweetest romances out there). Cath and Wren are twins and they have always shared a room. They’re each other’s rock, each other’s safety blanket. But when they get to college, each twin must go on their own path. Cath, an avid fanfiction writer, pursues a degree in Creative Writing, juggling being the author of a viral fanfic online and a student. And when Levi, oh sweet Levi — the farm boy who is super caring and loving, — walks into her life, everything changes.
There are still a lot of young adult contemporaries I want to read! Here is a peek at some of the ones I’m the most excited to pick up, all with great romances in them.
Color Outside the Lines 💖 This collection of short stories has contributions from authors of all walks of life. The connecting element is love, and more specifically, interracial dating. There aren’t a lot of details out yet, but this collection sounds so good and inclusive and overall amazing…
I Love You So Mochi by Sarah Kuhn 💖 Kimi Nakamura loves turning everything that’s bland into something bold and out there. These fashion makeovers are an escape for Kimi from the stress of building up her art-school-acceptance portfolio. And as her mother puts more and more weight on her shoulders, Kimi decides to take her grandparents up on their offer to visit Kyoto. But when she lands there and meets Akira, the cute med student, she has an unexpected spring break.
A lot of books I’ve added to my TBR have amazing-sounding romances in them. In fact, that may or may not be the reason why I added them in the first place…
The Bride Test by Helen Hoang 🌼 Esme Tran is a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City. Until one day, an opportunity arises for her to go to America and meet her potential husband. However, seducing Khai — a man on the autism spectrum and her potential husband, — doesn’t go quite as she expected. As her time in the US runs out, Esme and Khai must find how to love each other in another way.
The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang 🌼 Another Hoang book! This time, featuring a math genius as the female romantic interest and a Vietnamese-Swedish male interest. Stella has Asperger’s and kissing scares her more than half to death, which is why she hires Michael Phan, an escort: to get over her dating anxieties. Together, they do everything — everything — and Stella learns that she may like this man more than as a teacher…
The Plus One by Sarah Archer 🌼 Kelly is a twenty-nine-year-old valedictorian, a leading engineer of robotics in Silicon Valley, but not so great when it comes to social interactions. As her sister’s wedding looms closer, she will need to find a plus-one — fast. And so she builds Ethan, a robot whose job is accompanying her to the ceremony. But there is something about robot Ethan… For some reason, Kelly can’t seem to see him go.
Meet Cute by Helena Hunting 🌼 On her first day of law school, Kailyn ran into (literally) into Daxton Hughes, the actor she crushed on when she was a teenager. Upon realizing they go to the same university and are enrolled in the same class, Kailyn is mortified that his first impression of her is her sprawled out on him. But now, thirteen years later, Daxton has become the guardian of his thirteen-year-old sister, and he needs legal help — which brings him to Kailyn and her law firm.
Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin 🌼 (Pride and Prejudice retelling with a twist) Ayesha is plenty busy with her dreams of becoming a poet, teaching for a living (literally), and paying off her debts to her uncle. Although she is lonely, Ayesha doesn’t want an arranged marriage. Until one day she meets Khalid, a handsome but conservative and judgemental young man. Despite him acting and dressing as if he were in the 17th century, Ayesha can’t help but be attracted to him.
The Hating Game by Sally Thorne 🌼 Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman hate each other: they’re archenemies. And they have no problem airing their grievances, not even in the workplace, as executive assistants to co-CEOs of a publishing company. Where Lucy is bright and outrageous, Joshua is boring and uptight — or at least that’s what they think of each other. But when they’re both in the run for the same promotion, their feelings start to get muddy: are they archenemies or is this just a game?
Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami 🌼 Tsusiko is drinking by herself at a local bar when she comes across, accidentally, someone she knew a long time ago: her high school teacher. Not remembering his name, she falls into the habit of calling him “Sensei.” As the two meet up time and time again to share food, a conversation, and beers, Tsusiko learns to love the solace she finds in Sensei and realizes what she feels could be more than just friendship.
Vicky over at Vicky Who Reads compiled 80 young adult books that all have one thing in common: cute romances! She divides her list into sections based on tropes/genres, so you should totally check it out! Warning: your TBR will grow exponentially… She also has an Ace Reading Recommendation Post (written by Meg @ An Arm and a Meg) that is awesome and a great reminder that asexual people exist!
Shalea over at Shut Up Shalea also did a round-up post of her 20+ favorite Sapphic romances. There’s quite a lot of great titles on her list, so remember to visit her blog!
Kaitlyn @ Six Crows Books also put together a list of recommendations featuring asexual and aromantic characters. I loved it so much and got a ton of recommendations from there. I have a feeling you’ll love it too…