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8+ (More!) Romance Books to Read Right Now

Photograph of a stack of books and text "8+ (More!) Romance Books to Read Right Now"

by Jen Moyers (@jen.loves.books)

Earlier this month, Ashley shared some of her favorite recent romance reads, and I couldn't resist chiming in with some of my own recommendations. Romances are a constant in my life, and when we record episodes like the two we're releasing this month (Love Is in the Air, from last week, and our upcoming Book Club discussion of Chencia C. Higgins's D'Vaughn and Kris Plan a Wedding), there are always books I want to recommend that we just don't have time to include.

Recent Romance Favorites

Elissa Sussman's Funny You Should Ask ( |

Funny You Should Ask is my first book by Elissa Sussman and, apparently, her first book for adults. (I'll definitely be checking out her YA books.) This was a five-star read for me. Chani Horowitz's career is built on a single interview with movie star Gabe Parker ten years ago. She resents it. She yearns to have made a name for herself, not based on a "did they?" question that has plagued her every since. Ten years later, Chani is invited to participate in a sort of anniversary interview with Gabe. She wants to say no. But she also wants to say yes. The time between has been filled with marriages and divorces (one each for each of them), successful books for Chani, and a meltdown that ended Gabe's gig as James Bond and, perhaps, his career. But it hasn't ended that chemistry that made the initial interview so appealing to everyone who read it. I read this book in one sitting.

Sophie Sullivan's A Guide to Being Just Friends ( |

This is book three in her Jansen Brothers series (following Ten Rules for Faking It and How to Love Your Neighbor). This one may just be my favorite of the three. Book three centers on Wes Jansen, the oldest brother who set himself the goal, when he was very young, of protecting his younger brothers from the trauma of his parents’ vicious fights and eventual divorce. This has left him proud of the lives that they lead but convinced that loving someone will lead only to misery. Hailey Sharp has moved to a small town and opened a new salad restaurant, By the Cup, in hopes of starting fresh after a toxic relationship and ugly breakup. Though her business is struggling, she’s determined to make her new life work. Hailey and Wes’s meet cute is not so cute. Hailey, seeking to drown her sorrows about her new business in chocolate, has picked up a to go order at the neighboring bakery when Wes approaches her, convinced that she’s his date. When she protests—she’s Hailey, not Hayden—his reaction is less than kind. But Wes is determined to admit and apologize for his mistakes (unlike his dad!), so when circumstances bring him together with Hailey again, their friendship begins. While Wes’s determination to be friends-and-nothing-more meets with approval from Hailey, still fragile from her last relationship, it did eventually strain my credulity. Still, with a bit of suspension of disbelief, I was immersed in this romance and enjoyed the slow build of their relationship. I’m also a fan of romance series, allowing the reader to see the couples from previous books living out their happily ever afters, so this one was a joy. I’m sad that Sophie Sullivan’s first series is over, but I look forward to what comes next!

Tried-and-True Romance Authors

Each of these books is the newest entry in one of my favorite romance author's catalog. These are auto-read authors for me, and each book more than lived up to my expectations!

Kate Clayborn's Georgie, All Along ( |

Chloe Liese's Two Wrongs Make a Right ( |

Penny Reid's Drama King (

Kennedy Ryan's Before I Let Go ( |

Recent YA Romance Picks

Alice Oseman's Heartstopper series (

I devoured the Heartstopper series. Seriously. I'd had book one on hold at my library for a while, thinking that I'd space out my reading of the next three volumes. Ha! Once I finished book one, I feverishly checked out the next three and read them all in the space of a day. (There's supposed to be a book five this year!) Alice Oseman's gorgeous graphic novel series (based on a webcomic) focuses on two high school boys in England. Charlie, who is openly gay after having been outed by someone else the year before, becomes friends with Nick, a rugby player, just as Charlie's manipulative relationship with another boy is ending. Nick is, as far as everyone (including him) knows, straight, so Charlie thinks that his desperate crush on Nick will go nowhere. Spoiler alert: he's wrong. I don't want to give away too much about these lovely books, but Charlie and Nick are both fabulous, deep, nuanced characters, and the secondary characters (their friends, both of their families, and even their teachers) vividly enrich the story as a whole. (Now, I'm looking forward to watching the Netflix adaptation!) Emma Lord's Begin Again ( |

Emma Lord has become one of my go-to YA authors. Her books are sweet but not saccharine, they’re romances but not *just* romances, and they focus on characters whose struggles are authentic and require some real growth. I should say that I still—somehow—haven’t read Tweet Cute, but I’ve adored each of her other books, including this newest one, Begin Again. Andie Rose has clawed her way into a mid-year transfer to Blue Ridge State, her dream school, the college where her parents met . . . and her boyfriend Connor’s school. In a moment of misplaced romance, she decides to make her transfer a surprise. And then she discovers, in a sort of Gift of the Magi twist, that her boyfriend has also made a surprise transfer to Andie’s much-less-prestigious college. Cue chaos and angst. Despite the less-than-fortuitous start, Andie decides that her boyfriend can just transfer back after this current semester, and she resolves to make the best of the situation, as she often does. She and her new roommate, Shay, hit it off, and though she faces some academic challenges, she’s ready to dive into the traditions that her parents and, particularly, her deceased mom told her about. I’m going to pause here to say that I absolutely loved this book. Lord captures Andie’s college experience so well, the promise and peril of seeking a promised fresh start when you know that you’re still just the same person you’ve always been. Andie is an amazing character who is strong and inspiring and always willing to help her friends, yet she’s simultaneously fragile and all too willing to avoid conflict, even if it means sacrificing something that means a lot to her. The development of Andie’s formative relationships is clearly a huge part of Andie’s identity. Lord shows us the grandmas who dropped everything to raise her after her mom’s death, the father who became distant in his grief, Connor who has been her friend since childhood and whose family became a second sort of family for her, and of course the mother she lost who has become such an inspiration—and someone to live up to—for her. Yet Lord balances the ways that her new relationships help to shape who she’s becoming. Those include Shay but also Milo, the RA who quickly becomes a source of support, and Valentina, who starts as her much-needed math tutor but quickly becomes another friend. I’ve barely scratched the surface of this book. There’s so much here that it’s tough to cover it all in a review, but it doesn’t ever feel like there’s too much going on. Instead, Andie’s story feels like the real story of a college freshman who is both building a new life for herself and still working to figure out the life she has. I read this one in as close to one sitting as I could because I just had to know what would happen next. I can’t recommend Emma Lord’s Begin Again enough.

Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl ( |

This one is a bit of a cheat because it was a re-read, but I can't help shouting it out again. Rowell is another auto-read author for me, and Fangirl is my favorite of her books. This one has alternating sections—one focusing on Cather, an introverted freshman in college who is struggling to establish an identity independent of her identical twin, and the other on stories related to Cather's Simon Snow fanfiction (yes, this was the beginning of Rowell's Simon Snow trilogy!).

I love this book so much because I really connect to Cather (introverts, unite!) and because of the fabulous romance that develops over the course of the novel. (This is another that's a romance, but not just a romance.) There's also a fabulous manga adaptation of this novel that is still in progress!

#bookishfaves #romance

(A note to our readers: click on the hashtags above to see our other blog posts with the same hashtag.)

Interested in what else we're reading? Check out our Featured Books page.

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