Hoohoo, friends of the blade!
I’m in such a romance mood these days! I’m reading fluffy romance after fluffy romance and I seriously can’t get enough. And while enemies-to-lovers will forever be my favourite romance trope, I am really getting into friends-to-lovers, especially when it’s best friends. It’s all about the angst and the “but what if we destroy our friendship” and already knowing each other well, knowing what the other likes but exploring the relationship in a completely new way. It’s also wonderfully sweet and the characters staying friends and just adding another feeling is just… *chef’s kiss*.
And because of that, I decided to show you some great books that feature the friends to lovers trope!
You and Me on Vacation by Emily Henry
adult romance | Penguin | 368 pages
12 SUMMERS AGO: Poppy and Alex meet. They hate each other, and are pretty confident they’ll never speak again.
11 SUMMERS AGO: They’re forced to share a ride home from college and by the end of it a friendship is formed. And a pact: every year, one vacation together.
10 SUMMERS AGO: Alex discovers his fear of flying on the way to Vancouver.
Poppy holds his hand the whole way.
7 SUMMERS AGO: They get far too drunk and narrowly avoid getting matching tattoos in New Orleans.
2 SUMMERS AGO: It all goes wrong.
THIS SUMMER: Poppy asks Alex to join her on one last trip. A trip that will determine the rest of their lives.
I really, really enjoyed this book. I’m usually not the biggest fan of reading things in backsight, but I loved how the things in the past influenced the present and how I got to know the characters, catching up on little hints here and there. It was both sweet and a bit angsty, there was tension but also hope, it was fun and lovely and made me laugh and feel with the characters. It’s the perfect summer book!
Chasing Lucky by Jenn Bennett
YA romance | Simon & Schuster | 406 pages
Budding photographer Josie Saint-Martin has spent half her life with her single mother, moving from city to city. When they return to her historical New England hometown to run the family bookstore, Josie knows it’s not forever, so there’s no reason to change her modus operandi—keeping to herself, dreaming of the day she can leave.
But after a disastrous summer party, a poorly executed act of revenge lands her in big-time trouble. As in, jail…alongside the last person with whom she’d want to share a mugshot: the son of the boat mechanic across the street, Lucky Karras. Outsider, rebel…and her former childhood best friend.
Josie and Lucky become the talk of their coastal small town. But during a summer of secrets, everything changes, and the easy friendship they once shared grows into something deeper and more complicated. Can Josie and Lucky swim past obstacles that come with rough waters, or will they both go down together?
Ah, I love Jenn Bennett’s YA romances so much! Chasing Lucky features to estranged best friends reconnecting when one of them moves back into town. Also being a perfect book for summer, this story is set during the hot season and has vacational vibes. I absolutely loved how Josie and Lucky reconnect and how they changed but also stayed the same. Estranged friends to lovers is such a good trope full of potential and Jenn Bennett really managed to do the best of it in this book! You can read my full review of Chasing Lucky here!
My Favourite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren
adult romance | Piatkus | 384 pages
Millie Morris has always been one of the guys. A UC Santa Barbara professor, she’s a female-serial-killer expert who’s quick with a deflection joke and terrible at getting personal. And she, just like her four best guy friends and fellow professors, is perma-single.
So when a routine university function turns into a black tie gala, Millie and her circle make a pact that they’ll join an online dating service to find plus-ones for the event. There’s only one hitch: after making the pact, Millie and one of the guys, Reid Campbell, secretly spend the sexiest half-night of their lives together, but mutually decide the friendship would be better off strictly platonic.
But online dating isn’t for the faint of heart. While the guys are inundated with quality matches and potential dates, Millie’s first profile attempt garners nothing but dick pics and creepers. Enter “Catherine”—Millie’s fictional profile persona, in whose make-believe shoes she can be more vulnerable than she’s ever been in person. Soon “Catherine” and Reid strike up a digital pen-pal-ship…but Millie can’t resist temptation in real life, either. Soon, Millie will have to face her worst fear—intimacy—or risk losing her best friend, forever.
I can’t remember that much about this book to be completely honest (my memory is a sieve) but I do remember enjoying it and anxiously waiting for the moment it all wraps up, when they tell each other how they feel and finally the whole truth comes to light. I was tense throughout the story but I was highly entertained and rooted for the characters!
Lore by Alexandra Bracken
YA urban fantasy | Quercus | 546 pages
Every seven years, the Agon begins. As punishment for a past rebellion, nine Greek gods are forced to walk the earth as mortals, hunted by the descendants of ancient bloodlines, all eager to kill a god and seize their divine power and immortality.
Long ago, Lore Perseous fled that brutal world in the wake of her family’s sadistic murder by a rival line, turning her back on the hunt’s promises of eternal glory. For years she’s pushed away any thought of revenge against the man–now a god–responsible for their deaths.
Yet as the next hunt dawns over New York City, two participants seek out her help: Castor, a childhood friend of Lore believed long dead, and a gravely wounded Athena, among the last of the original gods.
The goddess offers an alliance against their mutual enemy and, at last, a way for Lore to leave the Agon behind forever. But Lore’s decision to bind her fate to Athena’s and rejoin the hunt will come at a deadly cost–and still may not be enough to stop the rise of a new god with the power to bring humanity to its knees.
Yes hello we’re back at estranged best friends to lovers and we love it here. There was so much I enjoyed in this book! I loved how action packed it was, there really was never a quiet minute for the characters or me. I absolutely loved the concept of the ancient gods in this modern world. Then there were the characters that I truly liked, especially Lore and her friends and the romance portrayed! I loved the line of friends to lovers a lot!
The Life and (Medieval) Times of Kit Sweetly by Jamie Pacton
YA contemporary | Page Street | 378 pages
Working as a wench ― i.e. waitress ― at a cheesy medieval-themed restaurant in the Chicago suburbs, Kit Sweetly dreams of being a knight like her brother. She has the moves, is capable on a horse, and desperately needs the raise that comes with knighthood, so she can help her mom pay the mortgage and hold a spot at her dream college.
Company policy allows only guys to be knights. So when Kit takes her brother’s place and reveals her identity at the end of the show, she rockets into internet fame and a whole lot of trouble with the management. But the Girl Knight won’t go down without a fight. As other wenches join her quest, a protest forms. In a joust before Castle executives, they’ll prove that gender restrictions should stay medieval―if they don’t get fired first.
*Bangs fist on table* One of my favourite books of all time! This story has so much I love, it has the fun, the girls swinging their swords, feminism and queer characters and characters of colour, a wonderful sibling relationship, a great portrayal of poor people, interesting hobbies and a sweet friends to lovers romance! And great Lord of the Rings references as well. Just putting it on this list makes me want to reread it!
Hot Dog Girl by Jennifer Dugan
YA contemporary romance | Putnam | 320 pages
Elouise (Lou) Parker is determined to have the absolute best, most impossibly epic summer of her life. There are just a few things standing in her way:
* She’s landed a job at Magic Castle Playland . . . as a giant dancing hot dog.
* Her crush, the dreamy Diving Pirate Nick, already has a girlfriend, who is literally the Princess of the park. But Lou’s never liked anyone, guy or otherwise, this much before, and now she wants a chance at her own happily ever after.
* Her best friend, Seeley, the carousel operator, who’s always been up for anything, suddenly isn’t when it comes to Lou’s quest to set her up with the perfect girl or Lou’s scheme to get close to Nick.
* And it turns out that this will be their last summer at Magic Castle Playland-ever-unless she can find a way to stop it from closing.
This book is so chaotic and has so much second hand embarrassment, I loved it! It had me laughing out loud and having to put it down because I just couldn’t keep reading some of the more embarrassing scenes. It was a wild ride and all of the characters deserve the world. Nostalgic, summery and very queer! Read a longer review of Hot Dog Girl here.
In the Silences by Rachel Gold
MG / YA contemporary | Bella Books | 260 pages
When did life get so dangerous? Kaz Adams just wants to read comic books with her best friend, Aisha Warren. And maybe get up the nerve to ask her out, if Kaz turns out to be a gender that Aisha’s into.
Kaz figured she’d be the target of violence for her gender nonconformity, but a fatal police shooting thirty miles from their town opens her eyes to the realities of racism. She watches as pressures at school and in their social group mount against Aisha. Kaz would try to stop a bullet for Aisha if she had to, but she has no idea how to stop the waves of soul-crushing disapproval and judgment. When she talks to the other white students and adults in her area, they don’t seem to understand what she’s talking about.
Aisha has helped Kaz find a place in the world, but that was about Kaz’s gender expression. Kaz can’t magically change the world for Aisha, but something has to change in their school system or she’ll lose the girl she loves.
In the Silences is such a beautifully written book. At the centre of the story is Kaz and Aisha’s friendship. I loved how it was portrayed, the ups and downs and how it changes a friendship when one of them struggles to find themselves. I also liked how different the people portrayed in this book were. The story is rather short but it contains so much hope and so much power and a want, a need for change. It’s brilliant.
Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett
YA contemporary | Simon & Schuster | 421 pages
Ever since last year’s homecoming dance, best-friends-turned-worst-enemies Zorie and Lennon have made an art of avoiding each other. It doesn’t hurt that their families are the modern-day version of the Montagues and Capulets. But when a group camping trip goes south, Zorie and Lennon find themselves stranded in the wilderness. Alone. Together.
Zorie and Lennon have no choice but to try to make their way to safety. But as the two travel deeper into the rugged Californian countryside, secrets and hidden feelings surface. Soon it’s not simply a matter of enduring each other’s company, but taming their growing feelings for each other.
Listen. Best friends to enemies to lovers? Sign me up for this! As mentioned above, I just LOVE Jenn Bennett’s YA contemporaries so much. Starry Eyes was the first Jenn Bennett book I read and it made me fall in love with her writing and her characters immediately. She has become an auto-buy author fast. In this one, I loved how Zorie and Lennon are struggling with each other but there are still the friendly (and romantic) feelings between them that they can’t ignore. I loved the back and forth and the witty dialogues, the jokes and the descriptions of nature a lot. Read my full review of Starry Eyes here.
A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray
YA sci-fi | Harper Teen | 368 pages
Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their groundbreaking achievements. Their most astonishing invention, called the Firebird, allows users to jump into multiple universes—and promises to revolutionize science forever. But then Marguerite’s father is murdered, and the killer—her parent’s handsome, enigmatic assistant Paul— escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.
Marguerite refuses to let the man who destroyed her family go free. So she races after Paul through different universes, always leaping into another version of herself. But she also meets alternate versions of the people she knows—including Paul, whose life entangles with hers in increasingly familiar ways. Before long she begins to question Paul’s guilt—as well as her own heart. And soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is far more sinister than she expected.
A Thousand Pieces of You is the first book in the Firebird trilogy, another series I desperately need to reread! It has such a fantastic world building with alternate universes that contain all the “what if”s. I loved the concept so much as I did the romance(s). There are so many possibilities and I really enjoyed how a lot of them were explored, how friendship and romance was portrayed and how much both mean to Marguerite. Such a fantastic series!
The Brightsiders by Jen Wilde
YA / NA romance | Swoon Reads | 297 pages
As a rock star drummer in the hit band The Brightsiders, Emmy King’s life should be perfect. But there’s nothing the paparazzi love more than watching a celebrity crash and burn. When a night of partying lands Emmy in hospital and her girlfriend in jail, she’s branded the latest tabloid train wreck.
Luckily, Emmy has her friends and bandmates, including the super-swoonworthy Alfie, to help her pick up the pieces of her life. She knows hooking up with a band member is exactly the kind of trouble she should be avoiding, and yet Emmy and Alfie Just. Keep. Kissing.
Will the inevitable fallout turn her into a clickbait scandal (again)? Or will she find the strength to stand on her own?
This book was so much fun! Not only was there the angst of friends to lovers but falling in love with your best friend while being a very public figure. I loved how the characters’ struggles with each other and their fame, their emotions and their lives were portrayed but how they were still unapologetically themselves. They made mistakes but fixed them, they were human and loveable and I really liked them and the role music played throughout it all.
You don’t have enough of the friends to lovers trope yet ? Then check out Marie’s list of recommendations for YA books with this trope!
What’s your favourite romance trope? Which friends to lovers books do you recommend?
Until next time,
Great list and I love that you included a couple of genre romance books, too! I might have to actually read my copy of Lore now…
I really enjoyed Lore! It’s such a fast paced book with an interesting concept and such a good romance as well!
AH what a fantastic list, my favorite trope of all times!! 😍😍 I really loved The Brightsiders and Starry Eyes and damn. I really, really need to read You and Me on Vacation, it sounds exactly like the kind of book I’d ADORE! Thank you for sharing this list!
and thank you so, so much for sharing my post! <3
It’s such a good trope!! I love it so much! Yes, I definitely feel like you’d LOVE You and Me on Vacation!!! <3