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We’re big fans of many romance novel tropes, especially those that come in rom com form. The friends to lovers book genre is an easy one to love because both Book Girls were friends with their now-spouses well before their first dates. Both guys are amazing, even after decades of marriage, so we highly recommend this approach!
Perhaps this is why we also love stories like Monica and Chandler on Friends and Lorelai and Luke on Gilmore Girls. If you’re also drawn to those characters or books about best friends falling in love, this is the perfect list for you. We included a mix of childhood friends to lovers books, along with new friendships that develop into something more.
And if you’re into the opposite, you can always check out the books on our enemies to lovers book list!
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Love and Other Words
By Christina Lauren
When Macy and her Dad begin weekend-ing in a house outside of their everyday life in San Francisco, they gain even more than they expected. The large family across the street, starting with son Elliot, become more than casual neighbors.
Elliot and Macy soon bond over their love of books and their favorite words. Over time, their teenage friendship grows into romance.
Flash forward to the future, and Macy is a busy pediatrics resident in San Fransisco. She’s engaged to a man with an established career and a young child from a previous relationship. But when Macy runs into Elliot, long-repressed emotions come rushing back. She must finally face why their friendship and relationship dissolved the same night.
In one timeline, you’ll watch the relationship form, while in the other, you’ll find out if they still have magic chemistry years later.
This one leans more toward romantic drama than comedy and has a classic coming-of-age feel in the earlier timeline.
Things You Save in a Fire
By Katherine Center
Cassie is one of the only female firefighters at her Texas firehouse, but she’s welcomed as part of the family and loves her job. However, when an unexpected turn of events forces her to uproot her life and move to Boston, Cassie finds that her new firehouse has never had a female firefighter, and they are not thrilled to have her join their ranks.
Before leaving Texas, her former chief gave her a few simple rules for success in the boys club, most importantly, don’t date firefighters. She plans to follow his advice until rookie Owen becomes the most trusted and friendly member of her team.
Cassie does her best to keep him in the friend zone, but how long can she resist turning the friendship into something more?
The Paid Bridesmaid
By Sariah Wilson
Rachel Vinson has created a successful but secretive business in the wedding industry. For a fee, she provides the perfect bridesmaids for any wedding. Of course, no one knows they are paid, and it’s crucial to stay undercover to avoid embarrassing the bride. While she has a full staff, Rachel heads to the highest-profile events herself, which is how she ended up at the luxe wedding of an Instagram influencer in Hawaii.
Rachel is serving as the maid-of-honor opposite the groom's business partner and long-time best friend, Camden. Camden is understandably suspicious of Rachel since he’s never met her before, and he has been burned by people misleading him in the past.
As their interactions increase throughout the week, Rachel is determined to keep him at a distance, but fate continues pulling them closer together, often by way of near-disaster wedding moments.
By David Nicholls
On their graduation day in Edinburgh, July 15th, 1988, Emma and Dexter meet for the first time. Although they set out in different directions the next day, each chapter checks in on their friendship on July 15th each subsequent year. You’ll feel like you’re flipping through photo books of their lives as the book progresses.
Despite the snapshot views, the author does a good job making the characters feel whole. The book spans 20 years of ups and downs in their individual lives and their relationship with each other.
People We Meet on Vacation
By Emily Henry
Poppy and Alex became unexpected best friends on a car share ride home from college, despite their utter lack of things in common. Poppy is an extroverted wild child, while Alex is a pragmatic introvert. As the years go by, Poppy has a good life in New York City and Alex remains in their small hometown. But the duo has still reunited each summer for one glorious week of vacation together.
But two years ago, everything changed. They haven’t spoken since. Poppy has everything she could want in life but remains discontent and knows the last time she was truly happy was her last trip with Alex. So, in a desperate attempt to find joy again, she contacts Alex hoping for one more trip to make everything right.
by B.K. Borison
In this sweet and steamy rom com, Stella is desperate to save the Christmas tree farm she has loved since she was a kid. The pasture is full of dead trees, and the Santa barn has been taken over by raccoons, but Stella isn’t ready to give up.
Influencer Evelyn St. James is holding a contest that comes with her publicity and a $100,000 cash prize, and if Stella can win, she knows she can save the tree farm. She just fibbed a little on the application and said she owned the business with her boyfriend to make it seem like a more romantic, Instagram-worthy story. However, she doesn’t actually have a boyfriend.
She does have a best friend of 10 years, Luka. It doesn't take much convincing to get him to sign on for the fake boyfriend role. But they live in a tiny town. How can they make the relationship believable, so the busy-bodies don't share their secret with Evelyn?
The Book Girls Say… If you're looking for steamy, this one has a long build-up, but then delivers the spice. In the Kindle edition, after the book, there is an additional alternate chapter told from Luka's point of view that is extra steamy. While this book is set at a Christmas Tree farm, it's not overly-Christmasy and could be enjoyed any time of year.
This book is included with Kindle Unlimited as of 11/12/22.
Take a Hint, Dani Brown
By Talia Hibbert
Danika Brown is focused solely on her career, and a serious relationship does not sound interesting at all. When she’s rescued by a friend, Zaf, during a workplace fire drill gone awry, she suddenly sees him differently. While a relationship is still out of the question, maybe he could be the friend WITH benefits that’s she’s looking for.
When a photo of Zaf rescuing Dani goes viral, they have an opportunity to capitalize on their 5 minutes of fame to benefit Zaf’s charity. After agreeing to fake a relationship in public, Dani and Zaf couldn’t have more different intentions. Unlike Dani, Zaf is a hopeless romantic! Who will get their way?
PS: This one is steamy!
While this is book #2 in the Brown Sister series, it works well as a standalone.
The Cheat Sheet
By Sarah Adams
If you prefer sweeter books with closed-door bedroom scenes, this is a great pick. Bree and Nathan are best friends, and he just happens to be a beloved superstar quarterback. While Bree has feelings for Nathan, she doesn’t want to risk the friendship since he hasn’t shown any interest in her. But then, tequila happens.
Bree accidentally tells a reporter how she really feels, and suddenly the whole world wants the relationship to move past the friend stage. When a brand offers them a secret contract to fake date, Nathan is VERY good at seeming more than platonic. But will that last once the contract is over?
Lease on Love
By Fallon Ballard
When Sadie doesn't get the promotion she both needs and expects, she immediately adds three things to her to-do list - a drink, a one-nightstand, and a new place to live. Unfortunately, she tackles these tasks in the wrong order. The drinks turn into Sadie mixing up a dating app and a roommate app. Whoops!
Jack has been dealing with the unexpected death of his parents by escaping into movies and video games alone. After hearing her story, he offers Sadie the spare bedroom in his gorgeous Brooklyn brownstone at an excellent price.
The cheap rent lets her grow her former-side business into a full-time gig. But how long can these polar opposites happily co-exist in one house?
By Rachel Lynn Solomon
Ari loves her job as a TV meteorologist, and she’s eager to learn from her boss Torrance, Seattle’s famed weatherwoman. But Torrance’s ex-husband, Seth, is also the station’s news director, so she’s too wrapped up in her own relationship drama to mentor Ari.
After a particularly disastrous holiday party, Ari commiserates with sports reporter Russell. Together, they hatch a plan to get their bosses back together to calm the office storms. But all of their scheming leads to unforecasted results when it turns out that they are the ones with the real chemistry.
That Night In Paris
By Sandy Barker
After having a bit too much wine, Cat sleeps with her London flatmate, only to learn that he’s secretly in love with her - unfortunately the feeling is not mutual. Cat doesn’t do relationships, but she also doesn’t do confrontation. So rather than dealing with the awkward situation, she books a two-week bus tour of Europe and runs away.
What she doesn’t expect is that while running away from one potential relationship, she might just end up running headfirst into another. During her whirlwind tour of eight countries, Cat finds herself reunited with a friend from the past in the City of Love.
This is the second book in the Holiday Romance series, but it reads as a stand-alone with different characters than the other two books.
Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating
By Christina Lauren
Josh is mellow, and Hazel is...not. She's energetic, a bit crass, and always seems to say the wrong thing.
Despite meeting ten years earlier in college and still being in contact, they are way too opposite to date. Instead, Josh and Hazel begin setting each other up on double-blind dates. Let's just say it doesn't always go well. Are they sabotaging each other?
By Jillian Dodd
If you’re looking for a YA small-town romance series, this is the first of 8 books in the That Boy series. Jadyn has two male best friends, Danny and Phillip. However, as the trio has gotten older, Jadyn’s feelings toward them both have been evolving beyond friendship.
Danny is the hot quarterback, always up for a bit of trouble. Phillip is adorable and stays out of trouble. Who is just a crush, and who will be her true love?
This series is available on Kindle Unlimited and receives very high reviews overall, but some readers find the main character acts young for her age and is not compelling as the lead. It might be worth reading a sample before committing to the whole book to see how you feel about her.
The Friend Zone
By Abby Jimenez
Kristen is doing her best at adulting, planning her best friend’s wedding while also planning an unfortunate surgery that means she won’t be able to have her own children. She tells herself it’s okay as her boyfriend doesn’t want kids, even though she does.
When she meets the best man, Josh, their friendship grows rather quickly. Soon, it’s like they’ve known each other forever. While he’s everything a great boyfriend should be, especially compared to her current boyfriend, she keeps him firmly in The Friend Zone, both out of respect for her relationship and because she knows the thing he wants most is a large family. And that’s the one thing she can’t provide.
The second book in this series, The Happy Ever After Playlist, is another great new friend to lover book!
Emmy & Oliver
By Robin Benway
Emmy and Oliver were childhood best friends before Oliver was kidnapped by his father while they were in elementary school. Ever since that day, Emmy's parents have been overcautious, which has been a hard combination with her free spirit as she has gotten older.
Ten years later, Oliver returns as suddenly as he disappears. He has grown up believing that his mom abandoned him and his dad was a great father. Now he's struggling as he is forced to come to terms with the truth. As Emmy tries to help him adapt, their bond re-develops in this coming-of-age YA tale.
More Romance & Rom Com Books You’ll Love…
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Sarah S Vogel
Friday 28th of January 2022
I definitely recommend "The People We Meet On Vacation"! Loved it. Thanks for the other recommendations, girls!