Diving into a new romance sometimes feels like entering into a new relationship. There’s so much potential for either true love or heartache, and you’re gearing up for emotional twists and adorable banter that’ll keep you warm long after you put the book down. Luckily for all of us, this year has no shortage of sensational romance reads to keep our hearts fluttering. Here are our most anticipated romances of 2023.
Emily’s Pick #1: Since I devoured THE SOULMATE EQUATION last year, and thought that it was one of Christina Lauren’s best yet, I can’t wait for their next book that stars one of my favorite side characters from that novel—and which early reviews are saying is a top-notch CLo hit! Fizzy is the romance writer who is always a source of witty commentary and wise advice when it comes to dating, but when it comes to her own personal life there are secrets under the surface. She’s felt the spark of lust, but not that fairy-tale love she always includes in her books. When she meets Connor Prince, reluctant creator of a new dating reality TV show, he says she’s the perfect potential contestant. But what if the match is Connor himself? Ahhhh—as a huge fan of The Bachelor, I’m giving my first-impression rose to THE TRUE LOVE EXPERIMENT.
Jordyn’s Pick: This book gets January off to a sweet start with lots of opportunities to swoon and hope for happily ever after. THE REUNION follows two former teen stars reconnecting at a reunion of their show, which ended 14 years ago. There’s history between the two main characters, and if you were rooting for Ross and Rachel, and loved the part of the FRIENDS reunion where you heard David Schwimmer and Jennifer Aniston say that they had mutual crushes while filming, you will want this one on your TBR list. If you were a fan of ONE TO WATCH or THE CHARM OFFENSIVE, THE REUNION is for you.
When two former teen stars reconnect at the reunion for their hit TV show, they discover their feelings for one another were not merely scripted in this charming and heartwarming novel perfect for fans of Christina Lauren and Sally Thorne.
Liv Latimer grew up on TV.
As the star of the popular teen drama Girl on the Verge, Liv spent her adolescence on the screen trying to be as picture perfect as her character in real life. But after the death of her father and the betrayal of her on-screen love interest and off-screen best friend Ransom Joel, Liv wanted nothing more than to retreat, living a mostly normal life aside from a few indie film roles. But now, twenty years after the show’s premiere, the cast is invited back for a reunion special, financed by a major streaming service.
Liv is happy to be back on set, especially once she discovers Ransom has only improved with age. And their chemistry is certainly still intact. They quickly fall into their old rhythms, rediscovering what had drawn them together decades before. But with new rivalries among the cast emerging and the specter of a reboot shadowing their shoot, Liv questions whether returning to the past is what she needs to finally get her own happy ending.
Heather’s Pick #1: Talia Hibbert won me over with her charming Brown Sisters trilogy, and her new book, HIGHLY SUSPICIOUS AND UNFAIRLY CUTE, piqued my interest from the start. The YA romance pairs up a “conspiracy-theory-obsessed” online influencer heroine, Celine, with her by-the-book former best friend and popular athlete, Bradley, in a wilderness survival challenge. Opposites in many ways, Celine and Brad actually make a perfect team with complementary skills—that is, when they’re not bickering and reliving their painful falling-out. Will some time in the forest with only each other to depend on give them a chance to reconnect as friends . . . and maybe more?
Heather’s Pick #2: I know, I know: A novel about a broken-up couple? Who are only pretending they’re still together for the sake of their friends? Are we sure this is a romance? If the author were anyone but Emily Henry, I might wonder this too, but the genius behind BEACH READ, PEOPLE WE MEET ON VACATION, and BOOK LOVERS has earned my trust. Her next release, HAPPY PLACE, is a second-chance romance about former college sweethearts Harriet and Wyn, who decided five months ago to call it quits on their 10-year relationship. The thing is, they cannot seem to bring themselves to tell their best friends, so they decide to attend their annual Maine getaway as if they’re still a happy couple. Seems like a sensible idea at first, but neither foresees how a week of summer play-acting will really make them feel about each other since ending their engagement.
Emily’s Pick #2: I love a good heist story, but combine all that suspense and adrenaline with some romance and you’ve got all the makings for a steamy rom-com. Simi Chopra is one of the heist masterminds who I’m already absolutely rooting for. With creeping student loan debts and fresh off a work layoff, as well as a best friend accused of stealing a diamond necklace, Simi’s got a lot of motive to break into a high-society wedding to steal the necklace back from the actual criminal, prove her friend’s innocence, and maybe got some of the reward money to keep for herself. She joins forces with enigmatic Jack and an elite, if not slightly quirky, group of strangers, who are faced with crashing the wedding before the final vows—and before Simi just might fall completely head over heels for you know who. This is one I can’t wait to read during wedding season.
Emily’s Pick #3: This Jane Austen retelling is set on the Upper East Side, so I’m beyond excited for some brownstone banter and Central Park strolls set in a familiar delightful story. In this twist on the classic tale, Emma Woodhouse finds herself lonely during her final year of grad school, and turns to Nadine, an Ohio transplant, for a fun project to transform into a fashionable It-Girl of the Upper East Side. If her neighbor George Knightley stays out of her way, of course. Knightley and Emma have been friends since childhood, but when their lives start to cross even more than beyond their back-to-back brownstone barriers—well, we all know what happens! I’m looking forward to seeing what twists authors Audrey Bellezza and Emily Harding can add to this classic—and to hopefully spot a few of my favorite NYC landmarks as well.
In this witty and romantic debut novel, Jane Austen’s Emma meets the misadventures of Manhattan’s modern dating scene as two lifelong friends discover that, in the search for love, you sometimes don’t have to look any further than your own backyard.
Beautiful, clever, and rich, Emma Woodhouse has lived twenty-three years in her tight-knit Upper East Side neighborhood with very little to distress or vex her…that is, until her budding matchmaking hobby results in her sister’s marriage—and subsequent move downtown. Now, with her sister gone and all her friends traveling abroad, Emma must start her final year of grad school grappling with an entirely new emotion: boredom. So when she meets Nadine, a wide-eyed Ohio transplant with a heart of gold and drugstore blonde highlights to match, Emma not only sees a potential new friend but a new project. If only her overbearing neighbor George Knightley would get out of her way.
Handsome, smart, and successful, the only thing that frustrates Knightley more than a corked whiskey is his childhood friend, Emma. Whether it’s her shopping sprees between classes or her revolving door of ill-conceived hobbies, he is only too happy to lecture her on all the finer points of adulthood she’s so hell-bent on ignoring. But despite his gripes—and much to his own chagrin—Knightley can’t help but notice that the girl next door is a woman now…one who he suddenly can’t get out of his head.
As Emma’s best laid plans collide with everyone from hipster baristas to meddling family members to flaky playboy millionaires, these two friends slowly realize their need to always be right has been usurped by a new need entirely, and it’s not long before they discover that even the most familiar stories still have some surprises.
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