From serendipitous meet-cutes to fake relationships turned real, Christina Lauren has covered every fun and flirty angle of romance there is to cover! If you’re like me and have exhausted your collection of this New York Times bestselling author’s work, you might be looking for similarly sweet love stories to immerse yourself in. These are ten options for the romance-obsessed reader that will definitely tug at the heartstrings! And if you’re still shopping for the holidays, check out Christina Lauren’s recommendations of books they love to give!
Eli expected to struggle with returning to his childhood home for the holidays after living a lifetime away—after all, in the past two decades, he had gone through transition as well as declared his sobriety—but serendipitously running into his high school ex, Nick Wu, was an unexpected surprise. In fact, in an even more unexpected turn, the two old flames seem to feel a spark growing again, though neither wants to confess their feelings. Obviously things are different now, with Eli having had such drastic life changes, but Nick begins discovering that he might be demisexual as his attraction to Eli is undeniable. It’s a frustratingly endearing story that’s perfect for this upcoming jolly season!
A trans man returns to his Florida hometown for Christmas after his career goes up in flames, only to cross paths with his high school ex in this charming rom-com about family and second chances from the author of the “delectable” (Time) Chef’s Kiss.
Eli Ward hasn’t been back to his suffocating hometown of New Port Stephen, Florida, in ages. Post-transition and sober, he’s a completely different person from the one who left years ago. But when a scandal threatens his career as a TV writer and comedian, he has no choice but to return home for the holidays. He can only hope he’ll survive his boisterous, loving, but often misguided family and hide the fact that his dream of comedy success has become a nightmare.
Just when he thinks this trip couldn’t get any worse, Eli bumps into his high school ex, Nick Wu, who’s somehow hotter than ever. Divorced and in his forties, Nick’s world revolves around his father, his daughter, and his job. But even a busy life can’t keep him from being intrigued by the reappearance of Eli.
Against the backdrop of one weird Floridian Christmas, the two must decide whether to leave the past in the past…or move on together.
In this modern New York City retelling of Jane Austen’s classic novel Emma, Emma Woodhouse is a successful matchmaker for her friends and family but fails to see the love that is right in front of her face. While she is able to get her sister engaged and is excited to take on the new girl in town, Nadine, as her next project, Emma simply doesn’t realize that her best-friend-since-childhood-and-subsequent-pain-in-her-ass “nuisance,” George Knightly, is the perfect man for her. And George? Well, he is just as clueless about his own devoted feelings toward Emma. This slow-burn friends-to-lovers romance will have you on the edge of your seat, yelling in frustration at these two characters who are clearly denying their feelings and waiting in anticipation for their perfect happily ever after.
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.
Can members of the opposite sex ever be friends? Charlie seems to think not while Bailey definitely believes it to be true. These two begrudging coworkers are able to grow a friendship out of initial disdain just through observing their peers through that lens: Who’s going to be the next cute couple at the waterpark they work at? But when Bailey starts feeling pressured by her mother to have a boyfriend of her own and Charlie so graciously offers to fake date her, it’s clear to everyone but them that they are in fact the next cute coworking couple. If you’re looking to giggle over sweet swoon-worthy moments, this is the best book for you!
From the New York Times bestselling author of Better Than the Movies, this swoon-worthy rom-com in the vein of She’s All That and 10 Things I Hate About You follows a teen girl who unwittingly finds herself at the center of a bet while working at a waterpark.
When seventeen-year-old Bailey starts a new job at a hotel waterpark, she is less than thrilled to see an old acquaintance is one of her coworkers. Bailey met Charlie a year ago on the long flight to Omaha, where she moved after her parents’ divorce. Charlie’s cynicism didn’t mix well with Bailey’s carefully well-behaved temperament, and his endless commentary was the irritating cherry on top of an already emotionally fraught trip.
Now, Bailey and Charlie are still polar opposites, but instead of everything about him rubbing Bailey the wrong way, she starts to look forward to hanging out and gossiping about the waterpark guests and their coworkers—particularly two who keep flirting with each other. Bailey and Charlie make a bet on whether or not the cozy pair will actually get together. Charlie insists that members of the opposite sex can’t just be friends, and Bailey is determined to prove him wrong.
Bailey and Charlie keep close track of the romantic progress of others while Charlie works to deflect the growing feelings he’s developed for Bailey. Terrified to lose her if his crush becomes known, what doesn’t help his agenda is Bailey and Charlie “fake dating” in order to disrupt the annoying pleasantries between Bailey’s mom and her mom’s new boyfriend. Soon, what Charlie was hoping to avoid becomes a reality as Bailey starts to see him as not only a friend she can rely on in the midst of family drama—but someone who makes her hands shake and heart race. But Charlie has a secret—a secret that involves Bailey and another bet Charlie may have made. Can the two make a real go of things…or has Charlie’s secret doomed them before they could start?
Beyah Grim is living a grim life. Just when she thought she could escape her life and finally find freedom through going to college, her mother tragically dies and she must move in with her estranged father. But honestly? New house, new life, new everything—it could be the change Beyah needed all along. In fact, when she meets her new neighbor, Samson, a boy very different from her but with whom she shares an easy natural connection, it seems like life is not so grim after all. Damaged people find one another in HEART BONES by Colleen Hoover, but with college looming around the corner, the real question is will they be able to stay together?
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of It Ends with Us and It Starts with Us!
Moving, passionate, and unforgettable, Colleen Hoover's novel follows two young adults from completely different backgrounds embarking on a tentative romance, unaware of what the future holds.
After a childhood filled with poverty and neglect, Beyah Grim finally has her hard-earned ticket out of Kentucky with a full ride to Penn State. But two months before she’s finally free to change her life for the better, an unexpected death leaves her homeless and forced to spend the remainder of her summer in Texas with a father she barely knows.
Devastated and anxious for the summer to go by quickly, Beyah has no time or patience for Samson, the wealthy, brooding guy next door. Yet, the connection between them is too intense to ignore. But with their upcoming futures sending them to opposite ends of the country, the two decide to maintain only a casual summer fling. Too bad neither has any idea that a rip current is about to drag both their hearts out to sea.
THE LONG GAME follows a scrappy young soccer fanatic, who, after facing major viral embarrassment at her job with the Miami Flames FC, is forced to move to North Carolina and coach a girls’ club team. Adalyn is simply dejected that this is now her reality and even more so when her neighbor, the team’s coach and ex–British legendary goalkeeper, Cameron Caldani, is a nightmare to work with. In fact, the two are definitely adversaries on the field rather than teammates. Fortunately, this is an enemies-to-lovers slow-burn like no other as both Adalyn and Cameron share a mutual, yet carefully hidden, attraction for each other.
A disgraced soccer exec reluctantly enlists the help of a retired soccer star in coaching a children’s team in this smalltown love story in the vein of Ted Lasso and It Happened One Summer —from the New York Times bestselling author of The Spanish Love Deception.
Adalyn Reyes has spent years perfecting her daily routine: wake up at dawn, drive to the Miami Flames FC offices, try her hardest to leave a mark, go home, and repeat.
But her routine is disrupted when a video of her in an altercation with the team’s mascot goes viral. Rather than fire her, the team’s owner—who happens to be her father—sends Adalyn to middle-of-nowhere North Carolina, where she’s tasked with turning around the struggling local soccer team, the Green Warriors, as a way to redeem herself. Her plans crumble upon discovering that the players wear tutus to practice (impractical), keep pet goats (messy), and are terrified of Adalyn (counterproductive), and are nine-year-old kids.
To make things worse, also in town is Cameron Caldani, goalkeeping prodigy whose presence is somewhat of a mystery. Cam is the perfect candidate to help Adalyn, but after one very unfortunate first encounter involving a rooster, Cam’s leg, and Adalyn’s bumper, he’s also set on running her out of town. But banishment is not an option for Adalyn. Not again. Helping this ragtag children’s team is her road to redemption, and she is playing the long game. With or without Cam’s help.
Typically there is no love in politics, but for Emma, who is working tirelessly on rebranding mayoral candidate Cooper Endicott’s image, love may be in the works, especially given their longstanding friendly history. He’s a bit of a fixer-upper, what with his flakiness, playboy tendencies, and general disdain for all the drama that comes with running for office, but somehow, against her best wishes, Emma finds those qualities endearing. She has always been organized, hardworking, and sure of her lack of feelings for Cooper, but now, after joining the campaign, she’s increasingly unsure about the latter. It’s a flirty workplace rom-com that is sure to show that opposites definitely attract!
For fans of Lauren Layne and Kristan Higgins comes a delightfully “fun bit of fluffy entertainment” (Publishers Weekly) in the first book of a charming new series, in which a young woman is forced to help her old friend revamp his image for the upcoming mayoral elections...and discovers that she might not be as immune to his charms as she once thought.
When Emmanuelle Peroni’s father—and current mayor of Hope Lake, Pennsylvania—suggests she help with Cooper Endicott’s campaign, she’s horrified. Cooper, one of her (former) oldest friends, drives her crazy in every way possible. But he’s also her father’s protégé, so Emma reluctantly launches her plan to help him win the local election.
It’s not as easy as it looks. Cooper’s colorful love life is the sticking point for many voters, and his opponent is digging up everything he can from his past. It seems that every time Emma puts out the flames from one scandal, another one flares up. Emma knows that if Cooper wants to win, he needs to keep his nose clean. The only problem? She might just be falling in love with the one person she promised never to pursue: the mayoral candidate himself.
Manny thought herself the love expert—in fact, she’s the highly decorated CEO of an online relationship-ending service called Breakup—but her own love life is admittedly a bit lackluster. She’s engaged to a white man, Adam, but isn’t wholeheartedly invested in the relationship because of their lack of a true strong connection. It isn’t until she meets an angry client, Sammy Patel, who desperately needs an Indian date to an upcoming family wedding, that Manny starts to see what could be. Manny steps in as Sammy’s fake girlfriend, especially as Sammy promises to teach Manny all about her own Indian culture and heritage that was whitewashed out of her through growing up in America, and throughout a week of exploring South Asian culture and their fake relationship, Manny discovers what she truly wants for her romantic life. And it’s Sammy.
This delightful debut rom-com follows the adventures of a woman trying to connect with her South Asian roots and introduces readers to a memorable cast of characters in a veritable feast of food, family traditions, and fun.
Manny Dogra is the beautiful young CEO of Breakup, a highly successful company that helps people manage their relationship breakups. As preoccupied as she is with her business, she’s also planning her wedding to handsome architect Adam Jamieson while dealing with the loss of her beloved parents.
For reasons Manny has never understood, her mother and father, who were both born in India, always wanted her to become an “All-American” girl. So that’s what she did. She knows next to nothing about her South Asian heritage, and that’s never been a problem—until her parents are no longer around, and an image of Manny that’s been Photoshopped to make her skin look more white appears on a major magazine cover. Suddenly, the woman who built an empire encouraging people to be true to themselves is having her own identity crisis.
But when an irritating client named Sammy Patel approaches Manny with an odd breakup request, the perfect solution presents itself: If they both agree to certain terms, he’ll give her a crash course in being “Indian” at his brother’s wedding.
What follows is days of dancing and dal, masala and mehndi as Manny meets the lovable, if endlessly interfering, aunties and uncles of the Patel family, and, along the way, discovers much more than she could ever have anticipated.
The set of Girl on the Verge is a bit haunting to Liv Latimer, the main star of the show that had aired two decades prior. While filming the final seasons, not only had her on-screen boyfriend and real-life best friend, Ransom Joel, rejected her, but her father passed away in that same season. Liv retreated into a life of reclusion following the conclusion of the show, but now Girl on the Verge is calling for an all-cast reunion. Liv can’t face Ransom again—especially, as she finally admits to herself, with her unresolved feelings of both love and resentment. Only now, it seems that Ransom may finally be able to give Liv what she wants. The only question is, should Liv give him a second chance?
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.
In a timely meet-cute—well, is being stuck in an elevator really cute?—Alexa and Drew have no other option than to talk to each other. Neither is too upset, though! Drew, having been freshly broken up with, desperately needs a date to his best friend’s wedding during the upcoming weekend, and Alexa is both free that weekend and attracted to Drew’s charming ways. The wedding is of course a blast and the two agree to part ways into their own respective lives, but when neither party can go a minute at work without thinking about the other, it’s simply necessary that the two be together! Now, it’s just a matter of how to make that work when Alexa is an important politician in Northern California and Drew is a pediatric surgeon in Los Angeles. This is a story where love might just be powerful enough to bring these two headstrong power players together!
Of course, if you’re looking for similar romances to those of Christina Lauren, there’s no better decision than to reread a romance by Christina Lauren! With so many different characters across so many different stories, these novels make fantastic re-reads! LOVE AND OTHER WORDS is a personal favorite of mine and follows a high-strung woman and the only man who was ever able to break down her walls. Macy Sorenson has been in love with Elliot Petropoulos since they were children on the playground, but after moving, growing up, and living different lives, they simply have not spoken much as adults. Once they finally meet again, Macy begins questioning everything she had ever planned for her life, but above all else, she has this one question: Does she actually want to go through with marrying her current fiancé? The novel alternates between Macy’s and Elliot’s perspectives throughout their teenage lives and leaves you begging Macy to leave her man and be with the one she was always meant to be with: Elliot. It’s a love story that will leave you hoping for even a scrap of what their love is—even if this is your second read through!
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