Friends to Lovers Romance Books: 11 Must-Read Novels

Friends to lovers romance books
Friends to Lovers Romance Books: 11 Must-Read Novels 16

The friends to lovers romance books trope is one of the most fulfilling tropes in romance novels. There is something about two friends realizing they have feelings for one another and using their trust and past to navigate the transition to a happily-ever-after ending.

Of course, there will be obstacles along the way because the novel would have no story to tell otherwise. But the road to a happy ending is always the best part. Often there will be unrequited love along with internal and external obstacles.

We here at Beyond the Bookends have chosen our absolute favorite friends-to-lovers books so that you don’t have to scour anywhere else for the best books.

*Friends-to-Lovers Romance Books Post contains affiliate links. Purchases made through links result in a small commission to us at no cost to you. Some books have been gifted. All opinions are our own.

Friends to Lovers Romance Books

What is the Friends to Lovers Romance Trope?

The friends-to-lovers romance tropes in books have become very popular over the last few years and for good reason. This romance trope involves two individuals who start as close friends and slowly realize their feelings for each other are not just platonic. The shift from friendship to romance is a central theme, often highlighting the strength of their bond and the discovery of a deeper connection between them. These romances are often slow-burn romances as well.

What Do We Love About Friends to Lovers Romances?

A great friends-to-lovers romance offers the ultimate chance for a happy ending. These romance books often give the underdog a chance. Often in this romance trope, one of the friends is harboring unrequited love which makes the moment of realization for the other character that much sweeter. The road to HEA in these romance novels is that much more fulfilling at the end of the novel.

Spicy Friends to Lovers Romance Books

Hook, Line, and Sinker and more goodreads choice awards 2022 books

Hook, Line, and Sinker by Tessa Bailey

This is such a cute romance. Fox Thorton is a player who has never had a relationship. The last thing he needs is to fall for his best friend, Hannah, while trying to help her get her crush. And to make matters worse, she has moved into his spare room for the next few weeks while she is filming a movie.

I wish there was a soundtrack to go with this book. It was such a cute and quick read.

the wedding party

The Wedding Party (The Wedding Date #3)

I am a huge fan of Jasmine Guillory books and this one was no exception. Maddie and Theo have nothing in common other than the fact that Alexa is their best friend. They agree to put aside their differences in order to share responsibilities for Alexa’s upcoming wedding.

But, when sparks fly, they agree that those wedding responsibilities will be a lot more fun if they give into their chemistry. This enemies-to-lovers romance is a fun and spicy read.

Best Friends to Lovers Romance Books

People we meet on Vacation

People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry

Do you believe Harry (from When Harry Met Sally) when he said “Women and men can’t be friends”?

We are sure that he’s wrong, but one of our favorite tropes is friends to lovers. People We Met on Vacation is the latest beach read from Emily Henry and it’s addicting.

Poppy has been best friends with Alex since a car ride home from college a decade ago. Since then, they’ve gone on vacation together every year until 2 years ago when it all came crashing down.

Will they recover their friendship with one more trip or will their relationship be irrevocably ruined? This is the perfect beach, poolside read, or vacation read. You should be sure to add it to your summer reading romance books list. And if you are looking for the best friends-to-lovers romance novel, this is it.

in a holidaze and more Christmas romance books

In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren

Do you love Christmas movies? Are you obsessed with Christmas Romance books? Do you need to swoon? ⁣ If you answered yes to any of those questions, stop everything and order In a Holidaze. This is possibly my favorite Christmas novel of all time and was a must for best holiday books. ⁣

I adored Mae and Andrew’s love story. It’s set up like Groundhog’s Day with Mae repeating the same Christmas vacation until she gets it right. Time travel romance at its best. And man… does she get it right.⁣ Peppermint kisses, sexy sledding, snowball fights, Christmas Tree trimming… this book oozes cheer-filled holiday goodness with a few scenes that are steamier than a cup of cocoa.⁣

There is a reason this time travel book made our Best Books of 2020 list! This is an adorable magical realism book and a real must-read.

To Marry and To Meddle and more march 2022 novel ideas

To Marry and To Meddle by Martha Waters

Lady Emily and Lord Julian have come to an arrangement. He needs a wife to help his theater appear more legitimate in the eyes of society, she needs to escape the strain of living under her parent’s thumb.

So they decided on a quick wedding whilst staying with friends in the country. But when they get back to London, Julian realizes he might not want the perfect wife and Emily might just want to explore her freedom by finding her backbone.

Adorable and charming, this historical romance novel is perfect for our books like Bridgerton book list. This is a friends-to-lovers romance with charm and wit.

More Friends to Lovers Romance Books

The Emma Project

The Emma Project by Sonali Dev

I love that Emma gets a different twist with this adaptation. Vansh Raje takes on the role of Emma in this fresh new perspective.

If you have read Dev’s other books, these characters will be familiar to you by now. I liked this book and I love the way Dev changes the story while still being true to the heart of them. I do not love Naina and this story involves her a lot.

While we get to see things from her perspective, which makes her more likable, Dev did too good of a job making me dislike her in the last book.

when sparks fly

When Sparks Fly by Helena Hunting

Avery Spark owns and runs an event hotel with her two sisters. She doesn’t have time to date. She spends her time when she is not working with her best friend and roommate Declan.

When Avery has a car accident and Declan feels responsible, the two end up spending more time together than they ever have. Eventually, the chemistry between them is undeniable. This best friends-to-lovers romance really hit the mark for me.

Evvie Drake

Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes

July 2019 Read with Jenna Book List Pick

I just adored this celebrity romance book.  It was such a sweet and light romance.  When Evvie’s husband dies unexpectedly in a car crash, she is still staying in her house a year later.  Everyone in her small town thinks that she is overcome with grief but in actuality, it is guilt. 

Dean is a retired major league baseball pitcher who woke up one day and was unable to throw the ball over the plate.   When he moves into the apartment in the back of Evvie’s house the two become friends and agree to never talk about baseball or the dead husband.  This book was an easy and enjoyable read.

Duke, Actually and more Christmas Romance Books

Duke, Actually by Jenny Holiday

The sequel to A Princess for Christmas is the love story of Leo and Marie’s man of honor (Max) and best woman (Dani). Dani is going through a divorce and Max begins to help her get over her ex in a strictly platonic way.

But as their friendship grows, their feelings for each other deepen. The beginning and end of the story feature lots of Christmas scenes in NYC and Eldovia. Plus we get to see Leo and Marie’s wedding!

I also loved the bi-racial relationship portrayed. It was fun to learn about Christmas traditions from Mexico.

YA Friends to Lovers Romance

Dear Emmie Blue

Dear Emmie Blue by Lia Louis

When 16-year-old Emmie sends her name and email address attached to a red balloon, it travels over 100 miles and leads her to Lucas. This one gesture sparks a friendship that lasts for 14 years. 

Now, Emmie and Lucas are best friends and he surprises her with the fact that he is getting married. The problem? Emmie is in love with Lucas. This YA romance is a best friends-to-lovers in the best possible way. This is an underappreciated book from our list of Books with Colors in the Title.

The Summer I Turned Pretty

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

Ok, so I adored To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, but this YA romance felt like it was geared toward a younger crowd. This is a perfect friends-to-lovers romance for teens. It is filled with a love triangle teenage antics.

Set when Belly turns 15, at the beach house she visits every summer with her mom, her brother, and her mother’s best friend’s family, this coming-of-age is geared towards 15-year-olds.

I read it for the reading challenge, and while I didn’t love it for me, I’ll be interested to see how it gets adapted though! This sweet pick is perfect for a list of books like People We Meet on Vacation and it recently became an Amazon adaptation.

What are your favorite friends to lovers romance books?

ultimate list of romance

Ultimate List of Romances

If you love all things romance, then this is the list for you! We have this list carefully divided by sub-genres like second-chance romance books, romcoms, and more.

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Category Headers 53

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