In the past few years, reading’s popularity has skyrocketed among Gen-Z. In particular, many TikTok and Instagram users have fallen in love with contemporary romance novels among other genres. As we read more romance novels, we discover our favorite tropes, which are common patterns that a storyline takes on, such as enemies to lovers, friends to lovers and more.
In celebration of Valentine’s Day, here are five book recommendations based on the trendiest romance tropes!
Enemies to Lovers
Many romance readers cannot resist a page-turning, enemies to lovers story where the main characters start with hatred and end in love with each other. “Beach Read” by Emily Henry presents a perfect example of this beloved trope.
Henry tells the addictive story of January and Gus, two writers who have hated each other since college. When January’s father dies, she goes to unpack his beach house and discovers that her next door neighbor is Gus. They challenge each other to swap writing genres, so January has to write a contemporary story while Gus has to write a romance. Full of witty banter and lovable characters, “Beach Read” is truly a must-read for fans of this popular trope.
Friends to Lovers
“Heartstopper” by Alice Oseman is a heartwarming graphic novel series about the blossoming relationship between teenagers Nick and Charlie. When the boys are placed in the same home room, Charlie develops a massive crush on Nick, but the pair just become friends. As the school year progresses, Nick and Charlie both discover new things about themselves and each other.
The novel tackles topics such as mental health issues, LGBTQ+ representation and relationships, bullying and more. “Heartstopper” was also adapted into a hit Netflix series last year, so after you finish reading the first two graphic novels, you can binge watch the award-winning show!
Second Chance Romance
“Love and Other Words” by fan-favorite writing duo Christina Lauren is the epitome of second chance romance. Macey and Elliot were two best friends in love until a falling out caused them to break up. 10 years later, now working adults, they bump into each other and are forced to face their painful memories in order to see if they could have a future.
With its dual timelines and strong chemistry between the main characters, “Love and Other Words” is a must read for fans of second chances.
“By the Book” by Jasmine Guillory is an underrated, forced proximity romance that alludes to Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast.” Isabelle, a 25-year-old editorial assistant, works in a publishing house, but feels stuck. She hears of an opportunity to go to the house of a high-profile author who has yet to deliver a manuscript. This author happens to be Beau Towers, an attractive celebrity with severe writer’s block drafting a tell-all memoir.
Beau is rude, stubborn and unfriendly, but Isabelle is able to help him start a manuscript. However, to accomplish this, she must stay at his house. The proximity forces the two into a productive working relationship and perhaps something more. “By the Book” is a delightful, easy read for anyone who adores fairytale retellings and a captivating slow burn.
“The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” by Taylor Jenkins Reid is about beloved Hollywood actress Evelyn Hugo and her seven marriages. The novel takes the form of a biography in which journalist Monique interviews Hugo, who, after a long career, finally wants to tell her story to the public.
Does Evelyn find true love with one of her seven husbands? Why did she handpick Monique to do the coveted interview? Why is she ready to share the details of her life after all these years? All is revealed in one of the most popular historical fiction novels in recent years.