Fall In Love With The Best Friends To Lovers Books!
I handpicked this prompt for the February category of my 2022 Romance Reading Challenge because I cannot get enough of this romance trope!
Friends to lovers books involve some sort of platonic relationship between the two characters before one or both develop romantic feelings. There’s nothing like the tension that builds up when best friends who already have a deep bond, consider taking the next step!
Enjoy reading about these sweet and steamy relationships in this extensive list of the absolute best friends to lovers books.
As always, let me know in the comments if you have any favorite friends to lovers books that I missed!
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Best Friends To Lovers Books
People We Meet On Vacation
by Emily Henry
People We Meet On Vacation is an incredible love story about two friends learning to find what matters most in their lives. Best friends Poppy and Alex were polar opposites when they first met in college. However, a forced road trip to their shared hometown led them into a decades long friendship. Every year since college, they took one summer trip together. Until it all came crashing down two years ago.
The story of Alex and Poppy’s friendship is told both through their current summer trip and all their previous vacations. I adored the tension of current day and discovering their history at the same time. Although these friends had little in common, they truly brought out the best in each other and as a reader I could easily feel their connection.
These two truly learned from each other and grew together as they realized what they wanted. I appreciated how real the ending felt, rather than a rushed, lucky happenstance or sudden burst of intense communication that fixes everything!
When Sparks Fly
by Helena Hunting
I’ll admit that friends to lovers is my favorite romance trope, so maybe it’s no surprise that this was a hit! Avery devotes all of her time to the event hotel she runs with her sisters, leaving no time to worry about a man. She’d rather hang out with her guy friends, including her roommate Declan, anyway.
After an accident occurs, Avery is forced to rely on Declan in ways she never has before. And taking care of Avery brings forth feelings Declan has pushed down for ages. If they give in to their spark, it may ruin everything they’ve built up over the years.
This was a fresh and realistic take on making the jump from friends to something more! I identified with their reluctance and the fragility of their new relationship. I also appreciated the time devoted to improving themselves and resolving their issues individually! Highly recommend for all romance lovers!
Kamila Knows Best
By Farrah Heron
This is one of the 2022 new romance books I’m most excited about because it’s an Emma retelling! The Bollywood twist on this classic Jane Austen story should have readers in for a wild ride. Kamila loves her life of parties, Instagram celebrity (at least for her dog), and matchmaking for her friends.
She’s not looking for anyone special herself because…what more could she need? Plus, she can always harmlessly flirt with her best friend, Rohan, anytime she wants. Everything starts to go awry when a rival returns to town…and seems to have her eye on Rohan.
By Jane Austen
If I’m going to include a retelling, I obviously have to address the OG friends to lovers book as well! Jane Austen is known for her compelling and relatable heroines, even though she wrote them centuries ago.
Emma is a delightful matchmaker who’s constantly searching for the perfect companion for all her friends. Meanwhile she’s got no concern for her own love life, happy to simply spend time with friends and family. One of those close friends is Mr. Knightley, whom she sees with new eyes when young Harriet shows a romantic interest in him.
The Cheat Sheet
by Sarah Adams
This is not only a fantastic addition to my friends to lovers books, but also an amazing audiobook option! The male narrator’s voice is…so sexy. Anyway!
Bree and Nathan live insanely different lives – he’s an NFL quarterback, she’s barely making ends meet as a dance studio owner. But their friendship is rock solid. At least, except for the fact that they’re hiding the fact that they’re head over heels in love with each other.
Neither is willing to admit it and risk their friendship. However, when a publicity opportunity to fake date arises, they both want to take the chance to see if this could let them admit their true feelings.
Evvie Drake Starts Over
by Linda Holmes
A convenient living situation brings together Evvie, a recent widow with a large empty house, and Dean, a former MLB pitcher who needs to get his game back. They both agree not to discuss these two major elephants in the room and instead strike up an easy, light friendship.
As their lives continue to intertwine, they both realize keeping those parts of themselves separate may not be what they actually need or want.
This was one of my favorite books of 2020 and it’s a great recommendation for anyone looking for all the heart but less steam!
My Favorite Half-Night Stand
by Christina Lauren
Summary: Christina Lauren are two friends who co-author some of the best contemporary romance novels in the business. Honestly, you can throw a dart at their list of books and find a gem, but this just happens to be my favorite of theirs.
In this book, Millie and her group of guy friends turn to online dating to find plus-ones for an upcoming event. Just before they get started though, she hooks up with one of them in a mutually agreed upon one-time only event! Well, at least they both think they’re better off as just friends…
The Friend Zone
by Abby Jimenez
Kristen is a straight talking woman with infertility issues who’s currently planning her best friend’s wedding. That’s how she meets Josh – the best man and all around amazing human. Except, she has a boyfriend and he won’t stop talking about how much he wants kids. They decide to stay friends despite the undeniable attraction.
When tragedy strikes, she’s forced to decide if she can accept his love. This is at times an extremely tough book to read if you’re a mom or want kids. I was a bit put off by Josh in the beginning, but he grew on me. By the end, I was so emotionally invested I was sobbing on the couch.
Dear Emmie Blue
by Lia Louis
At sixteen, Emmie tied her name, email address, and a secret she’d never share to a balloon and sent it off into the sky. In France, Loucas finds the balloon and immediately emails her, setting off a decade long friendship.
Now 30, Emmie is still hiding the fact that she’s in love with Louis and has neglected most other parts of her life while nurturing this relationship. But the day has come for them to finally make a break through, when he says he has a big question to ask her.
Emmie is pinning all her hopes that he’ll feel the same way, but life never goes quite according to plan.
Truth or Beard
by Penny Reid
Get ready for the Winston brothers! These bearded men are full of charm and charism, so you’ll love every minute of their antics, both romantic and otherwise.
In Book 1, Jessica is torn between the two identical twin Winston brothers. She’s always had a massive crush on outgoing Beau and rather despised the surly, Duane. At least until a case of mistaken identities has her rethinking everything…
This was recommended to me as another great listen on audiobook!
How To Marry Keanu Reeves in 90 Days
by K.M. Jackson
This is a must-read for anyone with an all consuming celebrity crush! We’ve all been there – convinced that if they just met us, a certain celebrity would fall desperately in love haha! For Bethany Lu, that man is Keanu Reeves. When she learns he’s getting married, she hauls her best friend along on a last ditch road trip to find him and confess her love!
Naturally, Lu and Truman get into all sorts of sticky situations. And all that time together leads them down a path that isn’t quite the one she expected.
Take a Hint, Dani Brown
by Talia Hibbert
All three books in the Brown sisters series are a delight, but Take A Hint, Dani Brown is the perfect fit for this friends to lovers books list! Although this is Book 2, there’s no need to read the first to understand the story, so you can jump right in.
Dani has no interest in an actual relationship, just someone who can meet her physical needs while she focuses on her career. Zaf is the perfect candidate, when his big strong body rescues her at work. Except for the fact that he’s only interested if there’s an emotional connection too.
When they start fake dating to help bring publicity to a local charity, they each bring their own expectations into the partnership, but who will win out?
by Jenny Holiday
This is a rare Christmas addition to this friends to lovers books list!
A royal wedding brings together a reckless Duke not ready to settle down and a New Yorker who’s sworn off love. With their best friends on the way to the alter, Maximillian and Dani have plenty of opportunities to get to know each other. They hit it off immediately as friends since they’re both not looking for a relationship.
This turned into a friendship that was filled with undeniable sparks! I loved how Max and Dani continuously showed up for each other and laid the foundation of their relationship on supporting each other.
Historical Romance Friends To Lovers Books
Romancing Mr Bridgerton
by Julia Quinn
You can’t have a historical romance book list without the Bridgertons! This series is truly phenomenal so thankfully there is a friends to lovers relationship that fits perfectly here!
In Book 4, readers are treated to the story of Colin and Penelope. Penelope has been in love with Colin Bridgerton, her best friend’s brother, forever, but she knows she’s only ever viewed as a friend. When she stumbles upon his darkest secret though, she’s not sure she knows who he is at all.
Sick of being dragged through the gossip columns, Colin takes some time abroad. When he returns, he’s surprised to find new feelings developing toward Penelope, who he can’t seem to get out of his head. Her usual friendliness and shyness is replaced when he finds out what she knows, though. Will there be any chance for them to get beyond this secret?
The Countess Conspiracy
by Courtney Milan
A scientific rake!? Yes, please! Sebastian is a rare man, a notorious scoundrel but also an accomplished scientific theorist. Violet knows the truth about him though – she’s the one behind his brilliant mind. When Sebastian threatens to break up their ruse, she’ll do whatever it takes to save it.
In this case, that might mean opening up her heart to this unacceptable man.
Just Like Heaven
by Julia Quinn
If you’re looking for a light, breezy historical romance option on this friends to lovers books list without any of the more intense drama, murders, or mysteries – this is for you! Honoria Smyth-Smith is very much not in love with her older brother’s friend. And Marcus Holroyd is very much not in love with his best friend’s sister. Obviously not, since these two spend so much time together as practically brother and sister!
When Marcus falls ill, though, Honoria rushes to his bedside and they both realize what it might mean to lose each other.
Young Adult Friends To Lovers Books
Anna and the French Kiss
by Stephanie Perkins
A YA friends to lovers book that takes place in Paris? Perfection. Like most teenagers, Anna is so ready for her senior year in high school. Until her Dad unexpectedly sends her to boarding school in Paris!? How will she ever know if her crush likes her back if she’s across an ocean?
Everything changes when she meets Etienne, a boy at her new school. He’s also taken, so they develop a year-long friendship and a few romantic near-misses. The timing just never seems right in Anna’s life, but maybe by the end of the school year everything will fall into place.
The Summer I Turned Pretty
by Jenny Han
A perfect summer read with a friends to lovers twist. Belly lives for summers at her family’s beach house. For as long as they’ve gone, she’s known Susannah, Jeremiah, and Conrad. Jeremiah and Conrad are like brothers to her, but she’s been seeing them both differently lately.
This summer, things start to change and she’ll find out what she’s been looking for all along.
The Rest Of The Story
by Sarah Dessen
When Emma is sent away for the summer to stay with her mother’s family at North Lake, who she hasn’t seen since she was little, she discovers a new side of herself in their working class community. She’s always been known as Emma to everyone, including her dad who’s from the wealthier side of the lake. But this summer, she becomes Saylor, the name her mother always called her before she died.
Saylor slowly gets to know her long lost family and discovers more about their history with the help of her childhood friend, Roo. Over the summer, she gets caught up in the spell of the lake…and of Roo.
Do any of these best friends to lovers books catch your eye? Which friends to lovers couple are you rooting for the most??