friends to lovers books

25 Best Friends To Lovers Books

25 Best Friends To Lovers Books

The friends to lovers trope is one of the most well-loved and popular ones out there.

Because of its versatility – the dynamic between the two protagonists can be wholesome and charming, but it could also be lustful and exciting as well as everything in between!

There are truly a million and one great friends to lovers books to choose from, so this was definitely a hard list to curate! 

Nonetheless, I tried to include a selection with a wide variety of plotlines and a diverse range of character types.

Without a doubt, you’ll definitely find a few gems in this list that you’ll want to pick up right away!

More Book Recommendations:

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25 Best Friends To Lovers Books

1. People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry

Genre: Romance, Contemporary

Goodreads Rating: 4.00

What Are Readers Saying? 

This is probably one of the most talked about friends to lovers books in the Bookstagram/Booktok/Booktube sphere, and with good reason! 

Despite Poppy’s privileged life – working for a travel magazine in New York, earning decent money, getting to travel (all expenses paid) for work – she is still not content.

She realises the last time she was truly happy was when she last took a trip with her best friend Alex, two years ago.

Poppy convinces Alex to take one more vacation together.

This week-long vacation will have readers on an emotional rollercoaster ride as the narrative jumps back and forth between past and present; where we learn about how they became friends, and how the friendship was ruined which led to their estrangement.

Emily Henry is a master story-teller, especially in the romance/women’s fiction genre. You will not be disappointed with this friends to lovers novel!

2. Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

Genre: Romance, Sports, LGBT

Goodreads Rating: 4.30

What Are Readers Saying?

To be upfront, this is a (M/M) LGBTQ+ love story. If you’re into this type of genre, then ‘Him’ by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy will be right up your alley! 

Another thing to note is that this is a sports-related book (as it revolved around hockey).

However, even if you don’t have an interest in the sport, the chemistry between the two protagonists will definitely be more than enough to keep you hooked!

3. Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren

Genre: Contemporary, Romance

Goodreads Rating: 4.34

What Are Readers Saying?

This is a story of two high school sweethearts whose love blossoms over their love of books (too adorable!) but over time their lives diverge and they grow apart. 

Fast forward, and it’s been 11 years since Elliot and Macy last met, and there are a whole host of unresolved and unpleasant feelings between the two.

The story beautifully alternates between the past and the present, giving multiple dimensions to the story to allow us to uncover exactly what happened to lead their love astray.

If you weren’t a fan of the best friends to lovers trope before, trust me, you definitely will be after reading this emotional crippling and heartfelt book.

4. When Sparks Fly by Helena Hunting

Genre: Romance, Contemporary

Goodreads Rating: 3.68

What Are Readers Saying?

After Avery crashes her car on the way to a meeting, breaking multiple bones in the process, Declan is at her beck-and-call – supporting her and tending to her every need. 

Sexual tension build between the two and they find that they’ve been harboring desire for one another all along.

In this spicy yet heartfelt novel, you will no doubt be engrossed in Declan and Avery’s dynamic.

This is definitely one to add to the TBR list of best friends to lovers romance novels.

5. Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center

Genre: Contemporary, Romance

Goodreads Rating: 4.02

What Are Readers Saying?

This is a heartwarming book centered on the themes of forgiveness, family and love. 

Cassie is an easily likable protagonist that you will find yourself rooting for throughout the book. One thing about Cassie is that she has sworn to not dabble in dating and love… until she meets Rookie.

Despite Cassie’s no dating rule, she finds herself uncontrollably attracted and endeared by this sweet and caring fellow fireman.

This is definitely one of the best slow burn friends to lovers books out there that will have you screaming “just get together already!!”

6. Kamila Knows Best by Farah Heron


Genre: Contemporary, Romance

Goodreads Rating: 3.89

What Are Readers Saying?

This book is a retelling of ‘Emma’ by Jane Austen, so for fans out there, you’ll definitely want to note this down in your friends to lovers books list!

Kamila and Rohan have known each other forever, so it’s definitely an enjoyable experience for readers to see how they struggle with their preconceptions about each other from childhood to how they see each other now.

The plot houses an interesting turn of events when Kamila’s secret nemesis returns to town and has the hots for Rohan.

The story at this point becomes heated, dramatic and extremely entertaining. You’ll want to read this book to find out what happens!

7. The Friend Zone by Kristen Callihan

Genre: Romance, Sports

Goodreads Rating: 4.15

What Are Readers Saying?

If you love steamy romance novels, with a preference for athletic/sporty leads, you’ll fall in love with ‘The Friend Zone’ by Kristen Callihan!

Gray Grayson is, by all accounts, “a playa”, and –as the summary points out– he has sex with women, he does NOT be-friend them.

However, when Gray needs to borrow his agent’s daughter’s car, their friendship blossoms through text.

Before long, their friendship threatens to evolve into something more…

You won’t want to miss this read out amongst this list of friends to lovers romance books!

8. The Paid Bridesmaid by Sariah Wilson

Genre: Contemporary, Romance

Goodreads Rating: 3.91

What Are Readers Saying?

Rachel is a professional bridesmaid. This new client of hers is a social media influencer, who is getting married in the tropical paradise of Hawaii.

Going on an island trip for a week for this job sounds like a piece of cake, however she didn’t expect to meet the irresistible best man – Camden Lewis.

The sexual tension between the two characters is so thick that you could cut it with a knife.

If you love that in your friends to lovers books, you’ll definitely want to check this one out!

9. Emma by Jane Austen

Genre: Classics, Fiction, Romance

Goodreads Rating: 4.03

What Are Readers Saying?

Let’s be real, Jane Austen is the OG romance novel writer, so you really can’t go wrong with her books.

‘Emma’ is a classic about a woman in early 19th century England who finds enjoyment in matchmaking those around her, although at times this results in romantic misadventures.

Until one day, she falls in love with George Knightley, her friend, and brother-in-law of her sister Isabella.

This is the ultimate, classic version of the best friends to lovers trope that you are sure to love! Especially if you’re a fan of old English literature.

10. Broken Knight by L.J. Shen

Genre: Contemporary, Romance

Goodreads Rating: 4.23

What Are Readers Saying?

Knight Cole is the ultimate golden boy. He is charming, athletic, popular, attractive, and just all around perfect.

He is the object of everyone’s desire, but he only has eyes for Luna. In some ways, it’s always been the case since they were young. 

This is a thrilling romance that is encased with tragedy. It will undoubtedly cause your heart to flutter and break at the same time.

This is probably one of the best childhood friends to lovers books out there that you won’t want to miss!

11. One Day by David Nicholls

Genre: Contemporary, Romance

Goodreads Rating: 3.80

What Are Readers Saying?

This is a book about two friends who meet on the last day of their student-hoods in Edinburgh. The story follows Emma and Dex’s relationship and how it evolves, every year on the 15th of July.

You will not root for or be more frustrated by any other fictional pair out there. Their relationship is endearing, playful, friendly, lustful, and everything in between – the dynamic is ever-changing with every chapter.

Though one thing remains constant, and that is their genuine love for one another.

This is definitely a favourite amongst lovers of college romance books, as well as friends to lovers books.

12. The Cheat Sheet by Sarah Adams

Genre: Contemporary, Romance

Goodreads Rating: 3.77

What Are Readers Saying?

If you’re a fan of the professional athlete stereotype, you’re in for a treat with this book! Nathan is arguably Sarah Adams’ most loveable character.

Despite his success in life, he doesn’t let fame and attention go to his head – a rare breed indeed. 

On the other hand, Bree is the girl next door. She is loving, funny, and sweet. You will definitely be drawn to her character in an instant. 

This duo have the perfect friendship; readers will be absolutely engrossed in their dynamic. When they get together, it feels as though everything has fallen perfectly into place. 

This is a great slow burn read if you’re a lover of the friends to lovers trope!

13. Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance

Goodreads Rating: 4.37

What Are Readers Saying?

This is the first installment of ‘The Dark Artifices’ trilogy, but make no mistake, it packs a punch, akin to how the final book in a series would feel like.

The storyline is bone-chilling, eloquently written, and absolutely enchanting.

This is a story involving revenge, murders in LA, a strong female lead out to avenge the death of her parents.

In the midst of this incredible storyline is a captivating love that blossoms between the main character – Emma and Julian.

‘Lady Midnight’ is one of the most thrilling friends to lovers fantasy books that you’ll want to add to your TBR list right now!

14. Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert

Genre: Contemporary, Romance

Goodreads Rating: 4.07

What Are Readers Saying?

Dannika Brown is the archetypal “career first, love later” woman. Although, she still isn’t immune to the calls of nature. Sometimes she does need that physical intimacy with another human being.

Enter Zafir – a security guard who saves her from a workplace fire drill that goes wrong. 

In short, this is an electrifying and entertaining read about a friends-with-benefits relationship that inevitably blossoms into something a hell of a lot more complicated.

What I love about this book is how it covers themes and topics beyond the romance and steaminess – such as the muslim faith, being black, and LGBTQ+ matters.

This is a heartwarming and sensual read that you’ll absolutely love if you’re a fan of friends to lovers books!

15. Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes

Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Contemporary

Goodreads Rating: 3.84

What Are Readers Saying?

This is an absolute winner of a debut! Both heartfelt and joyful in equal measure, ‘Evvie Drake Starts Over’ is about a widow (Evvie) and a former Major League pitcher (Dean) who become neighbors. 

Although they both agree to not talk about the other’s painful past, the rules are broken and the boundaries between them become blurred. Their beautiful friendship evolves into something deeper.

If you have a penchant for stories with more emotional and heart wrenching storylines, then this is the perfect read for you!

16. The Sweet Gum Tree by Katherine Allred

Genre: Contemporary, Romance

Goodreads Rating: 4.27

What Are Readers Saying?

If you enjoy heart wrenching stories that span over the course of many years, you will not want to miss out on this novel. 

Through their tumultuous and volatile years as children and teenagers, the passage of time allows their love for one another to deepen and develop in ways that will have readers completely hooked.

Across the years, we will see how time will heal all wounds and mend hearts longer after they’ve been broken.

In short, this is an elegantly written story that will definitely stay with you long after you’ve read it.

17. My Favourite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren

Genre: Contemporary, Romance

Goodreads Rating: 3.78

What Are Readers Saying?

If you’re in search of a light friends to lovers novel, look no further! ‘My Favorite Half-Night Stand’ is about two friends that are a part of the same friendship circle, who spend a steamy and sensual half-night together – after which, they both agree that their relationship should remain strictly platonic.

This book is a humorous take on the online dating scene, with Millie’s struggle to obtain a decent match.

Of course, trouble starts to brew when “Catherine” (Millie’s online alter ego) matches with Reid (her best friend whom she had slept with). 

In the end, they must choose between the love and chemistry that undoubtedly exists between them, and their friendship.

18. A Love Letter to Whiskey by Kandi Steiner.

Genre: New Adult, Romance

Goodreads Rating: 4.25

What Are Readers Saying?
Nowhere else is the phrase “timing is everything” more apt than with this book. If you’re a fan of high school romance books, you’ll definitely not want to miss out on this one!

Jamie and B became friends in their teens. At first, Jamie falls for B’s best friend, whilst B develops feelings for Jamie – a classic love triangle dynamic. 

After Jamie and Jenna’s relationship falls through, Jamie and B finally confess their feelings for one another, however (and here’s the kicker) Jamie has to move away for college. 

This book will have your emotions all over the place, especially as it’s told through B’s perspective.

You will keenly feel all the motions that she goes through, and will no doubt fall in love with (as well as be ruined by) this gorgeous read.

19. Lease on Love by Fallon Ballard

Genre: Contemporary, Romance

Goodreads Rating: 3.84

What Are Readers Saying?

After celebrating her long-awaited promotion with some drinks, Sadie accidentally mixes up her dating app for her roommate-finding app.

This hilarious mishap leads her to Jack’s apartment, where he ends up offering her a room to live in.

At first, both characters are difficult to match up as their personalities are contrasting and not quite complementary.

Jack is rather aloof and unfriendly, given his parents’ passing, and Sadie is quite a handful. However, with time, their inner personalities shine through, and soon their feelings for one another will deepen.

This novel is definitely a great choice for fans of slow burn friends to lovers books!

20. The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez

Genre: Contemporary, Romance

Goodreads Rating: 3.90

What Are Readers Saying?

This is yet another classic bridesmaid meets best man novel, but don’t be fooled by this adorable meet-cute – the story does have an emotional and heavy twist.

Whilst Josh wants to have lots of children in future, Kristen can’t biologically have any.

She has a condition which stops her from having her own children, and the kicker here is that Josh is unwilling to compromise on this, and thus they keep each other at a friendly distance.

This is a book that tackles deep issues about fertility and how that can significantly impact romantic relationships.

If you’re looking for a heavier friends to lovers read, you’ll want to check this one out.

21. The Deal by Elle Kennedy

Genre: Contemporary, Romance

Goodreads Rating: 4.28

What Are Readers Saying?

Although it ain’t too good for us, we all secretly love a main guy who is a little hot ‘n cold. Garrett is the captain of the hockey team, and definitely acts like it, but deep down, he is capable of being sensitive and caring.

When Garrett fails the Philosophy mid-term, he seeks Hannah out to tutor him so that he can stay on the hockey team. Their relationship blossoms into a beautiful friendship, with lots of adorable bickering and banter.

However, soon enough, they can’t fight their attraction for one another.

What the author does so well is depict the main characters, Garrett and Hannah, as “real”; authentic and relatable for the most part.

They have so much dimension to them that it’s hard to not be invested in their relationship.

This romance definitely deserves to be on the list of best friends to lovers books!

22. Weather Girl by Rachel Lynn Solomon

Genre: Contemporary, Romance

Goodreads Rating: 3.73

What Are Readers Saying?

This is another light-hearted rom-com that somehow manages to tackle very deep topics, such as mental health, in an elegant and eloquent way.

Ari is a meteorologist. Russell is a sports reporter. They both share the same frustration over the station director’s tumultuous relationship with his significant other (which is impacting the environment at work).

Together, Ari and Russell team up to get Torrance and Seth back together, but in the process, they unexpectedly develop feelings for one another.

Overall, this is an absolutely charming read that will have you glued to its pages from start to end.  

23. Dear Emmie Blue by Lia Louis

Genre: Contemporary, Romance

Goodreads Rating: 4.13

What Are Readers Saying?

This is a story about fate, and how our lives can sometimes intertwine with other peoples’ in unexpectedly beautiful ways. 

When Emma releases a balloon with her secret inside, Lucas, all the way in France, discovers the balloon and immediately emails the address she provides in her message.

A chain of events sets into motion and an intense friendship grows from that fateful day.

Many years later, Emma cannot deny that she has harbored feelings for Lucas all this while. She can only hope that he feels the same too. 

This is an intensely heartbreaking and poignant read that will have you thinking a lot about love and the role that fate plays in relationships.

If you’re into more melancholy and introspective romance plots, you’ll be sure to love ‘Dear Emmie Blue’.

24. You Say It First by Katie Cotugno

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Goodreads Rating: 3.45

What Are Readers Saying?
For fans of friends to lovers YA books, ‘You Say It First’ is a must-read!

This is a relationship that blossoms over telephone lines, connecting two people across states.

Their first conversation is fraught with annoyance and Colby ends up hanging up after saying something unforgivable to Meg.

However, the two continue to speak, and their wholesome friendship develops into something more. 

Colby and Meg could not be more different from one another, but that’s what makes their dynamic so intriguing and wonderful.

You will not be more absorbed in a (seemingly) mismatched couple as you will with these two!

25. Truth or Beard by Penny Reid

Genre: Contemporary, Romance

Goodreads Rating: 3.91

What Are Readers Saying?

‘Truth or Beard’ is an absolutely breathtaking read that will blow you away.

Jessica has always been infatuated with Beau, yet enemies with his identical twin brother, Duane.

Beau is confident and socially adept, whereas Duane is his polar opposite.

In an accidental case of mistaken identity, Jessica finds that she harbors some attraction for Duane after all.

As it turns out, Duane has always been in love with Jessica all along. 

This is a bitingly humorous, slow burn romance that you will be sure to love!


It’s not surprising that the friends to lovers trope continues to be one of the most popular ones out there.

The friendship in the plot could either start off as cheeky and innocent, or full of humour and banter, or perhaps even with a deeply emotional and vulnerable connection. 

It’s interesting to see how each of these types of friendships could possibly blossom into something more!

These books are so versatile and so loveable that it’s hard to not be drawn to them. 

With that, I hope you manage to find your next great read amongst this list of friends to lovers books!

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