Love is in the air -- and on the bookshelf! From heart-achingly beautiful love stories like The Fault in Our Stars to fun and surprising books like The Kiss Quotient, here are 16 of our favorite romance novels. Some will make you reach for tissues... others will make you smile as if you’re watching your best friends fall in love before your eyes. Happy reading, Page Petal friends!
Note: all the books are linked to Bookshop, an online bookstore with a mission to financially support local, independent bookstores.
1. Beach Read
On the surface, this novel is about two neighbors falling in love with a backdrop of a beautiful lake. While that may sound like a book you've read before -- Emily Henry's relatable and beautiful writing combined with a unique "competition" make Beach Read a standout romance novel. We also highly recommend Emily Henry's other novel The People We Meet On Vacation, which was one of Gloria White's (Page Petal Founder) favorite reads of 2021.
Favorite quote: “And that was the moment I realized: when the world felt dark and scary, love could whisk you off to go dancing; laughter could take some of the pain away; beauty could punch holes in your fear. I decided then that my life would be full of all three.”
2. A Pho Love Story
A Pho Love Story by Loan Le is a sweet story about two high schoolers who connect when they get paired up for a school project. The problem is: their families are in a major feud, owning competing pho restaurants in the same neighborhood. PS, this book WILL make you hungry!
Favorite quote: "But in anything you love, isn’t there always some bit of sadness, some essence of suffering? That, to me, is what makes art worth it. Suffer through it—mine the emotions you keep inside yourself, face whatever’s emotionally burdensome, take control of it—then emerge reborn in the end."
3. Love in Lowercase
For fans of The Rosie Project, Love in Lowercase by Francesc Miralles is a quirky romance novel complete with bookshops, meet cutes, and a lovable cat. In addition to a charming love story, there are also lessons about loneliness, empathy, and the power of observations.
Favorite quote: "Thousands of candles can be lit by just one candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened because of it. Happiness is never diminished by being shared."
4. The Fault In Our Stars
John Green’s The Fault In Our Stars is one of those books you’ll remember where you were when you finished reading it. It’s a stunning depiction of two courageous and witty characters falling in love, despite the heart-wrenching circumstances that brought them together. But really, have a box (or two) of tissues handy… don’t say we didn’t warn you! PS, check out our Hazel Lancaster Floral-Pressed Bookmark inspired by John Green's story to complete your reading experience.
Favorite quote: “As he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.”
5. The Wedding Date
A romance that starts in a stalled elevator? Swoon-worthy! In The Wedding Date, Jasmine Guillory captures how a relationship between two strangers can quickly develop into something more -- especially when you pretend to be a real couple to get through an ex’s wedding. The story is fun and engaging, and also offers insight into the experience of being in an interracial relationship.
Favorite quote: “Does cookie dough ice cream go better with red or white wine?”
6. When Katie Met Cassidy
When Katie Met Cassidy starts with an immediate spark between Katie and Cassidy that quickly turns into a vibrant love story. It's layered with humor and gender and sexual identity insight -- plus, there's a dive bar that feels like a character in itself. I found it to be a fun, fast-paced, and fiercely relatable story about having the courage to life for oneself rather than living up to other people's expectations.
Favorite quote: “The time for pretending to be someone she wasn’t – someone supposedly better and more refined – was over.”
7. Pride and Prejudice
This list wouldn’t be complete without Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Love at first sight, infatuation, sisterhood, friendship and marriage, Pride and Prejudice covers it all. Though this book was first published in 1813, so many of the life lessons remain relevant today like it’s ok to change your mind and there’s power in truly being yourself without conforming to expectations. And while you're here, take a peek at our Pride and Prejudice Bookmarks Collection!
Favorite quote: “I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! -- When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.”
8. Me Before You
Another book that should come with a pack of Kleenex, Me Before You by Jojo Moyes is a must-read. It’s centered around a romance that develops between a man and his caregiver, and evolves into a truly transformational journey for both of them. After you finish the book, be sure to watch the movie starring Emilia Clarke and Sam Clafin that will also move you to tears and make you want to book a trip to England ASAP.
Favorite quote: “All I can say is that you make me... you make me into someone I couldn't even imagine. You make me happy, even when you're awful. I would rather be with you - even the you that you seem to think is diminished - than with anyone else in the world.”
9. Eleanor & Park
Rainbow Rowell beautifully depicts falling in love for the first time in Eleanor & Park. Sweet, relatable, and full of quirky and teenage angst moments, this story unfolds slowly yet deeply. While it centers on teenage characters, the tenderness will take you right back to high school even if it’s been a few years (or decades!) since your teen days.
Favorite quote: “She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn’t supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.”
10. The Boyfriend Project
For a book of modern romance that's full of apps, catfishing, and tweets, look no further than The Boyfriend Project. Written by Farrah Rochon, this story is relatable, fun to read, and shows that beautiful things happen when you start putting yourself first.
Favorite quote: “Having people who believed in me enough to offer their support gave me a leg up. I want to do that for others. I think this world would be a better place if more people reached out to help others."
11. Jane Eyre
Somehow no matter how many times we read Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, the connection between Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester hits us differently every time. But one thing remains steady: our admiration of Jane, a strong, independent female protagonist who knows her self-worth. (We love her so much, she inspired this Jane Eyre Bookmark!)
After you finish reading it, we highly recommend picking up Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys, which depicts Jane Eyre’s story from the perspective of the “madwoman in the attic.”
Favorite quote: “A beauty neither of fine colour nor long eyelash, nor penciled brow, but of meaning, of movement, of radiance.”
12. The Kiss Quotient
The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang centers on an ambitious and witty female protagonist with Asperger’s who falls in love in an unexpected way. It’s an original story with unapologetic characters that’ll make you embrace yourself a little more for all that you are.
Favorite quote: “All the things that make you different make you perfect.”
13. Call Me By Your Name
This book by André Aciman is intense, (extremely) sexy, and an unflinching portrait of all-consuming love. Set in the romantic Italian Riviera, Call Me By Your Name captures moments of loss, lust, jealousy, fear, and all the many conflicting emotions between two characters who share a deeply intimate connection.
Favorite quote: “We had the stars, you and I. And this is given once only.”
14. The Time Traveler’s Wife
One of the most imaginative love stories, The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger takes you on a whirlwind journey between an artist and a librarian living with a genetic disorder that causes him to time travel involuntarily. Cool, right? While taking readers on a sci-fi experience, the story also grapples with miscarriages, frustration in relationships, and what it really means to wait for love.
Favorite quote: “Everything seems simple until you think about it. Why is love intensified by absence?”
15. 32 Candles
If you’re looking for a fun and smart novel that will make you cancel all your plans because it’s THAT hard to put down, 32 Candles by Ernessa T. Carter is for you. The story is surprising and sassy with a lot of Sixteen Candles references (definite added bonus), and you’ll be rooting for the female protagonist who dreams of finding love -- from page one to the end.
Favorite quote: “That's the thing people never warn you about with breakups. It's the good times that really get you. In fact, they hurt worse than the bad times.”
16. The Hating Game
Let’s just say reading The Hating Game by Sally Thorne is like taking a bubble bath with a glass of champagne. It’s a fun and sassy story between two co-workers who have just the right amount of rivalry to make their romance that much more satisfying.
Favorite quote: “Watching you pretend to hate the nickname is the best part of my day.”
17. Anything by Nicholas Sparks
If you see Nicholas Sparks on the cover, chances are, you're in store for an epic romance. The Notebook is a crowd favorite for good reason, but we also love his other popular books, The Last Song, Dear John, and Safe Haven. And once you finish the books, don't miss the opportunity to unleash your inner critic and compare them to the movie versions. Always a good time!
18. Romeo & Juliet
Ok, we know Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet is a play (not a novel) but we couldn’t help but add it to the list. With forbidden love, sacrifice, and suspense, William Shakespeare packs so much into this play that we didn’t appreciate fully when we read it in high school!
Is there a book outside this list of love stories that has resonated with you? Let us know below in the comments!