Skip to content
Best Friends to Lovers Romance: Book Recommendations

Best Friends to Lovers Romance: Book Recommendations

by Debaduti Dey

Two best friends in a room. They might kiss.

Yes, they will because this is the best friends-to-lovers trope and you can cut the tension with a knife. Will they or won’t they, you wonder even though you know that the book is a romance and the characters are more likely to get their happily-ever-after. (That is, unless the author kills one of them).

Reading enemies-to-lovers is okay, if a little problematic. But it shadows the more realistic portrayal of relationships in the best friends to lovers trope. There is also the joy of getting to know a person before taking the big step. All this and more makes up the best-friends-to-lovers trope, like charming characters, moments of vulnerability, and light-hearted warmth.

Best friends falling in love with each other spells trouble. There is more risk here as nobody wants to ruin a good friendship. Thankfully, the romance genre usually comes with happy endings. It makes for a good, comfort read, as you curl up on the sofa, reading to the sound of the rain outside.

Best Friends to Lovers Recommendations

Here’s a list of 8 best friends to lovers romance recommendations to see you through a romantic monsoon.

1. I Wish You All The Best by Mason Deaver 

This soft romance written by Mason Deaver is exactly what you need to get you through your reading slump.

Ben De Backer is thrown out of their house after they come out as enby to their parents. Ben is forced to live with their sister Hannah and her husband Thomas whom Ben has never met. Still reeling from the impact of their parents’ rejection, they come out selectively to Hannah, Thomas, and their therapist. Adjusting to the new school isn’t easy either but Ben tries to keep a low profile.

This changes when Ben meets Nathan Allan in their senior year. Nathan and Ben soon find their friendship turning to something more, as they navigate their senior year together.

Read this for enby representation, beautiful friendships and a sweet, sweet story of love.

2. From Lukov, With Love by Mariana Zapata 

Jasmine Santos has one dream growing up: to win a gold medal in figure skating. Unfortunately, things do not work out for her and she finds herself falling flat on her feet. Literally. This is where Ivan Lukov comes in - a competitor, and worse, her best friend’s elder brother. While they were growing up, neither of them could tolerate each other. Now, they get paired up for a figure skating competition.

Zapata’s characters do not sound like best friends, especially in the beginning. They’re always butting heads, dueling in a war of wits. She tries to deal with a lot of issues, for instance, the kind of online hate that female athletes get. And yes, this book too will feel like a rivals-in-love romance, until you pay attention to the details that Zapata puts in: she makes sure you understand that Lukov and Jasmine were friends before anything else.

The relationship takes its own sweet time to grow, simmering slowly throughout the book.

3. Swipe Right by Tagan Shepard

A sapphic love story about Kieran and her best friend ‘Pen’ or Penelope.

Kieran Hall has a penchant for dating the wrong people. She married her high school sweetheart but it went downhill when she came out as a pansexual. When she finally decides to give dating another shot, Kieran finds that love won’t find her easily. After all, this isn’t college or high school where you can find someone in a homeroom. She decides to take a leap of faith and enter the world of online dating (hello whacky dating apps).

Unfortunately (or fortunately, as we readers know it), Kieran doesn’t do better with dating apps either and ends up having disastrous dates. It is only a remark from one of the dates that makes her reconsider her relationship with Pen.

Shepard’s book is a breezy read and you should pick it up if you’re in the mood for something light.

4. Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren

"I realize that finding the perfect person isn't going to be easy for me because I'm a lot to take," she says, "but I'm not going to change just so that I'm more datable. At the end of the day, being myself is enough. I'm enough."

Christina Lauren hardly needs an introduction for romance lovers. Here again, Lauren writes about one of her favorite tropes: friends to lovers. Josh and Hazel first met and realised they were too different from each other to be anything more than friends. Cut to ten years later and they are thrown back into each other's lives. Only now they conspire and go on double-blind dates. That does not mean that they are dating. Does it?

Lauren is known for her humour and fun reads, perfect for the monsoon. Her characters are lovable and give you relationship goals. Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating is exactly that and will make you yearn for meetcutes. Pick this up for a fun ride!

5. Poppy Jenkins by Clare Ashton

A vibrant, lush book that you cannot miss. Poppy Jenkins is “the only gay” in the village of Wells. Her life is pretty amazing - she has parents that dote on her, a beautiful village, and a dog. That is until you realize that Poppy hasn’t found anyone.

Enter Rosalyn Thorn. Rosalyn was once Poppy’s best friend in school. Then she left without an explanation, leaving Poppy behind to deal with the loss. Now that Rosalyn’s back, will Poppy finally get a chance at love?

You’re bound to love the main character Poppy, and Ashton’s lively writing style. The Welsh village is described just as perfectly as the characters and will leave you wanting for more.

6. Emma by Jane Austen

Emma and Mr. Knightley are probably the OG when it comes to best friends falling in love. Emma is an unreliable narrator. She is rich, handsome, and has an incurable knack for matchmaking. We must give kudos to Jane Austen for making Emma a lovable character (fun fact: Austen was sure Emma wouldn’t be loved as a heroine, unlike Lizzy Bennet). She shares a very easy bond with Mr. Knightley, as both of them seem to understand each other very well.

“If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more.”

Sharing a blurb of Emma could give you false impressions since most blurbs don’t do the novel justice. Most make Emma a very vain, arrogant heroine. You would love this novel if you are fond of classics, Regency romance and spirited heroines. (Also, if you loved the 90s cult classic Clueless, you’re in luck because Clueless is a modern retelling of Emma).

Also Read: 5 Women from Jane Austen Book's That We Need To Talk About

7. Nick and June Were Here by Shalanda Stanley

Nick and June were best friends for years until they weren’t. June is trying to cope with a new diagnosis of schizophrenia. Nick is an unwilling car thief, trying to support his aunt whenever he can, and focusing on his art skills during his leisure.

But when June’s condition gets her admitted to the hospital and Nick almost lands in prison, they decide to run away together.

If you want a book that tugs at your heart strings, this is it. This book has representation for schizophrenia, though there might be disparities here. The story is bittersweet and will leave your heart aching. Stanley however tries to keep it real and gives you a very real ending.

8. Kulti by Mariana Zapata

There’s a good reason why Mariana Zapata is mentioned twice on this list. Zapata’s characters discover friendship before they discover love. Then again, you might say that friendship is a form of love too. Zapata writes slow-burn romances, and Kulti is one of her most famous novels. It is the story of Kulti, an ex football-pro turned coach, and Sal Casillas, our main character. Sal is a footballer too (a soccer player, to be precise). She used to have a major crush on Reiner Kulti back when she was a teenager. The last thing she expected was having Kulti as her coach.

“Trust me, I’ve wanted to punch you in the face a time or five.”

When you begin the story, you might wonder if Kulti is a best friends-to-lovers book because the main characters start out as rivals. But then their rivalry mellows into something sweet, as Kulti and Sal start hanging out together.

There are many moments where you can feel your heart melt but Zapata keeps you waiting until the end. It’s a classic will-they or won’t-they and you’ll love it if you love a slow burn romance.

Best friends to lovers is not a trope many people appreciate. Not everyone understands the tenderness of a friend to lovers romance. It isn’t instant love (and let’s be honest instant love sounds quite unreal and almost superficial).

Having someone know you, understand you, and then love you: that is soft and we’re here for it.

- Debaduti Dey

To read more articles written by Debaduti Dey - CLICK HERE

You may also enjoy reading -

Whom do Books Belong To? The Writer or the Reader? - CLICK HERE

Remembering Kamala Das: The Mother of Indian English Poetry - CLICK HERE

Previous article What is the Bechdel Test? And 5 Books That (Sur)Passed It!
Next article The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman and What it Means


Favbookshelf - April 7, 2022

Wahoo!! amazing recomandations! These all books are so great. Just keep going with this recommandation. Hope we see more of them. Great! Keep it up!

Taha - April 7, 2022

Hey I wanted to buy some of these books can you link them are they available

Leave a comment

Comments must be approved before appearing

* Required fields