I can read only so many thrillers in a row before I assume that every knock at my door is a murderer coming to get me. Enter: the rom-com. I adore reading romantic comedies because they combine my two favorite things: swoony crushes and laugh-out-loud writing. (I even wrote my own rom-com, Playing With Matches, about a young matchmaker whose romantic life is going up in flames.) Here are 9 of my favorites that will restore your faith in love.
Katie is reeling from her broken engagement when she meets Cassidy, who works at an opposing law firm. She never expected to be attracted to a woman — much less an edgy, androgynous, promiscuous one who looks that good in a custom-tailored suit. Her budding feelings force her to reexamine not only her sexuality, but also her buttoned-up approach to life. Set against the twinkling backdrop of New York City with an unforgettable cast of queer supporting characters, this vibrant novel feels like it’s just waiting for a big-screen adaptation.
What if you got your hands on a potion that would give you supermodel looks for a week? That’s the premise of this sizzling story that follows three best friends living in Brooklyn. There’s a little something for everyone in this book: celebrity hookups, relentless ambition, entertainment industry gossip, art world drama, a feminist takedown of women’s magazines, and painfully relatable musings on body image, beauty, and self-love. It’s the perfect read to get you through your quarter-life crisis.
This YA rom-com stars Twinkle, an aspiring filmmaker who directs a movie for her fellow film-loving classmate, Sahil. She happens to have a massive crush on his twin brother, Neil, and when she starts receiving mysterious emails from someone named “N,” she assumes they’re from him. But just when her life seems perfect, she realizes that she’s falling for Sahil. Twinkle tells her story through letters to her favorite female directors, spanning from Ava DuVernay to Sofia Coppola. Between the charming love triangle and the innovative format, this book is tough to put down.
Janey, the CEO of a wedding gown company, is faced with a crisis: She has to lose 30 pounds stat or she’ll lose her job. This hilarious send-up of our health-obsessed society follows Janey from absurdy trendy boutique fitness classes to naked yoga sessions to a juice bar…and on dates with the very cute owner of said juice bar. Stash this in your gym bag to read while you’re on the elliptical — but with prose this sharp, it’s worth skipping the gym to give all your attention to the next chapter.
Girl meets boy. Girl goes home with someone else. But Eve and Ben cross paths again and again, from the cheery chaos of their college years through the first jobs and first loves of their twenties. This debut novel is told from each of their points of view — imagine When Harry Met Sally for millennials. This is the book you turn to when your own love story isn’t working out as seamlessly as you’d once hoped.
Every rom-com starts with an improbably well-timed meet-cute, and this is no exception. Not only does Alexa meet Drew while they’re stuck in an elevator, but she also winds up agreeing to be his date for his ex’s wedding. When they have to return to their respective jobs in separate cities, they embark on a rocky experiment in long-distance dating. This novel delights with its descriptions of the dizzyingly fun feeling of falling for someone new.
This memoir/choose-your-own-adventure novel ticks all the boxes of a classic rom-com: Wide-eyed heroine drinking in life in the big city? Check. A revolving door of eligible(-ish) suitors? Check. Fancy media job? Check. But Schwartz’s story gets deeper and darker than you might expect. Her stories about the worst decisions she made in the hot-mess days of her early twenties are told in unflinching detail with loads of heart and humor. Ultimately, this feels like listening to your most fascinating friend tell stories at happy hour. You can read an excerpt here.
Were you up at 6 a.m. to watch the royal wedding? If you teared up at the sight of an American woman marrying a British prince at a fancy castle, you need to read this now. It’s basically fanfic about Will and Kate that spans from their first meeting to their wedding. Except in this version, the future Duchess of Cambridge is a middle-class American college student who first bumps into the prince of England while wearing nothing but a towel. Also notable? A surprisingly complex history of this fictional royal family and the swooniest portrayal of the younger British prince since his sexy Town & Country cover.
Who hasn’t fantasized about leaving their life behind for an entirely new one? When Georgia discovers a life-changing secret about her fiancé the week before their wedding, she takes refuge at her family’s acclaimed winery in Sonoma, California. But nothing is quite the same as she remembers it… And there’s a new guy in town. This hearty story about rediscovering your roots and opening your mind to future possibilities pairs best with a glass of wine.
Hannah Orenstein is the dating editor at Elite Daily, the author of Playing With Matches, and a former matchmaker. Previously, she was a writer and editor at Seventeen.com. Her work has also appeared in the Washington Post, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Refinery29, Bustle, and more. She lives in Manhattan with her fat cat named Eloise and 37 tubes of red lipstick.
Playing With Matches is available now.