If You Love This Romcom, Read This Romance Novel
My favorite thing is romcoms. Well, really all romance, but romance movies tend to be romcoms when they have a happy ending, and romantic dramas if they don’t. Of course there are exceptions, but I’m just going to call these movies romcoms, even though a few of them aren’t. Okay? Okay. So here’s the deal: I like reading romance as much as I like watching it, and I suspect some of my favorite romance authors like both, too.
I was inspired to make a list of romance books to go with romcom movies when I saw a blatant reference to a romcom in a romance I was reading. (Could I possibly write the letters r-o-m more in this intro? Well, yes, but I’m going to try to keep it to a minimum.)
Without too much more rambling, I’ve compiled this list of romance novels you’ll almost definitely enjoy if you like these romcom movies. It should also work in reverse — If you like these romance novels, watch these romcoms — but you’ll have to do the math yourself. Go on, I believe in you. Almost all of these titles, books and movies, are from the last five years or so, but I’ve made a few exceptions.
If you love Set It Up (Netflix 2018, directed by Claire Scanlon)
Weather Girl by Rachel Lynn Solomon
This book unmistakably references the movie, and it inspired this entire list! If you love watching two people fall in love while trying to get their bosses together, this is the movie-book combo for you. Plus, the book has Jewish main characters, a fat male love interest, and is set in local television!
If you love Always Be My Maybe (Netflix 2019, directed by Nahnatchka Khan)
The Duke Who Didn’t by Courtney Milan
Okay, I’m recommending a historical romance novel as a comp for a contemporary romcom, but hear me out! They’re both about childhood almost-sweethearts who don’t speak for a decade and then fall madly in love as adults. There are complicated parental relationships and food that’s integral to the plot, and as a huge bonus, both book and movie are about Asian characters (Chinese British in the book, and Vietnamese American and Korean American in the movie). I am sorry to say that the book does lack a comedic Keanu Reeves appearance, but no book can be truly perfect.
If you love The Lost City (Paramount 2022, directed by Aaron Nee and Adam Nee)
The Smoke Hunter by Jacquelyn Benson
Two historical recs in a row! This one might in truth be a better comp for The Mummy, but I love The Lost City in a very similar fashion to the way I love The Mummy, so I think it works.
If you love The Half of It (Netflix 2020, directed by Alice Wu)
We Deserve Monuments by Jas Hammonds
More of a coming-of-age story with some romance than a romcom, The Half of It is one of my favorite quiet YA movies, and this book features a slow-burn romance mixed in among family secrets and a mystery, which contrast with the movie’s slow-burn friendship in the midst of an attempted Cyrano de Bergerac-ing.
Bonus rec: I was torn between this book, which I haven’t read yet but sounds amazing, and Hot Dog Girl by Jennifer Dugan, which I think works as a great comp as well!
If you love What Men Want (Paramount 2019, directed by Adam Shankman)
Nothing But the Truth by Holly James
To be fair, I don’t even know anyone who’s seen this movie, but I immediately thought of it when I read the description of this book!
In the movie, a woman can hear men’s thoughts. In the book, a woman can no longer tell lies. To be perfectly honest, I don’t know which sounds worse (to experience, not to watch/read!).
If you love Last Christmas (Universal 2019, directed by Paul Feig)
The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston
This movie and book pairing address similar situations from the opposite direction. Both star women whose lives are objectively kind of terrible, who meet a swoonworthy man and get through their tough times. Both feature ghosts, kind of. Is that a spoiler? I’m not actually sure!
Bonus rec: in a less spoiler-y way, this is also a great comp to Kiss Her Once For Me by Alison Cochran, which is quite literally a comp for the song “Last Christmas.” And as a double bonus, Kiss Her Once For Me would also work as a comp for Happiest Season.
If you love The Stand In (Netflix 2020, directed by Jamie Babbit)
The Stand-In by Lily Chu
I admit it, this one is a cheat. I’m comping them because they have the same title. But! Both are about celebrity look-alikes! (I think. I haven’t seen this movie yet!)
If you love Marry Me (Universal 2022, directed by Kat Coiro)
Spoiler Alert by Olivia Dade
After a celebrity and a fan have a very public interaction, they end up dating.
Am I describing the JLo movie or the book? Yes! It’s both! And sure, they go about it differently, but they’re both loads of fun.
If you love I Want You Back (Prime 2022, directed by Jason Orley)
The Romantic Agenda by Claire Kann
Both book and movie feature messy and complicated relationships among people brought together by a mutual desire to keep the person they love from dating someone else. That’s probably about where the similarities end, but don’t let that deter you!
If you love Love in the Villa (Netflix 2022, directed by Mark Steven Johnson)
One Hot Italian Summer by Karina Halle
I haven’t seen this movie or read this book, but the descriptions are absolutely indistinguishable! An Italian villa where a woman expects to be alone and pick up the pieces of her life, but it turns out a handsome stranger is also staying there. Romantic shenanigans ensue.
If you love Ticket to Paradise (Universal 2022, directed by Ol Parker)
Before I Let Go by Kennedy Ryan
While Ticket to Paradise is about the divorced parents of an adult getting together to try to stop her wedding, and Before I Let Go is about divorced parents of two children who they are still actively co-parenting, I think the idea of being drawn back to the person you once loved enough to have a child is a compelling and (at least potentially!) romantic one.
If you love Book of Love (Prime 2022, directed by Analeine Cal y Mayor)
By the Book by Jasmine Guillory
While the obvious movie comp for this Meant to Be novel is, of course, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, I think By the Book excels in its depiction of a young woman whose tremendous literary talent improves a book by a man. Which is what Book of Love is about, sort of!
If you love Fire Island (Hulu 2022, directed by Andrew Ahn)
Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall
A free-spirited man meets his match in a buttoned-up lawyer? Yes, please! While the storylines of Boyfriend Material and Fire Island don’t have a lot in common (only one of them follows the basic plot of Pride and Prejudice, and it’s the movie), the dynamic is very similar and they’re both joyful celebrations of queerness as well as incredibly funny.
Bonus rec: the upcoming Best Men by Sidney Karger looks like it will also be a great comp!
If you love You’ve Got Mail (Warner Bros. 1998, directed by Nora Ephron)
The Neighbor Favor by Kristina Forest (February 28)
Falling in love over email? Check! Meeting in real life by chance? Check! He figures out who she is before she realizes who he is? Also check!
Bonus rec: The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy by Megan Bannen is basically a retelling of You’ve Got Mail, but there are zombies and it’s perfect.
And Two More Bonus Recs
I’ve already included books by these authors, and these next books aren’t out yet, but they’re both perfect comps.
If you love Palm Springs (Hulu 2020, directed by Max Barbakow), read The Deja Glitch by Holly James (June 6).
If you love The Lake House (Warner Bros 2006, directed by Alejandro Agresti), read The Seven Year Slip by Ashley Poston (June 27).
Prefer a quiz to tell you which romance to read, based on your romcom preferences? We’ve got one!