I love cons. Whether it’s a convention or a conference, I love the chance to discover new things, meet my faves, and (let’s be honest) pick up swag. My poor introvert brain and body have to take days to recover from any giant gathering of that nature, but the time I spend there, whether for work or my own enjoyment (and let’s face it, it’s usually a combination of both in my case), is always memorable.
I miss cons. I’m sure we all do at this point. But I’ve been living vicariously through a few people who are living their best lives at the fake or real cons of their choice, and realized there are a bunch of books that I’ve really liked that take place at cons or have a strong con component. And because I’m me, they’ve all had at least a little bit of love.
(Note: The majority of the adult romances have some amount of explicit sex.)
The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love by Sarvenaz Tash
When the creator of their favorite comic plans to make a big appearance at NYCC, Graham and his BFF Roxy are ready for the chance of a lifetime. And Graham, who plans to confess his love to said BFF, is ready for it. But the con life (and maybe a new friend?) keep getting in the way.
Geekerella (et al) by Ashley Poston
Geekerella and its follow-up The Princess and the Fangirl both have pivotal scenes at cons, though neither is completely set at one like many of the other stories on this list. The former is a contemporary reimagining of Cinderella in which our young protagonists—a young fan with a horrible family and the actor set to play the hero in the reboot of her favorite show—are internet friends as well.
Ship It by Britta Lundin
This is where I currently live on my con journey, and I’m wildly enjoying it.
Claire is a fan. Or more, she’s a Fan. She writes enough fan fiction for her favorite new show that her tumblr and fic handle are familiar to other fans. After she blatantly asks the stars and showrunner about the possibility of her big Ship becoming canon—to which one of the costars calls her crazy—she “wins” an all expenses paid trip on the rest of Demon Heart’s con circuit. Not only does she have to deal with relationships with the show people, but there’s this girl she keep running into…
One True Pairing by Cathy Yardley
When a man runs into the cafe where Hailey works to hide from a screaming flock of women, she isn’t impressed. But it turns out he’s the star of a show that’s sort of like Supernatural and a meet and greet has gone completely wrong. The pair hit it off—even though she doesn’t particularly know or care who he is—and then find themselves in a situation where people think she’s his new girlfriend. When his people tell him to go with it, they try it out.
More Than Comics by Elizabeth Briggs
Tara and Hector are collaborators on a new graphic novel and can’t wait for the chance to promote it at comic con. They also can’t wait to meet—because while they’ve been working together for years and have known each other even longer, they’ve never met in person. And when they do—hoo man, the chemistry. They don’t have long together, but they want to use all the time they’ve got.
That Kind of Guy by Talia Hibbert
Rae and Zach are friends, and they have an amazing chemistry. When Rae gets an invitation to a conference where her ex-husband will be honored, she asks Zach to come along…as her boyfriend. Fake boyfriend, that is. Zach, who has just sworn off casual sex after realizing he was demisexual, is happy to go with her and pretend. But when things heat up, he’s not sure where to go.
Conventionally Yours by Annabeth Albert (June 2)
And this is my next venture into con life! Two rival fans take a road trip to a con where they each have very big goals. I don’t know a whole lot about it, except that there’s gaming involved and there’s enough time in a vehicle that it comes down to murder or smooching, but I will take it!
I’m also excited to pick up Queens of Geek, which I have had an ARC of since 2016. It’s super queer and racially diverse, has anxiety rep, and just sounds outright adorable (And I loved the other book by Jen Wilde that I’ve read, The Brightsiders).
And there are a few that I’ve enjoyed that are sadly out of print, like Lone Wolf by Aleksandr Voinov and LA Witt, and Defying Convention by Cecil Wilde. If you can get your hands on them, they’re definitely worth checking out.
What are your favorite con-set love stories? Tell me on the socials!