It’s hard not to enjoy the easy and fun reading experience that a good romance book gives you. As long as there are tropes like enemies-to-lovers or grumpy-sunshine, there’s a love story out there that will make even the most cynical person happy.
In 2021, readers were still wowed by amazing romance novels with unique plotlines, real people, and sweet (or steamy) love. To come up with this list, we looked at the books that Goodreads reviewers liked the most. People use Goodreads to rate, review, and share their favorite books. Over 125 million people use Goodreads. This list of the best romance novels from 2021 is based on reviews on Goodreads. It includes books about complicated summer flings and fake dating schemes that end up being real love.
The best romance novels from 2021:
“People We Meet on Vacation” by Emily Henry
For more than 10 years, Alex and Poppy were best friends. They met on a college road trip more than 10 years ago. In the past, they used to celebrate their friendship by going on a trip together every summer. But two years ago, everything changed between them, and they haven’t talked since. To make things right again, Alex and Poppy will go on one last trip together.
“One Last Stop” by Casey McQuiston
August is a cynical young woman who has just moved to New York City. She meets a beautiful girl named Jane on the Q train. Whenever August sees Jane on the same train at all hours of the day, she realizes that Jane is stuck there because of some kind of magic, and needs help getting back home.
“The Ex Hex” by Erin Sterling
Vivia Jones is a young witch who cast a spell on her ex-boyfriend nine years ago. She thought it was a harmless thing, but it turned out to be very bad. Now that Rhys has come back to their Georgia town, he has brought with him a string of cursed misfortune. The two must work together to save their town and break the curse before something bad happens.
“How to Fail at Flirting” by Denise Williams
Naya Turner’s friends convince her to have a one-night stand with a man who isn’t her usual type of person to help her deal with bad work news. This romance book is real and heartfelt. When Naya meets a handsome stranger named Jake, they start to connect right away. Jake’s complicated job ties and Naya’s past relationship make it hard for them to fall in love with a new person.
“The Soulmate Equation” by Christina Lauren
Jess Davis is a single mother who has had a difficult life full of short-lived romantic and family relationships. When she heard about a DNA-based matchmaking company, she thought she had given up. Jess is willing to give it a try, so she is paired with the company’s founder and agrees to date the stubborn and stuck-up Dr. Pena when the company pays her.
“Neon Gods” by Katee Robert
When Persephone’s mother forces her to marry Zeus, she runs away to the underworld. He sees Persephone as a way to get back at him, even though she thought he was a myth. As he gets more and more attracted to her beauty, he can’t help but want to marry her.
“It Happened One Summer” by Tessa Bailey.
She goes to jail because of her bad behavior. Her stepfather sends Piper to Washington to run their late father’s dive bar with her sister, so they can run their father’s business. Piper wants to show her father that she can be responsible, so she starts to get in touch with her past and meet a fisherman who has a lot of interesting stories to tell.
“Act Your Age, Eve Brown” by Talia Hibbert
Finally, “Act Your Age, Eve Brown” is the last book in the Brown sisters series. Each book in the series is a steamy and wonderful romance that readers love because of the unique and realistic characters in them. Eve Brown and Jacob Wayne are two very different types of people in this story. When Eve interviews for a job at Jacob Wayne’s B&B, she accidentally hits him with her car. Jacob and Eve start out as enemies at the B&B, but the air between them changes and they become friends after a little while.
“Life’s Too Short” by Abby Jimenez
The death of Vanessa Prince’s mother before she was 30 has made her want to live life to the fullest by going around the world. When Vanessa’s half-sister leaves her in charge of her infant niece, Vanessa is lost and a little panicked. Her next-door neighbor comes over and shows her that there is still a lot of hope for her in the world.
“The Dating Plan” by Sara Desai
Daisy Patel is a smart, successful software engineer whose family keeps trying to set her up in a marriage. She asks her childhood crush, Liam Murphy, to be her fake fiance. With an inheritance that comes with getting married, Liam agrees. The two begin to fake date to make their fake engagement look real, but real feelings and past hurts start to emerge, threatening to ruin everything.
“The Ex Talk” by Rachel Lynn Solomon
Shay Goldstein has worked for public radio for more than 10 years. In fact, when Dominic Yun, who is cocky and recently graduated with a master’s degree, is hired, the two right away don’t like each other. It turns out that Shay came up with the idea for a show called “The Ex Talk,” where two exes would give live advice to each other. Their boss thinks Shay and Dominic are perfect to host because they think their natural hatred for each other will hide the fact that they’ve never dated.
“Seven Days in June” by Tia Williams
Eva and Shane, who are now both writers, spent a week together 20 years ago and fell in love. They never saw each other again. It’s great when they meet up again at a literary event. They talk about their shared memories, past pain, and a connection that is still there.
“The Charm Offensive” by Alison Cochrun
Dev Deshpande is the host of a “Bachelor”-style reality TV show called “Ever After,” and he spends a lot of time making love stories for the contestants even though he doesn’t have a boyfriend. When the disgraced Charlie Winshaw is cast as the new star, he finds it hard to connect with any of the female contestants, but he can’t deny the chemistry he has with Dev in this beloved Queer rom-com that also talks about important issues like mental health.
“The Spanish Love Deception” by Elena Armas
Catalina Martn needs to find a boyfriend to bring to her sister’s wedding in Spain, but she doesn’t want to go with Aaron Blackford, her colleague who is a pain in the butt but is still beautiful. Readers love this book because it has a perfect pace, great characters, and swoon-worthy chemistry between Catalina and Aaron.
“The Love Hypothesis” by Ali Hazelwood
In September, this book was just released. It quickly became popular with Goodreads reviewers, with 89 percent of them giving it four or five stars. When Olive Smith, a third-year Ph.D. candidate, tries to show her best friend that she’s in a relationship by kissing the first man she comes across, she meets a young professor named Adam Carlsen. This nerdy and adorable romance book is about two people who fake date each other. When Olive’s career is in danger, the two become closer.
“While We Were Dating” by Jasmine Guillory
The flirting between Ben Stephens and Anna Gardiner turns into something more when Ben helps Anna in a family emergency and the two become close. When Ben and Anna get to date for the cameras, it makes their real-life feelings for each other more complicated. This is a rom-com full of charm.
“Shipped” by Angie Hockman
Cruise line marketing manager Henley Evans and her arch-nemesis, Graeme Crawford-Collins, are both up for a promotion. The two must write a proposal that will help their company’s bookings in the Galapagos. Because they had to go on a cruise together, the thick hatred between the two starts to fade as they see the beautiful islands in this romantic comedy about two people who become lovers.
“The Heart Principle” by Helen Hoang
An open relationship is what her boyfriend wants so that he can decide if he wants to be in a long-term relationship with her. Anna is hurt and wants to have a lot of meaningless one-night stands. When she meets Quan Diep, she tries to have a one-night stand with him, but it doesn’t work out. Instead, she finds something else in this raw and real romance.