10 Romance Novels About Fake Romances That Will Give You Serious Lara Jean & Peter Vibes

by Kerri Jarema

If you've seen enough rom-coms on screen, you'll know that the fake relationship trope is one of the most-returned to in the genre. You've seen it in '90s classics like Pretty Woman, While You Were Sleeping, and Drive Me Crazy; you really can't watch a Hallmark Christmas movie marathon without coming across it at least once; and the super-popular 2018 Netflix adaptation of Jenny Han's To All the Boys I've Loved Before employs it with fantastically romantic results. If you're looking for more stories of faux love turned true love, you'll be thrilled to know that there are tons of rom-com novels about fake relationships to satiate your craving.

Below are 10 novels that all employ the fake relationship trope to give us romances that will have you turning the pages right at the edge of your seat, waiting for that moment when the two characters finally, blissfully realize that they are truly, madly, deeply in love. If you just can't get enough of plots like these, I totally feel you, and I'm happy to report that you're about to have a ton more books to add to your end of summer/early fall TBR lists.

'To All The Boys I've Loved Before' by Jenny Han

Obviously. When Lara Jean's five secret love letters accidentally get sent — one of which is addressed to her sister's ex-boyfriend — her love life goes from completely imaginary to seriously complicated. She teams up with another one of her letter-receiving crushes, Peter, for a fake relationship that they both hope will get them what they want: For Lara Jean, an escape from the complications of her old feelings for Josh; and for Peter, another chance with his ex-girlfriend, Genevieve. Of course, things don't go quite as planned.

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'The Kiss Quotient' by Helen Hoang

Stella Lane is a 30-year old math whiz with Asperberger's who has never had a boyfriend. When she decides that it's time to start getting some much-needed romantic experience she reaches out to an expert: escort Michael Phan. But soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And Stella starts to wonder whether love is actually the best kind of logic.

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'The Fill-In Boyfriend' by Kasie West

When Gia Montgomery's boyfriend, Bradley, dumps her in the parking lot of her high school prom, she has to think fast. After all, she'd been telling her friends about him for months now. This was supposed to be the night she proved he existed. So when she sees a cute guy waiting to pick up his sister, she enlists his help. The task is simple: be her fill-in boyfriend.

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'When It's Real' by Erin Watt

Oakley Ford is a teen celebrity and restless troublemaker. The tabloids are having a field day over his outrageous exploits when Oakley's team decides it's time for an intervention. The result: an image overhaul, complete with a fake girlfriend. Enter 17-year-old Vaughn Bennett. With her family strapped for cash, she takes the gig. So what if she thinks Oakley's a self-centered jerk? It's not like they're going to fall for each other in real life. Right?

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'The Real Deal' by Lauren Blakely

April Hamilton is going home alone for her family's summer reunion and she simply can’t handle her family's questions about her love life. So when she finds the GigsforHire ad for a boyfriend-for-hire, she’s ready to pay to play. Theo Banks knows how to slip into any role, including pretending to be April’s new beau. What neither one of them counts on is that amid the egg toss, the arm wrestling, and a fierce game of Lawn Twister, they might be feeling the real deal.

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'Faking It' by Cora Carmack

Mackenzie “Max” Miller has a problem. Her parents have arrived in town for a surprise visit, and they’re expecting to meet a nice, wholesome boyfriend. All her lies are about to come crashing down around her, but then she meets Cade. When Max approaches him in a coffee shop with a crazy request to pretend to be her boyfriend, he agrees to play the part. But the more they fake the relationship, the more real it begins to feel.

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'Strange Bedpersons' by Jennifer Crusie

Tess Newhart knows her ex-boyfriend Nick Jamieson isn't the right guy for her. He's caviar and champagne; she's day-old take-out. He's an uptight Republican lawyer; she was raised in a commune. Yet somehow she finds herself agreeing to play his fiance on a weekend business trip that could make or break Nick's career. And while he's trying to convince Tess that he needs her in his respectable world, Tess is doing her best to keep her opinions to herself and her hands off Nick.

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'Adorkable' by Cookie O'Gorman

Seventeen-year-old Sally Spitz is done with dating. Or at least, she's done with the horrible blind dates her matchmaking bestie sets her up on. Her solution: she needs a fake boyfriend. And fast. Enter Becks, soccer phenom, all-around-hottie, and Sally's best friend practically since birth. When Sally asks Becks to be her fake boyfriend, Becks is only too happy to be used. He'd do anything for Sal. The problem: Sally's been in love with Becks all her life — and he's completely clueless.

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'Act Like It' by Lucy Parker

Richard Troy used to be the hottest actor in London, but the only thing firing up lately is his temper. To get on the right side of the press, Lainie — a sweet but snarky actress who’s willing to put up with a lot if it means garnering funds for her charity — and Richard are cajoled into a publicity-driven fauxmance by their play’s management. But as the pair attend multiple events arm in arm, the fake longing looks turn into a blossoming real romance.

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'For Real' by Alison Cherry

Shy, cautious Claire has always been in her confident older sister's shadow. But when Miranda discovers her boyfriend, Samir, cheating on her, it's Claire who comes up with the perfect plan. They'll outshine Miranda's fame-obsessed ex while having an amazing summer by competing on Around the World, a race around the globe for a million bucks. But the show has a twist, and Claire is stunned to find herself in the middle of a reality-show romance that may or may not be just for the cameras.

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