11 Romantic Books To Read If 'You've Got Mail' Is Your All-Time Favorite Rom-Com
I'm no stranger to a good old-fashioned romantic comedy film, and I'm particularly partial to '90s rom-coms. And the best one of all, in my humble opinion? Nora Ephron's You've Got Mail. Perhaps as a bookish gal, it was always predetermined that Kathleen Kelly and Joe Fox would become my faves. After all, the film is all about indie bookstore owner Kathleen's fight to keep her store open after the "big bad" Fox Books owned by Joe, opens just a couple blocks away. If you've seen the film you know all about the internet friendship, mistaken identity, and romantic drama that ensues from here.
But what truly sets You've Got Mail apart in my mind is that it's just as much a love letter to books, and those who read them, as it is about one couple getting together. Of course, it's also as fun and witty as anything ever written by the late, great Nora Ephron. So, what should you be reading this summer if you love You've Got Mail? I've got a list for that. Below are 11 books that would make the perfect companions to the beloved rom-com — and no, not all of them are books set in bookstores.
'The Coincidence of Coconut Cake' by Amy E. Reichert
The Coincidence of Coconut Cake is the You've Got Mail of the food world. When Lou's breaks up with her fiancé, it results in a disastrous night in the kitchen at her restaurant, Luella's — the same night that food critic Al is there. His scathing review sends both of them to the bar (Lou to drown her sorrows, Al to celebrate) where they meet. It’s only a matter of time before the two fall in love… but when the truth comes out, can Lou overlook the past?
'The Hating Game' by Sally Thorne
If your favorite aspect of You've Got Mail is the career-rivals-to-lovers plot, you're going to be obsessed with The Hating Game. Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman hate each other. Now up for the same promotion, their battle of wills has come to a head. But the tension between Lucy and Joshua has also reached its boiling point, and Lucy is discovering that maybe she doesn’t hate him. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game.
'Tell Me Three Things' by Julie Buxbaum
You know you love a good anonymous online connection turned IRL relationship, so you need Tell Me Three Things. Jessie has just moved to L.A. for her junior year of high school... and she hates it. But she gets an email from a person calling themselves Somebody/Nobody, offering to help her navigate the wilds of Wood Valley High School. In a leap of faith, Jessie begins to rely on SN and soon she can’t help wanting to meet SN in person. But are some mysteries better left unsolved?
'The Bookshop On The Corner' by Jenny Colgan
A book-lover whose career, and life, changes in an instant? Yeah, You've Got Mail and Bookshop on the Corner definitely have a few things in common. Until yesterday, Nina Redmond was a librarian in the hectic city. But now the job she loved is no more. Determined to make a new life, Nina moves to a sleepy village where she buys a van and transforms it into a bookmobile. Soon, Nina discovers she just might be able to write her own happy ending
'Alex, Approximately' by Jenn Bennett
Another case of online love, Alex, Approximately follows Bailey Rydell, who has spent months crushing on a guy she only knows online as Alex. Bailey doesn’t tell Alex when she’s moved in with her dad, who just so happens to live in Alex's hometown. Or that's she has feelings for her co-worker at the museum, Porter. Bailey must choose whether to cling to an online fantasy in Alex or take a risk with Porter. But what she doesn't know is that Porter is hiding a secret of his own: he is Alex.
'Attachments' by Rainbow Rowell
Hidden internet identities and witty dialogue abound in You've Got Mail and Attachments. Beth and Jennifer know that somebody is monitoring their work e-mail. But they can't bring themselves to take it seriously. They send each other endless e-mails, discussing their personal lives. But when "internet security officer" Lincoln comes across Beth's and Jennifer's messages, he can't help being entertained by their stories. By the time Lincoln realizes he's falling for Beth, it's way too late to introduce himself...right?
'Eligible' by Curtis Sittenfeld
Pride & Prejudice is a running theme throughout You've Got Mail, not only because Kathleen and Joe discuss the book, but because there are a few ways you can relate the courtships in the two tales. Another modern take on the classic is Curtis Sittenfeld's Eligible, which follows Liz, a magazine writer who, like her yoga instructor older sister, Jane, lives in New York City. When their father has a health scare, they return home. Enter Chip Bingley, a handsome new-in-town doctor...and Chip's friend, neurosurgeon Fitzwilliam Darcy.
'P.S. I Like You' by Kasie West
More hidden identities, you say? P.S. I Like You has what you want. In chemistry class, Lily scribbles some song lyrics onto her desk. The next day, she finds that someone has left her a message. Soon, Lily and her anonymous pen pal are exchanging full-on letters — sharing secrets and opening up to each other. As Lily attempts to unravel the mystery of who the letter writer is, she realizes she may be falling for them.
'By The Book' by Julie Sonneborn
If unexpected appearances by rivals sets your heart aflutter, you'll adore By the Book, which also features a delightfully bookish heroine. Anne Corey is an English professor struggling for tenure when she discovers that her ex-fiancé has just become the president of her college — and her new boss. As the school year advances and her long-buried feelings begin to resurface, Anne begins to wonder whether she just might get a second chance at love.
'Heartburn' by Nora Ephron
If you want more of Nora Ephron's rom-coms in book form, her novel Heartburn is what you need. Loosely based on Ephron's own divorce from husband Carl Bernstein, Heartburn follows Rachel Samstat after she discovers that her husband, Mark, is in love with another woman — seven months into her pregnancy, Food is a consolation, though. And in between trying to win Mark back and wishing him dead, Rachel loses herself in her favorite recipes.
'I'll Have What She's Having: How Nora Ephron's Three Iconic Films Saved The Romantic Comedy' by Erin Carlson
If you want to get more into the behind-the-scenes of You've Got Mail, Erin Carlson wrote the book for you. I'll Have What She's Having takes a look at the making of Nora Ephron's revered trilogy — When Harry Met Sally, You've Got Mail, and Sleepless in Seattle — which brought romantic comedies back to the forefront. It's also an intimate portrait of the beloved writer/director who inspired a generation of women.