11 Romance Novels That Will Give You Major Dawson & Joey Vibes

by Kerri Jarema

If you think about it, the TV show Dawson's Creek, which ran on The WB (now The CW) from 1998 to 2003, was probably the original millennial TV show. Set in the small fictional town of Capeside, Massachusetts, the show stars James Van Der Beek as Dawson Leery, Katie Holmes as his best friend (and love interest) Joey Potter, Joshua Jackson as their fellow best friend Pacey Witter, and Michelle Williams as Jen Lindley, the new girl from New York City.

Known for its teen characters' usage of "big words" — think of characters who talk like the protagonists of John Green novels — Dawson's Creek frankly and honestly dealt with issues of sex and romance, identity and the future. The show became a benchmark for every teen drama that was to come.

But if you think that the show's ships aren't one of the most lasting contributions Dawson's has made to pop culture, you'd be mistaken. And whatever your personal feelings about the pairings on the show, you have to admit that the first major ship to set sail on the show was Dawson Leery and Joey Potter. The childhood best friends had some serious sexual tension when the show began, and dated on-and-off throughout the next six seasons. If you love the friends-to-lovers trope, complicated relationship dynamics, and some serious drama, these 11 books are for you:

'This Is Kind Of An Epic Love Story' by Kheryn Callender

Nathan Bird doesn't believe in happy endings. But when his childhood best friend Oliver returns to town, Nate finally has the chance to tell Ollie the truth about his feelings. But first, they'll have to overcome a painful mix-up from their past.

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'Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating' by Christina Lauren

Josh and Hazel have known each other since college, and they've always been completely incompatible. But 10 years after college, they reconnect over a series of progressively terrible double blind dates that have them both questioning their true feelings.

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'Emmy & Oliver' by Robin Benway

Oliver has finally returned home, years after being kidnapped by his father. He and Emmy were going to be best friends forever before their futures were ripped apart. Now the two must decide if their connection is still strong enough after the space and time between them.

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'99 Percent Mine' by Sally Thorne

When Darcy and Jamie inherit a cottage from their grandmother, Darcy plans to cut and run. Until she finds a familiar face on her porch: house-flipper extraordinaire Tom Valeska, Jamie's best friend, whom Darcy has been in love with since she was eight... and he’s single for the first time in a decade.

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'The Summer I Turned Pretty' by Jenny Han

Belly has grown up with brothers Jeremiah and Conrad, spending every summer with them at the beach house their families share. But this year, their dynamic is about to get a whole lot more complicated.

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'Love, Rosie' by Cecelia Ahern

Rosie and Alex are destined for one another, and everyone seems to know it — except them. Best friends since childhood, they share a close relationship that gets closer by the day. That is, until they're torn in completely opposite directions. Years later, they have a chance to reunite... if they can let go of the past first.

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'Second Chance Summer' by Morgan Matson

When Taylor Edwards’ family decides to spend one last summer all together at their old lake house in the Pocono Mountains, she is unexpectedly reunited with her first crush... the guy she thought she'd left behind for good.

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'You Had Me At Hello' by Mhairi McFarlane

Rachel and Ben were partners in crime and the best of friends. But life moved on, and it’s been a decade since they last spoke. But when Rachel bumps into Ben one rainy day, she feels all her affection for her friend once again — and all the heartbreak she experienced with him.

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'On the Fence' by Kasie West

For 16-year-old Charlotte Reynolds, aka Charlie, being raised by a single dad and three older brothers has its perks —including her longtime neighbor and honorary fourth brother, Braden. But when Charlie stars seeking late-night refuge in her backyard, talking out her worries with Braden, she knows he can't help her solve her biggest problem: She's falling for him.

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'Sunset in Central Park' by Sarah Morgan

Love has never been a priority for garden designer Frankie Cole. She witnessed her parents' divorce, and she has seen the devastation it caused. The only man she feels comfortable with is her friend Matt — but he's just a friend. Sort of.

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'Starry Eyes' by Jenn Bennet

Ever since last year’s homecoming dance, best friends-turned-best enemies Zorie and Lennon have made an art of avoiding each other. But when a group camping trip goes south, Zorie and Lennon find themselves stranded in the wilderness. Alone. Together. What could go wrong?

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