We all have our favorite romantic comedies. Those films that gives us the feels and makes our stomachs ache with laughter. These are the movies we snuggle up on the couch with on a Friday night, or invite our best friends over to relive with us. And the 90s rom-com is a genre all its own, marrying sometimes (okay, a lot of time) cringe-worthy nostalgia with the fictional relationships that have stood the test of time as some of our pop culture favorites. But when you've watched every single one of these films 50 times each, is there anywhere else to turn for the same time-tested emotional pay off? Well, books, of course.
There are tons of modern reads that employ some of the same plot points and character motivations of our favorite old school romantic films... and you won't have to sit through those lame choreographed prom sequences. There are reads about the unlucky in love, reads about first time love, secret identities, enemies to love interests, and so much more. So the next time you plan to pop in that worn DVD of 10 Things I Hate About You, pick up its book equivalent instead. You'll only add even more *squee* worthy couples to your list of all-time favorites. And you can always take in a 51st viewing of Heath Ledger singing "Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You" when you're done, no judgment here.
1. Love 'You've Got Mail'? Read 'The Coincidence Of Coconut Cake' by Amy E. Reichert
What It's About: Lou works tirelessly to build her beloved yet struggling French restaurant, Luella’s, into a success. Al is keeping himself employed and entertained by writing scathing reviews of local restaurants in the Milwaukee newspaper under a pseudonym. When an anonymous tip sends him to Luella’s, little does he know he’s arrived on the worst day of the chef’s life. The review practically writes itself: underdone fish, scorched sauce, distracted service—he unleashes his worst. The day that Al’s review of Luella’s runs, the two cross paths in a pub: Lou drowning her sorrows, and Al celebrating his latest publication. As they chat, Al playfully challenges Lou to show him the best of Milwaukee and she’s game—but only if they never discuss work. As they explore the city’s local delicacies and their mutual attraction, Lou’s restaurant faces closure, while Al’s column gains popularity. It’s only a matter of time before the two fall in love… but when the truth comes out, can Lou overlook the past to chase her future?
Why You'll Like It: Falling in love amidst major career drama, hidden identities, and one vibrant city, makes for a sweet and messy love story to rival Shopgirl and NY152.
2. Love 'Notting Hill'? Read 'This Is What Happy Looks Like' by Jennifer E. Smith
What It's About: When teenage movie star Graham Larkin accidentally sends small town girl Ellie O'Neill an email about his pet pig, the two 17-year-olds strike up a witty and unforgettable correspondence, discussing everything under the sun, except for their names or backgrounds. Then Graham finds out that Ellie's Maine hometown is the perfect location for his latest film, and he decides to take their relationship from online to in-person. But can a star as famous as Graham really start a relationship with an ordinary girl like Ellie? And why does Ellie want to avoid the media's spotlight at all costs?
Why You'll Like It: The small town setting matches the cozy feel of a tiny London book shop, and this explores many of the same questions; can love between a celebrity and "regular" person ever really work?
3. Love 'Never Been Kissed'? Read 'I Believe In A Thing Called Love' by Maurene Goo (May 30, 2017)
What It's About: Desi Lee is a gifted student on her way to Stanford. But she's a complete disaster when it comes to romance. So when a super hot new guy arrives at school, Desi decides to tackle her flirting failures with the same zest she’s applied to everything else in her life. She finds her answer in the Korean dramas her father has been obsessively watching for years — where the hapless heroine always seems to end up in the arms of her true love by episode 10. Armed with her “K Drama Rules for True Love,” Desi goes after the moody, elusive artist Luca Drakos — and boat rescues, love triangles, and fake car crashes ensue. But when the fun and games turn to true feels, Desi finds out that real love is about way more than just drama.
Why You'll Like It: Smart, nerdy girl who has never had a boyfriend cooks up a wacky secret scheme to find love... learning the truth about relationships and herself in the process.
4. Love 'Drive Me Crazy'? Read 'The Fill-In Boyfriend' by Kasie West
What It's About: 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—two hours, zero commitment, a few white lies. After that, she can win back the real Bradley. The problem is that days after prom, it's not the real Bradley she's thinking about, but the stand-in. The one whose name she doesn't even know. But tracking him down doesn't mean they're done faking a relationship. Gia owes him a favor: his ex-girlfriend's graduation party—three hours, zero commitment, a few white lies. Just when Gia begins to wonder if she could turn her fake boyfriend into a real one, Bradley comes waltzing back into her life, exposing her lie, and threatening to destroy her friendships and her new-found relationship.
Why You'll Like It: A fake relationship is desperate to turn into something more, but the deception (and the ex-boyfriend) stands in the way.
5. Love '10 Things I Hate About You'? Read 'When Dimple Met Rishi' by Sandhya Menon (May 30, 2017)
What It's About: Dimple Shah is focused on college and her career, not finding what her mother would call "The Ideal Indian Husband." Rishi Patel is all about tradition and living up to his parents' expectations for him... which includes marrying someone they approve of and having a family. When their parents set them up for an arranged relationship, Rishi is totally on board, but Dimple has no idea until Rishi arrives at Insomnia Con, a summer program Dimple is attending for aspiring web developers. Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.
Why You'll Like It: A headstrong girl focusing on school and her career is thrown together with a guy who has the ulterior motive of making said girl fall in love with him. They soon realize they have more in common than they think, but can they be together despite the girl's motivations and everyone else's expectations about who they are and what they should want?
6. Love 'Buffy The Vampire Slayer'? Read 'Rebel Belle' by Rachel Hawkins
What It's About: Harper Price, peerless Southern belle, was born ready for a Homecoming tiara. But after a strange run-in at the dance imbues her with incredible abilities, Harper's destiny takes a turn for the seriously weird. She becomes a Paladin, one of an ancient line of guardians with agility, super strength and lethal fighting instincts. Just when life can't get any more disastrously crazy, Harper finds out who she's charged to protect: David Stark, school reporter, subject of a mysterious prophecy and possibly Harper's least favorite person. But things get complicated when Harper starts falling for him—and discovers that David's own fate could very well be to destroy Earth.
Why You'll Like It: Teenage girl is unexpectedly thrust into her Chosen One narrative, changing her life forever. She gains some killer moves, and has to protect the entire world, including the boy she always thought she would rather have nothing to do with.
7. Love 'Bridget Jones's Diary'? Read 'Sofia Khan Is Not Obliged' by Ayisha Malik
What It's About: Unlucky in love once again after her marriage-partner-to-be proves to be a little too close to his parents, Sofia Khan is ready to renounce men for good. Or at least she was, until her boss persuades her to write a tell-all expose about the Muslim dating scene. As her woes become her work, Sofia must lean on the support of her brilliant friends, baffled colleagues and baffling parents as she goes in search of stories for her book. Among the marriage-crazy relatives, racist tube passengers, and decidedly odd online daters, could she maybe, possibly find love?
Why You'll Like It: The tragic, hilarious, ultimately hopeful dating experiences of one relatable unlucky in love woman. Need we say more?
8. Love 'Clueless'? Read 'Confessions Of A Shopaholic' by Sophie Kinsella
What It's About: Becky Bloomwood has a fabulous flat in London’s trendiest neighborhood, a troupe of glamorous socialite friends, and a closet brimming with the season’s must-haves. The only trouble? She can’t actually afford it. Not any of it. Her job writing at Successful Saving magazine not only bores her to tears, it doesn’t pay much at all. She tries cutting back. But none of her efforts succeeds. Her only consolation is to buy herself something... just a little something. Finally a story arises that Becky actually cares about, and her front-page article catalyzes a chain of events that will transform her life forever.
Why You'll Like It: Girl who loves to shop decides to work on improving other peoples lives, but everything starts to backfire. Eventually, she learns her lesson, and strikes up a romance with an older, more serious guy.
9. Love 'She's All That'? Read 'The Duff' by Kody Keplinger
What It's About: Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn’t think she’s the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her “the Duff,” she throws her Coke in his face. But things aren’t so great at home right now, and Bianca is desperate for a distraction. She ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him. Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out Wesley isn’t such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she’s falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.
Why You'll Like It: Nerdy "ugly" girl unexpectedly connects with the most popular guy in school, and both of them learn that beauty is only skin deep, no one is flawless, and romance can come from unexpected places.