Regardless of what genre you prefer reading, you’re bound to come across at least one of the most common tropes, like found family and enemies to lovers. Usually, one trope is accompanied by another, like forced proximity also includes characters forced to share a bed. So, whether you’re looking for more of your favorite trope or you want to find a new one, here are sixteen books that will pique your interest.
Back to Small Hometown: ‘The Road Home’ by Erin Zak
I will watch and rewatch Hallmark movies with the same overarching plot of a girl who returns to small hometown and falls in love. Just the same, I love reading about small towns. Erin Zak brought the Hallmark feelings while changing up the ever-so-present love story a bit.
Gwendolyn Carter has returned home for her father’s birthday, but she stays a bit longer than she planned. When she discovers her mother is dying, she tries to fix the bond that’s been broken for years. As Gwen works with the woman who’s taken her place in her mother’s life, they find themselves drawn to each other.
Secret Billionaire or Royalty: ‘The False Princess’ by Ellis O’Neal
If you love the normal person dating a prince or billionaire unknowingly trope, you probably also love stories about the dark secrets of the elite, too. So, instead of going with a romance where an everyday person falls for a member of the royal family, I went a slightly different route.
Nalia has lived the life of a princess so many young girls dream of. But then she’s sent to live a life as a commoner after being told she was just a stand-in for the real princess. Soon, she discovers she has magic and returns to the kingdom, bent on finding the truth of who she is.
Soulmates: ‘Under the Never Sky’ by Veronica Rossi
All Aria’s ever known is life in Reverie under a dome that keeps her safe from the wasteland. Everything in Reverie is perfect – until her mother disappears with no trace. Aria goes searching for the woman and comes across Perry, her only chance at staying alive in the wasteland.
Under the Never Sky brings in the “soulmate” trope without feeling too much. So many stories nowadays include the trope, like all of Sarah J. Maas’s books, but Under the Never Sky does it a bit more believably. And, if you were a fan of The Hunger Games or Divergent, this is right up your alley.
Amnesia or Mistaken Identity: ‘Six Months Later’ by Natalie D. Richards
I don’t see “amnesia” or “mistaken identity” much in media these days, but I wish there were more. There’s so much untapped potential in both. Thankfully, Natalie D. Richards took this trope and made an amazing story that I can’t stop thinking about.
Chloe wakes up covered in snow without any memory of the last six months. The last thing she remembers is study hall in May. Now, she’s on track to an Ivy League education, is in a relationship with the popular jock in school, and her best friend hates her.
Forced Proximity: ‘The Ex Talk’ by Rachel Lynn Solomon
A few years back, I fell in love with radio and PR-centric romances – I have no idea why. But since then, I found The Ex Talk, and I immediately fell in love. It flipped the “enemies to lovers” trope upside down and added in “forced proximity.”
Shay and Dominic can’t stand each other but spend hours a day in the same cramped room for their new radio show. Though they never dated, the duo put on the front that they are exes for the public. And while most think they hate each other, Shay’s feelings might be changing after all this time.
Only One Bed: ‘The Flat Share’ by Beth O’Leary
Since Beth O’Leary’s debut, I haven’t been able to get enough of her writing. And The Flat Share is probably one of my favorites from her – possibly in the top five of contemporary romance, too. I haven’t seen anyone do this type of “one-bed” trope, so it’s a breath of fresh air.
Tiffy and Leon may share a bed, but they’ve never been in the same room together. Tiffy sleeps at night and works during the day; Leon sleeps during the day and works at night. While this seems like the perfect solution for both, it comes with a lot of problems when they can’t talk face-to-face.
Runaway Bride or Groom: ‘The Runaway Bride’ by Mary Jayne Baker
Yes, the title might be a little on the nose, but what contemporary romance isn’t? The Runaway Bride gives both the bride and her new love interest a fresh start while still overcoming everything that stands between them.
After cheating on her fiance, Kitty runs from the wedding full of grief. She doesn’t have any money or any way of getting help, so she starts hitchhiking. Widow Jack Duffy picks her up and gives her a place to stay until she’s ready to leave. But with both working on their grief, they start bonding as was inevitable.
Forbidden Love: ‘Lizzie’ by Dawn Ius
I have always been a fan of true crime and murder mysteries, so when I saw Lizzie was a novel inspired by the Lizzie Borden murders, I had to grab it. And I am glad I did. Dawn Ius brought an unsolved mystery and gave it a fresh (fictional) take.
Lizzie is a shy teenager working at her family’s bed and breakfast that dreams of her own freedom. But when Bridget comes to work as the Bordens’ maid, Lizzie can’t help falling for her. As they grow closer, Lizzie’s parents try to keep them apart. Lizzie isn’t happy, and her blackouts are getting worse and worse.
Immortal Falls for Mortal: ‘The Coldest Touch’ by Isabel Sterling
I could have easily gone with Twilight or The Vampire Diaries for this trope, but those are overused and overhyped sometimes. So, why not go for a newer release that has more to it than just the romance between a vampire and a human?
Elise is a Death Oracle – someone who can see how others will die. Claire is a vampire sent to help Elise with her powers. When Elise is set on saving her teacher from an untimely death, she seeks out Claire’s help in finding the killer before it’s too late. And maybe, they’ll get to be together despite one already being undead.
Love Triangle: ‘The Love Interest’ by Cale Dietrich
Caden and Dylan have been trained to be “love interests,” people who get close to targets for power and secrets. Caden is the “boy next door,” while Dylan is the “bad boy.” Both are competing for one girl’s affection; one wins, and one loses…his life. But what happens when their feelings aren’t for the girl they’re fighting for?
Who knew I’d enjoy a love triangle this much? I had trouble rooting for anyone in this because I couldn’t choose a front runner. While Caden and Dylan were great love interests in their own way, I couldn’t help but love their target just as much.
Best Friend’s Brother or Sister: ‘The Girl with the Make-Believe Husband’ by Julia Quinn
The Girl with the Make-Believe Husband is the second book in the Rokesby series, but you’re fine jumping right in without reading the first. Also, it was written by Julia Quinn (who wrote the Bridgertons series). In it, Cecilia Harcourt has two choices before her: marry a man she can’t stand or move in with her aunt.
However, when news arrives of her brother being injured across the sea, she leaves to help him heal. But when she gets there, it’s her brother’s best friend that needs her help. So, while he’s sleeping from a head injury, she tells everyone she’s his wife. And since he can’t remember anything, he goes along with it.
Friends to Lovers: ‘The Cheat Sheet’ by Sarah Adams
It’s not really common for “friends to lovers” to pop up in books; “enemies to lovers” is far more popular. But let’s be honest: it’s a lot less toxic and just a bit more realistic. So, if you’re looking for this kind of trope, you’re in for a treat with The Cheat Sheet.
Bree and Nathan look like complete opposites on paper, but the truth is they’ve been friends for years. What they and the entire world don’t know: both are hiding their love for each other to keep their friendship solid. So what happens when they finally take the plunge?
Enemies to Lovers: ‘Boyfriend Material’ by Alexis Hall
Before I even get started, if you want fantasy, just pick up any fantasy book; “enemies to lovers” dominates that genre. But for contemporary fans, Boyfriend Material is perfect. And bonus points because it will give you warm fuzzies like Red, White, and Royal Blue.
Luc’s father’s return to the spotlight catapults him directly into the paparazzi’s lens. But when Luc’s got bad publicity, he needs a date to fix his reputation. Oliver is just what he needs. The problem: they can’t stand each other. Their deal: fake date until everything is okay again and then never have to see each other again.
The Chosen One: ‘The Gilded Ones’ by Namina Forna
I know I said let’s throw “the chosen one” away, but sometimes it’s done well. The Gilded Ones somehow uses this trope to its advantage, and I still don’t know how it got to me. Either way, it’s a fantastic start to a series (the third book is expected in 2023).
Deka just wants to fit in in her village. But when her blood runs gold at a blood ceremony, she’s given two choices: stick with the village’s customs or join the emperor’s army of other girls like her (an alaki). She leaves and starts training to master her powers. But life as an alaki isn’t exactly what she expected.
Found Family: ‘Walk on Earth a Stranger’ by Rae Carson
I can’t get enough of “found family” – my favorite is Six of Crows, but that’s been talked about enough for now. So, I went with one I remember loving just as much. Walk on Earth a Stranger got me back into the historical fiction genre with this slow start to the Gold Seer trilogy.
Leah has been able to sense gold around her since her birth. So, when her family is murdered to get to her, she takes off to California in the midst of the Gold Rush. Disguised as a boy, Leah is joined on the westward quest by her best friend and a company of gold seekers.
Fake Dating: ‘The Upside of Falling’ by Alex Light
Becca and Brett are roped into fake dating as a way to get through senior year. Becca wants to get away from her former best friend’s taunts, and Brett wants to get rid of the unwanted attention on his nonexistent dating life. As the ruse continues, you can bet they started falling.
I’m sure nearly every teenage girl dreamed of being in the same situation as Becca. Sadly, “fake dating” only works out well in the books…sometimes. Regardless, I’m sure there are plenty more from this trope, but The Upside of Falling just hits differently than the more popular novels like it.