There is almost nothing better than curling up with a love story, especially if it is one that takes some old tropes and shines a light on them in a different way. The mixture of the familiar and something new can be intoxicating, and many of the novels on this list will do just that for you. Whether you’re looking for YA or something a bit more grown up, one of these new romance books of 2021 will be sure to have you covered.
1. Best Laid Plans – Roan Parrish | February 23rd, 2021
Parrish really knows her way around a love story – especially a queer one.
Charlie Matheson has spent his whole life taking care of everyone else; after his parents died, he took on his younger brother and his dad’s shop. One day, he meets Rye, who has spent his whole life letting people down. And well – it is a romance, so you know what happens next. I suspect that both these characters will be heartbreakingly relatable for a lot of readers.
2. Honey Girl – Morgan Rogers | February 23rd, 2021
This debut from Rogers sounds completely charming.
Grace is twenty-eight and has just finished her PhD in astronomy when she goes on a very uncharacteristic trip to Vegas and even more uncharacteristically gets drunk, ending up married to a woman that she just met. Grace flees to New York for a summer away from her overbearing father and ends up head over heels with her new wife. It isn’t the average millennial experience, but it is sure to be an emotional read.
3. Love and Lockdown – Alyce Caswell | March 4th, 2021
You’re either going to love or hate a book set during the pandemic, so this one is sure to be divisive amongst readers. For what it’s worth though, Caswell’s effort is probably likely to win you over.
Angela is evicted and, in the midst of the pandemic, has to take up Colin Cooper’s offer of a spare room. He rants about her so much on his radio show that his boss wants him to serialise their ‘romance’. Angela agrees to help and they set out to create a convincing lockdown romance. I think we can all predict what will happen and I for one think it will be adorable.
4. The Littlest Library – Poppy Alexander | March 18th, 2021
Jess Metcalf is happy with her quiet life, until her grandmother dies and Jess loses her job at the local library. With nothing to lose, Jess moves to a cottage in a village and finds that she also owns an old red telephone box. She turns it into a library and soon enough the villagers are borrowing books and seem to be coming together in ways Jess didn’t expect.
I can guarantee that The Littlest Library will be a very comforting read, and in the uncertain world of 2021, that is certainly something that we all could do with.
5. The Frequency of Us – Keith Stuart | March 25th, 2021
Keith Stuart, best selling author of A Boy Made Of Blocks, is a safe pair of hands when it comes to an emotional and immersive story. The Frequency of Us promises to be more than just a love story.
During World War Two, wireless engineer Will falls in love with Austrian refugee Elsa, but when their home is bombed and he wakes up alone, he is told that Elsa never existed. Seventy years later, social worker Laura is trying to figure out exactly what happened. It sounds completely intriguing.
6. A Pho Love Story – Loan Le | April 1st, 2021
If you’ve ever thought that the one thing Romeo and Juliet was missing happened to be noodles, then do I have some good news for you.
This YA novel has everything; competing pho restaurants, feuding families, and two young members of the families who have sworn to stay away from each other – until the day that they don’t. Bao is a good but unremarkable student, while Linh dreams of escaping the pho business – and soon enough, sparks will be flying. Contemporary YA romance just really has something you can’t find in a book for adult readers.
7. Counting Down With You – Tashie Bhuiyan | May 4th, 2021
Another YA debut now, Counting Down With You is the story of Karina Ahmed who wants to just keep her head down at school and do as her parents wish. But when they go on a trip to Bangladesh for a month, Karina finds herself in a bit of a pickle when the school bad boy Ace Clyde asks her to fake date him.
In my opinion, there isn’t much better than a really great fake dating novel, and the stakes introduced here with the twenty-eight day countdown will add a great sense of urgency to the whole thing.
8. Heartstopper Volume 4 – Alice Oseman | May 13th, 2021
If you’re a fan of Heartstopper, you probably don’t need me to tell you that volume four is out soon, or that the TV show has just been officially announced – made even better by the confirmation that Oseman will be writing it. If you’re new to Heartstopper though, now is the time to catch up.
An unbearably cute romance between Charlie and Nick, volume four centres on Charlie thinking he might be ready to tell Nick he loves him, and Nick being caught up in coming out to his dad. We’re in safe hands with Oseman and you just know this story will keep getting better.
9. The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels – India Holton | June 15th, 2021
Holton’s debut, a historical romance set in an alternate Victorian timeline, promises to be an absolute riot from start to finish. Cecilia Bassingwaite is the perfect Victorian lady – except she is also a thief, and a member of the Wisteria crime sorority.
She’s busy flitting around and stealing treasure until the day she is forced to team up with Ned Lightbourne, the man sent to kill her, in order to save her aunt. Ned is smitten with her and Cecilia is just trying to prove her scoundrel status. Sparks are going to fly and I think this could be one of the most fun books of the year.
10. The Words We Whisper – Mary Ellen Taylor | July 20th, 2021
Last year’s Honeysuckle Season got great reviews and ratings, and we can be sure that Taylor will probably knock it out of the park again; her strength lies in these stories of loss and secrets.
In The Words We Whisper, Zara agrees to nurse her ailing grandmother and spends her time digging through the attic to find the secrets that Nonna has been wanting to see again. These items – a wooden chest, a broach and a journal – sweep Zara away to Italy in 1943 where she finds stories that change everything she thinks she knows about love and regret.
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