Six Rom-Coms Perfect for Summer Reading
Funny and Sweet Light Fiction
Is it really summer without some great rom-com reads teed up and ready to go by the pool, on the porch, at the beach, or anywhere you're soaking in a little bit of warm weather and (hopefully) a looser schedule?
If you're into lighter fiction with some romance and laughs, you might also like the books on the Greedy Reading Lists Six Great Light Fiction Stories Perfect for Summer Reading and Six More Great Light Fiction Stories.
Are there any stories you've loved recently that fall under the romantic comedy category?
01 Meet Me at the Lake by Carley Fortune
Summertime is the backdrop to Fortune's Meet Me at the Lake, light fiction with an anchor in deeper issues, some steamy scenes, conflicting feelings surrounding coming home again, shifting dreams, and a satisfyingly layered resolution.
Thirty-two-year-old Fern Brookbanks has pinned most of her romantic dreams on Will Baxter--despite the fact that they spent only 24 hours together in their twenties.
A chance encounter blossomed into a glorious connection and a pact to meet up one year later at her family resort...but while Fern showed up to their romantic meet-up, Will did not.
Fern has moved on. Now she's coping with a tragedy--and guess who shows up to meet Fern, nine years late?
Within the book's summertime setting Fortune explores heavy issues related to mental illness, sudden death, unplanned pregnancy, substance abuse--and also the complicated joy of having friends like family, facing responsibility and challenge, and acknowledging when long-held dreams have changed.
The banter is fun, there are some steamy scenes, and I believed in the relationship and its ups and downs.
02 Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld
Sittenfeld's funny and sweet take on an unlikely romance sparked by a longtime SNL-type weekly skit show immediately had me hooked, never felt too easy, and charmed me throughout.
I love Curtis Sittenfeld's books, and in Romantic Comedy she offers an outstanding premise: Sally Milz is a sketch writer for a late-night comedy show, and she's sworn off love.
That is, until she pokes fun at her fellow writer in a sketch about talented but average-looking men dating gorgeous women...and then gorgeous pop sensation and serial model-dater Noah Brewster hosts the show and turns his attentions on Sally.
I was delighted to find that much of the book is focused on the behind-the-scenes making of the SNL-like Saturday night sketch comedy show in the book, The Night Owls, and I was fascinated by this aspect.
Romantic Comedy offers lots of funny, funny dialogue that delighted me. This was the right book at the right time for me, and I loved everything about it.
03 This Time It's Real by Ann Liang
I was hooked by Liang's fake-dating, famous-everyday relationship duo setup, fantastically funny dialogue, and wonderfully imperfect characters with their hard-fought vulnerability and heartbreaking missteps. I devoured this in a rainy afternoon.
In Ann Liang's young adult rom-com This Time It's Real, when seventeen-year-old Eliza's class essay about young love goes viral, it leads to the offer of a competitive internship and soaring popularity at her new school. She should be on cloud nine.
The only problem is, she made it all up. She's never been in love. But the whirlwind around her pretend relationship is taking on a life of its own.
So Eliza makes a desperate deal with a famous actor in her class: if he plays the role of her fake boyfriend at school, she'll help him write his college applications. He's already seen how convincing her writing can be, after all--she's got everyone fooled.
When the line between acting and reality becomes blurred, will Eliza's grand plans end up in her own heartbreak?
I love a fake-dating premise and a famous-everyday dating premise, and here they are combined. Ann Liang's funny dialogue, characters' various interpersonal challenges and victories, and messy family dynamics had me swooning.
Yes to all of this!
For my full review, please check out This Time It's Real.
04 Yours Truly by Abby Jimenez
Jimenez's rom-com frequently had me laughing, made me tear up a little, and kept me hooked on the fake-dating, will-they-won't-they tension while also digging into some deep themes.
Briana Ortiz's divorce from her cheater husband is about to be finalized, her brother Benny's health is failing, and she's living in her childhood home, complete with its original flowered couches and shabby carpet.
At least she can pour energy into her work. She's busy as an ER doctor and is poised to become the next Chief.
But when a new doctor relocates to the hospital, Bri's promotion is in jeopardy. She's set to detest this interloper--but then he sends her a letter that changes everything.
Jimenez layers her characters with complex back stories, significant and interesting emotional baggage, and trauma from relationship disasters, all of which complicate their ability to be vulnerable. There's a health crisis and solution that involves the two main characters in key ways and which complicates things. There's a fake-dating situation that's designed to save the feelings of loved ones. And there's a professional environment to navigate within.
It's not unusual for me to feel frustrated by a drawn-out will-they/won't-they tension, or by a fake-dating setup between two characters who should obviously be together. But this novel had me eating out of Jimenez's hand.
For my full review of this book, check out Wrong Place, Wrong Time.
05 The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston
This romantic light fiction story includes sibling conflicts, loss, betrayal, a love that seems impossible...and a ghostwriter who's literally haunted by ghosts.
In Ashley Poston's The Dead Romantics, Florence Day is a ghostwriter for a famous reclusive romance writer. But she's gone through a breakup because of her partner's betrayal, and she's having a hard time getting her mojo back to write about flowery love and happy endings. She's starting to think that her handsome new editor might just be the inspiration she needs.
Then Florence's beloved father dies, and she returns to her hometown for the first time in many years. In town, she'll always be known as The Girl Who Solved a Murder Mystery by Talking to Ghosts, with all the fascination and suspicion one might expect.
Oh, and Florence's family runs the local mortuary business. And Florence really can communicate with ghosts. Oh, and then her cute editor shows up in town...as a ghost.
I loved the playful tone, the ghost angle within this light fiction, romantic story, and the focus on writing and books.
For my full review of this book, please see The Dead Romantics.
06 Happy Place by Emily Henry
Six longtime friends gather for one last Maine vacation--but each of them has been keeping secrets that impact their relationships. I was impatient with the prolonged lack of communication but loved the main characters' interactions once they began.
Harriet and Win were attracted to each other from the start, but they spent ages trying to deny it for fear of upending their close-knit friend group if things didn't work out.
Now they've been engaged for six years, they're desperately in love, and they've been dating long-distance while Harriet pursues her residency and Win, a furniture repair person, helps his sick mother at home in Montana.
For years they've taken annual trips to their friend Sabrina's cottage in Maine with the rest of their group, building traditions, strengthening their friendships, and enjoying their happy place.
So this year, when their friends surprise Harriet upon her arrival with the fact that Win was able to come after all, it should be a good--no, a great--thing.
Except, Harriet and Win broke up months ago...and haven't told anyone yet.
The grown-up friends' ability to move past the evolutions of their relationships was a highlight. Happy Place involves steamy scenes and will-they/won't-they tensions. Win and Harriet's interactions, when they do begin communicating, are lovely and sweet and funny and heartbreaking.
For my full review of this book, please check out Happy Place.