The Best Romance Books Of 2022

Sometime during the pandemic, the general public found romance again as younger generations discovered the book genre. Trapped in the house and craving human connection, most likely, old and new readers alike turned to the genre. There was a romance renaissance, driven by the popularity of #BookTok, according to NPR. The boom drove up the sales of romance books, with publishing giant Penguin Random House seeing a 50% increase in romance sales during 2021.

The romance boom didn't end last year. NPD, a company that studies analytics and market trends, announced back in September that romance had the most growth out of any genre in the U.S. print book market. At the beginning of August alone, sales for romance books had reached almost 19 million units, a number that hasn't been achieved by the genre since 2014.

As the popularity for romance books grows, the amount of books released has gone up as well. On its website, Goodreads says over 460 books will be released this year, up from 339 books in 2021. Yet, the genre is as creative as ever. From fake dating plots to modern twists on your favorite classics, here are the best romance books of 2022.

D'Vaughn and Kris Plan a Wedding by Chencia C. Higgins

If you believe that romance can exist beyond the producer manipulation and bizarre situations that make up the panopticons that are reality dating shows such as "Love is Blind," read "D'Vaughn and Kris Plan a Wedding" by Chencia C. Higgins. Kris Zavala and D'Vaughn Miller join "Instant I Do" for completely different reasons. Kris wants to catapult her influencer career. Meanwhile, D'Vaughn simply wants to "break out of her shell." In order to win, the women must prove their chemistry to their loved ones. While planning a fake wedding, the pair realize that perhaps the challenges aren't worth the reward.

Kamila Knows Best by Farah Heron

A modern retelling of "Emma" by Jane Austen, Farah Heron's "Kamila Knows Best" follows Kamila Hussain and her busy life of running an Instagram account for her dog, throwing lavish Bollywood watch parties, and getting far too involved in her friends' love lives. Kamila's activities take up too much of her time, particularly the latter one. With all this, Kamila doesn't have time for a love life of her own. Her sole romantic activity involves shamelessly flirting with Rohan Nasser, a longtime friend that's both successful and hot (win-win). However, Kamila refuses to move things forward. That is until a former nemesis comes into town, aiming straight for Rohan.

The Siren of Sussex by Mimi Matthews

Evelyn Maltravers, the main character of "The Siren of Sussex" by Mimi Matthews, is a woman with a focused mind. Coming from a family facing social demise, she puts all her energy into being the best horseback rider (and looking good while doing it) as a way to make a name for herself. However, her one-track mind is thwarted when she meets Ahmad Malik, a tailor. In this Victorian era-romance, the pair learn to navigate their relationship amidst judgment and disapproval.

This Woven Kingdom by Tahereh Mafi

"This Woven Kingdom" by Tahereh Mafi incorporates Persian mythology into a fantasy love story. The novel is the first of the "This Woven Kingdom" trilogy, following Alizeh and Kamran, the two main characters. Alizeh has a dual identity: While she's known as a servant, she's actually an heir to a kingdom that has been forced into hiding. Kamran is the crown prince of the kingdom known to the world. Set to inherit the throne one day, Kamran becomes enchanted with Alizeh. However, his love for her may turn his world and everything he's known upside down.

You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi

What does it look like to explore romance while still grieving a partner? Can a new relationship ever compare to what you've lost? Akwaeke Emezi explores this difficulty in their novel "You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty.

Five years after the loss of her partner, Feyi Adekola is still struggling to move on. While she has no issue exploring the world of casual dating, a deep connection with someone she meets on an artists' retreat forces her to explore love once more. The only problem? The man she falls for is the one person she can't have.

Before I Let Go by Kennedy Ryan

"Before I Let Go" by Kennedy Ryan follows Yasmen and Josiah Wade, exes that have found a way to co-parent and run a business without driving each other wild. Once in love, the pair found that the incessant difficulties of life were too much for their marriage to handle. Yet after divorcing, they find that their chemistry hasn't diminished. What starts out as a few casual kisses transforms to something deeper, leading them right back to where they were. Can Yasmen and Josiah revisit their obstacles with a fresh mindset?

A Ballad of Love and Glory by Reyna Grande

Reyna Grande's "A Ballad of Love and Glory" is a sweeping romance set during the Mexican-American War. The novel follows Ximena Salomé, a healer who uses her gift on the frontlines after Texas Rangers murder her husband. Her love interest, John Riley, is an Irish immigrant and American soldier who deserts the army to help the Mexican Army after seeing the atrocities committed by U.S. soldiers. Painting a passionate story of love and loss, Grande doesn't shy away from the true brutality of the war in this novel about two people who fight for humanity and their love.

All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir

Although "All My Rage" by Sabaa Tahir is a young adult romance, it doesn't shy away from heavy themes of loss, addiction, and abuse. The novel follows Salahudin and Noor, two friends who grew up as "outcasts" in Juniper, California. A fight leads them to throw their focus into the hardships of their lives. For Salahudin, that includes dealing with the health of his mother and his father's alcohol addiction. At the same time, Noor must plan her escape from her overbearing uncle. As they struggle to cope, the pair must learn to lean on each other through the good and the bad.

Honey & Spice by Bolu Babalola

Bolu Babalola, a self-described "romcomoisseur," weaves a humorous and passionate story in her novel, "Honey and Spice." The novel follows Kiki Banjo, host of a popular campus radio show. She cautions her listeners about situationships and heartbreak, but goes too far when she denounces Malakai Korede, a known player. Finding her show in danger, Kiki and Malakai begin a fake relationship in order to save face. Despite the business agreement, Kiki finds herself opening up to Malakai on a deeper level. Will Malakai live up to his reputation, or will he reciprocate her feelings?

Olga Dies Dreaming by Xóchitl González

"Olga Dies Dreaming" by Xóchitl González is the perfect novel for novice romance readers who don't want a love story to be the entire plot of the book. The New York Times bestselling book follows Olga and Pedro Acevedo, a brother and sister from Brooklyn. Olga is a wedding planner for rich Manhattan-dwellers. Her own love life remains neglected until she is faced with Matteo, a man who drives her to uncover her family's secrets. Set during the catastrophic hurricane in Puerto Rico in 2017, the novel explores themes of gentrification, corruption, and family drama.

Electric Idol by Katee Robert

"Electric Idol" by New York Times bestselling author Katee Robert is the second installment in her "Dark Olympus" series. The novel is set in the high-tech city Olympus, where reputation and connections are everything. Psyche finds herself at odds with Aphrodite, who enlists her son, Eros, to kill Psyche. Unable to do it thanks to his unexplained attraction to Psyche, Eros and Psyche enter a marriage of convenience in order to keep her safe. Despite this, Psyche sets out to ruin Eros' life. As their forced proximity brings them together, Psyche and Eros discover that they can't stay away.

Right Where I Left You by Julian Winters

Julian Winter's "Right Where I Left You" is a coming-of-age romance about childhood friends discovering that their relationship might have more to offer. The novel follows Isaac and Diego, friends who are spending as much time as they can together before Isaac heads to college. Isaac's plan for an eventful summer with Diego is thwarted with the return of his crush, Davi. Isaac, whose time is taken up by Davi, must now find another way to try and make it up to Diego. However, when Diego discovers the truth about Isaac's efforts, will their friendship end before the potential for romance begins?

You Were Made to be Mine by Julie Anne Long

A Regency-era slow burn, Julie Anne Long's "You Were Made to be Mine" is the fifth book in her "The Palace of Rogues" series and one of the best romance novels this year if you loved "Bridgerton." Lady Aurelie Capet is a runaway bride, fleeing her fiancé for the comfort of a Grand Palace on the River Thames. Thinking she's safe and settled, she finds her world being broken through by a stranger who arrives at the palace. They grow closer slowly, as Aurelie is hesitant to let him in. The only catch? The one she's falling for is a spy, hired by her fiancé.

Part of Your World by Abby Jimenez

Girl meets boy, but they're from different worlds. Can they make it work? In Abby Jimenez's novel, "Part of Your World," she nails the classic rom-com trope without making it boring or contrived. Alexis Montgomery is an ER doctor who is struggling with her parents' demands that she be a world-renowned surgeon, just like the rest of her family. She then meets Daniel, a small-town carpenter. Adding to their differences is the fact that he's younger than her, with a 10-year gap between them.

What starts out as a fling blossoms into something more and Alexis soon realizes that their worlds don't go together. Will she choose love or success?

What Grows Dies Here by Anne Malcom

"What Grows Dies Here" by Anne Malcom follows Wren Whitney. From boarding schools to jet-setting on private planes, she's always lived the high life. While she's held the attention of many men on her travels, she's "never been in love." She thinks that love is a world-changing, life-altering experience that will ultimately destroy her, so she avoids it. That is until she meets Karson. The pair have passionate, explosive chemistry, and the love that Wren knew would "destroy her." However, as they grow closer, she finds that through all their difficulties, she still chooses him.

Red Blossom in Snow by Jeannie Lin

"Red Blossom in Snow” by USA Today bestselling author Jeannie Lin is a murder-mystery meets romance novel, taking place during the Tang Dynasty of ancient China. Magistrate Li Chen is a man of many secrets, one being that he's falling for Song Yi, an off-limits courtesan. While his love for her deepens, he focuses on his commitment to his family and to the Emperor. When a murder occurs near where Song Yi works is closely followed by the disappearance of one of her fellow courtesans, the two are thrust together in order to solve the mystery.