Hollywood, I'm Begging You — Please Turn These 12 Rom-Com Books Into Movies
If you asked me whether I prefer watching a movie or reading a book, I'd choose a book every single time. Don't get me wrong — I love watching movies, but there's just something about emotions and details that feel more potent when they're described in words rather than performed by even the most nuanced actor. But even I can't deny that there are some books out there that would make delightful movies.
Take the rom-com category. There's definitely an art to crafting a story that's just as funny as it is romantic, not to mention one that would easily translate to an entertaining 90 minutes, and there are plenty of books that hit the mark. Think: memorable meet-cutes, hilarious encounters, interesting side stories and characters, far-flung destinations, and swoon-worthy moments. Whether you're simply looking for a fast and lighthearted read or specifically seeking out books with movie-esque scenes, I did the not-so-hard work for you and rounded up a dozen rom-com novels that I think deserve the movie treatment.
The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella
Sophie Kinsella can do no wrong when it comes to writing romance with hilariously outlandish scenarios. If you love Confessions of a Shopaholic (the book series or the 2009 movie based on the first book), she has plenty of standalone rom-com books that would all make highly entertaining movies. The Undomestic Goddess ($8) is an oldie but goodie, and it stands out to me specifically because it's set in the English countryside, where Samantha accidentally finds herself after running away from London and the prestigious law firm where she works. At a beautiful country estate, she's mistaken for the new housekeeper and decides to go with it, never mind the fact that she has zero domestic skills.
This book has it all: some truly slapstick moments, a sweet romance with the hot gardener, and even a tiny bit of corporate scandal.
Big Sexy Love by Kirsty Greenwood
Speaking of Sophie Kinsella, Kirsty Greenwood's books are similar and highly underrated in my opinion. Big Sexy Love ($14) is even described as "a laugh until you cry romantic comedy" right on the cover. In the story, Olive plays everything safe in her small hometown, but when her dying best friend has one final request for Olive to hand deliver a letter in New York City, she's sent on a crazy, whirlwind adventure of a lifetime.
This was one of the funniest books I've ever read, so there's no doubt it would make for a fantastically comical movie. While there are some kooky supporting characters, downright hysterical situations, a goose chase all across Manhattan, and of course, an unexpected romance, I love how, at its core, this story is a love letter to Olive herself and the power of friendship.
Shipped by Angie Hockman
Shipped by Angie Hockman ($14) is a literal escape to the Galápagos Islands, where Henley, a marketing manager for a popular cruise line, must experience the cruise herself in order to draft a marketing proposal that will land her a promotion. Unfortunately, her work nemesis, social media manager Graeme, is also along for the ride — and up for the same promotion.
If you liked The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren, this book is very similar — both have an enemies-to-lovers storyline set in a tropical paradise. But I personally think Shipped would make for a better movie. For one, the characters spend more time away from home in this book, enjoying the beautiful sights of the Galápagos and learning about the islands's history. Plus, there's an evil boss who makes the perfect movie villain. Overall, it's a sweet story with lovable characters.
Would Like to Meet by Rachel Winters
You can't get more meta than a rom-com about the making of a rom-com — but that's what makes this one so fun. In Would Like to Meet by Rachel Winters ($13), Evie is an assistant working at a talent agency that manages an up-and-coming screenwriter contracted to write a rom-com screenplay. The only problem? He doesn't believe in rom-coms. To prove him wrong and help with his writer's block, Evie sets out to reenact the most memorable meet-cutes all across London, inspired by her favorite classic films.
I love how this story uses the tropes and clichés we all know and love from rom-coms and deconstructs them, while still essentially being a rom-com itself. It's warm, funny, and delightfully unexpected.
The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory
The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory ($8) starts when Alexa and Drew find themselves stuck in an elevator together and she agrees to be his date and fake girlfriend for his ex's wedding the next day. Turns out, they have so much fun together that they decide to continue a casual fling after their whirlwind weekend, even if it means going long-distance.
This story reminds me a lot of the 2010 film Going the Distance (RIP Drew Barrymore and Justin Long), as Alexa and Drew spend steamy weekends together in between navigating their respective jobs in different cities. In fact, I can already see a montage of their weekend dates playing out on screen! This book is unrelated to the 2005 film of the same name, which, if you haven't seen, I also recommend!
The Royal Treatment by Melanie Summers
If you like your rom-coms with a side of royalty, look no further than The Royal Treatment by Melanie Summers ($14). Wannabe journalist Tessa has made a name for herself as a popular critical blogger of Avonia's royal family. So when Prince Arthur himself invites Tessa to come stay with his family for the summer as part of a PR ploy to get her to change her (and her follower's) opinion of them, she accepts, expecting to uncover some real dirt. What she doesn't expect is falling in love with the prince.
I know The Royal We is the fan favorite for royal romances (and one I also enjoyed!), but I did find the tone more serious compared to The Royal Treatment. When it comes down to a lighthearted love story with some comedic moments, this is it!
Paris Is Always a Good Idea by Jenn McKinlay
Paris Is Always a Good Idea by Jenn McKinlay ($14) follows Chelsea as she searches for love and happiness across Europe. After her dad's sudden announcement that he's getting remarried, and her less-than-thrilled reaction, Chelsea realizes she hasn't been truly happy in years. So she leaves behind her job and annoying rival coworker and embarks on an adventure through Ireland, France, and Italy hoping to reconnect with her old self — and her former flings.
OK, any story that takes place in the Irish countryside, Paris, and Tuscany is practically begging to be turned into a movie. There's also an empowering pole dancing lesson, a dreamy black tie-gala (complete with a haute-couture gown), and a swoon-worthy kiss atop the Eiffel Tower — in other words, cinematic gold!
The Switch by Beth O'Leary
Twenty-something Leena and her nearly-80-year-old grandmother Eileen decide to swap lives in The Switch by Beth O'Leary ($13). Both reeling from a sudden death in the family and needing to regroup, Leena decides to escape to her grandmother's cottage in a quaint English village to try small town living, while Eileen hops down to London to stay in Leena's flat and experience the big city. In the process, they each find themselves — and love where they least expect it.
This story reminds me of the film The Holiday, but instead of two internet strangers switching places, it's two women from the same family. In addition to navigating new environments, there's also the generational difference between Leena and Eileen that brings about some funny situations.
Rock Bottom Girl by Lucy Score
Described as a "small-town rom-com," Rock Bottom Girl by Lucy Score ($15) follows Marley as she moves back home hoping for a fresh start. Of course, she never would have imagined her fresh start to consist of teaching PE and coaching soccer at her old high school, which is where Jake, her high-school crush, also teaches. Luckily, they strike up a deal to help each other out, and a fake relationship ensues — only the fake relationship starts to feel a little too real.
There are so many reasons this book would make for a highly entertaining movie, but for starters: a "meet-puke," a catty girls soccer team that grows on you, a makeover scene for Marley, and a surprisingly endearing nemesis. Also, the progression of Marley's character arc, including her relationship with herself and other supporting characters, is really satisfying.
One in a Million by Lindsey Kelk
One in a Million by Lindsey Kelk ($15) is a gender-flipped, contemporary adaptation of My Fair Lady. In the story, Annie, a social-media whiz, accepts a challenge to make a stranger, Sam, Instagram famous in a month. But as she starts to spend more time with Sam, it's clear there's more on the line than winning the bet.
The opposites-attract theme between someone who lives and breathes social media and someone who is utterly repulsed by it is the main comedic thread throughout this story — and it leads to some pretty funny situations. What else you can expect: a makeover scene, a black-tie event, and a grand romantic gesture at the end.
My One and Only by Kristan Higgins
For me, Kristan Higgins is the queen of writing intense, all-consuming love stories, and this book is one of my favorites. In My One and Only ($10), Harper and Nick are ex-husband and wife who haven't been in contact for 12 years. When their younger siblings announce their surprise wedding, not only does Harper have to face Nick (and her unresolved feelings) again, but she's also forced to take a cross-country road trip with him.
I love how this story seamlessly combines laugh-out-loud scenes (a certain horseback-riding adventure gone wrong at the beginning of the book comes to mind) with more heart-wrenching moments between Harper and Nick and Harper and her family. It also ends with an unexpected grand romantic gesture that you won't soon forget.
You and Me, Always by Jill Mansell
You and Me, Always by Jill Mansell ($18) is a delightful and heartwarming story that centers on friendship and love. In the idyllic English village of Stanton Langley, Lily is on a journey to learn more about her late mother's past. At the same time, she starts falling for a movie star who's come to the village to get away from fame.
With intertwined characters who each have their own story, this book would play out on the big screen similar to movies like Love Actually or Valentine's Day. It's witty and charming with multigenerational characters you'll fall in love with.