100 books like The Idea of You

By Robinne Lee,

Here are 100 books that The Idea of You fans have personally recommended if you like The Idea of You. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Red, White & Royal Blue

Harlowe Savage Author Of Alexander

From my list on spicy, queer romance.

Why am I passionate about this?

I believe that the gap between the amount of LGBTQIA+ and heterosexual erotica is far too large in the mainstream. Queer people deserve to have quality, well-written, spicy romance just as much as the mom in Utah reading her Danielle Steel novels does. This includes, gay, bisexual, lesbian, queer, panromantic, polyamourous, and non-binary people just to list a few. People who don’t adhere to cis, heteronormativity deserve to know that they can love, have steamy sex, maintain healthy relationships, and do whatever it is they want to do. Through my books and queer activism, I intend to rectify this by normalizing queer romance novels and increasing accessibility of the genre. 

Harlowe's book list on spicy, queer romance

Harlowe Savage Why did Harlowe love this book?

Red, White, & Royal Blue is one of my all time favorite books, period.

Up there with my non-spicy recommendations, Red, White, & Royal Blue is a lovingly crafted, beautifully executed example of how to do justice to queer representation. Henry and Alex’s love story is everything I wanted it to be and more.

If I could recommend this book five times, I would. As someone who grew up queer without a ton of options for queer literature, this is the book I wish I’d had in middle and high school. So now, it’s the book that I will just continue to read again and again until I know it so well, I can read it with my eyes closed.

By Casey McQuiston,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Red, White & Royal Blue as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

* Instant NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY bestseller *
* GOODREADS CHOICE AWARD WINNER for BEST DEBUT and BEST ROMANCE of 2019 *
* BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR* for VOGUE, NPR, VANITY FAIR, and more! *

What happens when America's First Son falls in love with the Prince of Wales?

When his mother became President, Alex Claremont-Diaz was promptly cast as the American equivalent of a young royal. Handsome, charismatic, genius--his image is pure millennial-marketing gold for the White House. There's only one problem: Alex has a beef with the actual prince, Henry, across the pond. And when…


Book cover of Mud Vein

Emma Scott Author Of Full Tilt

From my list on romance whose authors go outside the box.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a writer who values telling difficult stories that don’t always cohere to the idea of the “light, fluffy” romance. I write about social issues, grief, trauma, and do my utmost to research whatever topics my characters endure in order to do justice to readers who share these experiences. Having suffered a major trauma myself (my eldest daughter passed away at the age of ten), I’m very interested in stories that deal with characters overcoming tremendous obstacles in order to reach their happily ever afters. I love writing (and reading) stories that go outside the box, that give the reader something more than what they were expecting, couched in solid writing, and possessing all the feels.

Emma's book list on romance whose authors go outside the box

Emma Scott Why did Emma love this book?

I could actually list all of Fisher’s romances or her newer psychological thrillers under this banner of writing that is outside the box. She has taken the idea of “writing fearlessly” and run with it. Lives by it. There is nothing typical about Mud Vein, with prose that feels like mild electric shocks to the brain one minute and brings you to tears the next. It reads as though Fisher doesn’t waste time questioning herself or second-guessing her words—they’re alive and vibrant, and that’s highly aspirational. I have "write fearlessly" literally tattooed on my body, so I take it seriously. ;) 

By Tarryn Fisher,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Mud Vein as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When reclusive novelist Senna Richards wakes up on her thirty-third birthday, everything has changed. Caged behind an electrical fence, locked in a house in the middle of the snow, Senna is left to decode the clues to find out why she was taken. If she wants her freedom, she has to take a close look at her past. But, her past has a heartbeat…and her kidnapper is nowhere to be found. With her survival hanging by a thread, Senna soon realizes this is a game. A dangerous one. Only the truth can set her free.


Book cover of Priest

Julia Whelan Author Of Thank You for Listening

From my list on gateway romance for literary readers and writers.

Why am I passionate about this?

Although I currently write romantic women’s fiction, because I came up in the Literary Fiction community, I frequently have writer friends ask me to recommend well-written Romance. Leaving aside the subjectivity of well-written and the snobbery inherent in the suggestion that Romance—a category they’ve admitted to never having read—isn’t generally well-written, I first have to explain that Romance has rules: While we often associate Romance with sex on the page, technically, it’s not a requirement. There are only two requirements, according to the Romance Writers of America: the love story has to be the central storyline of the book; and there has to be a happily ever after (HEA). 

Julia's book list on gateway romance for literary readers and writers

Julia Whelan Why did Julia love this book?

Look. I could tell you it’s a modern-day gothic. I could tell you it wields its heresy to illuminate the true meaning of God. I could tell you she writes with the clarity of an imprisoned martyr watching the pyre being assembled outside her window. But, really, I just want you to know that I read Sierra Simone with a goofy smile on my face, marveling at how she makes the bonkers believable. She’s a surreal realist. There’s an energy here that’s simply unmatched. The book vibrates. And if you make it through Priest, might I suggest her New Camelot trilogy, which tackles the only thing more sacred than the Catholic church: the American presidency.

By Sierra Simone,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Priest as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

There are many rules a priest can't break. A priest cannot marry. A priest cannot abandon his flock. A priest cannot forsake his God.

I've always been good at following rules.

Until she came. Then I learned new rules.

My name is Tyler Anselm Bell. I'm twenty-nine years old. Six months ago, I broke my vow of celibacy on the altar of my own church, and God help me, I would do it again.

I am a priest and this is my confession.


Book cover of It Ends with Us

Clyve Rose Author Of The King's Mistress

From my list on historical romance reads with lessons in love.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been a romance author for two decades now, and a romance reader for decades before that. It’s my favourite genre to read, critique, and write, closely followed by paranormal reads and mysteries. I’ve had the good fortune to win several awards for my romance novels, including a Gold Medal and an Irwin. My limited-release novellas have also been long-listed for ‘Best Romance’ and ‘Best Historical Romance’ many times. I’m a compulsive researcher too! I spend hours poring over old maps and out-of-print glossaries. I also visit graveyards quite a lot to learn names and life spans, and the how so many stories end.

Clyve's book list on historical romance reads with lessons in love

Clyve Rose Why did Clyve love this book?

This book isn’t a romance. It’s too real – and too devastating – for that. It’s part of a series and I read this book first and the prequel story afterward so if you’re planning to read this one, I recommend reading the first one too, and in advance. There are some references I feel I’d have understood better if I’d read the books in order.

The main characters are all relatable in that they’re flawed and not always aware of it. The protagonist seems the most aware, but I think that’s just because we get the whole story from her perspective. This feels like a slice-of-life novel and I don’t usually enjoy those. I can say, the writing is excellent and it’s a satisfying read.

By Colleen Hoover,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked It Ends with Us as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Lily hasn't always had it easy, but that's never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She's come a long way from the small town where she grew up-she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. And when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily's life seems too good to be true.

Ryle is assertive, stubborn, maybe even a little arrogant. He's also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily. And the way he looks in scrubs certainly doesn't hurt. Lily can't get…


Book cover of The Unrequited

Emma Scott Author Of Full Tilt

From my list on romance whose authors go outside the box.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a writer who values telling difficult stories that don’t always cohere to the idea of the “light, fluffy” romance. I write about social issues, grief, trauma, and do my utmost to research whatever topics my characters endure in order to do justice to readers who share these experiences. Having suffered a major trauma myself (my eldest daughter passed away at the age of ten), I’m very interested in stories that deal with characters overcoming tremendous obstacles in order to reach their happily ever afters. I love writing (and reading) stories that go outside the box, that give the reader something more than what they were expecting, couched in solid writing, and possessing all the feels.

Emma's book list on romance whose authors go outside the box

Emma Scott Why did Emma love this book?

This novel is a taboo, student-teacher, forbidden love read, but those are tag words only. I’m a little obsessed with it because the writing. This book is alive. It's electric. The words jump off the page and sink claws into your skin. The author, at the end, laments that she's not poet enough to write her hero’s poems. I beg to differ. This entire book is a poem if you go by my preferred definition, which is a string of words meant to evoke. That's all this book does. Evokes, stirs, and is unapologetic in its heroine, Layla. She is no blushing rose, but a tornado of unapologetic desire, and who defies genre tropes. Her character renders this book more than a romance novel, but a force of nature.

By Saffron A. Kent,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Unrequited as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Layla Robinson is not crazy. She is suffering from unrequited love. But it's time to move on. No more stalking, no more obsessive calling.


What she needs is a distraction. The blue-eyed guy she keeps seeing around campus could be a great one--only he is the new poetry professor--the married poetry professor.


Thomas Abrams is a stereotypical artist--rude, arrogant, and broody--but his glares and taunts don't scare Layla. She might be bad at poetry, but she is good at reading between the lines. Beneath his prickly façade, Thomas is lonely, and Layla wants to know why. Obsessively.


Sometimes you do…


Book cover of Wolfsong

Emma Scott Author Of Full Tilt

From my list on romance whose authors go outside the box.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a writer who values telling difficult stories that don’t always cohere to the idea of the “light, fluffy” romance. I write about social issues, grief, trauma, and do my utmost to research whatever topics my characters endure in order to do justice to readers who share these experiences. Having suffered a major trauma myself (my eldest daughter passed away at the age of ten), I’m very interested in stories that deal with characters overcoming tremendous obstacles in order to reach their happily ever afters. I love writing (and reading) stories that go outside the box, that give the reader something more than what they were expecting, couched in solid writing, and possessing all the feels.

Emma's book list on romance whose authors go outside the box

Emma Scott Why did Emma love this book?

Shifter romances aren’t new, but this heart-wrenching story about a boy and his adoptive “pack” sets the standard. The prose reads like a simple, placid little pond and then you jump in and realize it's miles deep. Klune does what my hero, Stephen King, is so darn good at and what I aspire to do in my own paranormal novels: he imbues the story with characters that live and breathe and feel like real people. This makes the supernatural aspects of the plot feel authentic and keeps you absorbed from page one to the end.

By TJ Klune,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Wolfsong as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ox Matheson was twelve when his father taught him a lesson: Ox wasn't worth anything and people would never understand him. Then he left.

Ox was sixteen when the energetic Bennett family moved in next door, harbouring a secret that would change him forever. For the family are shapeshifters, who can transform into wolves at will. Drawn to their magic, loyalty and enduring friendships, Ox feels a gulf between this extraordinary new world and the quiet life he's known. He also finds an ally in Joe, the youngest Bennett boy. Joe is charming and handsome, but haunted by scars he…


Book cover of Beach Read

Elle Rivers Author Of Contractual Obligations

From my list on romance books with main characters that hook you from page one.

Why am I passionate about this?

My name is Elle Rivers, and I’ve been a romance reader and writer for over ten years. I started reading when I was in high school because I was a lonely kid who loved watching people fall in love. I love the romance genre because it always has a happy ending, and reading about characters overcoming their struggles reminds me that I can also face any hard moments in life. I try to write the same kinds of characters in my books. They’re all a piece of me, and I am so excited that others can read them, too. 

Elle's book list on romance books with main characters that hook you from page one

Elle Rivers Why did Elle love this book?

This book follows a writer named January, who goes to her father’s beach house that he shared with his mistress after his passing.

I love it when a character's backstory has a unique twist to it, and I could feel January’s pain and confusion as she navigated her father’s complicated past. We get to see January grow as a person and also have a romance with the writer next door.

Love stories with complex character growth are my bread and butter, and this was the novel that started it all for me. 

By Emily Henry,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Beach Read as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

FROM THE #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF PEOPLE WE MEET ON VACATION AND BOOK LOVERS!

A romance writer who no longer believes in love and a literary writer stuck in a rut engage in a summer-long challenge that may just upend everything they believe about happily ever afters.

Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. January Andrews writes bestselling romance. When she pens a happily ever after, he kills off his entire cast.

They’re polar opposites.

In fact, the only thing they have in common is that for the next three months, they're living in neighboring…


Book cover of Wish You Were Here

Leslie A. Rasmussen Author Of The Stories We Cannot Tell

From my list on captivating stories of women’s life journeys.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always gravitated towards women’s issues both in my writing and how I lead my life. I believe that women need to speak their truth to each other and gain the support of their friends who are likely going through the same thing. I have also spoken about and been on panels about women’s empowerment in midlife. I am a woman in the middle of her life, and I have lived through so many of the issues that I speak about.

Leslie's book list on captivating stories of women’s life journeys

Leslie A. Rasmussen Why did Leslie love this book?

I enjoy a story where a woman rethinks her life and tries to decide if the path she is on is the right path.

Diana O’Toole is a woman who thinks she knows what she wants, but as the book goes on, she begins to rethink everything. I had a career that I loved but left it when I had my children. After my kids became more independent, I had to figure out the second chapter of my life and where I wanted my career to go.

Having choices in life is very important and sometimes we put ourselves into a corner and don’t realize we can make different decisions. 

By Jodi Picoult,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Wish You Were Here as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From the author of Small Great Things and The Book of Two Ways comes “a powerfully evocative story of resilience and the triumph of the human spirit” (Taylor Jenkins Reid, author of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and Daisy Jones & The Six)

Rights sold to Netflix for adaptation as a feature film • Named one of the best books of the year by She Reads

Diana O’Toole is perfectly on track. She will be married by thirty, done having kids by thirty-five, and move out to the New York City suburbs, all…


Book cover of The Luckiest Lady in London

Julia Whelan Author Of Thank You for Listening

From my list on gateway romance for literary readers and writers.

Why am I passionate about this?

Although I currently write romantic women’s fiction, because I came up in the Literary Fiction community, I frequently have writer friends ask me to recommend well-written Romance. Leaving aside the subjectivity of well-written and the snobbery inherent in the suggestion that Romance—a category they’ve admitted to never having read—isn’t generally well-written, I first have to explain that Romance has rules: While we often associate Romance with sex on the page, technically, it’s not a requirement. There are only two requirements, according to the Romance Writers of America: the love story has to be the central storyline of the book; and there has to be a happily ever after (HEA). 

Julia's book list on gateway romance for literary readers and writers

Julia Whelan Why did Julia love this book?

You like your small, introspective, architecture-of-a-marriage stories? Well, here’s the Romance version. Nothing really happens, plot-wise. It is simply a masterclass of two characters matched in every way that matters, ready to destroy everything they could potentially have because they’re scared of getting hurt. Humorous. Hot. Nerdy. Incisive. Affecting. This will introduce you to the basic foundation of Historical Romance—essentially, “the marriage plot”—in the quiet way you’re looking for.

By Sherry Thomas,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Luckiest Lady in London as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the superbly gifted Sherry Thomas comes this beautifully written romance about a marriage of convenience that turns inconveniently passionate...  

Felix Rivendale, the Marquess of Wrenworth, is The Ideal Gentleman, a man all men want to be and all women want to possess. Even Felix himself almost believes this golden image. But underneath is a damaged soul soothed only by public adulation.

Louisa Cantwell needs to marry well to support her sisters. She does not, however, want Lord Wrenworth—though he seems inexplicably interested in her. She mistrusts his outward perfection, and the praise he garners everywhere he goes. Still, when…


Book cover of Mr. Impossible

Julia Whelan Author Of Thank You for Listening

From my list on gateway romance for literary readers and writers.

Why am I passionate about this?

Although I currently write romantic women’s fiction, because I came up in the Literary Fiction community, I frequently have writer friends ask me to recommend well-written Romance. Leaving aside the subjectivity of well-written and the snobbery inherent in the suggestion that Romance—a category they’ve admitted to never having read—isn’t generally well-written, I first have to explain that Romance has rules: While we often associate Romance with sex on the page, technically, it’s not a requirement. There are only two requirements, according to the Romance Writers of America: the love story has to be the central storyline of the book; and there has to be a happily ever after (HEA). 

Julia's book list on gateway romance for literary readers and writers

Julia Whelan Why did Julia love this book?

While I could recommend any Loretta Chase novel and dare you to tell me you couldn’t spin at least a bread loaf-length lecture out of her style, I think you should start with Mr. Impossible, simply because the setting is as unique as her prose. We have a himbo and a genius running around Egypt in 1822 trying to rescue her kidnapped brother from the clutches of monument-thieving imperialists. Mind her character work. Note her humor. Her research. Her specificity. Her turn of phrase. Bring your highlighter. Or whatever instrument of self-loathing you use when another writer is so good at what they do it makes you want to give up.

By Loretta Chase,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mr. Impossible as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Impossible...Rupert Carsington, fourth son of the Earl of Hargate, is his aristocratic family's favorite disaster. He is irresistibly handsome, shockingly masculine, and irretrievably reckless, and wherever he goes, trouble follows. Still, Rupert's never met an entanglement - emotional or other - he couldn't escape. Until now. Outrageous...Now, he's in Egypt, stranded in the depths of Cairo's most infamous prison, and his only way out is accepting a beautiful widow's dangerous proposal. Scholar Daphne Pembroke wants him to rescue her brother, who's been kidnapped by a rival seeking a fabled treasure. Their partnership is strictly business: She'll provide the brains, he,…


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