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5 best friends to lovers romance books that blur the line between friendship and love



Key takeaways:

Top 5 romance books that are explore the beautiful transition from best friends to lovers theme:
  1. Emma by Jane Austen
  2. Nick and June were here by Shalanda Stanley
  3. Top Ten by Katie Cotugno
  4. With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo
  5. Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli & Aisha Seed


‘Pyaar dosti hai’ (love is friendship) — line by Shahrukh Khan in his signature film ‘Kuch Kuch Hota hai’ might sound cliched, but is the truth. The best kind of relationship is when you both are true friends who simply love and will be there for each other no matter what. That’s what friends do, right?

One of the most beautiful and exhilarating moments is the transition between two friends who eventually fall in love. It’s heartwarming for an audience to read/watch one beautiful emotion of friendship transform into another complex emotion of relationship. It’s as if things just get better and one wants to root for the couple.

Here’s a list of some books you can pick up that explore this transition from friend to base.

Do share more recommendations, reviews, and thoughts with our community at!

Emma by Jane Austen

Emma by Jane Austen book cover

Indeed, I am very sorry to be right in this instance. I would much rather have been merry than wise.

Emma is a witty, rich, and content woman who sees no need for either love or marriage. Meddling into other people’s romantic affairs is something that delights her. During one of these adventures, she unravels consequences she never expected. It’s one of Austen’s best works with the brilliantly written character of Emma.

"200 years after it was first published, John Mullan argues that it belongs alongside the works of Flaubert, Joyce, and Woolf as one of the great experimental novels"  — The Guardian

Nick and June were here by Shalanda Stanley

Nick and June were here by Shalanda Stanley book cover
Your future will look different, but it’s still a future and you’re still in it..

This book is not a sweet teenage love story but about love surviving and flourishing despite some very difficult circumstances. Nick and June are best friends for years which eventually turns into a relationship. But June’s schizophrenia and Nick’s circumstances lead to new challenges. As their world falls apart, will they be able to keep it all together?

"I recommend this book with the caveat that friendship can feel good but be dysfunctional and ill-advised."  —  PinkAmy on Goodreads

Top Ten by Katie Cotugno

Top Ten by Katie Cotugno book cover
It’s a myth that boys don’t like to gossip.

Ryan McCullough, a popular womanizer, and Gabby Hart, an anxious introvert are the unlikeliest of best friends. As they try to figure out what they mean to each other and where to go from here, they make a final top ten list: this time, counting down the top ten moments of their friendship.

"A thought-provoking story…[that] explores the powerful bonds that arise between childhood friends who grow up to discover romance”  —  Publisher’s Weekly

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo book cover
Whatever we are to become, I’m glad that we can laugh through the uncomfortable moments.

Emoni Santiago’s life is full of making tough decisions, wherein the kitchen is the only place for her to let it all go. She dreams of working as a chef post her graduation, and the story revolves around her breaking her talent-free as she navigates the struggles.

“Acevedo continues to create beautifully realized characters with complex lives… Readers of all sorts will find something to connect with in this honest and ultimately hopeful story.” —  Horn Book

Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli & Aisha Seed

Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli & Aisha Seed book cover
What’s wrong with slowmance? That should be a word. It’s like a slow romance. A way to let the romantic moments linger.

The story revolves around Jamie Goldberg and Maya Rehman who are contesting local state senate polls. As the election nears, so do Jamie and Maya. They realize how mastering local activism is one thing. Navigating the cross-cultural crush of the century is another thing entirely.

“Albertalli and Saeed unfold a story told in alternating chapters that weave together timely, relevant, and engaging themes. With topical references to state and national issues . . . this is a warm, beautiful story about relationships’ beginnings, endings, and transitions; and the transformative power of local activism.”  —  School Library Journal

Hope you enjoy this list! If you have more recommendations or have read any of these books, share your takeaways and review them with the community at —!