Whether it’s the hot jock and the nerdy girl, the tutor and the troublemaker, the playboy and the virgin, or something a little more complicated, college, high school and new adult romances can be filled with tropes. Some of my favorite new adult romances are tropey goodness. Others are a little more nuanced, with stories featuring younger adults trying to make their way in the world. Either way, this type of romance can be so very good.
The books on this list are all great examples of new adult romance – they feature younger characters, and have fresh, unique perspectives. Several of them play up the tropes while several others are one-of-a-kind, but they’re all great reads. And there’s something for every mood! From romantic comedies to mafia romances to angsty journeys, there’s an option for everyone.
Each of these contemporary romance novels was a 5-star read for me. I’ve included the blurb, and links to Amazon for easy addition to your collection. Happy reading!
Heart Bones by Colleen Hoover
Life and a dismal last name are the only two things Beyah’s parents ever gave her. After carving her path all on her own, Beyah is well on her way to bigger and better things, thanks to no one but herself. With only two short months separating her from the future she’s built and the past she desperately wants to leave behind, an unexpected death leaves Beyah with no place to go during the interim.
Forced to reach out to her last resort, Beyah has to spend the remainder of her summer on a peninsula in Texas with a father she barely knows. Beyah’s plan is to keep her head down and let the summer slip by seamlessly, but her new neighbor Samson throws a wrench in that plan.
Samson and Beyah have nothing in common on the surface.
She comes from a life of poverty and neglect; he comes from a family of wealth and privilege. But one thing they do have in common is that they’re both drawn to sad things. Which means they’re drawn to each other.
Beyah and Samson agree to stay in the shallow end of a summer fling. What Beyah doesn’t realize is that a rip current is coming, and it’s about to drag her heart out to sea.
Dear Ava by Ilsa Madden-Mills
WSJ bestselling author Ilsa Madden-Mills delivers a gripping enemies-to-lovers, secret admirer, high school romance.
The rich and popular Sharks rule at prestigious, ivy-covered Camden Prep. Once upon a time, I wanted to be part of their world–until they destroyed me.
The last thing I expected was an anonymous love letter from one of them.
Please. I hate every one of those rich jerks for what they did to me. The question is, which Shark is my secret admirer?
Knox, the scarred quarterback.
Dane, his twin brother.
Or Chance, the ex who dumped me. . .
Your eyes are the color of the Caribbean Sea.
Wait. That’s stupid.
What I really mean is, you look at me and I feel something REAL.
It’s been ten months since you were here, but I can’t forget you.
I’ve missed seeing you walk down the hall.
I’ve missed you cheering at my football games.
I’ve missed the smell of your hair.
And then everything fell apart the night of the kegger.
Don’t hate me because I’m a Shark.
I just want to make you mine.
Rebellious by Kristy Marie
From best-selling author, Kristy Marie, comes Rebellious, the highly anticipated love story of star-crossed lovers, Aspen and Bennett—characters from the international best-selling novel, IOU.
A love controlled by guilt, contained by rules… One summer will change everything.
No blah, blah, blah.
He wrote the rules onto our skin—every ink stroke tragically smeared by the lines we’d crossed.
He claimed it was the only way we could be together—the only way we wouldn’t destroy our families.
But there was an exception to his rules—one he never saw coming.
All I needed was opportunity and a sunburn.
The girl who played by his rules is gone.
This girl… is not his “friend.”
The Lie by Karla Sorensen
Rule number 1 for the team owner’s daughter? Don’t date the players.
Especially not hotheaded tight ends with tattoos and impulse control problems.
That’s why Dominic Walker is completely off my radar. Sort of.
Babysitting the team troublemaker when he’s forced to volunteer for the foundation where I work means I can’t exactly avoid him.
I wish I had though. Because once I get to know Dominic, it’s almost impossible to ignore the feelings he brings out in me.
Pretty soon, I’m breaking all my rules. I just have to hope he doesn’t break my heart in the process.
Read the review here
You’re the Reason by J. Nathan
Welcome to Crestwood University…
Where smiles conceal secrets.
Gossip runs rampant.
And everyone hides the truth.
Sophia Galloway has no idea what she’s walking
into when she transfers to Crestwood University.
Returning to Texas was her only goal.
But nothing could prepare her for stepping foot
on a campus where no one is what they seem.
In a world where frat guys think they can do no wrong.
And sorority presidents think they run the show.
Sophia’s about to find out what happens when she
unknowingly crosses the wrong guy,
pisses off the wrong sorority sister,
and refuses to play by anyone else’s rules.
A life will be lost.
Lies will be told.
Hearts will be broken.
And secrets…well secrets are meant to be revealed.
Is there anyone she can trust?
Fake It Til You Break It by Meagan Brandy
USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author Meagan Brandy delivers a new standalone, fake relationship romance about finding light when your world is dark, and fighting for love when all seems lost.
That’s what we are.
That’s what we agreed to be.
So why does it feel so real?
I thought it would have been harder, convincing everyone our school’s star receiver was mine and mine alone, but I was wrong.
We played our parts so well that the lines between us began to blur until they disappeared completely.
The thing about pretending, though, someone’s always better at it, and by the time I realized my mistake, there was no going back.
I fell for our lie.
And then everything fell apart.
It turned out he and I were never playing the same game.
He didn’t have to break me to win.
But he did it anyway.
Cruel Saints by Michelle Heard
From USA Today & Wall Street Journal bestselling author Michelle Heard comes a new standalone, full-length romantic suspense novel.
Alliances are made. Loyalty is owned. Love is taken.
Little did I know my love and freedom would be taken to form a new alliance.
Brutal, possessive, and dangerous, Lucian is feared by all. Including myself.
When his father is assassinated, Lucian takes his rightful place as head of the Cotroni family. They rule the Mafia with an iron fist, and he’s set his sights on my family.
Until now, we’ve been the only threat, but when a new one emerges, my father is forced to arrange a marriage between Lucian and myself.
He might be handsome but he’s not the kind of man who loves. He takes what he wants and right now, it’s my body.
I might belong to him in name, but the question remains – will our union be consummated in blood or love?
STANDALONE: Romance Suspense full-length novel.
If you need a warning before reading a book, then this book is not for you.
So, That Got Weird by Amelia Kingston
A painfully awkward love story.
Incomprehensibly awkward Elizabeth Wilde is desperate for love. Connection. Intimacy. After a lifetime of romantic failures, the twenty-one-year-old gamer realizes she needs help. Professional help. She needs…
A sex tutor.
The devastatingly hot jock Austin Jacobs is just the man for the job. As the reigning campus sex god, he has the playboy act down pat. But underneath those six-pack abs beats a broken heart. He doesn’t trust people and he sure as hell doesn’t believe in love.
The odd couple strike a deal. Four weeks of ‘tutoring’ for five thousand dollars.
When Austin coaxes Elizabeth out from behind her computer screen, the attraction they feel is undeniable. They’re both a little broken, but somehow their jagged edges fit. And when their world comes tumbling down on top of them, they each have to decide if this weird thing called love is worth fighting for.
Reader advisory: This book includes references to inadequate parenting, parental death, a parent with addiction. There are also scenes including the use of performance drugs.
The Romantic Pact by Meghan Quinn
I haven’t seen her in three years.
I haven’t talked to her since the kiss.
So why am I on a plane, flying across the world to spend a week with her in Germany?
One word: Pops.
My life’s a mess.
My possible football career is hanging on by a thread.
I’m driving the roads of Germany in honor of Pops with the one girl I can never have.
And I’m sharing a bed with her, the girl I’ve measured everyone else up to, while desperately trying to not to touch her.
We made a pact growing up, never to get romantic with each other – never fall in love.
And I’m about to break that pact. For good.
Let’s Get Textual by Teagan Hunter
A wrong number is supposed to be just that—a wrong number.
Do not continue to text. Do not flirt.
A wrong number shouldn’t be the first person on your mind in the morning, or the last at night…and you’re definitely not supposed to talk them into buying a baby goat.
Because that would be weird.
When Zach Hastings and I get into a wrong-number mix-up, we don’t follow the rules. We keep texting and flirting, because he’s wicked funny and perfectly nerdy and a wonderful distraction.
I’m not looking for love, and Zach definitely had the wrong number.
Maybe he’s the right guy.
Jock Row by Sara Ney
Scarlett is always the sensible one: The sober driver. The planner. The one holding your hair back while you’re worshiping the porcelain gods.
Week-after-week, she visits Jock Row with her friends — the university’s hottest party scene and breeding ground for student athletes. And if keeping her friends out of trouble, and guys out of their pants, was a sport, she’d be the star athlete.
Being a well known jock-blocker gets her noticed for all the wrong reasons; just like that, she’s banned from Jock Row. NO GUY WANTS A GIRL AROUND WHO KEEPS THEIR JOCK FRIENDS FROM GETTING LAID.
“Rowdy” Wade is the hot shot short-stop for the university’s baseball team — and the unlucky bastard who drew the short straw: keep little Miss Goody Two-Shoes out of the Baseball House.
But week-after-week Scarlett returns, determined to get inside.
Nothing But Trouble by P. Dangelico
Water polo god.
Owner of a face that belongs under Wikipedia’s definition of drop dead gorgeous.
Too charming for his own good.
But most importantly––the worst driver on the planet.
No, really, I’m pretty sure his blind nana taught him how to drive.
I had no idea who he was until he almost ran me over. And frankly, I kind of wish I still didn’t because then I wouldn’t have a sprained ankle to show for it. And my leg wouldn’t resemble a boa constrictor that’s swallowed a feral pig.
Yeah, it’s that bad.
I’ve spent years saving every penny I’ve ever earned to be able to transfer to Malibu University. And now my entire future––including my scholarship––is in jeopardy.
So I either accept the help he insists on giving me, or lose everything I’ve sacrificed for.
In the meantime, I’m going to ignore the fact that we’re becoming friends.
And I’m definitely going to pretend he’s not turning into the object of my…umm, dirty fantasies.
That’s not happening.
Not even a little.
Because the minute I clapped eyes on him I knew he was nothing but trouble.
Rich Prick by Tijan
He walked into school on his first day and owned it.
I guess that’s what happens when you’re a prick, rich, and you’re best friends with the ruling school’s king.
Also didn’t hurt he’s drop dead gorgeous.
That’s all fine.
I mean, I have nothing to do with them.
I’m a loner, invisible, and that’s how I wanted it to be.
I was even proud of it, until I wasn’t.
Until I saw a girl kneel before him.
Until I couldn’t look away.
Until he caught me watching.
His name is Blaise Devroe. My name is Aspen Monson.
He only knew how to get, command, and demand attention. I knew how to do everything but that.
And this is our story.
Prince of Hearts by L.A. Cotton
A new angsty college mafia romance from bestselling author of the Rixon Raiders series.
Arianne Capizola is her father’s daughter.
Humble. Hardworking. Honest.
She’d rather spend her days helping at the local shelter than brushing shoulders with her vain and entitled classmates.
Niccolò Marchetti is his father’s son.
Dark. Dangerous. Deceitful.
He’d rather spend his days getting bloody in the ring than attending class and keeping up pretences.
When their paths cross at Montague University neither of them are willing to drop the walls they’ve spent so long building. But he can’t resist the girl with stars in her eyes, and she can’t forget the guy who saved her that night.
There’s only one catch.
Nicco isn’t Arianne’s knight-in-shining-armor, he’s the son of her father’s greatest enemy.
He is the enemy.
And their families are at war.
*Prince of Hearts in the first book in Nicco and Ari’s duet and it ends on a major cliffhanger. Due to mature content that some readers may find distressing, this book is recommended for readers 18+
Sweet Spot by Rebecca Jenshak
Lincoln Reeves may be a pro golfer and revered swing coach, but when I meet him, he is just one more person telling me I’m not good enough.
So, I do what any girl in my position would do. I tell him to get lost and take his arrogant, annoying smirk with him. I never expect to see him again. I certainly don’t expect to run into him that same night after one too many tequila shots.
Turns out that he’s kind of a big deal. Okay, fine, a really big deal. In fact, he might be the one person who can take my game to the next level.
Convincing him to help will be difficult.
Not throwing my club at his handsome face when he makes me work harder than I thought humanly possible will be excruciating.
But not falling for him will be the hardest thing of all.
Want more romance recommendations?
Check out my list of 15 Sensational Sports Romances here!
Check out my complete list of romance recs here.
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