2021 Staff Picks: Romance

By Skokie Staff Advisory Services

Our expert staff members look back at the year and share their favorite titles. New to romance? Read our Beginner's Guide.

  • The Ex Talk

    2021 by Solomon, Rachel Lynn

    Fans of National Public Radio should get a kick out of this workplace romance. There is some seriously funny rom-com steam, making the most out of fake dating and enemies-to-lovers tropes. Recommended by Becca, Rummanah, and Sharon.

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  • Archangel's Light

    2021 by Singh, Nalini

    Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunter series has been a little bit of a hit-or-miss for me with the past few books (I still absolutely adore her Psy-Changeling series, though), but I’m glad to say this one is a winner! The main couple’s relationship is a slow burn and seems to take a backseat to everything else that’s happening in their world, but because I have been a big fan of them from the previous books, I really appreciate this turning point in their journey. Recommended by Penny.

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  • A Lot Like Adiós

    2021 by Daria, Alexis

    This book is bursting with emotion, family, culture, and joy, with a friends-to-lovers/second chance romance. Delightful characters and a steamy romance that I couldn’t put down. Recommended by Rummanah.

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  • Seven Days in June

    2021 by Williams, Tia

    We loved the complexity of the characters and could feel their chemistry. Williams' writing is funny and fresh. Recommended by Brooke and Michelle.

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  • Hana Khan Carries On

    2021 by Jalaluddin, Uzma

    I loved this modern day You’ve Got Mail with a podcast, rival halal restaurants, and Indian culture. This story and its characters grabbed my attention from the first page. Recommended by Rummanah.

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  • The Girl With Stars in Her Eyes

    2021 by Axelrod, Xio

    Making a name for herself in Philadelphia's indie scene, musician Antonia "Toni" Bennett (yes she has heard all the jokes) auditions for the hottest new band in the country, The Lillys. Doing so brings her face-to-face with the boy, Seb, who broke her heart and nearly stole her dreams many years ago. If you like second chance romances about former childhood friends, you will love this book as much as I did. Recommended by Lynnanne.

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  • The Devil Comes Courting

    2021 by Milan, Courtney

    I love historical romance, so Courtney Milan is one of my go-tos, and this is probably now my favorite full length book of hers. I love the leads--how funny they are and how weird they can be--and I did, in fact, cry a little bit about racial imposter syndrome and family and the concept of home. So good. Recommended by Perry.

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  • Act Your Age, Eve Brown

    2021 by Hibbert, Talia

    We thought this book was absolutely adorable. It had all the things that we wanted in a romance: great characters, humor, heart, and steam. Recommended by Becca and Rummanah.

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  • One Last Stop

    2021 by McQuiston, Casey

    A bit of LGBTQ history rolled up into a romantic and sweet and steamy story. We loved the time-glitchy arc and hopeful vibe. Recommended by Andrew, Becca, and Sharon.

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  • The Soulmate Equation

    2021 by Lauren, Christina

    I loved the slow burn romance and the chemistry between Jess and Rivers. I also really enjoyed the scientific aspect of the story and that Jess was a single mom, which is often a perspective we don't read from romance novels. Recommended by Rummanah.

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  • If the Shoe Fits: A Meant to Be Novel

    2021 by Murphy, Julie

    The first in a new series of romance novels based (loosely) around Disney favorites is kicked off with this delightful book based on Cinderella . . . if she went on a show like The Bachelor. There is just enough of the story of the famous princess to be charming but there is enough new content to keep you engaged and surprised. I really loved this one. Recommended by Becca.

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  • Once More Upon a Time

    2021 by Chokshi, Roshani

    I’m a sucker for a good "once upon a time" romantic fairy tale, and this novella did not disappoint. With cannibals and honey badgers and callbacks to many classic fairy tales, I loved this cheeky, fun, and sexy fairytale of adventure and love lost and rediscovered. Recommended by Lynnanne.

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  • Bombshell

    2021 by MacLean, Sarah

    Reading a new release from Sarah Maclean is always a highlight for me. Sesily and Caleb's chemistry sizzles and pops. I really appreciated the strong female friendships featured in the book and Sesily living her life unapologetically. Recommended by Rummanah.

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  • Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake

    2021 by Hall, Alexis J.

    Hall's characters, dialogue, and sense of humor add the icing to the cake for this great read. Recommended by Amy and Becca.

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  • People We Meet on Vacation

    2021 by Henry, Emily

    I finished this friends-to-lovers romance within two days. Utterly delightful and adorable. Highly recommended to fans of When Harry Met Sally. Recommended by Rummanah.

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  • The Dating Playbook

    2021 by Rochon, Farrah

    I love a good fake relationship story, and The Dating Playbook nails the trope. Both characters want the real thing, but realistic issues keep them apart--or do they? Recommended by Rummanah.

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  • While We Were Dating

    2021 by Guillory, Jasmine

    I love Guillory's writing and the chemistry between Ben and Ana. All of the characters were relatable, smart, and independent. I enjoyed the witty dialogue and playful banter. Recommended by Michelle.

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  • Second First Impressions

    2021 by Thorne, Sally

    I loved how this book focused on Ruthie's personal growth. I also really liked Teddy and thought his own growth on his own terms was realistic. The romance is just an added bonus. Recommended by Rummanah.

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  • Love at First

    2021 by Clayborn, Kate

    I really enjoyed this character-driven, slow-burn romance. Recommended by Rummanah.

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