Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.
The kind of trope I love the best is such a niche and unpopular trope that I struggle a lot finding books that fit what I’m looking for. To put it in simpler words, I love friends to lovers, but specifically best friends to lovers. I feel there’s just something more special in their relationship already and the transition to more always brings its own complications that is enjoyable for me to read. It probably stems from experience because I definitely fell for my best friend once upon a time, and it’s nice to see (at least fictionally) it could work out.
But besides best friends to lovers, I guess it’s the romantic angst of some unrequited love that’s a common denominator in such books. Usually one person feels something first/more than the other because their relationship has already settled into another mold for a while. I just like seeing how it gets resolved and people working through such roadblocks.
So without further ado, these are the few titles I have found that fit my favourite, super narrow trope. If you have ANY recommendations that sound like they’d fit this, PLEASE let me know in the comments below. I’m always looking for more!
Love, Life, and the List by Kasie West
Seventeen-year-old Abby Turner’s summer isn’t going the way she’d planned. She has a not-so-secret but definitely unrequited crush on her best friend, Cooper. She hasn’t been able to manage her mother’s growing issues with anxiety. And now she’s been rejected from an art show because her work “has no heart.” So when she gets another opportunity to show her paintings, Abby isn’t going to take any chances.
Which is where the list comes in.
Abby gives herself one month to do ten things, ranging from face a fear (#3) to learn a stranger’s story (#5) to fall in love (#8). She knows that if she can complete the list, she’ll become the kind of artist she’s always dreamed of being.
But as the deadline approaches, Abby realizes that getting through the list isn’t as straightforward as it seems . . . and that maybe—just maybe—she can’t change her art if she isn’t first willing to change herself.
The Cheat Sheet by Sarah Adams
Is it ever too late to leave the friend-zone?
Hi, my name is Bree Camden, and I’m hopelessly in love with my best friend and star quarterback Nathan Donelson (so is half of America, judging by the tabloids and how much the guy dates). The first step is admitting, right? Except, I can never admit it to him because he clearly doesn’t see me that way, and the last thing I want is for things to get weird between us.
Nothing but good old-fashioned, no-touching-the-sexiest-man-alive, platonic friendship for us! Everything is exactly how I like it! Yes. Good. (I’m not crying, I’m just peeling an onion.)
Our friendship is going swimmingly until I accidentally spill my beans to a reporter over too much tequila, and now the world seems to think me and Nathan belong together. Oh, and did I mention we have to date publicly for three weeks until after the Super Bowl because we signed a contract with…oops, forgot I can’t tell anyone about that!
Bottom line is, now my best friend is smudging all the lines and acting very un-platonic, and I’m just trying to keep my body from bursting into flames every time he touches me.
How am I going to make it through three weeks of fake dating Nathan without anything changing between us? Especially when it almost-sort-a-kinda seems like he’s fighting for a completely different outcome?
The Fine Art of Pretending by Rachel Harris
According to the guys at Fairfield Academy, there are two types of girls: the kind you hook up with, and the kind you’re friends with. Seventeen-year-old Alyssa Reed is the second type. And she hates it. With just one year left to change her rank, she devises a plan to become the first type by homecoming, and she sets her sights on the perfect date-Justin Carter, Fairfield Academy’s biggest hottie and most notorious player.
With 57 days until the dance, Aly launches Operation Sex Appeal and sheds her tomboy image. The only thing left is for Justin actually to notice her. Enter best friend Brandon Taylor, the school’s second biggest hottie, and now Aly’s pretend boyfriend. With his help, elevating from funny friend to tempting vixen is only a matter of time.
But when everything goes according to plan, the inevitable break up leaves their friendship in shambles, and Aly and Brandon with feelings they can’t explain. And the fake couple discovers pretending can sometimes cost you the one thing you never expected to want.
Unbreak My Heart by Nicole Jacquelyn
What do you do when your soul mate marries your best friend?
If you’re Kate Evans, you keep your friend Rachel, bond with her kids, and bury your feelings for her husband. The fact that Shane’s in the military and away for long periods helps—but when tragedy strikes, everything changes.
After Rachel, pregnant with her fourth child, dies in a car accident and the baby miraculously survives, Kate upends her entire life to share parenting duties. Then on the first anniversary of Rachel’s death, Kate and Shane take comfort in each other in a night that they both soon regret.
Shane’s been angry for a year, and now he feels guilty too—for sleeping with his wife’s best friend and liking it… liking her. Kate’s ability to read him like a book may have once sent Shane running, but their lives are forever entwined and they are growing closer.
Now with Shane deployed for seven months, Kate is on her own and struggling with being a single parent. Shane is loving and supportive from thousands of miles away, but his homecoming brings a betrayal Kate never saw coming. So Kate’s only choice is to fight for the future she deserves—with or without Shane…
Falling for your Best Friend by Emma St. Clair
I know how this story ends. And it’s NOT with the best friends falling in love.
Even if Chase checks all my boxes–and then some.
He’s the perfect guy, and he deserves the perfect girl. Which, to be clear, is not me.
I knew one day I would have to let him go. I just didn’t know it would be so soon.
Or that my traitorous friend would be the one setting him up with a string of potential girlfriends.
Now, I have an impossible choice to make…
I can watch Chase find love with someone else.
Or I can throw my hat in the ring and face my biggest fear, one not even he knows.
One that might make him run for the Texas hill country.
But if I don’t make a play, I might lose my best friend and my only chance at love…
Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
Love ignites in the City That Never Sleeps, but can it last?
Hopeless romantic Isla has had a crush on introspective cartoonist Josh since their first year at the School of America in Paris. And after a chance encounter in Manhattan over the summer, romance might be closer than Isla imagined. But as they begin their senior year back in France, Isla and Josh are forced to confront the challenges every young couple must face, including family drama, uncertainty about their college futures, and the very real possibility of being apart.
Featuring cameos from fan-favorites Anna, Étienne, Lola, and Cricket, this sweet and sexy story of true love—set against the stunning backdrops of New York City, Paris, and Barcelona—is a swoonworthy conclusion to Stephanie Perkins’s beloved series.
The Stand-In Boyfriend by Christina Benjamin
Sometimes the person you’re meant to be with is standing right in front of you.
Parker Reed has been in love with Beth Bennett since he was four years old. She grew up next door to him, holding his hand and now his heart. The problem is, Beth has no idea Parker is in love with her. He’s stuck in the friend zone, forced to stand by while Beth dates a parade of losers. But with their senior year of high school winding down, Parker finds himself wondering how much longer he can hide his feelings for Beth.
Beth Bennett’s life is perfect. She’s convinced she has it all—the world’s best friend and the world’s best boyfriend. Now if only she could get the two to get along. With her spring break trip to Aspen just around the corner, Beth feels the pressure to spend time with both the guys in her life. But as usual, her older sister throws a wrench into Beth’s plans by hijacking her perfect spring break with a shotgun wedding.
As Beth scrambles to balance being a girlfriend, best friend and sister, her perfectly planned life spirals out of control. As always Parker is there to catch her. And when Beth’s boyfriend decides he’d rather go skiing than be her wedding date, Parker steps in to take his place. He decides the wedding is his big chance to tell Beth how he feels. What does he have to lose . . . besides the girl of his dreams?
Who will Beth choose? Her boyfriend, or the boy who’s never let her down?
Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg
For Macallan and Levi, it was friends at first sight. Everyone says guys and girls can’t be just friends, but these two are. They hang out after school, share tons of inside jokes, their families are super close, and Levi even starts dating one of Macallan’s friends. They are platonic and happy that way.
Eventually they realize they’re best friends—which wouldn’t be so bad if they didn’t keep getting in each other’s way. Guys won’t ask Macallan out because they think she’s with Levi, and Levi spends too much time joking around with Macallan, and maybe not enough time with his date. They can’t help but wonder . . . are they more than friends or are they better off without making it even more complicated?
What do you think of these titles? Any that seem interesting? Am I a little weird for being SO very specific with my favourite trope? (Yep?) Please let me know if you have any recs for me!