I think this title pretty much says it all. As you may have gathered by now, as frequent visitors to Miranda’s Book Nook, I’m a big fan of romance books. Because, especially in today’s uncertain and disheartened world, these books and the sweeping HEAs never fail to put a smile on my face and make me feel happier.
But, these love interests are fictional. Like seriously, where on Earth are these soulmate types IRL? I mean, where’s a Peeta Mellark, Bo Lawson, or even a Drew Nichols in reality, and how’s a girl supposed to find him amongst the billions of people roaming around? Since these dream dates aren’t sniffing around in the real world, I guess I’ll settle to read about these picture-perfect matches where heartbreak isn’t a major concern. (Seriously, why don’t I see these types of devoted book BFs pop up on Hinge, huh?)
This is not a ranking per se, but rather a comprehensive list of all my favorite (recent and all-time) fictional boyfriends across my favorite romance, YA, and women’s fiction novels. These guys just take such an interest in the girl they are crushing on, truly caring about her wellbeing and happiness for who she is — baggage be damned. And in the end, we get a picture-perfect love story that, sure, doesn’t exist IRL, but they feel just right and genuine, which is everything that us single girls could ever dream of for a match.
Seriously, all my fellow single ladies, prepare to swoon.
Writer’s Note: This may be an embarrassing post, but you know what? F*ck it. After reading an ARC of Smash It! (review post coming soon), I want to be more fearless in my own life and less afraid to do anything and so, here we go. I wanted to write this because I thought it would be fun and good for a laugh. So, here it is. Whether you like it or not, this post for me and I enjoyed writing and compiling every entry. Bam. Enjoy.
Jas Singh, Girl Gone Viral
Come on, like, I was already crushing on him *before* he even professed his feelings for his boss Katrina. There was a definite vibe between the two and sparks and chemistry aplenty. Within 37 pages of the book, I was already hardcore shipping Jas and Kat together, before they even professed their feelings to each other! But, they’ve been pining over each other for years (and his abs certainly didn’t hurt). Kat wanted the zings when it came to love, and with Jas, she got them, from their deep chats, innocent flirt sessions, and other *ahem* steamy moments.
Connor Markham, American Royals
One of my favorite parts about this book was Princess Beatrice (aka Bea)’s storyline, which heavily involved our next Book BF. While Beatrice needed a blue-blooded man to sit beside her on the throne one day, she can’t help but ignore her feelings for former friend slash crush Connor, who also happens to be her personal bodyguard. Meaning, he always just wants to see her happy and safe. I mean, come on! Like, when he proposed to Bea (not the queen-to-be, but the girl he crushed on back at school) with just a Sharpie drawing because he couldn’t afford a giant rock? I wept. Money can’t buy you love and he proves that tenfold.
While they had to keep their relationship trysts on the DL because he’s her bodyguard, what they did share was romantic and cute as hell. I just can’t wait for the sequel Majesty to drop this fall just to get more Bea+Connor swoon-worthy content.
Ben Mackenzie, Meet You In the Middle
Geez, where do I find a Ben Mackenzie that treats me like his own Kate IRL? Like, gah perfection. I mean, I may act like an ice queen to protect myself from getting hurt, but even I know that, damn, deep down I’m such a romantic Pisces girl, who’s just wanting and yearning for true love to be real and just so full of hope that someone can think you, quirks and all, is perfect.
I’ve since read my ARC of this book at least three times and swoon over him every time. Sure, like Kate, Ben and I fall on opposite political ends, but he proves how compatible the two are in so many other ways regardless and how much he’s willing to support her no matter what. Plus, he’s more excited for her own victories than his own, which is just so precious. Sure, they have physical chemistry and all that jazz, but they also have banter and wit, and that in itself is like dream guy material.
Jay Shah, The Trouble With Hating You
Jay is absolutely head over heels with Liya, truly accepting and supporting her for who she is. By the time they admit their feelings for one another, the romance feels justified and earned. Even when Liya tries to push him away, he still sticks by her because he cares so deeply about her. Hell, he’ll even move away from his family if it means they’ll be together. Gah, it’s authentic yet sweeping, and is a Jay too much to ask for IRL??
Alex Rouvalis, Four Days of You and Me
It’s the classic ‘popular boy is a jerk to a girl, but that’s only because he likes her’ trope, but as we get to know Alex better, we see he’s more than just a pretty-boy jock. Regardless of where he and Lulu stand personally, he always does what it takes to make her happy, from planting a garden, skipping school trips, risking injury, even if he gets in trouble, because his consuming love for her is worth it. They just have such a strong connection that can’t be broken.
Derek Darcy, The Wrong Mr. Darcy
Derek may seem like the stereotypical rich professional athlete, but actually, he has so much heart in this novel. Just look at the storm scene, and everything he risks to help Hara and her new friend get to safety when things looked fatal and really bad. Then, he was willing to confront the basketball team owner over his misdeeds to help protect Hara and her family. He’s such a stand-up guy with the best heart around. I mean, I guess he is a Darcy after all.
Nicholas Rose, You Deserve Each Other
While, at first, we as readers are poised to dislike Naomi’s Prince Charming-esque fiancé Nick, once their battle of wits heats up and their walls tumble back down, they re-warm to each other as accomplices, BFFs, and lovers to become even stronger. Soon, we discover the lengths he’s gone to save them, the real them; not the society couple they are supposed to be. From the cabin, the little notes, and teaming up against his controlling mother, it’s so clear they are meant to be. And that’s why he makes this list because his authentic self loves hers. They have to fight for their love and he doesn’t ever give up, because he knows the real Naomi is his person. To have someone fight for you when you’ve all but given up hope? Gah.
Ryan Nicholson, Head Over Heels
First, Avery’s childhood crush offers her a job and friendship once she moves back home following a traumatic breakup. So, they start to work together as gymnastic coaches. And I’m not kidding because, within ninety pages, I’m sitting here squealing over the prospect of them becoming the hottest new couple and co-coaches ever. I’m definitely getting ahead of myself, but that’s because you want to root for these characters. Soon enough, the sparks start flying. It’s never that easy when a massive scandal rocks the gymnastics world and could threaten to pull them apart. But, of course, he believes her and supports her.
Prince Nicholas, The Royal We
He’s definitely a favorite book boyfriend, first off, because he’s basically Prince William but fictionalized. Then, once he and Bex give into their crazy chemistry and connection, all bets are off. Even when they are apart, he cannot stop thinking about her. Ugh, and like the whole British Prince + American Commoner trope is just straight out of a fairytale, even before Prince Harry and Meghan Markle started dating.
Fitzwilliam Darcy, Eligible
Another Darcy? So, obviously, he needs to be on here. While he and Liz don’t exactly get off on the best foot, soon enough their banter translates into crazy, unexplainable chemistry. Even when Chip reveals himself to be the real jerk, it is Darcy who shines as the man who really cares for her and her family. It just goes to prove that first impressions are rarely as they seem.
Bo Larson, Dumplin
Seriously, he has to be one of my top book boyfriends, like ever. Sure, Luke Benward does a great job portraying him in the Netflix film, but there was a lot to his backstory that was excluded. And that was the best part and why I took a liking to him so much. You think he’s some stuck-up private school kid and athlete, but actually he’s there on scholarship, dirt-poor, a great big brother, and a helpful son. That, and he likes Willowdean as she is, without even a care that she doesn’t have a typical Barbie-girl physique. He’s honest and lays his heart on the line to her and he’s legit one of the best YA romantic love interests I’ve ever read about.
Oliver, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight
I think I have a British boy infatuation problem? Oops. Anyway, ever since I first read this YA book back when YA was age-appropriate for me in technicality, I loved it in part to how sweet Oliver was to our heroine. He was heroic and charming, but still vulnerable and grounded, and just sought to be with her and be present in the moment. I mean, how many times did I secretly wish I was seated next to a handsome suitor on a flight?? Countless. How many times has it happened? A big fat ZERO, zilch, nada. So, I’ll live vicariously through these two.
Adam Martinez, By the Book
While this story picks up some 20-odd years later, their relationship actually began while college students. Adam and Anne spent so much time together, he met her family and her college mentor, and then gave her the most incredible literary proposal of all time. Then, he does it a second time! He builds her a dream library, aims to do whatever it takes to make her happy and I just *sigh.*
Nick Young, Crazy Rich Asians and China Rich Girlfriend
Of course, you can’t think of the best book boyfriends without thinking of the doting, handsome, intelligent, and family-orientated Nick Young. Sure, the movie definitely makes him even more lovable, but I’m focused on him as a love interest in the books. Even by the end of the first book, when they aren’t even together, he still wants to do what is right by here, give her the time she needs to wrap her head around her own life and goals before giving her all in a relationship. He lets her do exactly that at her own pace, no rush. And seriously that book proposal in the second book from the trilogy blows the movie’s airplane proposal out of the water, because it’s so sweeping and romantic, and I’m gonna swoon. I mean, the movie viewers are definitely robbed of seeing that incredibly romantic scene play out in the sequel film. I’m fine, it’s not like I’m bitter or anything, whatever.
Alex Claremont-Diaz & Prince Henry, Red, White, & Royal Blue
They both make the list because they are both wonderful love interests. What starts off as a fake friendship turned real friendship to real love is every bit as authentic, genuine, and cute as imagined. They see each other as more than just the supersized public personas from the tabloids and get to know the charming and honest men underneath. And I mean, the fact that one’s a royal prince certainly doesn’t hurt.
He proves that age, et cetera, doesn’t matter when it comes to love and two souls that belong together. I loved how sweet and caring he was in the book and on the show, and what more could a girl want? He’s perfect, I’ll even make an exception for the tattoos. OK, I can’t help it: the book made it so easy for me to be a #TeamJosh supporter, especially since the novel has no Charles. But in her follow-up Older, I definitely swayed a bit more towards Team Hugo. Hey, it’s where Liza is out now, some five years later since the first book.
Eli Stock, Along for the Ride
Honestly, he was one of my first book crushes once I started diving into the world of YA. (Thank you, Sarah Dessen.) Sure, he’s mysterious and a loner, but he’s someone Auden can count on and open up to. Oh, and he’s good with babies too. He helps her embrace her fears and to see the world in new ways. They help each other grow and if that’s not real love, then IDK what is.
Oliver Blackwood, Boyfriend Material
He’s not just the perfect fake boyfriend in this book, he’s pretty much the perfect boyfriend in general. He has banter, is nice and normal with a good job and a good fashion sense. Also, he’s a vegetarian because of his strong ethical code and he’s never had a scandal in his life. Seriously, that’s boyfriend material. Hence, the book title. It’s just precious as can be to see Oliver’s adorableness as the world’s most perfect boyfriend. It’s just like so much perfection. But, you’ll learn that he’s actually not perfect, and between him and Luc, they make each other better, and it’s even sweeter and cuter.
Augustus Waters, The Fault in Our Stars
OK, I’m pretty sure Gus here is like the OG Book Boyfriend from any YA novel. Sorry, I don’t make the rules, he just is. Everything about him and who he is as a survivor is just so strong and kind, and I can’t help but melt every time I read the book (or watch the movie). He helps Hazel Grace cope with her own diagnosis, help her fulfill her dream with a romantic trip to Amsterdam, and helps her meet her favorite author. Plus, their flirty “okay” text conversations still gives me goosebumps.
Well, maybe I’ll never find my ultimate, perfect prince in real life, but at least I know him in my imagination through these books. Hey, it’s something right?