19 of My Favorite Book Boyfriends That Ruin the Mere Idea of Dating

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.

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Connor, 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.

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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.

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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??

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.*

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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.

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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.

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Josh, Younger

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

8 Fall Book Releases I Couldn’t Put Down

Will we have a summer? Will we have a fall, even? Will the world go back to normal and will our country actually enact change so equality is a given? As much as I wish I had the answers or that everything would be answered affirmatively and in a timely manner, we just don’t know anything. You know, a good book can help you cope, and that’s a fact. (I’m proof as I’ve gotten lost in many a book since the stay-at-home orders were enacted.)

So, welcome back to Miranda’s Book Nook with my latest recommendations perfect to keep you busy and engaged during this crazy, anxious, and uncertain time.

Kiss My Cupcake by Helena Hunting

This novel focuses on two neighboring bars competing for business in a college town, and immediately I spy a delicious enemies-to-lovers trope brewing, chock full of sparks and chemistry. The dual perspectives of Ronan and Blaire help show there’s more to each side. Let’s just say this book is as sweet as … cupcakes! But, I like it, it’s fun and indulgent and sometimes that’s exactly what you need.

It’s a super quick read, and damn now I just want a cupcake myself! Once the duo gets to know each other and even team up, it gets a heck of a lot cuter and they are so in sync, it’s adorable. All that perfection and cuteness finally comes crumbling down in the final acts, and all that rawness and vulnerability is selling this book as more than just a cutesy romance. It has a predictable, sugary sweet ending, but yea, I enjoyed it. It was a very quick romance read and it was fun, definitely.

The story follows business owners Blaire Calloway and Ronan Knight who find themselves competing for customers and publicity. But, like any good romance, with every disagreement, more chemistry and sparks develop. Then, when a bigger business threat could take both their shops down, they must team up and well, I think you know where that is headed.

Available: August 11


Not Your #LoveStory by Sonia Hartl

This a quick, fun, and easy YA romance read. At first, you’re following aspiring YouTuber Macy in what looks like a love triangle of sorts between one complete jerk and two of her coworkers/friends, so it’s a little unclear who the main characters are and the story is definitely slow to start.

It reminds me of a teen, YA version of Girl Gone Viral with the context of a bystander live tweets a supposed meet-cute, even if it turns out to be faked. But, of course, the truth isn’t what it seems online. Eric is a cocky, slimy jerk who wants to capitalize on the attention. And, there we get the classic fake dating trope, so the duo can get more exposure and website revenue. Then, there’s a love triangle trope with Paxton, the sweetheart she’s big-time crushing on. Macy is caught between ethics and money and if she should play into this Twitter narrative or not. But, she and Paxton together are just so raw, vulnerable, and super cute. It’s a quick, fun YA read.

Available: September 1


Older by Pamela Redmond

I’ve been so so so excited for this sequel to Younger since I first found out about it, because I loved the original book and the popular TVLand series based on it. Here, we pick up some five years after Liza’s big lie and wow, so much as happened for her. The writing style and language are just so descriptive and captivating, I just can’t put it down. Oh, what a laugh, with the Sutton Foster and TV show references: It’s so brilliant to tie-in the show for the fans. Okay, like holy sh*t, I’m actually OBSESSED with everything in this book by just chapter one alone.

So, Hugo Fielding is the perfect choice for any Team Charles fans from the show, don’t you worry. He’ll bring the romance, and so will Josh for quite the love triangle (erm, square?). A romantic connection for Team Hugo is a bit of a slow burn, and then it comes in hot, hot, hot, wowza.

Hugo even says a line that implies that he finished this book at 3 in the morning, and hey, that tracks so well, because, SAME. I’m absolutely in love with this book and Pamela Redmond does the world of Liza and her perspective so much justice, and I just need to keep reading. It has to be a five-star read for me, like I’m actively clapping, squealing, and I’m just obsessed. I really liked the script parts and the show connections are fun, especially as a fan of the TV show myself. There’s so much drama, and I’m living for it!  Seriously it’s so descriptive, I can’t stop reading: it feels like a movie in my head, I can see it all so clearly. Also, it may seem silly, but I really appreciate the non-flowery, non-cutesy *ahem* monikers that you’d typically find in other romance novels, and thank goodness; this makes the book feel so much more realistic. In the end, everyone does get their HEAs, but in a way that feels authentic and justified, and about damn time. In the end, it comes full circle to the show and it’s a nice way to pay tribute to that world and fans.

This book has frothy romance and melodrama, core friendship bonds, odes to both LA and NYC, plenty of heart and vulnerability, independence, and so many meta ties to the show and its actors. I loved it as a sequel and on its own, though it does help if you know the story already whether, from the first book or TV series, it certainly helps you connect to the world right off the bat.

Available: September 8


White Coat Diaries by Madi Sinha

It’s definitely an eye-opening look at the life of an idealistic young doctor, just as she begins her residency at a prestigious hospital. We first meet Norah who’s having a tough time transitioning into her new role and her chief resident Ethan, whom she obviously falls for despite him not being interested.

It reads quickly with engaging language, it and does remind me of Grey’s Anatomy (I do love my medical dramas!), but I like that it is more about her career than just romance and finding a man. It’s the story of her residency, friendships, and family. Norah is definitely idealistic which I’d rather see her more realistic and wanting to do this job well and not fawn all over a man. It’s engaging and I couldn’t put it down. The ending did feel out of character for her, and I do wish there was no implied romantic interest because the book didn’t need it, that part all felt like filler. Other than that, it was a quick read about the medical field.

Available: September 15


Tools of Engagement by Tessa Bailey

This enemies-to-lovers romance is set in the house flipping world, much like the author’s previous books in the Just Us League. With this one, Wes and Bethany have so much banter together, which is what I love, so it won me over. In the book, house stager Bethany teams up with construction worker Wes to flip a house on a tight deadline.

It does awkwardly flip between the two point-of-views, but the voices are drastically different, so it’s not that confusing. It’s very cute, but does escalate very fast, which is good because a slow burn wouldn’t have worked as well between these two characters with their chemistry and attraction.

It does feel like just another cutesy, steamy romance and that’s about it. There’s some very detailed language and lots of steamy scenes, so if that’s not your style, FYI. It’s a romance, nothing more or nothing less, it is what it is and just what you’d expect in the genre. It’s a fine, easy romance read. That being said, the HEA at the end is sweet and adorable, I can’t ignore or brush over that. Since it is the third book in the series, it definitely is meant for an audience that knows the other two books since it has the same characters. Having not read the others first, it’s just fine, but had I read the others, I’m sure I’d like even more.

Available: September 22


The Code for Love and Heartbreak by Jillian Cantor

It starts off cute enough, back in high school. The book feels original with the story and characters and from the beginning, I’m very intrigued to see where things will go.

This retelling of Jane Austen’s Emma follows coding rockstar Emma and co-club president and friend George as they must develop a brand-new coding project for competition. Her idea is to create “The Code for Love,” a dating algorithm slash matchmaking app. At first, he disapproves of her idea, but it actually works and for the first time, she becomes popular across the whole school.

It’s a fast and fun contemporary YA read and very enjoyable. I’ve gotten so invested in the story because Emma is so oblivious to what’s right in front of her and I just want to shake her like, ‘Girl, what is right in front of you!’ And then, George, gah, this boy, this boy is indecisive and is messing with my head because it all seemed so obvious, but I don’t know what to think anymore. But that being said, I couldn’t put it down and ended up devouring it in one night. That ending is beyond is cute, like heart-melting, earth-shattering, grand romance, and all that stuff. It’s so cute and that ending/epilogue is precious. It’s a love story for all us nerd types out there, and proof that you can’t rationalize everything. For a YA romance, it’s just what I want.

Available: October 6


Cobble Hill by Cecily von Ziegesar

I was so excited about this book just being the latest from the mind of the woman who created Gossip Girl, which was a series I devoured back in the day. That, and the premise had me intrigued. The story follows a year-in-the-life of parents and kids in the well-off neighborhood of Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, and how they all connect and relate with each other.

There’s so much descriptive language that it really does play out like a movie in your head, but there’s a lot of point-of-views; almost too many at times, which is hard to keep up. While some of the adult characters are providing all the chaos, little nerdy teen Liam is the shiny and adorable bright spot with his schoolboy crush on the shy new girl Shy. There are so many secrets, which obviously causes all of the drama. There were a few continuity problems: like how on Earth did Editorial Assistant Manfred somehow, magically get promoted straight away to Senior Editor??? It doesn’t make sense. However, the book is very well-written, I can’t deny that. (Also, side note, are babysitters in Cobble Hill really making $20 per hour? If so, I may need a new side gig!)

The book starts to pick up by the second part after an extremely long exposition, but there’s still no singular or central story, it’s sort of all over the place. It is interesting to see all these different perspectives because it’s all so incredibly weird, like what is happening?? The plot is so odd, so odd, but yet, I couldn’t stop reading. The plot is so bizarre, it feels strange for it to be written by the same author who created Gossip Girl. But, I’m addicted and just have to keep reading because of the captivating, descriptive writing and storytelling devices; it really draws you in. Everything in this book is so off-the-walls-bonkers with the characters, I had no clue what was going on, but perhaps that’s what the author was going for. Then, there’s sort of a mystery going on, but just sort of as a device to show time passing? Then, there’s some resolution at the end, but it’s mostly a jumble, mish-mosh of a year in the life of eclectic, wealthy Brooklyn families. While the plot was strange and different, I was so intrigued and just couldn’t put it down.

Available: October 20


Stories from Suffragette City by M. J. Rose and Fiona Davis; introduction by Kristin Hannah

This collection of short stories honors the struggle for women’s suffrage and several perspectives of a variety of women across New York and the country at this time across the essays. Written by an assortment of bestselling authors, each story is set on the same day: October 23, 1915, during the march for women’s suffrage in New York City.

Each story uses impactful, captivating language to draw the reader in. With everything that’s happening in the world, this book is more important than ever to show why we need to stand up and fight for justice and equality. The stories are all about such strong, curious women and their male allies, who all turn up for the same suffragette parade in NYC. Some of these stories do end quite abruptly and ambiguously, while others feel completed and whole. But its overarching lesson about standing up and remaining strong at protests still rings true. Then, the little Grace character bounds from one story to the next, and as she weaves through the parade, multiple stories are tied together and show off a symbol of hope for the next generation.

It’s an eye-opening and important read, chock full of compelling language. It shares a message that women are not invisible and can/will/need to make their own destiny. The stories do highlight diverse voices, with two WOC protagonists, however, I wish that had a higher proportion instead of making it seem like a “white woman issue,” I would have loved more of a diverse perspective in a more even split overall.

Available: October 27


Advance reader copies of each book were provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.