The 30 best contemporary romance fiction books of 2021, per a ‘BookTuber’

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Let’s be real — a lighthearted romance book paired with a beautifully illustrated cover is a divine duo.

Steph Bohrer, a 19-year-old incoming junior at Arizona State University, has more than 215,000 subscribers on YouTube where she posts videos on book recommendations, buying books and even relating Taylor Swift songs to some of her favorite paperbacks and hardcovers.

“I started my YouTube during quarantine,” Bohrer told The Post. “I was so bored, was reading so much and had nobody to talk about my books with. So, the new thing is to film yourself talking and people received the videos well.”

Almost on her 100th book of 2021, she’ll typically finish a new read in two days — sometimes in one sitting if she’s “really into it.”

“When I was younger, I was so anti-reading — I thought it was boring and I hated reading books for school,” she said. “I started reading on Wattpad on my phone, and then started reading young-adult romance books and started an excessive amount. Now, I can’t imagine not reading.”

Preferably, Bohrer will browse Barnes & Noble shelves to find her next favorite: contemporary romance.

“As cliche as it sounds, I’m not into a book if it doesn’t have romance in it,” she said. “I love new adult books about characters my age I can relate to and friend group books.”

Below, find her top 30 contemporary romance book recommendations — including much-clamored-about books and unique titles with exceptional storylines. That’s right, no more hunting down titles or falling into a what-do-I-read slump.

With each book, there’s a brief explanation to skim and shop your next five-star rating.

Here are the best contemporary romance books of 2021:

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller, $10.35 (originally $16.99)

“This is a Greek mythology retelling of the story of Achilles,” Bohrer said. “I wasn’t into Greek mythology at all but this book is so well written and it’s a romance about Patroclus and Achilles that’s accurate to the myth. It’s tragic but so good.”

Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover, $10.19 (originally $16.99)

“It’s told in a past and present perspective of why this boy Miles is so anti-love,” she said. “It shows his first relationship in the past and a girl falling in love with him in the present. It’s a great story of everything that happened in his life and what changed him.”

Plus, Colleen Hoover is her favorite author and “Ugly Love” is her favorite of her books.

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne, $12.99 (originally $15.99)

“’The Hating Game‘ is one of my favorite books,” she said. “It’s enemies-to-lovers: the boy is grumpy and mean and the girl is all sunshine and happiness, and they just don’t get along. You see their forced proximity and how they eventually realize they have more in common than they thought.”

The Addicted Series Box Set by Krista Ritchie, $9.99

“This is my favorite series of all time with 10 books,” she said. “There are three couples — six best friends — and they’re famous. And, it’s more than just romance because the character development is so strong.”

Archer’s Voice by Mia Sheridan, $15.29 (originally $16.99)

“This boy named Archer goes through something really traumatic to the point where he can’t speak anymore,” she said. “He meets this girl named Bree and they have some trauma they go through together. It’s a story of fate finding love after being through a lot.”

A Thousand Boy Kisses by Tillie Cole, $11.08 (originally $11.99)

“I can’t say anything without spoiling this book, but it’s a young-adult book about this girl who goes through something tragic, cuts off her childhood best friend and ends up figuring out the issue at hand together,” she said.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid, $9.42 (originally $17)

“I recently finished this book and it was amazing,” she said. “It’s the life story of one of the biggest actresses in the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s, and everything she goes through — love, loss, and relationships with family and friends — makes you learn so much from her story.”

Confess by Colleen Hoover, $14.31 (originally $16.99)

“This book is about a girl who moves to a new town, needs a job and meets a boy who was hiring — almost like fate,” she said. “They’re both hiding a lot and there’s a plot twist in there, too.”

The Spanish Love Deception by Elena Armas, $16.19 (originally $17.99)

“This book is so fun and cute,” she said. “It’s an enemies-to-lovers, wholesome read. The characters work together and she needs a date to a wedding, even though they don’t get along. The ‘fake dating’ slowly turns into a real relationship.”

Bright Side by Kim Holden, $14.39 (originally $15.99)

“’Bright Side‘ is about a girl who is so optimistic and everyone loves her,” she said. “She meets this boy and she’s closed-off to him because he sees the ‘real’ her and she doesn’t want people to know she’s not actually happy all the time — and she has a lot of secrets.”

All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover, $14.49 (originally $16.99)

“’All Your Perfects‘ is told from a past, present and future perspective,” she said. “It’s about a couple falling in love for the first time and then eight years into their marriage, their relationship is falling apart. So, you’re seeing them fall in love, fall out of love and their hardships with infertility.”

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren, $8.44 (originally $16.99)

“’The Unhoneymooners‘ is about this girl and boy whose siblings are getting married — they’re the best man and maid of honor at a wedding — and they’ve never gotten along,” she said. “The bride and groom get food poisoning and they’re forced to take on their prepaid honeymoon and it’s fun seeing them spend the week together.”

People We Meet On Vacation by Emily Henry, $9.98 (originally $16)

“I read this book when I was in Hawaii and it’s about girl and boy best friends who go on vacation every year,” she said. “You’re reading until you find out why they don’t talk anymore.”

The Deal by Ellie Kennedy, $13.29 (originally $15)

“’The Deal‘ is a hockey romance about a super popular guy and super smart girl needing each other to cope with some trauma,” she said. “Garrett plays hockey, Hannah ends up tutoring him, and he realizes what she’s been through all along.” 

November 9 by Colleen Hoover, $11.83 (originally $16.99)

“Fallyn and Ben decide to meet up every November 9 because they live on opposite sides of the country, but they have an instant connection when they meet,” she said. “You follow every November 9 of them meeting up and how their relationship develops over that time.”

Beach Read by Emily Henry, $7.36 (originally $16)

“’Beach Read‘ is about this girl who moves to her dad’s beach house after he passes away, after finding out what he’s been hiding for all of her life,” she said. “She’s a writer and goes there to write her book, but soon realizes her college rival — who’s also a writer — lives next door.”

The Summer of Broken Rules by K.L. Walther, $8.99 (originally $10.99)

“’The Summer of Broken Rules takes place in Martha’s Vineyard and I loved the summer-inspired scenery,” she said. “It’s about this girl whose sister passed away, goes on a family vacation with her aunts and cousins for the first time without her sister, and she meets this boy there.”

Most of All You by Mia Sheridan, $11.99 (originally $18.99)

“’Most of All You‘ is about a boy with a tragic past who’s hesitant about dating,” Bohrer said. “He meets this girl who’s detached from reality and has also been through a lot. And, he sees something in her that nobody else sees.”

She describes it as “two broken people finding comfort in each other.”

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston, $9.97 (originally $16.99)

“’Red White & Royal Blue‘ is about the First Son of the United States and the Prince of England,” she said. “They have a public fight and their parents make them go on ‘fake friend dates’ so the public thinks they’re civil. The character discovers more about his sexuality and it’s a great romance of two high-profile people.”

It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover, $10.80 (originally $16.99)

“This is a really popular one,” she said. “Lily meets this boy and as things go wrong, she reads diary entries from when she dated her first love. It’s an impactful story.”

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid, $

“’Daisy Jones & The Six‘ is about a girl in a band and you’re going to have to read it — it’s hard not to spoil it,” she said.

The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata, $20.69 (originally $22.99)

“This is about the assistant to an NFL football player who has worked for the athlete her whole life,” she said. “But, he’s so mean to her, she quits, and then he begs her to come back at her doorstep. She ends up having to move in with him and it’s a forced-proximity story of a developing relationship.”

Hopeless by Colleen Hoover, $13.72

“Sky has lived a sheltered life: no phone, no Internet, and no access to the outside world,” she said. “She meets this boy and they have an instant friendship. There’s an instant plot twist and everything she thought about her life is a complete lie.”

Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover, $12 (originally $16.99)

“’Maybe Someday‘ is about this girl who finds out her boyfriend is cheating on her with her best friend,” she said. “She has nowhere to go so she moves in with her neighbor. The relationship theme is ‘maybe someday we can be together, but not right now,’ once a new guy comes into the picture.”

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang, $14.40 (originally $16)

“In this book, the main character’s parents pressure her into starting a family of her own, but she wants to focus on her career,” she said. “She has Asperger’s, a form of Autism, so she’s not comfortable being in a relationship with someone. So, she hires a male escort to teach her about being in a relationship — and you find out why he’s escorting in the first place.”

The Problem With Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout, $11.69 (originally $12.99)

“Mallory grew up in a foster home with this boy who always protected her,” she said. “They end up getting separated and she finds the boy she grew up with in her last period class.”

The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker, $14.29 (originally $17)

“The main character finds out her dad is dying and she hasn’t seen him since she was little because he lives in Alaska,” she said. “Her father owns an airline company and the girl bonds with a pilot about her dad’s sickness.”

Heart Bones by Colleen Hoover, $13.49 (originally $14.99)

“After her mom passed away, the main character ends up moving in with her dad, who she’s really never met,” she said. “She meets her stepsister, becomes immersed in a new friend group, and meets a boy — and there’s a plot twist that summer.”

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