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21 Best Enemies to Lovers Books

The enemies-to-lovers rom-com trope, aka hate-to-love romance books, gained popularity with the release of The Hating Game novel and has remained a reader favorite. We pulled together the best of the best based on our personal reading and Goodreads ratings. With a mix of steamy books and clean reads, our curated list has something for every rom com fan!

RIght on Cue book cover next to black heart formed with ribbon

As with all our recommendations, be sure to check trigger warnings yourself if you are concerned about specific topics. We’ve noted when we know for sure a book is extra steamy or totally clean, but it’s possible that any book without a notation also includes adult language and scenes.

Books with an Enemies-to-Lovers Plot

Hating game book cover

Book Summary

Lucy and Josh are two colleagues who can’t stand each other. They work together at a publishing company, but their rivalry goes far beyond a typical work dynamic. They constantly compete for promotions and recognition, and their animosity is palpable. But when a promotion they both want becomes available, the game changes.

As they spend more time with each other, their feelings begin to shift. The hate they once felt transforms into something else entirely, and they’re left wondering if their animosity was really just a cover for something deeper. The plot is full of delightful twists and steamy turns, keeping readers on their toes until the very end. It’s the perfect blend of humor, romance, and character development, making it a must-read for fans of the hate-to-love trope.

The Book Girls Say…

If you’ve enjoyed this book, don’t miss the movie, which is available on Amazon.

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Books Like The Hating Game

Hookup Plan Book Cover

Book Summary

London is a pediatric surgeon who needs to relieve some stress. A casual hook-up with no strings seems like the perfect solution. However, she did not anticipate this occurring at her high school reunion with Drew, her archnemesis.

He’s a millionaire businessman with amazing abs, but there’s a big problem. He’s in town to determine if her hospital will stay open. While he’s trying to prove that he really is a good guy, London’s not buying his nice guy words or actions. Falling for the enemy is a terrible idea, even if he’s great in bed.

The Book Girls Say…

While this is the third book in the Boyfriend Project series, it does read as a stand-alone. However, because the first two books feature London’s friends, you’ll get a peak at their current status, which may spoil how books #1 and #2 end for Samiah and Taylor. The female friendships between the three women are a big focus of the series and add humor and depth outside of the romance plotlines.

Right on Cue book cover

Book Summary

Emmy is a screenwriter known as the queen of romantic comedies. However, a tragedy in her own life made her stop believing in happy endings. After a long break, she’s been convinced to return to her career by not only writing but also starring in a rom-com, even though it’s been a decade since she has been in front of the camera.

When her co-star is injured, the replacement male lead is dreamy superstar actor Grayson West. It’s a win for the film, but a disaster for Emmy, who blames Grayson for the end of her acting career ten years earlier.

The friction between Emmy & Grayson floats between awkwardness and sexual tension. They need to figure out how to control their energy with each other quickly before the whole movie is a bust.

Beach Read book cover

Book Summary

Best-selling romance novelist January Andrews is suffering extreme writer’s block after finding out her parents weren’t the perfect couple she thought they were. 

When she retreats to her dad’s secret Lake Michigan beach house in a last-ditch effort to meet her next book deadline as a romance writer, she finds another distraction instead. 

Her college English department rival lives next door and is suffering from his own bout of writer’s block. 

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Best Books of 2020

Hana Khan Carries On book cover

Book Girls’ Readers Rate This Book

100% Would Recommend to a Friend

Book Summary

Hana Khan is a young Muslim woman born and raised in Toronto, Canada to immigrant parents. Like many 20-somethings, she works numerous jobs while trying to make her own dream a reality. Hana interns at a local radio station, anonymously runs a podcast, and works part-time at her family’s struggling halal restaurant. However, her true ambition is to have her own radio show where she can highlight her fellow Muslims’ life stories.

When a new family with a handsome son named Aydin, arrives in town with plans to open an upscale halal restaurant that threatens to put her family out of business, Hana is determined to do whatever it takes. In a You’ve Got Mail-esque storyline, she turns to one of her podcast listeners for advice.

Things are complicated further by a hate-motivated attack on the neighborhood and Hana’s growing attraction to her rival, Aydin.

The Book Girls Say…

While this book is squarely in the rom-com genre, it also provides insight into the young Muslim experience.

The More You Know: If you are not familiar with the term halal, it means lawful or permitted under Islamic law, and in the context of food it is similar to the concept of kosher in Judaism. Halal does not refer only to meat, but in that context, it refers to meat that has been slaughtered in a particular manner. You can read more and find links to some halal recipes here.

Next-Door Nemesis book cover

Book Summary

The suburbs get sexy in this war between neighbors. Collins just moved back to her parent’s home and didn’t expect to be spending her days tending to the compost pile with her dad and fighting with an old nemesis.

Nathaniel is living his dream of a quiet suburban life in his hometown. However, things became nightmare-ish when former classmate Collins moved back home. They started as childhood friends, but high school pulled them apart and turned them enemies. Now, their battle continues as Collins challenges Nathaniel’s bid for the HOA presidency. However, the more their rivalry heats up, the more they seem to be pulled together.

The Book Girls Say…

Paid Bridesmaid book cover

Book Summary

Rachel Vinson has created a successful but secretive business in the wedding industry. For a fee, she provides the perfect bridesmaids for any wedding. Of course, no one knows they are paid, and it’s crucial to stay undercover to avoid embarrassing the bride. While she has a full staff, Rachel heads to the highest-profile events herself, which is how she ended up at the luxe wedding of an Instagram influencer in Hawaii.

Rachel is serving as the maid-of-honor opposite the groom’s business partner and long-time best friend, Camden. Camden is understandably suspicious of Rachel since he’s never met her before, and he has been burned by people misleading him in the past. 

As their interactions increase throughout the week, Rachel is determined to keep him at a distance, but fate continues pulling them closer together, often through near-disaster wedding moments.

The Book Girls Say…

This fake bridesmaid book is a fun twist on the fake relationship trope!

Kindle Unlimited as of: 01/29/2024

Also Featured on These Book Lists:

The Best Fake Dating Books + Fake Relationship Books

Pride, Pancakes, and Paris book cover

Book Summary

Georgia spends all her time finishing her last year of college and teaching high school Environmental Science students. When her brother’s best friend, Sawyer, offers her a free trip to a destination wedding in Paris, she would love the break from her daily life. But there’s a problem. She’d have to pretend to be Sawyer’s girlfriend…and she can’t stand him!

The Book Girls Say…

Reviewers say this is a slow-burn romance, but that you’ll be laughing all the way through and may even need some tissues.

Kindle Unlimited as of: 01/30/2024
Read Between the Lines book cover

Book Summary

This hate-to-love romance is perfect for fans of the classic 90s rom-com, You’ve Got Mail. Rosie loves books and has taken over her mom’s Manhattan bookstore. She loves her work, but is lacking in the romance department. However, she’s hopeful that her growing online flirtations with lesbian romance author Brie could turn into something more.

Jane works for her family’s property development company by day, but at night, she writes steamy romance under the pen name Brie as her creative outlet. She’s also single and wonders if a certain reader could be her perfect match.

As you may have predicted, Jane’s company terminates the lease for Rosie’s bookstore, and drama ensues. This storyline is classic for a reason, and it works just as well with two strong female leads!

The Book Girls Say…

There is a second book in this series, No Rings Attached, that is set in another of our favorite cities – London.

Kindle Unlimited as of: 01/29/2024
Unhoneymooners book cover

Book Girls’ Readers Rate This Book

92% Would Recommend to a Friend

Book Summary

What should a bride and groom do if they get food poisoning and are too sick to go on their non-refundable honeymoon to Hawaii?

Give it to the Best Man and Maid-of-Honor, of course.

That would have been perfect if the duo didn’t hate each other. Follow along as they try to avoid each other while still taking advantage of all the pre-paid activities on a vacation intended for a newlywed couple. 

The Book Girls Say…

This funny rom-com is perfect if you’re looking for a light, escapist read. We have even more books in this style over in our Beach Reads post!

Also Featured on These Book Lists:

Books That Take Place On an Island

What You Wish For book cover

Book Summary

Samantha is a school librarian who loves her job at her current school and who has a bold zest for life…but she hasn’t always been that way. Duncan, the new school principal, is very regimented and unwilling to stray from the rules…but he hasn’t always been that way.

Sam and Duncan have met before. They worked together at another school years ago, back when they were both very different people. When Duncan takes over as the new principal at Sam’s school, she’s shocked to discover that the fun-loving guy she remembers has turned into a completely different person – one she’s afraid will ruin everything she loves about her loving and welcoming school community.

As things spiral out of control, Sam and Duncan are forced to get real with one another. This means revealing the traumas from their pasts in order to save the school and themselves.

The Book Girls Say…

Katherine Center’s writing captures the bittersweet struggles of real-life and the two main characters are each struggling with traumatic pasts. You’ll alternate between laughing out loud and reaching for the tissues, but this story is ultimately uplifting.

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20 Books Like It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

See You Yesterday book cover

Book Summary

Barrett is thrilled to leave high school behind and start her college career, but on the first day, everything goes wrong. A know-it-all named Miles in her physics class embarrasses her, she botches the interview to join the college paper, and she even accidentally starts a fire at a frat house. After all that, she returns to her room to find the door locked and is forced to crash on a sofa in the common room. 

However, when she wakes up, she’s back in her bed, and it seems to be the first day of classes all over again. When she gets to Physics 101 and has a confrontation with Miles again, she discovers that he has been trapped in the first-day-of-class cycle for months. Eventually, she gives in to the realization that they need to work together to get out of their time loop. Along the way, they have big, romantic adventures. But what will happen to their relationship if they finally get unstuck?

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Books Like The Midnight Library

The Plus One Book Cover

Book Summary

Jude and Indira have been enemies since childhood and, even as adults, remain polar opposites. Jude is a doctor who has been traveling the world from one humanitarian crisis to another, but still feels like he has nothing in his life together. Meanwhile, Indira has the perfect job and dream boyfriend…until she doesn’t.

At a mutual friend’s stressful wedding event, Jude and Indira agree to be each other’s fake dates to remove the stress of showing up alone. But when they’re forced to be closer than expected, will they realize that this wedding from hell really is better when they’re together?

The Book Girls Say…

This is the third book in a series, and readers say all three have different vibes and feature different main characters. However, there are overlapping friends, so if you think you may want to read them all, start with book #1, A Brush with Love.

Everything for You book cover

Book Summary

This slow-burn enemies-to-lovers romance tells the story of beloved star soccer captain Oliver Bergman and his grumpy teammate Gavin. When Gavin joins the team, he plans to avoid the gorgeous and sunshiney Oliver. Oliver would be equally happy not dealing with moody Gavin, but decides to take the approach of killing him with kindness. 

When the coach makes them co-captains and demands they work together, they discover the hatred they felt for each other may have been covering different feelings. Gruff Gavin may be just who Oliver needs in his life.

The Book Girls Say…

While this is a stand-alone book, it is #5 in the Bergman Brothers series. Each book is the love story of one of the siblings. You’ll be able to follow this book if you read it first. However, there may be spoilers as you see who each brother from the previous books ends up with. So, if you think you’ll be interested in the full series, we’d recommend starting at the beginning.

Author Chloe Liese is neurodivergent and believes everyone deserves a love story.

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Books Like Red, White and Royal Blue

Soulmate Equation book cover

Book Summary

Single-mom Jess understands data and statistics. What she doesn’t understand – or have time for – is relationships. But when her best friend tells her about a new DNA-based matchmaking company called GeneticAlly, she’s intrigued by the idea of finding a soulmate through the reliability of numbers.

She’s shocked when her test results return a 98% match with the company’s founder, Dr. River Pena. She’s already met him, and she’s confident they are not compatible! But the company sees the potential for great PR from this match, so they offer to pay Jess to date River for the publicity.

The Book Girls Say…

Faking dating is just one part of this rom-com, which also includes the enemies-to-lovers trope and lots of nerdy, steamy chemistry! What more could you ask for?!

Also Featured on These Book Lists:

The Best Fake Dating Books + Fake Relationship Books

You Deserve Each Other book cover

Book Summary

When Naomi and Nicholas separately both get cool feet three months before their wedding, they find out that whoever cancels is financially responsible for the nonrefundable wedding bill.

Can either of them get the other person to cancel? Or will they rediscover love through pranks and sabotage?

The Book Girls Say…

This rom com is filled with witty and sarcastic humor and characters who don’t always make good decisions. As long as you go into this book knowing that you might not immediately like either of the main characters as they set about to torture one sabotage, you’ll soon find yourself laughing at their antics. Soon enough, the characters will start showing their more redeeming qualities, and you’ll be rooting for their happy ending.

Tweet Cute book cover

Book Summary

Perfectionist Pepper is the swim team captain and an overachiever at school. Outside of normal teen activities, she’s also helping her family’s fast food chain, Big League Burger, by running their massive Twitter account. 

Classmate Jack couldn’t be more different. Instead of being a leader, he’s the class clown at school. However, he is also involved in his family’s business – a deli. While he isn’t passionate about school, he does get fired up when Big League Burger steals his grandma’s recipe. This leads to a social media war with them…on Twitter. 

While Pepper and Jack duke it out with memes in public, they’re also falling in love behind the scenes on an anonymous chat app Jack built. Were they just destined to interact and become more than enemies?

The Book Girls Say…

This YA romantic comedy was a Goodreads Choice nominee for best YA fiction in 2020.

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Rom Com Books Set in New York

Fight or Flight book cover

Book Summary

Imagine already being upset that you have to travel home to the funeral of a childhood friend, and then having EVERYTHING GO WRONG on the trip. 

And THEN, a guy steals your first-class seat that was finally going to get you to the funeral. Not okay! 

Of course, this is a rom com, so as you can guess, the interactions between Ava and Caleb don’t end at the ticket counter.

Just my Type book cover

Book Summary

Lana is chronically in a relationship, never remaining single for long. As a journalist, she’s even the relationship columnist for a trendy LA website. She’s 30, and after her last break-up, she is determined to stay single for a while. 

But now her high school ex, Seth, has reentered her life. He’s also a journalist and got a gig writing for Lana’s site. While she’ll write about embracing being single, he’ll write about settling down and becoming boyfriend material. A coveted columnist spot is on the line for whichever of them creates the most popular content, putting both their careers and their hearts on the line.

The Book Girls Say…

We both enjoyed this author’s debut novel, Lease on Love, last year. Reviewers say that Just My Type is even better, so it’s definitely going on our TBR lists!

Book Summary

Alex is the early 20-something son of the first female US President, and Prince Henry is the 2nd in line to the British Throne. Alex considers Henry his nemesis, and the two get into an embarrassing scuffle during a royal wedding.

In order to calm the press and convince them the sons of the US and England aren’t foes, Alex and Henry agree to make public appearances as friends over the course of several months. After spending more time together, and exchanging many amusing text messages, Alex realizes there is much more to Henry than he assumed.

The Book Girls Say…

After reading, check out the highly-rated movie adaptation by the same name!

Kindle Unlimited as of: 10/17/2023
Image Reading: The 21 Best Enemies to Lovers Rom Com Books

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Angela & Melissa

The Book Girls are best friends who jointly read over 200 books per year. We started Book Girls' Guide in 2019 to help others de-stress and find joy through the power of a great book. We do in-depth research on thousands of novels and non-fiction titles each year to provide curated book lists covering a variety of genres.

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