Remember your late teens and early twenties? When everything was both incredibly exciting and totally overwhelming at once? When we're younger, we're taught that adulthood is the stage of life in which we finally succeed and find happiness. But what about that tumultuous transitional stage, when you're no longer a child but not yet adept enough to truly handle the responsibilities of being an adult?
Well, Colleen Hoover helps make that stressful period between adolescence and adulthood a little easier. She's a big name in the New Adult genre—a developing genre with protagonists between the ages of 18-30 that deal with issues experienced in the time between childhood and adulthood. Below, we've compiled some of Hoover's titles that can help readers feel a little less alone in their journey into adulthood. We've also included some excellent books from other authors that are sure to appeal to fans of Hoover's work.
Not all the books on this list fall into the New Adult category, but they all feature characters striving to overcome their past, achieve a successful future, and find love along the way. After all, you don’t need to be in your teens or 20s to understand loneliness—the search for companionship is universal. These books are perfect reads for fans of Colleen Hoover, for readers who enjoy New Adult books, and for anyone who just needs a heartwarming romance to remind them they're not alone in the world, no matter what they're going through.
We can’t start off the list without a Colleen Hoover book! A beautiful yet devastating novel, Confess manages to evoke so many emotions: pain, love, and hope. Auburn Reed—our protagonist—must rebuild her life after suffering immensely in her teenage years. Desperate for a job, she comes across a Dallas art studio with an exterior covered by the deep and dark confessions of strangers. The attraction between Auburn and the studio's owner, Owen, is instantaneous, and it doesn’t take long for a romance to bloom. However, with daunting pasts, their relationship is threatened before it even starts.
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Every book that Hoover releases manages to reach into our hearts and touch something profound, so we promise that once you pick up this story you won't be able to put it down. Confess is written from both Auburn and Owen’s perspectives, allowing readers to be immersed in the characters' viewpoints and to better understand their struggles and the secrets they desperately try to hide. The idea behind how Owen finds inspiration for his artwork is also unique: it stems from the agonizing confessions of ordinary people. You won’t be able to help but fall in love with the characters, and with every twist and turn, you'll be left on your toes. This is a stunning novel that perfectly blends strokes of survival, hope, courage, and the abrupt surprises the universe serves us — regardless of our stage in life.
The Royal Runaway
Who doesn’t love a daring story of a modern-day princess? When Princess Theodora Isabella Victoria of Drieden of the Royal House Laurent leaves her fiance on their wedding day, she's completely over her royal duties. After spending four months in exile to try and spare the monarchy from rumors and gossip, the disgraced princess returns home. Now, Thea is expected to jump into her role of perfect princess, complete with press conferences and public appearances. Overwhelmed, she decides to sneak out of the palace for just one night to be a normal woman. During her night on the town, Thea meets sexy Scot Nick...but he might not be Prince Charming after all. Turns out Nick is a British spy—and he and Thea must work together to uncover the mystery of her fiance and the monarchy.
Author Lindsay Emory does a great job of mixing contemporary romance, suspense, and mystery within a glamorous setting filled with royals. This is a perfect book for fans of The Princess Diaries and The Royal. The novel does a great job of reinventing the genre and creating intriguing characters who are bad-ass and sarcastic. Nick and Thea find themselves involved in a mystery that includes lies, deception, and betrayal...plus a slow-burn romance with sexual tension through the roof. New adult readers will love this story of a young woman bucking the expectations society and her family have put on her. By the end of the novel, you’ll find yourself saying “Yas kween!”
The Kiss Quotient
A book like this doesn’t come along often. Helen Hoang’s debut novel is both funny and heartwarming, and follows an unlikely pair. Stella Lane is an econometrician who perceives the world through a practical lens. However, Stella has had a lot of mishaps in her love life. Despite her age—Stella is in her 30s—she hasn't had much experience in the dating department. Enter Michael Phan! Stella concludes that she needs professional help. Michael is an escort and offers to help Stella check off boxes on the lessons she wants to learn. But some of the lessons are a little more...physical. Can this partnership stay professional? Or will the pattern lead to a different outcome?
Stella is a high-functioning autistic woman who is successful in most aspects of her life, but struggles with romance, and Hoang does a fabulous job of weaving Stella’s experiences naturally without ever making the character seem like a stereotype. Michael is also an incredible character: he's biracial (Vietnamese and Swedish), and a fashion designer who lives in a matriarchy after his father abandons the family. Hoang's novel also tackles stigmas surrounding mental health and sex work. The ending of novel shows the development of each character—a socially awkward Stella becomes confident, and an emotionally-neglected Michael grows into a stronger person. After reading this book, you’ll find yourself formulating an equation on how to find your very own Michael.
When Tate Collins and Miles Archer meet it’s not romantic at all: no meet-cute, no love at first sight, no sparks flying. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. They wouldn’t even consider each other friends. Yet a physical attraction is quick to ignite, and the ever-romantic Miles offers Tate a proposal she can't refuse: a sex-only deal. Before you go ahead and prematurely label Miles (most likely as something that rhymes with 'pick'), he has a very difficult past. Tate doesn’t have time for love, and Miles doesn’t want love, so it seems their arrangement is perfect. Miles keeps it simple by giving Tate two rules: Never ask about the past, and don’t anticipate a future together. They think they can handle it...but complications arise, rules are broken, and passion awakens.
When love slowly enters the arrangement between Tate and Miles, Miles’ rules are put to the test and questions arise. Ugly Love is beautifully written, with poetic prose and chapters that alternate between different perspectives, and the past and the present. The unique structure of the story draws in readers because it reflects how humans are shaped—by both our past and present. Miles seems like a bad guy on the surface, but Hoover goes to great lengths to uncover certain qualities in him, and the memories that have left a mark on him. He's a consistent character and although his past broke him, he never loses his edge. Miles eventually evolves, but it takes time, and this book reflects how gradual emotional growth is in real life. No snap decisions, no quick happily ever afters — just the pains and joys of falling in love. As the book says: love isn’t always pretty.
The Light We Lost
As we get older love often becomes more complicated, like trying to decipher hieroglyphics. But what if you met the person that was meant to last, and instead they got away? In The Light We Lost, we meet Lucy and Gabe as seniors at Columbia University on a day that will forever change their lives. The catastrophic aftermath of 9/11 causes them to find meaning in their lives. Together, they vow to make their lives count, but ultimately they wind up losing touch. However, it seems like fate when they meet again a year later. Through Lucy’s eyes we see her 14-month relationship with Gabe, and then her life in New York for 10 years after Gabe. It is a story about love at first sight and how the decisions we make can alter our future. Will their choices drive them further apart, or will Lucy and Gabe be able to stay connected?
The love and bond between Lucy and Gabe is the focus of the novel, but The Light We Lost also explores other intricacies of life: family, choices, and worries over the future. This novel does a great job of illustrating how the ‘what ifs’ in life shape our outcomes, and how the sacrifices and compromises we make affect our future plans and relationships. This is true at any age but it is especially relevant during that period where one is—to quote the princess of pop, Miss Britney Spears—not a girl, not yet a woman. During our 20s we live intensely; where we once experienced mere infatuation we now feel pain, betrayal, jealousy, grief, and passion.
My Oxford Year
There is something so alluring about England that us Americans can’t help but romanticize it. Traveling also seems to be a marker of finally growing up. With the breathtaking Oxford as a setting, we meet tenacious American Ella Durran, who has planned to attend Oxford ever since she was thirteen. At 24, Ella finally makes it to Oxford courtesy of a Rhodes scholarship, while managing to secure a job working on a promising presidential campaign. However, Ella’s meticulously-planned life is turned upside down when she meets smart-mouthed local Jamie Davenport. After their awkward first encounter, Ella finds out that Jamie is much more than a gorgeous local—it turns out he is her literature professor. They quickly form a strong bond that transforms their innocent fling into the start of a serious relationship. Now Ella must make a tough decision: choose between the life she has always dreamed of in America, or stay in Oxford for Jamie and the chance at true love.
This novel is great for fans of Jojo Moyes, Nicholas Sparks, and coming-of-age romance in general. It's uplifting and empowering, and by the end of the book Ella learns valuable lessons and is closer to finding her footing in the world. The narrative is sharp and witty, easily drawing you in as we meet charming Jamie and intelligent Ella. My Oxford Year is a great reminder that sometimes, preparation and planning amount to nothing, because life will always throw us curveballs.
It Ends with Us
Any overachievers out there? Well, you'll definitely relate to Lily, the protagonist of this excellent Colleen Hoover novel. Even though she is only in her 20s, Lily has worked hard to get everything she’s wanted. After graduating college, Lily moves to Boston in hopes of starting her own business. It is here that she meets and falls for Ryle, a neurosurgeon who is determined to become the best. They compliment each other well and share an instant connection, but Ryle seems reluctant to fully commit. Through the progression of their relationship, Lily writes down journal entries about Ryle. When she comes across some entries about her first love, Atlas, Lily is flooded with memories of their time together. Suddenly, Atlas reappears in Lily’s life and threatens everything Lily shares with Ryle.
This is another amazing read by Colleen Hoover, who really knows how to write a novel that you simply can’t put down. Hoover does a great job of bringing you along on the rollercoaster that is life. It Ends With Us is guaranteed to make you feel a mixture of emotions; Hoover weaves heavy moments with ones that will make you laugh or swoon. There is depth to every single character, whether they are protagonists or side characters. This is apparent in the ways Hoover introduces Ryle and Atlas — they are opposites, but have certain similar qualities, which explains why Lily would fall for the both of them.
Have you ever found yourself in a difficult situation and in need of a quick fix? This novel deals with that...sort of. Losing It follows Bliss Edwards as she desperately tries to get herself out of one slight problem: being a 22-year-old virgin. Bliss decides to quickly deal with it through a one night stand. This is how she ends up in Stumble Inn, where she meets the sweet, smart, and oh-so-sexy Garrick. The plan seems well on its way to success until Bliss freaks out and leaves the gorgeous Brit alone and naked in her house. But wait, there’s more! Bliss arrives to her first class of her last college semester...only to recognize her new theatre professor. It’s none other than Garrick, the naked man she left in her apartment the night before.
Bliss’ perspective is both hilarious and honest as she tackles those awkward encounters that every now and then we find ourselves in. Carmack’s writing is fun and fresh, and she has the ability to play on the sexual tension, keeping you on the edge of your seat. The great thing about this novel is the reader is watching the story unfold through Bliss’ eyes. Bliss will have you laughing out loud with all of her witty internal monologues. This is an easy read on an awkward topic: virginity.
Jasmine Guillory’s most recent release is a perfect read during cuffing season—you know, the season when singles start to desperately seek company for the cold winter days. The Proposal presents a realistic portrayal of the pressures women face when trying to decide who “the one” is. In this novel we meet Nikole Paterson and her actor boyfriend—they’ve been dating five months—as they attend a Dodgers game. During the game, Nik’s boyfriend decides on a disastrous scoreboard proposal, during which he even misspells her name. Nik declines the proposal and faces backlash and harassment until Carlos Ibarra comes to her rescue. They go from strangers to friends to...something more.
The Proposal does a great job of empowering those women who have enough courage to walk away from marriage. It also features great representation: Nik is a black freelance writer and Carlos is a Latino pediatrician. We also have a strong female friendship depicted with Nik, Dana, and Courtney. This novel depicts 21st century women and how they overcome challenges with the help of friends, and the ways love arrives in unexpected ways. Fans of Colleen Hoover will definitely enjoy this story of a young woman finding love and romance on her own terms, regardless of what society expects.
Christmas in London
We are quickly approaching the holiday season, so we needed to add a holiday book! This is a winter romance set in a city transformed by snow and decorations: London. Louisa Graham is a pastry chef in NYC. When a cooking show assistant begs her to sell them her cinnamon rolls, Louisa hesitates, unsure on what to do. When the assistant informs Louisa that the show burnt the rolls they were supposed to film, Louisa agrees to sell the rolls. When the star of the show has an allergic reaction, the crew scrambles to find someone to cover and they decide Louisa is a great fit for their Christmas Eve Dinner TV special at Claridge’s. There Louisa meets the dashing Digby Bunting, who is very interested in her. On their first day in London, Kate, the show’s beautiful producer, runs into an old flame in London with whom she still shares a spark. These women are in for some heat...and it’s not in the kitchen.
This is a thrilling read that will transport you to the wonderful city of London. Hughes gives the reader a tour filled with sightseeing and interactions that really bring the city to life. The novel is great for any foodies out there, as the pages are filled with wonderful cooking talk that will make your mouth salivate. It also does a great job of presenting two different relationships at the same time. The readers get to see the formation and fruition of these romances. In the beginning, we feel Louisa and Kate’s hopelessness, but as the story takes off and these women grow, we can’t help but relish their optimism. This novel seamlessly tackles the hardships of work life and love life — a conflict that many people first really encounter in their early twenties. Sometimes, we are forced to balance different aspects of our lives simultaneously. But it's how we react under pressure that will shape our growth as humans.
Featured photo: Everton Vila / Unsplash