The romance genre can start to feel a little dull if you continuously read the same tropes in the same stories told from all the same perspectives. But one way to spice things up is to read Black Romance books!
African American romance can introduce you to lovable characters from different cultural backgrounds and offer unique perspectives on love and relationships from characters who’ve had vastly different experiences.
So, whether you’re looking to diversify your bookshelf or you’re already an avid reader of African American romance who loves Black love, keep reading to find the 20 best Black and African American romance books!
About Black Romance Books
The authors featured on this list are among some of the most talented Black romance novelists today, and each book on this list offers its own unique perspective of what love is.
From captivating queer romance to thrilling straight romance–from steamy fake relationships, sweet tales of first loves, and complicated situation-ships–here are the 20 best Black and African American romance books!
The 20 Best Black & African American Romance Books
Finding Jupiter by Kelis Rowe
Ray wants to be defined by her future and poetry, not her past or the day her father died. Orion finds comfort in diving, but since he met Ray, he doesn’t want to hold his breath forever.
Kelis Rowe’s dazzling debut novel is filled with poetry and prose as it tells the story of Ray and Orion, whose romance seems to be written in the stars, though an old family secret threatens to shatter it.
The Hookup Plan by Farrah Rochon
Successful pediatric surgeon London Kelley just needs to de-stress and find a better work-life balance. Her friends suggest a casual hookup with no strings attached, and at her high school reunion, she ends up with her nemesis, millionaire Drew Sullivan.
Soon, she learns that he’s back to decide whether or not to close her beloved hospital. As Drew tries to prove he’s a good guy who cares, London resists falling for him–because sleeping with the enemy is one thing, but falling in love with him is another.
Reggie and Delilah’s Year of Falling by Elise Bryant
In Reggie and Delilah’s Year of Falling, Delilah and Reggie keep running into each other on holidays throughout the year. First, on New Year’s Eve. And then again on Valentine’s Day. And then again on St. Patrick’s Day.
It’s almost like the universe is pushing them together for a reason, despite the fact that they have nothing in common.
Delilah is a go-with-the-flow punk band singer, while Reggie is a D&D Dungeon Master. As the two continue to meet, they begin falling in love with one another, but what will happen once they realize they’ve fallen for a version of the other that isn’t real?
Have We Met? by Camille Baker
Corinne’s life is in disarray after she loses her best friend to cancer.
Between grieving, making a move to Chicago, and trying to find a job, she has no time for love–until a dating app called Met mysteriously appears on her phone and invites her to reconnect with four missed connections from her past.
The app claims one of them is her soulmate.
Skeptical at first, Corinne’s back-to-back blasts from the past make her reconsider. But outside the app’s influence, she has also met a great guy. With the help of new friends, her loving if annoying family, and a touch of fate, can Corinne find love, come to terms with loss, and take control of her career?
The Neighbor Favor by Kristina Forest
Shy, bookish, and admittedly awkward, Lily Greene finds escapism in exchanging emails with her favorite fantasy author. The two start up a tentative friendship that might just be turning into something more–until he suddenly ghosts her without a word.
Months later, she enlists her neighbor, Nick Brown, to help to find a date for her sister’s wedding, not knowing that he’s the obscure author she was once corresponding with.
Nick soon realizes that Lily is the same girl he fell in love with over email, but he agrees to set her up with someone else since he doesn’t want to complicate things between them even more.
However, his agreement to help her backfires once he realizes he can’t get her off his mind.
Boys Come First by Aaron Foley
In Aaron Foley’s debut novel Boys Come First, Dominick Gibson, a jobless and single advertising copywriter, returns to Detroit after being laid off and cheated on. He aims to exit the shallow dating pool and get married by thirty-five, but the clock is ticking.
Troy Clements, Dom’s best friend, is an idealistic teacher who’s never left Michigan. He’s in conflict with the men in his life, including his troubled boyfriend, his dissatisfied father, and his friend Remy Patton.
Remy, a real estate agent known as ‘Mr. Detroit’ has to choose between his long-distance lover and a local fling while navigating a high-stakes real estate deal that threatens to blow up his friendship with Troy.
The book shows a realistic portrayal of awkward Grindr hookups, workplace microaggressions, family drama, and the trials and tribulations of real friendship while exploring the highs and lows of being a gay Black millennial in Detroit.
Can’t Resist Her by Kianna Alexander
Summer Graves returns to Austin to teach and finds out that the high school her grandmother founded is being demolished. Aiko Holt–a hometown girl working on the project to revitalize the neighborhood–and Summer reunite.
Neither can forget about the kiss they shared at their senior-year dance as the spark from their past is reunited. As they work toward their opposing views, they succumb to the heat between them and act on their mutual passion.
But can they eventually reach a compromise and allow themselves to fall in love?
Savvy Sheldon Feels Good As Hell by Taj McCoy
Savvy Sheldon tries to improve the cracks in her life by renovating her kitchen, improving her relationship with her body, trying to find a better work-life balance, and searching for true love.
But her plans go awry when she passes out during hot yoga, hires a contractor who turns out to be a man she previously judged based on appearances, and keeps running into her ex and his new girlfriend.
Maybe Savvy should have worked on loving herself before seeking love from others, but in the midst of rebuilding her home and self-confidence, can she also build a love that lasts?
The Voting Booth by Brandy Colbert
In this all-in-one-day love story, Marva is eager to vote in her first election and make a difference. She’s been waiting for this moment her whole life, but Duke feels the exact opposite.
He just wants to get voting over with so he can prepare for his band’s first paying gig tonight. But when Marva sees Duke being turned away at the polls, she takes it upon herself to make sure his vote is counted.
The two embark on an adventurous journey and experience a whirlwind day together as they try to beat a rigged system and find Marva’s missing cat while discovering their connection.
The Stars and the Blackness Between Them by Junauda Petrus
This poetic and powerful debut novel follows the love story of two black teenage girls from totally different backgrounds.
Audre is from Trinidad and was sent to live in the US after her deeply religious mother caught her in a sexual act with her secret girlfriend, the pastor’s daughter. Mabel is from the US and is uncertain about her feelings.
Her feelings about her ex Terrell, about her girl Jada and that moment they had in the woods, and about the vague feeling of illness that’s plagued her all summer.
The two fall in love, but soon their love is tested by Mabel’s mysterious illness.
On Rotation by Shirlene Obuobi
Angela Appiah, a Ghanaian-American, has followed her parent’s plan for the perfect immigrant daughter to a tee:
Attend an elite medical school.
Have a doctor or lawyer as a boyfriend.
Surround herself with successful friends.
But then her life falls apart. Her boyfriend dumps her, she bombs the most important exam of her medical career, and her best friend pulls away. Suddenly, her parents are a lot less proud of her, and she begins to question everything.
When she meets Ricky Gutierrez, she’s happy he can see her for who she is instead of what she can represent, but she has no intention of falling for him since he’s got ‘waste man’ practically tattooed across his forehead.
But if there’s one thing Angie’s learned, it’s that she can’t control everything–especially not what her heart wants.
Things Hoped For by Chencia C Higgins
LaTrisha Martin moves from her intolerant town to Houston, where her hidden desires begin to manifest in ways she would never have imagined.
Xenobia Cooper is a rising star in Houston’s underground music scene, and her name is becoming well-known in households across the nation, but the only thing she doesn’t have is someone to come home to at the end of every day.
A chance encounter soon leads them to each other.
Charming As A Verb by Ben Philippe
This romantic comedy follows Henri ‘Halti’ Haltiwanger, a star debater and popular student at the prestigious FATE academy, and Corinne Troy, who seems to be the only person who’s immune to his charms.
After finding out about a secret of his, she blackmails him into helping her change her image at school. As they work together, their mutual hustle turns into something totally unexpected as they explore the challenges of being themselves.
Lark & Kasim Start a Revolution by Kacen Callender
Lark Winters, an aspiring writer, takes the fall for their former best friend Kasim’s accidental Twitter love confession, pretending it was about someone else.
It seems like a great idea at first. Lark gets closer to their crush, Kasim gets to keep his privacy, and Lark’s social media status explodes–which is great for their future career.
But living a lie and the judgment of strangers takes a toll. Lark must learn to embrace their emotions and be true to themself while growing closer to Lark as things go back to the way they used to be between them–or maybe their feelings are blooming into a little something more.
Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon
Instructions for Dancing is a certified page-turner; its summary speaks for itself!
“Evie Thomas doesn’t believe in love anymore. Especially after the strangest thing occurs one otherwise ordinary afternoon: She witnesses a couple kiss and is overcome with a vision of how their romance began…and how it will end. After all, even the greatest love stories end with a broken heart, eventually.
As Evie tries to understand why this is happening, she finds herself at La Brea Dance studio, learning to waltz, fox-trot, and tango with a boy named X. X is everything that Evie is not: adventurous, passionate, daring. His philosophy is to say yes to everything–including entering a ballroom dance competition with a girl he’s only just met.
Falling for X is definitely not what Evie had in mind. If her visions of heartbreak have taught her anything, it’s that no one escapes love unscathed. But as she and X dance around and toward each other, Evie is forced to question all she thought she knew about life and love. In the end, is love worth the risk?”
Make a Scene by Mimi Grace
Retta Majors needs a boyfriend to attend her ex’s wedding to her cousin. She enlists the help of her handsome and successful neighbor, Duncan Gilmore, to be her fake boyfriend for the weekend.
The sweet baker and the boxer’s chemistry is undeniable, and a weekend of fake romance is destined to turn into something more.
What a Match by Mimi Grace
Gwen Gilmore knows what she wants in a man, but the dating pool is proving to be a very slow and unserious place.
She hires a matchmaker to find her perfect man but soon finds herself distracted by her brother’s grumpy best friend, Anthony Woods, who is temporarily sleeping on her couch and has had a crush on Gwen since the day he met her.
As they begin to connect, Gwen realizes the man of her dreams may not be who she thought he was.
Holding Back the Years by Kasha Thompson
Seraphina Jacobs is a struggling writer living with her overprotective parents while working at the local newspaper.
August Gardner is tired of being dismissed by his sisters and moves back to Michigan to start his own auto repair shop–his way of getting his career on track and hopefully saving his mother from the old folks home his sisters have placed her in.
When Seraphina and August meet, a much-needed change of pace slash one-night stand for them turns into their falling in love, but when Seraphina stumbles into a big secret, it could stop their giddy free fall and send their love crashing to the ground.
Neighborly by Katrina Jackson
In this polyamorous novel, Heaven and her boyfriend Calvin move to a new town and rent half a duplex next to Tasha and Stephen. Though in happy relationships, Heaven and Tasha can’t resist their mutual attraction, and Stephen and Calvin only want them to be happy.
The four navigate the newfound feelings together in this erotic love story.
Rise to the Sun by Leah Johnson
This YA romance tells the story of grief, love, and the power of music.
Olivia’s last breakup has left her an outcast at school and at home. A crush-free weekend at Farmland Music and Arts Festival is just what she needs to get her mind off the senior year that awaits her.
Toni is one week away from starting college, and it’s the last place she wants to be. She’s still reeling from the loss of her musician-turned-roadie father, so she decides to head back to the music festival that changed his life, hoping it will help her find her way forward.
They form an unexpected bond and work together to make the most out of the complicated festival experience.
Whether you’re searching for steamy romance, clean sweet romance, or romance drenched in angst–straight couples, lgbtq+ couples, or polyamorous relationships–I hope this list of the 20 best Black and African American romance books helps you find exactly what you’re looking for!
Is Kacen Callender LGBT?
Kacen Callender is a part of the LGBTQ+ community. They are queer and trans and use they/them and he/him pronouns.
They’ve written several LGBT romances, such as Felix Ever After, which follows a trans teen, and Lark & Kasim Start a Revolution, which has a nonbinary protagonist.
Is Talia Hibbert black?
Yes. Talia Hibbert is a Black British romance novelist.
What is Chencia C Higgins’ most popular book?
Many of Chencia C Higgins’ books have seen major success, but D’Vaughn and Kris Plan a Wedding is one of her most well-known novels. It was the New York Times’ best romance of 2022 and a Today Show best romance pick.
Does Aaron Foley have any other novels?
The 2022 novel Boys Come First was Aaron Foley’s debut novel. He has yet to publish another one, but he does have a nonfiction book titled, How to Live in Detroit Without Being a Jackass.
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