College romance books are part of an often-overlooked subgenre, so do yourself a favor and dive into this literary goldmine today. What defines a college romance book, anyway? A college romance book is typically set in college, or features predominantly college-aged characters with a love story at its heart. The thirty best college romance books of all time have something for everyone: from sporty, to sexy, to emotional and moving.
College romance books are teeming with youthful passion, sizzling chemistry, and a lovable cast of characters that will hook even the most reluctant reader in no time. Take a risk on a new subgenre — or rediscover a genre you already love — and check out these college romance books today. Happy reading!
The Best College Romance Books
Icebreaker by Hannah Grace
Icebreaker is a can’t-miss, wildly popular rom-com from the self-labeled “fluffy comfort book” author Hannah Grace.
Anastasia Allen is a competitive figure skater with a full-ride scholarship to the University of California. She won’t let anyone get in her way — until Nate Hawkins, captain of the hockey team, is forced to share a rink with her — and personal space becomes the last of her concerns.
You can buy Icebreaker here, and prepare to fall for this lighthearted sporty rom-com read.
The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood
If you’re looking for college romance in a smart and sexy package, then Ali Hazelwood’s The Love Hypothesis is the book for you.
Meet Olive Smith: she’s a grad student and scientist who absolutely does not believe in love — but desperate times call for desperate measures. In an attempt to convince her best friend that she’s dating, she kisses the man nearest to her: who just so happens to be Adam Carlsen, a young professor known for his rude and arrogant attitude.
Imagine Olive’s surprise when Adam agrees to be her fake boyfriend — and when it turns out that he’s not so mean after all.
You can purchase The Love Hypothesis here, and enjoy this sweet and steamy rom-com that you won’t be able to put down.
Wait For You by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Jennifer L. Armentrout — who also writes under the pen name J. Lynn — delights her dedicated fanbase once more with her sizzling series debut, Wait For You.
Nineteen-year-old Avery Morgansten is running away from the painful trauma of her past, hoping that her time in college will finally give her the chance to restart. When she meets the dreamy Cameron Hamilton she begins truly believing in her future — until threatening calls and emails from her past put everything she’s worked for at risk.
You can buy Wait For You here, and make sure to check out the next five books in this series to see what happens next!
The Deal by Elle Kennedy
Elle Kennedy writes funny and moving college romances that you won’t want to miss, and The Deal is no exception.
Hannah Wells is good at just about everything — everything, that is, except getting the attention of the guy she likes. She decides to try making him jealous by fake dating the captain of the hockey team, Garrett Graham.
What’s a girl to do when her fake dating scheme starts to feel all too real?
You can purchase The Deal here, and check out the rest of the delicious Off-Campus collection for more entertaining college romance reads.
The Year We Fell Down by Sarina Bowen
Sarina Bowen’s The Year We Fell Down is a fast-paced and trope-driven college romance that’s as sporty as it is sweet.
Corey and Adam are two fellow hockey players, excited to start off their college careers on their respective sports teams until an unexpected tragedy lands them both with debilitating injuries. Corey knows she’s falling for Adam, but Adam’s eyes hold remnants of a painful past that might threaten their budding relationship before it even starts.
You can buy The Year We Fell Down here, and you’re in for a heartfelt and swoon-worthy romance read.
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Rainbow Rowell’s bestselling novel Fangirl was written for an upper-teen audience, but its warmth and wit have made it popular with adult audiences, too.
Cath always had her twin sister Wren by her side while growing up, but they’re in college now, and Wren is taking space for herself. All that Cath has now is the fanfiction she grew up writing, the boy who keeps stopping by her dorm room, and the fear that she isn’t ready to take on life by herself yet.
You can purchase Fangirl here, and you’re bound to fall for this quirky coming-of-age romance.
Upsy Daisy by Chelsie Edwards
If you’re looking for a tender romance with hints of laughter and community, then Upsy Daisy by Chelsie Edwards is the book for you.
College offers a chance for two young lovers to restart in Upsy Daisy, the story of Daisy Payton and her whirlwind romance with classmate Trevor Boone. But coming from two distinctly different pasts, and with wildly ambitious goals for the future, can they learn to navigate love and life without losing it (or each other)?
You can buy Upsy Daisy here, and you won’t want to put this one down!
Kissing Tolstoy by Penny Reid
Bestselling novelist Penny Reid impresses her readers once again with Kissing Tolstoy, a complex and cute love story that you won’t want to miss.
After a traumatizing end to her last relationship, Anna Harris had sworn off dating — until her best friend convinced her to try out blind dating. Sparks fly and Anna realizes she can see herself with Luca, her date.
Sadly, all their chemistry is forced out the window when Anna walks into her new Russian Lit class and discovers that Luca is her professor.
You can purchase Kissing Tolstoy here, and check out the companion novel Kissing Galileo for another forbidden college romance read.
Good Girl Complex by Elle Kennedy
Elle Kennedy does it again with Good Girl Complex, a college romance that makes for the perfect beach read.
Prim and privileged Mackenzie “Mac” Cooper is being forced to get a college degree by her parents, so she reluctantly moves to Avalon Bay, the beachside home of Garnet College. Mac unexpectedly finds herself falling for the local bad boy, Cooper Hartley — but Cooper has a dark secret that she might not be able to forgive.
You can buy Good Girl Complex here, and check out the next two books in the Avalon Bay series for more sweet and spicy reading.
The Perfect First by Maya Hughes
Maya Hughes’s The Perfect First is a friends-to-lovers romance that will have you reading late into the night!
Persephone has a college to-do list that she’s eager to check off, and senior football star Reece is happy to help her out with one exception: he won’t sleep with her. He’s happy to help her find the right person for the job, though — but the more he gets to know her the more he realizes that he wants to be her first.
You can purchase The Perfect First here, and prepare to fall for Persephone and Reece’s love story like no other.
Rent a Boyfriend by Gloria Chao
Fake dating and laugh-out-loud banter abound in Rent a Boyfriend, Gloria Chao’s must-read coming-of-age rom-com.
Desperate to appease the pressures of her Taiwanese parents, Chloe hires a boyfriend: Drew Chan, an artist who’s working to make ends meet after his parents cut him off financially. Their fake relationship is perfect — but what will either of them do when their feelings start to feel all too real?
You can buy Rent a Boyfriend here, and you’re in for a hilariously touching tale of young love.
One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston
Casey McQuiston’s One Last Stop is a fresh romantic comedy with a whole lot of heart: you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you won’t want to stop reading.
When August moved to New York City, she expected to prove a theory to herself: that love isn’t real and magic doesn’t exist, no matter what the movies try to tell you. Then August spots her on the subway: Jane, a charming girl who dresses like she’s from the seventies.
That’s when August finds out — Jane is from the seventies, and she’s going to have to put aside her cynicism to save this dazzling girl who’s stuck in time.
You can purchase One Last Stop here, and prepare to fall head-over-heels for this sparkling queer romance.
Easy by Tammarra Webber
Tammarra Webber practically invented the New Adult subgenre with Easy, a rousing series debut that’s as deeply moving as it is breathtakingly sexy.
Jacqueline is rescued from a creeper at a college party by Lucas, a man who she barely knows but who respects her privacy and helps her at a time when she needs it the most. When she keeps running into him on campus, she begins to wonder if they could have a future together — but first, she’ll have to overcome her past.
You can buy Easy here, and make sure to check out the next three installations in the series to see where Jacqueline and Lucas’s story takes them.
Bewitched By You by Kendra Mase
Short, sweet, and undeniably cozy: Kendra Mase’s Bewitched By You is a small-town college romance with a distinctly witchy twist.
Things are not going to plan for Luella Pierce: everyone in her coven knows what they’re doing (except her) — I mean, even her arch nemesis Ryan Gardner is doing better than she is! Everything changes when Ryan sustains a career-ending injury and Lu is given a chance at love. But is she willing to risk it all for something so fickle?
You can purchase Bewitched By You here, and you’re bound to fall under this book’s spell in no time.
As She Fades by Abbi Glines
As She Fades by Abbi Glines is a smoldering, surprising romance about love, loss, and the power of the choices we make.
Vale and her boyfriend Crawford get in a terrible car accident on the night of their high school graduation, and Crawford ends up in a coma. During her hospital visits, Vale meets Slate, a college student who she feels herself falling for — even though she knows it’s wrong.
Then Crawford wakes up — and he has no memory of Vale or their time together. Will Vale take a chance on Slate, or is she too broken by everything she already lost?
You can buy As She Fades here, and brace yourself for a gripping and emotional read.
A Brush with Love by Mazey Eddings
Prepare to fall hard when you pick up a copy of A Brush With Love, a Mazey Eddings rom-com with a whole lot of heart.
Harper has a plan for her life and nothing will get in her way: or, nothing other than Dan, a first-year dentistry student who she literally just crashed into. Harper can’t deny that Dan is cute, but she has her heart set on an oral residency program and she can’t afford any distractions. But they can be friends, right?
You can purchase A Brush with Love here, and you’re sure to enjoy this charming, intelligent love story.
Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann
Claire Kann’s debut novel, Let’s Talk About Love, is an insightful love story that will make you laugh, cry, and everything in-between.
Alice has sworn off dating ever since her last girlfriend ended things — all because Alice is asexual. When Alice meets Takumi, she can’t deny the butterflies in her stomach or the way she can’t stop thinking about him: but does she want to take a risk on love just to be rejected again?
You can buy Let’s Talk About Love here, and prepare for a fast-paced and flirty read that you won’t want to miss.
Love in the Time of Serial Killers by Alicia Thompson
Alicia Thompson’s Love in the Time of Serial Killers is a humorous and heartwarming rom-com with a fresh, contemporary twist!
Meet Phoebe Walsh: she’s busy writing her dissertation on true crime and worrying that everyone she meets is a serial killer. Mainly, she’s worrying about her new neighbor, Sam Dennings — there’s no way he’s genuinely that nice, right?
Sam’s behavior means one of two things: either he’s a murderous manipulator, or he actually likes her. Can Phoebe let her guard down long enough to take a chance on love?
You can purchase Love in the Time of Serial Killers here, and this is a book that will stay with you long after you’ve turned the last page.
Only When It’s Us by Chloe Liese
Enemies-to-lovers romance fans rejoice: Chloe Liese’s Only When It’s Us is the trope-driven rom-com that you’ve been waiting for.
Willa Sutter is a women’s soccer star with a fiery spirit, and Ryder Bergman is her lumberjack-looking classmate who ignored her when she asked him for class notes. The two enter a rivalry with ill intentions, and their matchmaking professor isn’t going to make it any easier for them to get out of this unscathed.
You can buy Only When It’s Us here, and you’re sure to be laughing along with the characters’ mishaps and antics in no time.
Ivy by Willa Nash
Willa Nash’s Ivy is a uniquely atmospheric college romance that’s teeming with prep school drama and secrets that are better left unspoken.
Aston University might be full of wealth and prestige, but what people really know it for are its dirty, dangerous secrets. These secrets are shared by three young women — Cassia, Elora, and Ivy — who might lose their love (or their life) trying to keep the truth quiet.
You can purchase Ivy here, and prepare to be swept up into a world of twists, turns, and tantalizing romance.
First Down by Grace Reilly
Flirty and sporty college romance litters the pages of Grace Reilly’s First Down, a lighthearted rom-com that’s overflowing with character.
Bex is desperate to convince her cheating ex that she is over him — what better way to do so than to start dating his teammate? Of course, they’re not really dating: she tutors James and James takes her on fake dates.
Little does Bex know that James has more than just pretending in mind.
You can buy First Down here, and check out the companion novel Breakaway for another sizzling college romance.
When Tara Met Farah by Tara Pammi
Tara Pammi’s When Tara Met Farah is a short and spicy contemporary romance that will leave you swooning!
Tara Muvvala is a food vlogger, not a mathematician, which is why she enlists the help of math genius Farah Ahmend to help her pass her class. Tara and Farah have nothing in common — so why can’t they stop thinking about one another? And what would happen if they acted on those feelings?
You can purchase When Tara Met Farah here, and prepare to laugh, cry, and be completely charmed by a collection of deeply lovable characters.
The Studying Hours by Sara Ney
Sara Ney’s The Studying Hours is a steamy college romance that you won’t want to put down — so clear your schedule and get reading!
Everyone’s heard of Sebastian Ozborne: he’s one of the most celebrated student athletes and he’s a certified rascal. Jameson refuses to give into his roguish charms: she’s in college to study hard and nothing else. Who knew her stark disinterest would end up making her Oz’s greatest weakness?
You can buy The Studying Hours here, and check out the next four books in the How to Date a Douchebag series for more downright dirty fun.
My Oxford Year by Julia Whelan
Julia Whelan’s My Oxford Year is a witty, wise, and warm read that’s as romantic as it is thought-provoking.
Ella Durran is living out her childhood dream: she’s studying at Oxford University on a scholarship, and she’s been granted a position working on a star-studded political campaign. The first local Ella meets is far from pleasant — and then she walks into her English literature course to find that same local teaching it!?
Things couldn’t get worse — until they could. Ella is falling for Jamie, but he’s harboring a secret that threatens to tear apart Ella’s politics and her future.
You can purchase My Oxford Year here, and see for yourself what this buzzy romance read is all about.
See You Yesterday by Rachel Lynn Solomon
If you’re in the market for a swoony rom-com about first love, look no further than Rachel Lynn Solomon’s See You Yesterday.
Barrett Bloom has a disastrous first day at college, complete with a confrontation in her physics class, only to wake up the next morning and discover that it’s her first day of college. Again. As Barrett relives her day, she has the same run-in with the guy from her physics class, Miles.
It turns out that Miles is trapped in the timeline, too — they begin to fall for each other, but what happens when they wake up and it isn’t yesterday anymore?
You can buy See You Yesterday here, and you’re sure to be flipping pages rapidly to reach the novel’s breathtaking conclusion.
The Sizzle Paradox by Lily Menon
Two science students meet their match in Lily Menon’s The Sizzle Paradox, a can’t-miss contemporary rom-com that’s brilliantly funny and shiningly romantic.
Meet Lyric Bishop: she’s studying sexual chemistry in romantic partners to complete her doctoral thesis, yet she can’t stop coming up empty in her personal life. Her best friend Kian Montgomery offers to coach her on some of his signature dating tactics — he just didn’t expect to fall for her along the way.
You can purchase The Sizzle Paradox here, and prepare for a read that’s as charming as it is heartfelt.
Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire
Jamie McGuire’s Beautiful Disaster is an angst-ridden look at love, life, and sacrifice that will hook you like no other.
Good girl Abby Abernathy meets bad boy Travis Maddox in her first year at college, but little did she know that her future was about to be transformed forever. Abby is hell-bent on avoiding Travis until he tricks her into a bet that she can’t resist. This bad boy just met his match.
You can buy Beautiful Disaster here, and check out the next two books in the series to follow Abby and Travis’s story.
Honey & Spice by Bolu Babalola
Honey & Spice is Bolu Babalola’s literary debut, and it’s a smart and sexy romance that won’t disappoint.
Kiki Banjo is the host of Whitewell University’s most popular student radio show: but when she kisses Malakai Korede, the guy she just publicly denounced over the air, things are about to get dicey. Kiki and Malakai enter into a fake relationship to save face for Kiki’s show, but as she gets to know him more she begins to question if Malakai is all that bad after all. And is she willing to risk the consequences of trying for something more?
You can purchase Honey & Spice here, and you’re in for a delightful rom-com read with a whole lot of heart.
The Guy On The Right by Kate Stewart
You won’t want to overlook Kate Stewart’s The Guy On The Right, a riveting and steamy must-read college romance.
Teddy is accustomed to living in the shadow of his roommate Troy, who is both football royalty and model status. But when Teddy meets the girl of his dreams he’s determined to fight for what he wants — especially after Troy gives her a long look. Not this time, Troy.
You can buy The Guy On The Right here, and check out the next two books in Kate Stewart’s Underdogs series for more equally entertaining romance reads.
The Royal We by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan
Two talented novelists in their own right, Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan prove once and for all that “two heads are better than one” with The Royal We.
Bex Porter has sought out adventure her whole life, but she never dreamed that her wild spirit would take her this far. She’s attending Oxford University and she’s fallen in love — with the heir to the British throne.
There’s only one problem: Nick is expected to marry a fellow Brit; certainly not an American student like Bex Porter. Can love overcome the pressures of royalty, or will this tabloid-worthy love story end in heartbreak after all?
You can purchase The Royal We here, and don’t forget to check out its sequel, The Heir Affair, next!
What are the best college romance books?
Check out the thirty aforementioned books for the absolute best in college romance reads!
Is romance a genre or subgenre?
Romance is a genre, whereas college romance is an example of one of its many subgenres.
What makes a good college romance novel?
Components of a good college romance novel include page-turning writing, an engaging plotline, and chemistry between the romantic leads.
Is sports romance a genre?
Sports romance is a subgenre within the romance genre.
What tropes are common in college romance?
Some of the most common college romance tropes include friends-to-lovers, enemies-to-lovers, and academic rivalry.