MM Romance novels have come a long way in the modern era. What started as a niche subgenre has blossomed into a robust assortment of critically acclaimed stories loved by audiences across the globe.
MM romance showcases the relationships between two male protagonists and gives the reader a window into what the dynamics of those relationships entail. Many MM romances follow the same romance tropes you may be familiar with, but for some readers, these stories offer representation they will not find elsewhere.
Read on to discover 20 of the best MM romances of all time.
Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy
Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy’s USA Today bestseller Him is the first book in their two-part series and is sure to delight fans of the MM romance genre.
Hockey players Jamie and Ryan started as close friends, but one wild night things went a little too far, so Ryan decided to cut Jamie out of his life entirely. The pair reunite at hockey camp, where they must confront their past and see if the sparks are still there.
Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
The critically acclaimed novel Red, White & Royal Blue received the most buzz of any romance novel upon its release in 2019, and it is easy to see why.
The novel is a royal love story between Alex, the American son of the President, and Henry, the Prince of Wales. The pair start as sworn enemies, so their families and handlers devise a plan to bring peace. Over time, the fake truce they forged develops into something more that could jeopardize both families’ reputations.
The Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun
Named a Best Book Pick by Harper’s Bazaar, The Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun is a modern love story that will sweep you off your feet.
Set on a reality dating show, Charlie, an awkward yet successful tech entrepreneur, agrees to date twenty eligible women in an attempt to rehabilitate his public image. Dev, the most successful producer in the show’s history, has his work cut out for him with Charlie. But, as the show progresses, the two find that their chemistry is effortless and must decide whether to play it safe or rewrite the show’s history.
The Cuckoo’s Call by Lily Morton
Audiobook fans will love the summer holiday romance The Cuckoo’s Call by Lily Morton.
Wren met the older, wealthy heartthrob Mateo while vacationing on the island of Majorca. The two fall into a fast and furious relationship. Ultimately, Wren follows Mateo to Italy, moving into his swanky Venice apartment shortly after their first meeting. But the cracks in their fairytale romance begin to show as the months drag on and cause Wren to start questioning his hasty decision.
Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall
Alexis Halls delivers a witty and heartfelt fake relationship story that turns into something more with Boyfriend Material.
Reluctantly famous son of rockstar parents, Luc decides he needs to clean up his image now that he is back in the public eye with a normal relationship. Oliver fits the bill perfectly. He is a friendly enough vegetarian with a low-profile job. The two agree they have nothing in common but decide to fake a relationship for appearances and eventually realize they might be more compatible than they thought.
Boy Underground by Catherine Ryan Hyde
New York Times bestselling author Catherine Ryan Hyde takes readers on an emotional ride in WWII MM romance Boy Underground.
Steven, the son of wealthy landowners in rural California, develops feelings for Nick, a lower-class son of field workers, in the year 1941. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, their lives are upended, and Steven provides Nick a safe haven in the family farm root cellar. Over time the two develop an even closer bond, but that all changes one day when Steven discovers Nick has disappeared and makes it his life mission to find him.
Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman
Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman is widely considered one of the most successful MM romances of all time, winning many prestigious awards, including an Academy Award for Adapted Screenplay in 2018 for the film adaptation.
The story takes place in the idyllic Italian Riviera home of teenager Elio as his family hosts Oliver, a graduate student, over a life-changing summer. The two begin as strangers living in the same household but develop into something more as the summer progresses. The novel delves into the inner workings of a teenager’s conflicted mind as he engages in an emotionally and physically complicated relationship.
Find Me by André Aciman
Find Me is the critically acclaimed follow-up novel to André Aciman’s Call Me By Your Name.
Ten years after their first meeting, Elio has become a gifted classical pianist who has entered into a new relationship with an older man. Meanwhile, Oliver is living a much different life in the states. The two dream of that fateful summer a decade ago and imagine what their lives would have been like if they could be together.
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Named a New York Times Best YA Book of All Time, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz is a MM romance unlike any other.
This coming-of-age novel set in El Paso, Texas in 1987 follows the story of two Mexican-American teenagers, Aristotle and Dante. As the boys spend more time together, they realize they have more in common than they previously thought. Over time, they develop a special friendship that helps them learn more about themselves and discover important truths.
Swimming in the Dark by Tomasz Jedrowski
Named a Best Book of 2020 by NPR, Swimming in the Dark by Tomasz Jedrowski is a moving MM romance set in Communist Poland.
This story follows two young men, Ludwik and Janusz, who meet at an agricultural summer camp and begin a secret illicit affair in ultra-conservative Communist Poland. When the two return to Warsaw, their differing political ideologies and hostile environment begins to tear them apart.
What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera
Indie bestseller, What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera is a funny, smart, and heartfelt take on MM romance.
Arthur, a soon-to-be high school senior working as a summer intern in New York, bumps into Ben, a heartbroken cynic freshly out of a relationship, randomly at the post office one day. The two engage in a cute conversation, but they inadvertently get separated. As the saga unfolds, they are left to determine what the universe has in store.
They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera
They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera is an emotional rollercoaster about two people who change each other’s lives over one day.
Rufus and Mateo are New York teenagers, unknown to one another, who receive the call that they will die the following day. Equipped with this knowledge, they both decide to make a new friend on their “End Day” using the Last Friend app. Rufus and Mateo meet and have one final adventure of a lifetime together.
Café Con Lychee by Emery Lee
Emery Lee, the author of Meet Cute Diary, delivers another romantic comedy fit for MM romance fans with Café Con Lychee.
This enemies-to-lovers story follows Theo and Gabriel, two sons working in their families’ restaurants. The pair decide to join forces when a competitor fusion cafe opens and threatens both of their shops. When they finally put aside their differences, new feelings emerge and they can see what a special bond they have.
Lie With Me by Philippe Besson
New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice, Lie With Me by Philippe Besson, is a passionate story about an affair between two teenage boys in 1984 France.
The novel follows Philippe’s recollection of his relationship with a boy named Thomas during his last year of high school. The two never acknowledged each other in public but would engage in private, life-altering meet-ups. Despite the two inevitably going their separate ways, Philippe still carries the memory of Thomas everywhere he goes.
Maurice by E.M. Forster
Maurice by E.M. Forster is a MM romance far ahead of its time. E.M. Forster began writing the novel in 1913, but it was not published until 1971.
The novel follows Maurice Hall, an undergraduate student at Cambridge, who eventually works at his father’s firm. Maurice follows societal expectations of him, except for his homosexuality. Throughout the novel, he enters into two romantic relationships with men and must face heartbreaking challenges in each.
The Charioteer by Mary Renault
The Charioteer by Mary Renault is a MM romance war novel set in the early 1940s.
Laurie, a soldier injured at Dunkirk during World War II, is sent to a hospital in England to recover. He meets Andrew, a conscientious object, and the two become close friends and eventually romantic partners.
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens by Becky Albertalli
The critically acclaimed novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens by Becky Albertalli is a popular modern take on the MM romance genre. Many became familiar with this story in the popular film adaptation, Love Simon.
Simon is a closeted high school student who has been corresponding with the secret male admirer via email. Through a turn of events, Simon’s email exchanges are leaked, and he fears his secret might get out. The reader is rooting for Simon as he takes control of his story and finds love in the process.
Nick and Charlie by Alice Oseman
From the author of the bestselling graphic novel series, Heartstopper Alice Osemon delivers a novella following the same main characters as they embark on a new journey in Nick and Charlie.
Nick and Charlie have formed an incredible bond throughout high school. But as Nick prepares to leave for university, leaving Charlie behind to finish his senior year, the two will face their biggest challenge yet. They assume they will stay together despite being apart, but both must consider if their love is strong enough to withstand the distance.
The Men from the Boys by William J. Mann
Prolific author William J. Mann crafts an intimate portrayal of MM romance in The Men from the Boys.
Jeff is a thirty-something guy who was just dumped by his lover Lloyd. Heartbroken and confused, Jeff starts seeing other men but finds the encounters impersonal and unfulfilling until he meets twenty-two-year-old houseboy Eduardo. Meeting Eduardo causes Jeff to reflect on his time dating a much older man in his early twenties. The story shifts between the past and present, reflecting the fleeting nature of love and passion.
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
New York Times Bestseller, The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller, is a romance based on Homer’s The Iliad that readers of MM romance will love.
The modern epoch follows the irresistible Achilles and the awkward Patroclus as they embark on a journey of a lifetime. The two develop an impenetrable bond when they are called upon to lay siege to Troy, but they cannot anticipate the cruel sacrifice they must make before their mission is complete.
What’s an MM book?
MM romance is a romance subgenre that portrays an intimate relationship between two or more men.
Are there any male romance novelists?
While the romance genre is predominantly female authors, there are many male romance novelists. Nicholas Sparks and Jason Luke are two of the many bestselling male romance novelists. Some male romance authors began by writing under female pseudonyms. For example, Tom Huff wrote under the name Jennifer Wilde for many years.
What type of romance is most popular?
Contemporary romance is the most popular romance genre today. These stories are set in the modern era (typically after the 1970s) and follow characters facing real-life, complex situations. Far from a fairytale, contemporary romance portrays the harsh realities of love and intimacy.
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