Smart and funny Romances for People Who Hate to Admit they Might Like Romance

Posted on March 10, 2024

by Amy H

It is both irritating and sad when someone avoids a genre based on mean stereotypes from snooty people who should know better. Here are some excellent romances with wonderful characters, great stories, and significant smooches that I triple-dog dare you NOT to like. You’re welcome.

Book Jacket: Romantic Comedy

romantic comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld

The most aptly named book ever, this is a perfect mix of smart and funny dialog, interesting characters, and a fascinating look into how a weekly late night comedy like Saturday Night Live is actually created fresh each week. Liked it so much I listened to the audiobook after reading the print.

Book Jacket: The Other Bennet Sister

the other bennet sister by Janice Hadlow

The character epitome of smart and dull, this wonderful look at the least popular Bennet sister is a joy to read and does justice to intelligent, no-nonsense girls everywhere. Mary outshines her sisters in her own way, just as a heroine should.

Book Jacket: The Spellman Files

the spellman files by Lisa Lutz

Okay *technically* this one is more of a mystery, but the romance comes a close second. Izzy Spellman is like a smart woman's Stephanie Plum, and all titles in this series are consistently fun. Part Nancy Drew, part Dirty Harry, Izzy walks an indistinguishable line between Spellman family member and Spellman employee. Duties include: completing assignments from the bosses, aka Mom and Dad (preferably without scrutiny); appeasing her chronically perfect lawyer brother (often under duress); setting an example for her fourteen-year-old sister, Rae (who's become addicted to "recreational surveillance"); and tracking down her uncle (who randomly disappears on benders dubbed "Lost Weekends"). The audiobooks are fantastic.

Book Jacket: Evvie Drake Starts Over

evvie drake starts over by Linda Holmes

Linda Holmes, uber-talented host of NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast, totally gets how to make a romance novel be smart and funny, with interesting, complex characters and unpredictable plots. In a sleepy seaside town in Maine, recently widowed Eveleth “Evvie” Drake rarely leaves her large, painfully empty house. Meanwhile, in New York City, former Major League pitcher Dean Tenney is wrestling with every athlete's worst nightmare, known as the “yips”: he can’t throw straight anymore, and, even worse, he can’t figure out why. As the media storm heats up, a friend's invitation to stay in Maine seems like the perfect chance to hit the reset button. When he moves into an apartment at the back of Evvie’s house, the two make a deal: Dean won’t ask about Evvie’s late husband, and Evvie won’t ask about Dean’s baseball career. Rules, though, have a funny way of being broken-and what starts as an unexpected friendship soon turns into something more.

Book Jacket: Funny You Should Ask

funny you should ask by Elissa Sussman

Hired to write a profile on the movie star who is her celebrity crush, a writer has a whirlwind weekend with the actor and is still questioned about the article ten years later despite her own successful career. So when his PR team requests that they reunite for a second interview, she wants to say no. She wants to pretend that she’s forgotten about the time they spent together. But the truth is that Chani wants to know if those seventy-two hours were as memorable to Gabe as they were to her. And so . . . she says yes.

Book Jacket: Jonathan Unleashed

jonathan unleashed by Meg Rosoff

Jonathan Trefoil's girlfriend wants to marry someone just like him - only richer and more organized, with a different sense of humor. On the plus side, in their semi-legal apartment, his two roommates are determined to fix his life - or possibly to destroy it altogether. It's difficult to be certain as they only speak dog. Jonathan longs for the good old days before everyone expected him to act like a person. One thing he knows for sure: if he can make it in New York City, he can make it anywhere. Will he get out of advertising, meet the girl of his dreams and figure out the gender of his secret crush? Given how it's going so far... probably not.

Book Jacket: Star-crossed

star-crossed by Minnie Darke

When childhood sweethearts Justine and Nick bump into each other as adults, a life-changing love affair seems inevitable. To Justine, anyway. Especially when she learns Nick is an astrological devotee, whose decisions are guided by the horoscopes in his favorite magazine, which Justine happens to write for. She decides to take Nick's horoscope, and Fate itself, into her own hands. Charting the ripple effects of Justine's astrological meddling, this is a delicious, intelligent, and affecting love story about friendship, chance, and how to navigate the kinds of choices that are hard to face alone.

Book Jacket: Honey and Spice

honey and spice by Bolu Babalola

Sharp-tongued (and secretly soft-hearted) Kiki Banjo has just made a huge mistake. As an expert in relationship-evasion and the host of a popular student radio show, she’s made it her mission to make sure the women at Whitewell University do not fall into the mess of “situationships”, players, and heartbreak. But when the Queen of the Unbothered kisses the guy she just publicly denounced in front of everyone, she finds her reputation at stake. With smart characters, sharp social commentary, and wonderfully witty banter, this is a hit.

Book Jacket: The Kiss Quotient

the kiss quotient by Helen Hoang

Stella Lane's Asperger's condition enables her mathematics career to give her more money than she knows what to do with, but way less romantic experience than she'd like. She decides she needs lots of practice--with a professional, and hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can't afford to turn down Stella's offer and agrees to help her get through her lesson plan. Before long, Stella learns to appreciate and even crave his kisses and caresses and their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. The pattern that emerges might convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic...

Book Jacket: The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels

the wisteria society of lady scoundrels by India Holton

Cecilia Bassingwaite is the ideal Victorian lady thief. Like the other members of the Wisteria Society crime sorority, she flies her house (yes, really!) around England drinking tea, blackmailing friends, and acquiring treasure by interesting means. Ned Lightbourne is a sometimes assassin who is smitten with Cecilia. Unfortunately, he's also under direct orders to kill her. His employer, Captain Morvath, possesses a gothic abbey and intends to rid England of all its presumptuous women, starting with the Wisteria Society. Cecilia is forced to team up with her handsome would-be assassin to save the women who raised her--hopefully proving, once and for all, that she's as much of a scoundrel as the rest of them.

Book Jacket: Partners in Crime

partners in crime by Alisha Rai

Mira Patel’s got a solid accounting career, good friends, and a whole lot of distance between her and her dysfunctional family. All that’s missing is a stable romantic relationship. Naveen Desai is focused on keeping his sick grandfather’s law firm afloat. Mira needs his help to settle her recently deceased aunt’s affairs. He’s determined to keep things professional…though it’s impossible not to be intrigued by all of the secrets piling up around Mira. If getting together is a bad idea, getting kidnapped together is even worse. Naveen and Mira find themselves in a mad dash through Las Vegas to escape jewel thieves, evade crime bosses, and follow the clues to untangle the mess her family left behind.

Book Jacket: Something Wilder

something wilder by Christina Lauren

Lily Wilder, the daughter of a notorious treasure hunter, is dismayed to find the man who broke her heart is in the tour group she leads on a fake treasure hunt in the canyons of Utah. The trip goes horribly and hilariously wrong, and the group suspects that maybe the legend of the hidden treasure wasn’t a gimmick after all. Lily must decide whether she can overcome her betrayed trust to risk her life and heart on the adventure of a lifetime.

Book Jacket: The Bodyguard

the bodyguard by Katherine Center

Hannah Brooks looks like a kindergarten teacher rather than a professional bodyguard. She's hired to protect superstar actor Jack Stapleton from his middle-aged, corgi-breeding stalker. Captured by paparazzi on beaches the world over, Jack is famous for rising out of the waves glistening like a Roman deity. After a family tragedy, he drops from the public eye, eventually returning home to his family’s Texas ranch. He doesn’t want his family to know about his stalker. Or the bodyguard thing, so Hannah finds herself pretending to be Jack’s girlfriend as a cover. What could possibly go wrong??? The more time she spends with Jack, the more real it all starts to seem. It’s easy for Hannah to protect Jack. But protecting her own, long-neglected heart? That’s the hardest thing she’s ever done.

Book Jacket: Get A Life, Chloe Brown

get a life, chloe brown by Talia Hibbert

First in a trilogy of sweet, smart, and funny romances, each featuring one of three sisters. Chloe Brown is a chronically ill computer geek who, after almost-but not quite-dying, has come up with seven directives to help her rebel and “Get a Life”. But it’s not easy being bad, even when you’ve written step-by-step guidelines on how to do it correctly. What Chloe needs is a teacher, and she knows just the man for the job.

Book Jacket: One Last Stop

one last stop by Casey McQuiston

For cynical twenty-three-year-old August, moving to New York City is supposed to prove her right: that things like magic and cinematic love stories don’t exist, and the only smart way to go through life is alone. And there’s certainly no chance of her subway commute being anything more than a daily trudge through boredom and electrical failures. But then, there’s this gorgeous girl on the train. Dazzling, charming, mysterious, impossible Jane. August’s subway crush becomes the best part of her day, but pretty soon, she discovers there’s one big problem: Jane doesn’t just look like an old-school punk rocker. She’s literally displaced in time from the 1970s, and August is going to have to use everything she tried to leave in her own past to help her. Maybe it’s time to start believing in some things, after all.

Did you like this blog post? Keep up to date with all of our posts by subscribing to the Library’s newsletters!

Keep your reading list updated with our book lists. Our staff love to read and they’ll give you the scoop on new tv-series inspired titles, hobbies, educational resources, pop culture, current events, and more!

Looking for more great titles? Get personalized recommendations from our librarians with this simple form.