While tidying my bookshelves the other day, the first romance novel I ever read came tumbling to the floor. In the seventh grade, my friends and I had purchased a thick novel from a CVS in anticipation of a sleepover. I, the book's guard, took the novel home and read it in its entirely, before we read the dirty parts aloud at the sleepover. The novel's protagonists brought to life, with excitement and warmth, the acts I'd only heard described clinically in health class. Despite being set in Regency England, not contemporary America, the novel was a preview of dynamics I'd encounter one day in the adult world. With that, I was a convert to romance.
As I learned, there's romance novel for every reader. A queer werewolf epic? Check. Contemporary romances between two badass professionals? Double check. Since the genre is so immense and the series so long, it can be intimidating to find a point of entry. All of these books will function as great starters. The more you read, the more you'll know what kind of romance is your jam.
A note: Romance is a sprawling genre. This list will be continually updated with favorites new and old, and my ears wide are open to all suggestions. Leave 'em in the comments, and you might see them turn up on the list.
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