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10 of the Best Romantic Friends-to-Lovers Young Adult Fiction Books

10 of the Best Romantic Friends-to-Lovers Young Adult Fiction Books Header

Out of all the romance tropes in popular young adult fiction books, my absolute favorite has to be friends to lovers. What is it about this heartwarming, comforting trope that captivates book lovers of every generation?

In case you missed it, the friends-to-lovers trope in romance literature is a popular storyline where two people who have a close platonic relationship eventually develop romantic feelings for each other. Here’s a few reasons why I think we love this trope so much:

1. Relatable to Readers

One reason why the friends-to-lovers trope is so beloved is that it often allows readers to relate to the characters on a personal level. Many people have experienced a friendship that evolved into a romantic relationship, or have harbored secret feelings for a close friend. Seeing these experiences play out in literature can be both relatable and satisfying.

2. Great Story Fuel for Young Adult Fiction Books

Additionally, the friends-to-lovers trope provides an opportunity for authors to delve into complex emotions and character development. The characters in these stories often struggle with their newfound feelings and the fear of ruining their close friendship. This creates a level of emotional depth that readers can connect with and empathize with.

3. Anticipation and So Much Satisfaction

Last but not least, the slow-burn romance of the friends-to-lovers trope builds anticipation and excitement for the eventual outcome. As readers watch the characters’ relationship evolve, they become invested in the outcome and root for them to finally confess their feelings and start a romantic relationship.

Overall, the friends-to-lovers trope in romance literature is a popular choice among book lovers because it combines relatable experiences with emotional depth. These stories allow us to experience the slow-burn tension and delicious anticipation that comes with the gradual realization of romantic love between two people who have a deep connection. Its popularity is truly a testament to the enduring appeal of a well-crafted love story.

Ready to dive in to the list of the 10 best YA SFF friends to lovers books? Brace yourself to experience these 10 thrilling sci-fi and fantasy young adult fiction books featuring the friends-to-lovers trope, handpicked by your fellow bookworms over in the Young Adult Sci-Fi and Fantasy Addicts community! I’ve organized them in order from least popular (but still nominated!) to most popular for your perusal.

Don’t forget to scroll all the way to the bottom of the article for a free gift from me, Nicole Adrianne!


10 of the Best Romantic Friends-to-Lovers Young Adult Fiction Books. Written by Nicole Adrianne from YA Sci-Fi and Fantasy Addicts. A silhouetted young man leans against the back of a silhouetted young woman. She looks down at a flower in her hand.

10. Girl in the Snow by Nicole Adrianne

10 of the Best Romantic Friends-to-Lovers Young Adult Fiction Books Girl in the Snow by Nicole Adrianne

No electricity, no phones, and a broken princess to blame. Winter in the Seven Kingdoms just got colder...

After being promised in marriage to a smug, stuck-up stranger, Eira thought she couldn't get any angrier. Now, she's on the run, and the entire kingdom is convinced that she built an EMP device and destroyed their power grid.

With Eira's best friend, infuriating fiancé, and the entire Royal Guard on her tail, staying hidden in a tiny village seems like her best—and only—option. But, as Eira uncovers a series of long-hidden truths about the Queen and late King, hiding from her destiny becomes nearly impossible.

Will Eira's evidence be enough to convince the kingdom of her innocence, or will it be just enough to get her executed?

If you can't get enough of Grimm's imaginative Fairy Tales, Marissa Meyer's Cinder, and Kiera Cass' The Selection series, then you'll be enchanted by the heart and suspense of Post-Apocalyptic Princesses. Girl in the Snow, a dystopian fairytale retelling loosely inspired by Snow White and the Huntsman, is the first book in the series. It takes place chronologically after the Post-Apocalyptic Princesses prequel, Girl in the Dark.

Grab a copy of Girl in the Snow to start the dangerously clever journey today!

9. So This Is Ever After by F.T. Lukens

10 of the Best Romantic Friends-to-Lovers Young Adult Fiction Books: So This Is Ever After by F.T. Lukens

An instant New York Time bestseller!

Carry On meets Arthurian legend in this subversive, “delightfully original and whimsical” (Kirkus Reviews) young adult fantasy about what happens after the chosen one wins the kingdom and has to get married to keep it…and to stay alive.

Arek hadn’t thought much about what would happen after he completed the prophecy that said he was destined to save the Kingdom of Ere from its evil ruler. So now that he’s finally managed to (somewhat clumsily) behead the evil king (turns out magical swords yanked from bogs don’t come pre-sharpened), he and his rag-tag group of quest companions are at a bit of a loss for what to do next.

As a temporary safeguard, Arek’s best friend and mage, Matt, convinces him to assume the throne until the true heir can be rescued from her tower. Except that she’s dead. Now Arek is stuck as king, a role that comes with a magical catch: choose a spouse by your eighteenth birthday, or wither away into nothing.

With his eighteenth birthday only three months away, and only Matt in on the secret, Arek embarks on a desperate bid to find a spouse to save his life—starting with his quest companions. But his attempts at wooing his friends go painfully and hilariously wrong…until he discovers that love might have been in front of him all along.

8. Harry Potter Series by J. K. Rowling

10 of the Best Romantic Friends-to-Lovers Young Adult Fiction Books: Harry Potter Series by J. K. Rowling

When Harry Potter is left on a doorstep as a baby, he has no idea he is the Boy Who Lived, or that he is famous throughout the wizarding world. Years later, he is astonished to receive an acceptance letter to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and he is soon whisked off on a magical adventure like no other. Join Harry and his fiercely loyal friends, Hermione and Ron, in this story about the power of truth, love and hope.

Having become classics of our time, the Harry Potter eBooks never fail to bring comfort and escapism. With their message of hope, belonging and the enduring power of truth and love, the story of the Boy Who Lived continues to delight generations of new readers.

10 of the Best Romantic Friends-to-Lovers Young Adult Fiction Books: King Arthur and Her Knights Series by K.M. Shea

In a place and time not her own, one woman must risk everything to protect her life, her kingdom, and her heart.

Britt doesn’t want to be a leader, and she definitely doesn’t want to pretend she is the legendary King Arthur. But history has other plans.

A magical summons back through time lands Britt into the schemes of the surprisingly young and handsome wizard Merlin. He has some bad news: the real Arthur has disappeared, and the sword in the stone has chosen Britt to take his place.

But life in ancient Britain isn’t safe. The kingdom is fragmented, with enemies on all sides, and there’s little chance for mercy if Britt’s real identity and gender is exposed. Britt will soon find herself fighting for her life again and again on behalf of her people.

And then there’s Merlin. Focused on his goal to unite Britain, he’s oblivious of Britt’s growing feelings for him. Or so she thinks. But what future can they have in a world that only sees them as monarch and confidant?

Don’t miss this collection of the first three stories in the bestselling King Arthur and Her Knights series plus exclusive bonus content not available anywhere else.

The finished King Arthurs and Her Knights series is based on Arthurian legends and lore. It is sprinkled with humor, love, and more than a dash of magic. If you enjoy strong characters and tales about the Knights of the Round Table, check out the King Arthurs series today!

6. The King's Captive by K.M. Shea

10 of the Best Romantic Friends-to-Lovers Young Adult Fiction Books: The King's Captive by K.M. Shea

I can turn into a housecat.

It’s a fun magic, except in a world filled with vampires and werewolves, it doesn’t exactly make me a powerhouse. Instead, the supernatural community has classified me as an outcast, which means one thing: picking on me is open season all day, every day.

The local fae are the worst of all, and it’s during one of their regular “capture the cat-girl” sessions that I shift into my cat form and meet HIM for the first time.

Noctus is so powerful his magic radiates off him like a sun, and my fae captors can barely look in his general direction. And then my life gets even more terrifying when Noctus decides to take me with him. As a pet.

Why did he pick today to “adopt don’t shop” a cat?

It gets worse when I realize he’s an elf, a ruling race of supernaturals that was supposedly killed off centuries ago.

But he’s not just any elf, no. He’s an elven king, with heaps of secrets to protect. Secrets that I am quickly learning since he includes his new pet in everything from breaking into buildings to inspect classified paperwork to tracking down sketchy supernaturals.

All this means if he gets even a hint that I’m not a real cat, I’m going to find out firsthand how elves treat their prisoners.

So, escaping Noctus is priority #1. How hard can it be? (Answer: very.)

King’s Captive is the first book in the Gate of Myth and Power urban fantasy trilogy, and is part of the Magiford Supernatural City world. It features elves, fae, werewolves, and vampires, and contains an adventure-filled and hilarious take on the Hades and Persephone myth. It’s packed with humor, battles, and a sweet, slow burn romance between an outcast magic user and the deadly king of the elves.

5. The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

10 of the Best Romantic Friends-to-Lovers Young Adult Fiction Books: The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

Enter a fantastical world of dangerous faeries, wicked princes and one half-human girl who discovers her entire life is a lie. This special edition of The Iron King includes the bonus novella “Winter’s Passage” and an exclusive excerpt from the new Iron Fey book, The Iron Raven.


In less than twenty-four hours, I’ll be sixteen. Countless stories, songs and poems have been written about this wonderful age, when a girl finds true love and the stars shine for her and the handsome prince carries her off into the sunset.


Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan Chase’s life, ever since her father disappeared when she was six. Ten years later, when her little brother also goes missing, Meghan learns the truth—she is the secret daughter of a mythical faery king and a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she’ll go to save someone she loves, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face…and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

4. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

10 of the Best Romantic Friends-to-Lovers Young Adult Fiction Books: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Discover the adventure that started it all and meet Alina, Mal, and the Darkling in Shadow and Bone from #1 bestselling author, Leigh Bardugo.

Soldier. Summoner. Saint. Orphaned and expendable, Alina Starkov is a soldier who knows she may not survive her first trek across the Shadow Fold—a swath of unnatural darkness crawling with monsters. But when her regiment is attacked, Alina unleashes dormant magic not even she knew she possessed.

Now Alina will enter a lavish world of royalty and intrigue as she trains with the Grisha, her country’s magical military elite—and falls under the spell of their notorious leader, the Darkling. He believes Alina can summon a force capable of destroying the Shadow Fold and reuniting their war-ravaged country, but only if she can master her untamed gift.

As the threat to the kingdom mounts and Alina unlocks the secrets of her past, she will make a dangerous discovery that could threaten all she loves and the very future of a nation.

Welcome to Ravka . . . a world of science and superstition where nothing is what it seems.

3. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

10 of the Best Romantic Friends-to-Lovers Young Adult Fiction Books: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue never sees them--until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks to her.His name is Gansey, a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can't entirely explain. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul whose emotions range from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She doesn't believe in true love, and never thought this would be a problem. But as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she's not so sure anymore.

2. Graceling by Kristin Cashore

10 of the Best Romantic Friends-to-Lovers Young Adult Fiction Books: Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Discover the Graceling Realm in this unforgettable, award-winning novel from bestselling author Kristin Cashore.

A New York Times bestseller * ALA Best Book for Young Adults * Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Children's Literature Winner * Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, Booklist, and BCCB Best Book of the Year

“Rageful, exhilarating, wistful in turns" (New York Times Book Review) with “a knee weakening romance” (Los Angeles Times). Graceling is a thrilling, action-packed fantasy adventure that will resonate deeply with anyone trying to find their way in the world.

Graceling tells the story of the vulnerable-yet-strong Katsa, who is smart and beautiful and lives in the Seven Kingdoms where selected people are born with a Grace, a special talent that can be anything at all. Katsa’s Grace is killing. As the king’s niece, she is forced to use her extreme skills as his brutal enforcer. Until the day she meets Prince Po, who is Graced with combat skills, and Katsa’s life begins to change. She never expects to become Po’s friend.

She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace—or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away . . . a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.

And don’t miss the sequel Fire and companion Bitterblue, both award-winning New York Times bestsellers featuring Kristin Cashore’s elegant, evocative prose and unforgettable characters.

1. WINNER: Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series by Rick Riordan

10 of the Best Romantic Friends-to-Lovers Young Adult Fiction Books: Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series by Rick Riordan

Don't get left behind! Read the book that launched Percy Jackson into the stratosphere before the Disney+ series comes out. You'll be proud to be seen with this stunning paperback edition.

"Perfectly paced, with electrifying moments chasing each other like heartbeats."--New York Times Book Review

Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school . . . again. And that's the least of his troubles. Lately, mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy's Greek mythology textbook and into his life. And worse, he's angered a few of them. Zeus's master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect. Now Percy and his friends have just ten days to find and return Zeus's stolen property and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. But to succeed on his quest, Percy will have to do more than catch the true thief: he must come to terms with the father who abandoned him; solve the riddle of the Oracle, which warns him of betrayal by a friend; and unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves.

A Free Bonus Gift for Lovers of Young Adult Fiction Books

If your favorite YA books have...

  • morally grey protagonists

  • maps at the beginning of each book

  • star-crossed lovers

  • fairy tale retellings

  • dystopian fantasy settings

  • no spice, a.k.a. tame, sweet, or clean romance (with kissing!)

  • enemies-to-allies

  • secrets and betrayal

  • dystopian governments and rebellions

  • villain origin stories

  • and more!

…then Girl in the Dark: A Tale of Dystopian Royalty is sure to be your next literary fascination.

Download it below for free!


Girl in the Dark: A Tale of Dystopian Royalty by Nicole Adrianne

Start reading the Post-Apocalyptic Princesses series today for FREE when you download Girl in the Dark: A Tale of Dystopian Royalty by Nicole Adrianne

Evil stepmothers aren't born—they're made.

After a devastating plague nearly destroyed humanity, Vespera never expected to leave the safety of her rural homestead. But the ruling royals chose her to help repopulate the kingdom's capital city, and a single peasant girl can't defy a power-hungry new government without a death wish.

Things go from bad to worse when, instead of rewarding her loyalty as promised, the city officials doom her to a life of servitude and labor in the lowest class of society. When blind obedience to her rulers leaves her unemployed, homeless, and estranged from her family, Vespera’s attempt to change her fate and avenge the peaceful life she lost leads to even more trouble.

Because in a city swarming with nobles, soldiers, and rebels, revenge will come at a desperate cost...

If you can't get enough of Grimms' twisted Fairy Tales and Kiera Cass' The Selection series, then this is your next addicting read.

Grab a copy of Girl in the Dark to start this chilling, villainous royal dystopian fantasy story today!


This article was written by Nicole Adrianne.

Young adult dystopian author Nicole Adrianne is a full-time volunteer, cat lover, and tech enthusiast. She lives in Stockholm, Sweden, with her four cats and not only survives but thrives on the spectrum. When she’s not busy creating lush dystopian worlds, she’s probably cooking an adventurous new recipe, learning a foreign language, reading a thrilling novel, or watching Star Wars.

Check out her work by clicking a book cover below!


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