Lauren's Top Five Romance Debuts of 2019!

I don’t know about you, but 2019 was the year of romance reads for me. Even if the romance was not the central plot of the novel, I still found myself drawn to stories about love and relationships. I guess you could say I love love, in all its diverse forms! Speaking of diversity, my top five romance debuts this year are diverse in race, age, sexuality, you name it. 2019 was a great year for romance! In no particular order, this list is my top five romance debuts of the year.

Well Met By Jen DeLuca

For a debut novel, DeLuca knocks it out of the park! This quirky romance is centered around a small town Renaissance Faire, and it is different than any contemporary romance I have read. Main characters Emily and Simon aren’t quite enemies-to-lovers, but they find it easier to flirt when they are in costumes playing a role, leaving Emily to question the validity of her attraction.

If you are a highly visual person, you will love the imagery provoked by all of the costumes and faire settings. The dialogue between the characters is quippy, and the romance between the characters is charming. Pick this one up if you love Shakespeare, small town feels, and believable romance!

Buy it here.

Not Suitable For Work By Skye McDonald

Not Suitable For Work is book one in debut author Skye McDonald’s Anti-Belle series, and deliver she does! There is a small chance I am biased, because this book is set in my hometown of Nashville, Tennessee, and it was majorly enjoyable to actually know all of the locations referenced in this book. I digress. On the surface, this book is steamy and fun, a true enemies-to-lovers romance; but there is depth to these characters and their lives.

Ben and Celeste begin working for the same company, fighting against their attraction as they compete for the same position. As they learn more about each other and spend time together, they learn more about themselves and what they need in a relationship. Pick this one up if you are a therapy enthusiast, and like stories about overcoming your past and embracing your best self.

Buy it here.

What I Like About Me By Jenna Guillaume

This debut novel remains true to the YA genre with its coming-of-age tale. What I Like About Me is a fun, summer novel set in Australia about plus-size teenager Maisie Martin. The last thing Maisie expects for her summer is to enter a beauty pageant, seeing as she has been hiding her body from everyone her entire life. Throw in a best friend dating the love of her life, plus odd family dynamics, and drama ensues!

Written from the point of view of the main character Maisie writing a journal, Guillaume has an authentic voice that teens need to hear. This story is fun and light-hearted, but has a deeper, more poignant message about overcoming your inner critic, and learning to love yourself as you are. Pick this one up if you like Australian settings, teenage drama, and learning life lessons you are never too old to learn.

Buy it here.

Get a Life, Chloe Brown By Talia Hibbert

Ok, so *technically* this is not Hibbert’s debut novel. She does have other books written prior to this, but I could not not include Get a Life, Chloe Brown on this list! This novel is a steamy, charming, interracial romance between main characters Chloe and Redford. Chloe makes a sort of to-do list for her life, and enlists Redford to help her accomplish said list. Once they begin spending time together, they realize they have a lot of their own pasts to overcome.

Not only is their romance steamy, but this book is also an important read for it gives voice to an underrepresented population. Chloe has fibromyalgia, and Hibbert writes it so accurately. Chronic pain gets very little recognition in contemporary romance, so it’s about time we get a chronically ill heroine! Pick this one up if you want to learn more about fibromyalgia, laugh out loud, and swoon.

Buy it here.

Red, White & Royal Blue By Casey McQuiston

A female president, Texas hill country, and an international love affair? These are a few of my favorite things! This debut LGBTQ+ novel centers around Alex, first son of the first female President of the United States, and Henry, the Prince of Wales. Henry and Alex hate each other...until they don’t. What follows is an all-consuming international love affair they must keep secret.

The characters McQuiston writes are extremely likeable, relatable, and downright hilarious. This story explores themes of first love, courage, sexuality, and above all, family. Pick this one up if you enjoy fast-paced dialogue, are obsessed with the Royals, and if you stan true love.

Buy it here.

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