Let’s face it: the internet has totally changed the love story landscape. While most of us still dream of a to-die-for meet cute, more often than not we end up stumbling through a series of stiff text convos with a stranger we matched with on an app while the awkwardness of meeting IRL looms. But who says that getting to know someone through the window of your phone screen can’t be romantic? Check out these four books that bring the butterflies to the new normal of falling in love online:
4 Virtual Romances that are #Relatable
1. Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi
There are books you hold near and dear. And then there are books so next-level relatable that you have to keep pausing mid-scene to snap a pic of the sentence you just read to send to your bestie followed by a string of texts about how it makes you feel so known. Like, sure, I’ve never had to tend to my roommate’s outrageously hot step-uncle after finding him in the throes of a panic attack and subsequently become his emergency contact. But Penny and Sam’s late-night text volleys and should-we-or-shouldn’t-we-do-this-IRL struggle are as comfortingly familiar as they are swoon-worthy. Emergency Contact is a must-read for anyone who’s ever gone head over heels with their fingertips tapping across a phone screen.
2. Virtually Yours by Sarvenaz Tash
“His selfie made me do it,” is the kind of first line that you can’t help but nod at in solidarity, even if you would never let a ‘gram of your ex totally thriving drive you to sign up for a dating app. But Mariam’s all-too-relatable struggle to let go of The One Who Was Supposed to Be The One takes a turn when a virtual reality dating service guaranteed to find her Happily Ever After matches her with none other than her ex, Caleb. He’s not her top match but their compatibility score is in the 90th percentile, so statistically speaking they’re basically meant to be. What’s a girl supposed to do with that kind of data-based validation?! Ignore it and ride off into the sunset with a complete rando that a robot named Agatha has just virtually dropped into her lap?
3. Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett
Oh, to be young, in love with your forum friend, and composing an endless stream of private messages riddled with textually rendered gestures (*nostalgic sigh*). There’s a special kind of romance in the thread you share with that one internet person you connected with over a mutual obsession and now relay your every thought to (from the super-deep to the utterly mundane). But what happens when you meet that person IRL – without knowing it’s them – and totally hate each other? When Bailey moves to the town where her fellow film geek and virtual confidant “Alex” lives, she’s too afraid of the messy potential of meeting face to face to tell him she’s there. So, how could she know that her archnemesis Porter, who heckles her day in and day out at the tourist trap where they work is Alex? And how can she possibly reconcile the two desperately different versions of him?
4. Permanent Record by Mary H.K. Choi
Okay, so most of us probably can’t #relate to the whirlwind romance Pablo finds himself swept up in after mega popstar Leanna Smart wanders into the deli where he works and they bond over their shared love of crafty snack combos. But their post-meet-cute Insta flirtation is the stuff of celeb crush dreams.