Calling all bookworms! Check out these books featuring totally relatable bookish protagonists who prove that even if you spend most of your life with your head buried in a book, you can have your own breathtaking romances, fantastical adventures, and enthralling stories worth telling.
Bookish Protagonists You Can Totally Relate to
1. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
Sometimes swoonworthy (and drama-filled) love is not just the thing of romance novels…as romance-novel aficionado, Lara Jean, learns in Jenny Han’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series. In the first book, not one but TWO boys of her dreams unexpectedly vie for her love. And in the rest of the series, LJ learns what love looks like after ‘Happily Ever After’. Also, catch Laura Jean and Peter Kavinsky on the screen in movie adaptations on Netflix!
2. Today Tonight Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon
Rowan Roth is one of the two rival overachievers at the heart of the riveting 24-hour rom-com, Today Tonight Tomorrow, and she secretly aspires to be a romance novelist. In this enemies-to-lovers romance, these high school archenemies are thrown together in a scavenger hunt on the last day of senior year. Today, she hates him. Tonight, she puts up with him. Tomorrow… maybe she’s already fallen for him.
3. Recommended for You by Laura Silverman
Shoshanna Greenberg loves working at Once Upon, her favorite local bookstore, so when her boss announces a holiday bonus, Shoshanna is thrilled. The only thing standing in her way is new hire Jake Kaplan—who doesn’t even READ! Who cares if he’s cute, and an eligible Jewish single… Recommended for You by Laura Silverman is a You’ve Got Mail-inspired contemporary romance that will tickle any book-lover’s heart.
4. What I Like About You by Marisa Kanter
An ode to book bloggers and book publicists, What I Like About You is book lover’s paradise. Kels is the enigmatically cool creator of One True Pastry, a YA book blog that pairs epic custom cupcakes with book reviews. Kels has everything, including an amazing best friend, Nash. He’s talented and sweet, they don’t have to deal with IRL awkwardness, and they can talk about anything…except for the fact that Kels isn’t Kels at all, she’s Halle. And when Halle arrives to spend senior year in Gramps’ small town, she finds herself unexpectedly face-to-face with real-life, not-behind-a-screen Nash.
5. Love & Olives by Jenna Evans Welch
Jenna Evans Welch’s Love & Olives may be about a girl reconnecting with her Atlantis-obsessed absent father and possibly falling in love with his charismatic Greek protégé in Santorini—but it’s ALSO a book about a girl LIVING IN A BOOKSTORE. Liv is a visual artist and her roommate—and possible love interest—Theo dreams of becoming a filmmaker, so they’re not by-the-book bookworms (ha), but they do live in a secret room hidden in a gorgeous picturesque bookstore tucked in the basement of one of Santorini’s famous white houses… so we think this should make the list.
6. Chasing Lucky by Jenn Bennett
Chasing Lucky by Jenn Bennett also features a protagonist living in a bookstore (why are so many YA protagonists living the dream??). Josie St. Martin lives in her family-owned New England indie. Unfortunately for Josie, the most frequent regular at the store is her ex-best-friend turned local bad boy Lucky Karras. Returning to town after years away, Josie is eager to avoid Lucky, her family tension, and the insidious local rumor mill. But when her least favorite bad boy bookworm takes the fall for her own impulsive actions, Josie is determined to find out why.
7. Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
Sorcery of Thorns’ heroine, Elisabeth, is the ultimate bookworm. Raised in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has trained her whole life to protect grimoires, the magical books that are the tools of sorcerers and can transform into grotesque monsters if provoked. But when Elisabeth is implicated in an act of sabotage, Elisabeth must leave the walls of her beloved library, and find out the truth about sorcerers, the libraries she loves, and even herself. If she fails, not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the whole world along with them.
8. Autoboyography by Christina Lauren
Is there any bookish drama we love more than falling in love with someone in your creative writing class? (Or book club? Or at a meet cute at a bookstore?) Autoboyography is a coming-of-age novel by New York Times bestselling author duo, Christina Lauren, about two boys who fall in love in writing class—one from a progressive family and the other from a conservative religious community.
9. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Dante from Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is a sensitive poet after any bibliophile’s heart, and when he crosses paths with angry loner Aristotle, both their lives are changed forever. This lauded lyrical novel is about family, friendship, and the important truths that you can discover about yourself and the universe when you meet the right person.
10. Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi
Aspiring writer Penny and aspiring documentary filmmaker Sam are the angsty, artsy, awkward romantic protagonists of any bookworm’s dreams. When Penny comes across Sam having a panic attack and he reveals that he has no one to turn to in an emergency, the pair become each other’s Emergency Contact. Over text, these two recluses share their deepest fears, their greatest dreams, and forge a connection without the humiliating weirdness of having to, you know, see each other.