Goodreads Choice Awards 2021: Best Romance Books of the Year

The Goodreads Choice Awards 2021 are here!

It’s that time of year again for readers to pick their favorite books of the year.

Check out the entire list of nominees for the 2021 Goodreads Choice Awards for best romance book below.

*Disclosure: This post may include affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Discover the 2021 Goodreads Choice Awards Nominees for Best Romance Book of the year in this book list from romance book blogger, She Reads Romance Books. See what this romance book fan really thinks of this year's award nominees.

The Goodreads Choice Awards 2021 are upon us! Whether or not you’re a fan of awards, it’s time to check out the nominees for best romance book.

I’m honestly shocked that I’ve already read 11 of these books so far – more than half of the nominees! Although I really did not like two of them, I believe the other 9 firmly belong on this list – they were that good.

It’s going to be a VERY hard decision to cast my vote on the best romance book of the year from this list. My favorites are already on my own list of the best romance novels of 2021.

While there is always some debate about which books actually make the final nominee list, the Goodreads Choice Awards are the only major book award decided by readers. So, for that I think they are pretty cool.

Goodreads Choice Awards 2021 Voting Schedule

The voting schedule for 2021 is quite different than past years. This year’s Goodreads Choice Awards has only TWO rounds: the opening and final rounds.

Another change this year is that there is no longer an opportunity for readers to write-in books that didn’t make the original opening round.

I’m actually disappointed that the write-in round was removed this year because I think it provides a way for those reader favorites that might have been overlooked to get in on the action.

Instead, this year’s opening round begins with 20 nominees for best romance book of the year. After this round, the top 10 will continue to the final round before the winner is announced.

Here’s a quick recap on this year’s voting schedule:

Opening Round: Nov. 16 – 28

Final Round: Nov. 30 – Dec. 5

Winner Announcement: Dec. 9

2021 Goodreads Choice Awards Best Romance Book Nominees

My overall impression when I saw the list of nominees for best romance book was a good one since so many of these books were already my favorites of 2021.

Taking a closer look, there is still a need to increase the diversity of authors represented, but I am happy that there are some diverse characters are included.

I also wish that the Goodreads Choice Awards did a better job at recognizing independent authors because so many of their romance book titles are loved by fans.

A huge congratulations, however, goes out to all of the nominees!

What do you think of this year’s Goodreads Choice Awards best romance book nominees? Share in the comments below!

2021 Goodreads Choice Award Winner for Best Romance:

People We Meet on Vacation is a 2021 Goodreads Choice Awards nominee for best romance book.

People We Meet on Vacation
by Emily Henry

Alex and Poppy have been the best of friends ever since a fateful car share home from college many years ago. Despite being complete opposites and living far apart, every summer they have vacationed for a week together until two years ago when things were ruined.

Not having spoken since, Poppy realizes she needs to fix things and asks Alex to take one more vacation with her so that they can lay everything out on the table and make it right.

I LOVED this book and it’s now one my most favorite.  Henry’s writing is incredible and these characters were just everything.

Definitely one of the best summer reads and deserving as a Goodreads Choice Awards nominee and WINNER. Read it then check out all of Emily Henry’s books!

Stay tuned to watch the People We Meet on Vacation movie!

Amazon | Goodreads

Nominees for Best Romance Book:
2021 Goodreads Choice Awards

The Spanish Love Deception is a 2021 Goodreads Choice Awards nominee for best romance book.

The Spanish Love Deception
by Elena Armas

Winner: Best Debut Novel

Catalina Martin is in a bind. She does NOT want to show up single at her sister’s wedding with her ex in attendance and his new fiancé. Nor does she want to take up her infuriating co-worker’s offer to travel to Spain and be her fake boyfriend. Yet she really has no choice but to take up the charade.

Enemies to lovers, office romance, fake dating, slow burn…this book gave me everything and more! This was such a well written debut novel and I can’t wait for more from this author! It is so deserving of it’s win as best debut novel.

Amazon | Goodreads

The Dating Plan is a 2021 Goodreads Choice Awards nominee for best romance book.

The Dating Plan
by Sara Desai

Daisy Patel is a software engineer with her life all neatly planned out. Since she has no interest in marrying despite her family’s expectations,  she asks her childhood crush to be her fake fiance.

Liam Murphy is a venture capitalist with something to prove. When he learns that his inheritance is contingent on being married, he realizes his best friend’s little sister has the perfect solution to his problem. A marriage of convenience will get Daisy’s matchmaking relatives off her back and fulfill the terms of his late grandfather’s will. If only he hadn’t broken her tender teenage heart nine years ago.

I love a great fake relationship romance, especially one to get meddlesome family members off one’s back. I can’t wait to check this nominee out.

Amazon | Goodreads

The Soulmate Equation is a 2021 Goodreads Choice Awards nominee for best romance book.

The Soulmate Equation
by Christina Lauren

Single mom Jess Davis is a data and statistics wizard, but she’s hasn’t been a whiz in the dating department. Raised by her grandparents—she’s been left behind too often to feel comfortable letting anyone in.

But when she hears about GeneticAlly, a new DNA-based matchmaking company, she decides to take a chance and dip her toes back into the dating world.

How can she go wrong with science and yet something is drastically wrong when she finds out she’s been matched with GeneticAlly’s founder, Dr. River Pena- the stuck-up, stubborn man she knows is not her soulmate. When GeneticAlly proposes to pay her to get to know River, she can’t turn it down and may just find her soulmate after all. 

I loved the storyline of this romance – questioning whether science can help you find your soulmate based on your DNA. Christina Lauren are such an amazing writing duo and they scored on this one for me. Check out my review of The Soulmate Equation.

Amazon | Goodreads | My Review

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The Charm Offensive is a 2021 Goodreads Choice Awards nominee for best romance book.

The Charm Offensive
by Allison Cochrun

Dev Deshpande has always believed in fairy tales, which is why he loves working on the reality dating show Ever After. But this season may be his toughest yet, when disgraced tech wunderkind Charlie Winshaw is cast as its star.

Charlie doesn’t believe in true love, and only agreed to the show as a last-ditch effort to rehabilitate his image. In front of the cameras, he’s a stiff, anxious mess with no idea how to date twenty women on national television. Behind the scenes, he’s cold, awkward, and emotionally closed-off.

As Dev fights to get Charlie to connect with the contestants on a whirlwind, worldwide tour, they begin to open up to each other, and Charlie realizes he has better chemistry with Dev than with any of his female co-stars. But even reality TV has a script, and in order to find to happily ever after, they’ll have to reconsider whose love story gets told.

The Charm Offensive is so deserving to be listed as one of the best books of 2021! Cochrun’s debut novel is such a sweet, slow burn romance that I recommend to everyone even if you’re not a fan of MM romance. Check out my review of The Charm Offensive.

Amazon | Goodreads | My Review

Act Your Age, Eve Brown is a 2021 Goodreads Choice Awards nominee for best romance book.

Act Your Age, Eve Brown
by Talia Hibbert

Eve Brown is a certified hot mess. No matter how hard she strives to do right, things always seem to go wrong. Case in point when she accidentally hits the owner of the bed and breakfast with her car, breaking his arm.

Jacob may have turned her down for the head chef position during her interview, but with him laid up and understaffed Eve is everywhere he turns trying to help.

Eve’s chaotic nature is the complete opposite to Jacob’s need to control everything, so why is he starting to get used to her being around and liking it?

I couldn’t agree more with this book as a nominee as it already made my list of the best romance books of all time. I adored Eve and Jacob – two just adorkable characters that also had some HOT moments. It’s one I’ll be reread for sure. Check out my review of Act Your Age, Eve Brown.

Amazon | Goodreads | My Review

The Ex Hex is a 2021 Goodreads Choice Awards Nominee for best romance book.

The Ex Hex
by Erin Sterling

Nine years ago, Vivienne Jones nursed her broken heart like any young witch would: using her magic to place a curse on the horrible boyfriend.

The curse was harmless or so she thought until Rhys Penhallow returns to Graves Glen, Georgia and things turn disastrously wrong. With one calamity after another striking Rhys, Vivi realizes her silly little Ex Hex may not have been so harmless after all.

Now Vivi and Rhys have to ignore their off the charts chemistry to work together to save the town and find a way to break the break-up curse before it’s too late. 

If found a new love for fantasy romance this year and this one sounds adorable and a possible second chance love story.

Amazon | Goodreads

One Last Stop is one of the best summer reads of 2021. Check out all of the best books to read this summer in this book list.

One Last Stop
by Casey McQuiston

August looks forward to seeing Jane every day on the train. Only her subway crush is impossible because Jane is a girl lost in time, displaced from the 1970s.

This was my MOST anticipated book of 2021 and the biggest disappoint. I love McQuiston’s first novel, but I must be in the minority on this LGBTQ romance as I couldn’t even get halfway through it.

Amazon | Goodreads

The Love Hypothesis is a 2021 Goodreads Choice Awards nominee for best romance book.

The Love Hypothesis
by Ali Hazelwood

As a third-year Ph.D. candidate, Olive Smith doesn’t believe in lasting romantic relationships–but her best friend does, and that’s what got her into this situation. Trying to convince Anh that she is indeed dating, Olive kisses the first man she sees – Adam Carlsen, a young hotshot professor with the worst reputation in the department.

Adam surprisingly agrees to keep her dating charade a secret and be her fake boyfriend. But when a big science conference goes haywire, putting Olive’s career on the Bunsen burner, Adam surprises her again with his unyielding support and even more unyielding…six-pack abs.

This book was such a wonderful debut, I couldn’t put it down. It is such a great fake relationship love story with a look into academia that I enjoyed. It earned a spot on my list of best books of 2021. Check out all of Ali Hazelwood’s books!

Amazon | Goodreads

The Road Trip is a 2021 Goodreads Choice Awards nominee for best romance book.

The Road Trip
by Beth O’Leary

Addie and her sister are about to embark on an epic road trip to a friend’s wedding in the north of Scotland. Only now they are joined by Addie’s ex, Dylan, and his best mate after Dylan smashed his care into their own.

Her heart was torn apart two years ago and now she’s forced to confront their past while trying to make it to the wedding on time.

Despite being one of my most anticipated books of 2021, this was a disappointment for me. I expected a fun yet awkward second chance romance due to forced proximity but found it depressing and at times uncomfortable to read.

Amazon | Goodreads

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Discover the 2021 Goodreads Choice Awards nominees for best romance book of the year in this book list from romance book blogger, She Reads Romance Books.
Discover the entire list of nominees for best romance book of the year in the 2021 Goodreads Choice Awards.
The Heart Principle is a 2021 Goodreads Choice Awards nominee for best romance book.

The Heart Principle 
by Helen Hoang

Anna Sun dislikes Quan Diep or so she keeps trying to convince herself. But it seems he only has eyes for her newly engaged sister.

Wanting to protect her sister, Anna works to overcome her OCD, and find a way to bury her anxieties and seduce Quan so he doesn’t ruin her sister’s engagement.

This book made my most anticipated romance books of 2021 list because I have a real weakness for books that highlight characters with mental health conditions. Reviews indicate it’s more chick lit and a bit on the heavy side but it’s still on my list to read.

Amazon | Goodreads

It Happened One Summer is a 2021 Goodreads Choice Awards nominee for best romance book of the year.

It Happened One Summer
by Tessa Bailey

Piper Bellinger may be a fashionable influencer, but when her wild child reputation goes a bit too far and lands her in the slammer, her stepfather cuts her off. Hoping to teach her a lesson, he sends her off to Washington to run her late father’s dive bar where she meets a big surly sea captain who instantly knows she doesn’t belong in their small town.

Brendan figures Piper won’t last a week outside of Beverly Hills even if there is an undeniable attraction between the two opposites.

Piper is determined to prove everyone wrong and can’t risk any distractions, including the feelings she’s beginning to have for the sailor.

For my first Tessa Bailey book, I have to say that I hit the jackpot. It was the best opposites attract romance with characters you can’t help but fall for. I knew this would make the list of nominees for best romance book as soon as I finished it. One of the best romance books of the summer and year!

I’ve already read the next book in the series and I LOVED it too so I’m sure it will be on next year’s list of Goodreads nominees! Check out my review of It Happened One Summer.

Amazon | Goodreads | My Review

Life's too Short is a 2021 Goodreads Choice Awards nominee for best romance book of the year.

Life’s Too Short
by Abby Jimenez

In an effort to seize every moment, Vanessa Price quit her job to pursue her dream of traveling the globe. But after her half-sister suddenly leaves Vanessa in custody of her infant daughter, her life takes a definite change in direction.

The last person Vanessa expects to show up offering help is the hot lawyer next door, Adrian Copeland. Though she barely knows him, she’s feeling things she’s vowed not to feel. Because the only thing worse than falling for Adrian is finding a little hope for a future she may never see.

This book sounds so incredibly good. A baby can lighten the heaviest of storylines and I love a good, neighbors to lovers book. This one is now on my must read list. Read it then check out all of Abby Jimenez’s books.

Amazon | Goodreads

The Ex Talk is is a 2021 Goodreads Choice Awards nominee for best romance book of the year.

The Ex Talk
by Rachel Lynn Soloman

Shay Goldstein has been a producer at her Seattle public radio station for nearly a decade. She loves her job but lately it’s one big headache due to her newest colleague, Dominic Yum, who’s fresh off his Masters in Journalism program claiming to know everything.

When Shay proposes a new show idea to help the struggling station, it’s given the go ahead. The problem? She’s now paired with Dominic as her co-host for the new show, The Ex Talk. On it the two, posing as exes, will share relationship advice live on the air.

The show is an instant hit but as the show’s popularity grows, so does their deception as the two start to fall for one another.

This was my first book by Soloman and I adored it. It doesn’t take much for me to read an enemies to lovers romance, but this one totally delivered and a great selection for romance book of the year. Check out my review of The Ex Talk.

Amazon | Goodreads | My Review

How to Fail at Flirting is a 2021 Goodreads Choice Awards nominee for best romance book of the year.

How to Fail at Flirting
by Denise Williams

When her flailing department is put at risk, Professor Naya Turner’s friends convince her to shed her worries for one night on the town. When she meets a charming stranger in town on business, he presents the perfect opportunity to check off the items on her list.

Jake makes her laugh and challenges Naya to rebuild her confidence after a disastrous relationship. Soon she’s flirting with the chance at a more serious romantic relationship—except nothing can be that easy. The complicated strings around her dating Jake might destroy her career.

Williams is an author I have yet to read so I’m eager to check out this nominee.

Amazon | Goodreads

While We Were Dating is a 2021 Goodreads Choice Awards nominee for best romance book of the year.

While We Were Dating
by Jasmine Guillory

Ben Stephens has always kept things casual in his relationships. But when Ben lands a huge ad campaign featuring movie star Anna Gardiner, he’s tempted to mix business with pleasure.

Anna Gardiner is on a mission to make herself a household name but figures what’s the harm in a bit of flirtation with the hot ad manager she’s working with?

When the opportunity comes to turn their real-life fling into something more for the Hollywood spotlight, will Ben and Anna keep things casual or will they find their own happily ever after?

I love a good Hollywood romance. This book definitely caught my eye as one to read this summer and it looks like that was true given it’s nomination. I can’t wait to read it.

Amazon | Goodreads

Seven Days in June is a 2021 Goodreads Choice Awards nominee for best romance book of the year.

Seven Days in June
by Tia Williams

Brooklynite Eva Mercy is a single mom and bestselling writer, who is feeling pressed from all sides. Shane Hall is a reclusive, enigmatic, award-winning literary author who, to everyone’s surprise, shows up in New York.

When Shane and Eva meet unexpectedly at a literary event, sparks fly, raising not only their past buried traumas, but the eyebrows of New York’s Black literati.

What no one knows is that twenty years earlier, teenage Eva and Shane spent one crazy, torrid week madly in love. They may be pretending that everything is fine now, but they can’t deny their chemistry-or the fact that they’ve been secretly writing to each other in their books ever since.

Over the next seven days in the middle of a steamy Brooklyn summer, Eva and Shane reconnect, but Eva’s not sure how she can trust the man who broke her heart, and she needs to get him out of New York so that her life can return to normal. But before Shane disappears again, there are a few questions she needs answered.

I admit that despite being a Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club selection, I hadn’t heard of this book until this nomination list. The set up of this novel is so completely captivating that it will be the first book I’m going to pick up from this list!

Amazon | Goodreads

Neon Gods is a 2021 Goodreads Choice Awards nominee for best romance book of the year.

Neon Gods
by Katee Roberts

Society darling Persephone Dimitriou plans to flee the ultra-modern city of Olympus and start over, but her plans are ripped away when her mother ambushes her with an engagement to Zeus.

With no options left, Persephone flees to the forbidden undercity and makes a devil’s bargain with a man she once believed a myth.

Hades has spent his life in the shadows, planning his moment to get back at Zeus. When Persephone drops into his lap and offers an opportunity to do just that, he takes it. Only the more days and nights he spends with Persephone, the more he’s willing to take on Olympus itself to keep her his.

I LOVE Greek mythology and devoured this modern retelling of Hades and Persephone. Roberts’ twist on their story was fantastic (and HOT!) and a great launch to her new Neon Gods/Dark Olympus series. I’m so happy to see it on this list of nominees.

Amazon | Goodreads

Shipped is a 2021 Goodreads Choice Awards nominee for best romance book of the year.

by Angie Hockman

Marketing manager Henley Evans couldn’t be more excited that she’s shortlisted for the promotion of her dreams, only to discover that Graeme Crawford-Collins, the remote social media manager and the bane of her existence, is also up for the position. Although they’ve never met in person, their epic email battles are the stuff of office legend.

Their boss tasks each of them with drafting a proposal on how to boost bookings in the Galápagos—best proposal wins the promotion. There’s just one catch: they have to go on a company cruise to the Galápagos Islands…together.

But when the two meet on the ship, Henley is shocked to discover that the real Graeme is nothing like she imagined. As they explore the Islands together, she soon finds the line between loathing and liking thinner than a postcard.

This sounds like another great enemies to lovers book that I can’t miss. Because of its setting in the Galápagos Islands, it made my list of romance books that inspire travel. I hope it meets my expectations!

Amazon | Goodreads

Second First Impressions is a 2021 Goodreads Choice Awards nominee for best romance book of the year.

Second First Impressions
by Sally Thorne

Ruthie Midona has devoted her life for the past six years to the Providence Luxury Retirement Villa but all is upended by Teddy Prescott, the son of the new property owner. Teddy has spent his time partying and coasting through life until his father lays down the law. If he wants to stay at the Villa, he needs to earn his keep.

Hoping to run him out, Ruthie assigns him the role of personal assistant to two eccentric, ninety-year-old residents but all Teddy seems to do is charm the old biddies, the entire villa and her.

But when Ruthie finds out Teddy’s father plans to sell the retirement home, she’s left to wonder what Teddy’s intentions were all along.

I love books with eccentric side characters which is why this book made my list of most anticipated romance books of 2021. If its caliber is anywhere near The Hating Game, then I can see why it made this list of nominees.

Amazon | Goodreads

Past Goodreads Choice Award Nominees:

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Leslie Murphy is the owner and writer of She Reads Romance Books.

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Leslie is the founder, writer, and producer of She Reads Romance Books (and the She Reads Romance Books Podcast), an online book community focused on romance books and the readers who love them because life is better with a love story.

Leslie reads 150 romance books a year and has been called a "book expert" by CNN. Reading romance is her passion and she cultivates her book lists with the best books worth reading in the genre. Leslie graduated magna cum laude from Davidson College where she honed her writing skills and also holds two Master's degrees. Join her community in the She Reads Romance Books Reader Lounge.

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