10 Childhood Friends To Lovers Books You’ll Like

Childhood Friendship Love Books

There’s something undeniably heartwarming about the journey from childhood friends to lovers. It’s a story of innocence blossoming into profound love, where the seeds of affection planted in the tender years of youth grow into the enduring trees of companionship and romance.

If you find yourself drawn to tales that weave the nostalgia of shared history with the thrill of discovering love right under your nose, then you’re in for a treat. In this post, we’ll explore a collection of books that masterfully capture the essence of this cherished trope.

These stories will take you on a rollercoaster of emotions, from childhood’s sweet, awkward moments to the deep, complex bonds of adult love, all rooted in a foundation of friendship. Prepare to be swept off your feet as we dive into tales where lifelong friends realize they were meant to be so much more.

10 Childhood Friends To Lovers Books

Childhood friends to lovers’ stories culminate in heartwarming and satisfying endings where the characters finally confess their feelings and embark on a romantic relationship. These happy endings instill a sense of hope and optimism, reminding readers that true love is found in unexpected places, even among childhood friends. Watching childhood friends face the complexities of romantic feelings leads to compelling character development.

We witness their growth, vulnerabilities, and inner conflicts as they come to terms with their changing emotions and face the challenges of transitioning from friends to lovers. Here are ten childhood friends to lovers books for you. Let’s begin!

SerialNameKey Focus (Plot)Rating (Goodreads)
1About Tomorrow by Abbi GlinesFriendship with the neighbor and long-distance relationship but no contact.4/4k+
2Little Lies by H. HuntingA protective hockey player who loves his friend’s shy sister.4.5/11k+
3A Thousand Boy Kisses by Tillie ColeA strong female character finds her love again with many difficulties.4.6/77k+
4Bad Boys Break Hearts (The Boys) by Micalea SmeltzerA good girl and bad boy relationship with bully aspects.4/9.6k+
5Room Hate by Penelope WardA struggling girl meets her childhood friend again in the same living house.3.9/58k+
6Bully (Fall Away) by Penelope DouglasHigh school bully scenario and neighbors-to-enemies-to-lovers3.8/155,700+
7Punk 57 by Penelope DouglasA high school project mate turns into a lover with a revengeful plot.3.9/202,900+
8Him by Sarina Bowen, Elle KennedyTwo childhood friends make a second-chance romance in their sports field.4.4/45k+
9Cruel Prince (Royal Hearts Academy) by Ashley JadeTwo best friends turn into enemies, and a dark romance ties them.4.0/29k+
10Corrupt (Devil’s Night) by Penelope DouglasMultiple friendships and their relationship with suspense.3.9/104,800+
Childhood Friends To Lovers Books Lists

1. About Tomorrow

This book follows a girl (Sailor) who would go and stay with her grandmother in New Hampshire every summer. She had some neighbors, one of them including a boy (Creed). Sailor was close friends with his sister, but she had a crush on the boy. At that time, they were all friends growing up during the summer.

Something happened one year, and Sailor never returned to New Hampshire. Years later, after she’s graduated college, she runs into Creed again, with whom she’s completely lost contact and hasn’t seen since she was a child.

So they start to get close again, and things happen with that. It is a fantastic book and a fast read, but I had a little problem with the ending. There was a plot twist that I wasn’t super sold on, but I’d love it if you would read the book and let me know your thoughts on it. I want to hear what anybody else has to say about it.

I enjoyed the chemistry between these two characters; the angst of them getting to know each other again in a completely different time of their lives is fascinating. Abby Glines always has a way of writing characters, making her books easygoing but enjoyable to read. So I highly recommend these childhood friends to lovers relationships.

About Tomorrow

Author: Abbi Glines
Average Rating: 4.5/5
Tropes: College Romance, Second Chance, Beta-hero, Love-triangle
Number Of Pages: 214
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Kindle | Audio CD

2. Little Lies

This is a spinoff from the series, but you can read it as a standalone. The story is about Lavender Waters, who grows up with a big family. In this family, her brothers have a friend, Kodiak. He’s closer to the brothers, but I consider them childhood friends. Something tragic happens to this girl when she’s younger.

As Lavender grows up, this has a lasting effect on her. She’s very sheltered because of it and decides to move away from college and stay with her brothers. There, she sees this childhood best friend, Kodiak, whom she had and who moved away when she was younger. Kodiak was always her protector because of the horrible things that happened to her. He was always close to her and tried to be around her to be there if anything bad happened.

They lose contact when he moves away. But now they’re back at college together. I love this book because it was fun to read, and the angst between these two characters is incredible. Try it if you like the brother’s best friend trope with the childhood love story.

Little Lies

Author: H. Hunting
Publisher: Audible Studios
Narrator: Teddy Hamilton, Stella Bloom
Average Rating: 4.6/5
Tropes: Hockey, Slow-burn, Brothers-best friend, Forbidden, Shy-heroine, Enemies-to-lovers
Number Of Pages: 307
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Kindle | Audio CD

3. A Thousand Boy Kisses

This is a phenomenal book, and the characters are phenomenal. We follow Poppy, who grows up. She gets this next-door neighbor, Rune. They immediately hit it off and become best friends. Then, they grow up and date once they get to high school. Since seventh grade, they had been together at their school, and nobody questioned them. But then Rune has to move away, and he is from a different country, so his family has to move back.

Before moving away, they tell each other they can do long distances. They’ll text and call each other. But Poppy stopped talking to him after a while, and they lost touch. A couple of years later, Rune ends up moving back into the house he grew up in next door to her, and they’re forced to be around each other again.

But there’s an uncomfortableness because he doesn’t know why Poppy dropped off the face of the earth. So, a lot goes on from there. It gets a little crazy, but it’s a beautiful story. If you can endure the sadness, I highly recommend this story of childhood best friends to lovers.

A Thousand Boy Kisses

Author: Tillie Cole
Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Average Rating: 4.6/5
Tropes: High School, Strong-female-characters, Virgin-heroine-hero, Heart-breaking
Number Of Pages: 316
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Kindle | Audio CD

4. Bad Boys Break Hearts (The Boys)

This book is another wonderful childhood enemy/friend to lovers. It’s about our heroine Aurora, who grows up again with a neighbor and is best friends. But she moves away and doesn’t tell him anything when she moves. Then they find each other again in college, and Mascen Wade is enraged toward her. So they have crazy angst between them, but they get to know each other again. The story goes from there.

It’s a good girl, bad boy situation. Wade has walls up, and he’s super rude, and Aurora wants to know what’s going on with that. So, another connection gets formed when they’re in college, and it goes from there. If you like bad boy good girl romance with a friendship aspect, you must read it and listen to the audiobook.

Bad Boys Break Hearts

Author: Micalea Smeltzer
Publisher: Podium Audio
Average Rating: 4.3/5
Tropes: College, Baseball, Cheating-heroine, Rockstar, Angsty
Number Of Pages: 372
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Kindle

5. Room Hate

We follow two people who grew up as friends and have a falling out. They had a woman who was very close to them and very special to them. She passes away and leaves behind a beach house that she gives equal ownership of. So they both own half of the house and don’t realize that until they show up the same summer to stay there together. Neither of them is going to leave.

So they have to stay together, even though they have bad tension because of unresolved issues from when they were younger. There’s so much crazier stuff in this book, and it makes fun. I love the characters in this childhood feeling because Penelope Ward has a charismatic writing style. Also, the book cover is very fashionable and hot.

Room Hate

Author: Penelope Ward
Publisher: Insatiable Press
Award nominee: Goodreads Choice
Average Rating: 4.4/5
Tropes: Music Fiction, Love-triangles, Slow-building-romance, Unplanned-pregnancy, Alpha-male, Fun
Number Of Pages: 280
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle | Audio CD

6. Bully (Fall Away)

This is a series, but the first book follows two characters who are again neighbors. Moreover, they’re best friends. One summer, the boy moves away for the summer to stay with his dad. He’s rude and doesn’t have time for his old best friend. This girl is so sick of him, but she never sticks up for herself. So, she will stick up for herself in her senior year of high school. The story begins there.

It is a tense, angsty, enemies lovers arc. You’ll see how that unfolds throughout the story. Penelope Douglas, one of my favorite authors, does romance so well. You will see that if you read this bully romance book. Many of you ask me for high school recommendations, which is good because they are seniors in high school. Also, you get to see the longest childhood friendship and their development day by day.


Author: Penelope Douglas
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Award nominee: Goodreads Choice
Average Rating: 4.5/5
Tropes: Dark, Women’s Fiction, Alpha-male, Hates-to-lovers
Number Of Pages: 333
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Kindle | Audio CD

7. Punk 57

This is another high school romance with a childhood friends-to-lovers plot. It follows two characters (Tate and Jared). When they were younger, they both went to different schools, and their schools had a pen pal program. These two characters have gender-neutral names, so they get assigned to be pen pals, even though one is a boy, and the other is a girl. So they become pen pals but end up writing to each other beyond little school projects. Then, they become lifelong pen pals up into high school.

Jared ends up attending this girl’s school and enrolling in it. They’re finally physically together, but only Jared knows it’s her. Tate doesn’t know that it’s him. So, the story flies from there. Jared has some dark secrets that he’s holding on to, making enemies to lovers arc, along with his childhood friends. This book has the highest seller record, and the paperback quality is very rich.

Punk 57

Author: Penelope Douglas
Publisher: Audible Studios
Average Rating: 4.5/5
Tropes: Bully, Pregnant-heroines, Revenge, Sweet-heart-warming
Number Of Pages: 343
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Kindle | Audio CD

8. Him

This is a duology. So there are two books about the same characters, and this book follows two boys who grew up going to hockey camp together. They’re friends, and they’re younger. One night, something happens when they’re at hockey camp that makes them stop talking and grow up. Then, they end up back at this hockey camp as counselors, sharing a room. Also, they must confront what happened when they were younger and work together at this hockey camp.

I love the characters in this one, and the camp atmosphere is so fun. Elle Kennedy does great hockey romances, and this MM romance is one of my favorites from her. It’s so sweet and a decent childhood friend-to-lovers book. You will love the history these characters have together and how they overcame their past issues. So I recommend it to all types of readers.


Author: Sarina Bowen, Elle Kennedy
Average Rating: 4.7/5
Tropes: Tattooed-hero, Sports, Male-male, Arc, Humor
Number Of Pages: 360
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle | Audio CD

9. Cruel Prince (Royal Hearts Academy)

This is the first book of the Royal Hearts Academy series. The story follows Dylan and Jase, best friends when they were younger. Something happens that makes them drift apart, making Jase hate Dylan. I’m not going to tell you why because that spoils the book. Dylan returns to their high school, and Jase tries to make Dylan’s life miserable.

Then Dylan finds out why Jase hates her, and she hates herself. That whole series is so fantastic. I love Ashley Jade’s writing. So, I recommend the series if you haven’t read it already. The author represents unique childhood friends to lovers romance, which is best for me. I don’t like the hardcover quality, but the paperback is perfect for reading.

Cruel Prince

Author: Ashley Jade
Average Rating: 4.5/5
Tropes: Dark theme, Abuse
Number Of Pages: 408
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle

10. Corrupt (Devil’s Night)

This book has some very dark, twisted elements. If you’re into that, you will love it. Our heroine, Erika, lives in a very wealthy community. She’s grown up very close to this family called the Crist family. Within the family, they have two sons, Trevor and Michael. Trevor is Erika’s age. They’ve consistently grown up being best friends. Everybody’s always shipping them together and has said they will get married. But Erika has always been enamored with Michael.

Michael is Trevor’s older brother. He’s the star of the basketball team in high school, and he’s never paid Erika any attention. So Erika does start dating Trevor in high school. Michael is the star of the high school basketball team, and he’s involved in a gang. He and three other high school basketball team members are in the Four Horsemen group.

They’re known for their doubles night, the night before Halloween. People are scared of them, and nobody messes with the four horsemen. In high school, something happens, and all of them end up in prison except for Michael.

Erika was somehow involved that night, but we don’t know how. So that was three years ago. We’ve now fast-forwarded three years into the future. Erika is now 20, and she’s been in college for a year, but she’s switching schools. She wants to be on her own, and she happens to be going to a college in the same town that Michael is now, a professional NBA basketball player.

So, this book is good because it jumps around in perspective. There’s so much tension, angst, and dark and twisted themes. Also, the childhood trope is minor, and the story focuses on the sport. It’s a big problem, and I don’t recommend it enough.


Author: Penelope Douglas
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Average Rating: 4.4/5
Tropes: Romantic Suspense, Unrequited, Hated-the-heroine, Tattooed-hero, Steamy, Mystery
Number Of Pages: 516
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Kindle

5 Dark childhood friends to lovers romance books

  1. “Bully” by Penelope Douglas

Series: Fall Away

This novel introduces Tate and Jared, who were once best friends before Jared turned on Tate, making her high school years a nightmare. When she returns after a year abroad, she finds that their dynamics have shifted, leading to a complicated mix of hatred, love, and a shared past that refuses to stay buried. It’s a story of love, redemption, and the thin line between love and hate.

  1. “Fear Me” by B.B. Reid

Series: Broken Love

Keiran and Lake’s story involves intimidation, power, and a dark past that binds them. Keiran, the tormentor, has been a constant in Lake’s life, and as they transition into adulthood, their relationship takes a dark and twisted turn. The novel explores themes of dominance, fear, and the possibility of love in a seemingly hopeless connection.

  1. “Vicious” by L.J. Shen

Series: Sinners of Saint

Vicious and Emilia were childhood friends, but Vicious grew up to be cruel, wealthy, and powerful, making it his mission to make Emilia’s life miserable. Years later, their paths cross again, and their complex feelings for each other come to the forefront. It’s a story about overcoming the hurt of the past and the transformative power of love.

  1. “Corrupt” by Penelope Douglas

Series: Devil’s Night

The novel revolves around Erika and Michael, who were once friends before a series of events on Devil’s Night tore them apart. Years later, Erika finds herself caught in a dangerous game with Michael and his friends, leading to a dark and erotic tale of revenge, redemption, and twisted love.

  1. “It Ain’t Me, Babe” by Tillie Cole

Series: Hades Hangmen

This novel is slightly different, focusing on Salome and Styx, who meet as children under difficult circumstances. Their paths diverge dramatically as Styx becomes the leader of a motorcycle club, and Salome escapes a cult. When they reunite, their bond is tested by their vastly different lives. It’s a dark romance that deals with heavy themes of freedom, faith, and loyalty.

5 Childhood friends to enemies to lovers books

  1. “The Hating Game” by Sally Thorne

This is a stellar example of the enemies-to-lovers trope, featuring protagonists who start off as workplace rivals. Lucy and Joshua’s dynamic is filled with banter, competition, and undeniable chemistry, making it a standout in contemporary romance. Their journey explores how deep-seated rivalry can mask profound attraction and eventually lead to love.

  1. “Punk 57” by Penelope Douglas

Misha and Ryen are pen pals who’ve never met but have been writing to each other since they were kids. Their friendship is tested when Misha discovers a truth about Ryen that turns him into an enemy, setting the stage for a turbulent reconnection. As they face the complexities of their feelings and the secrets they’ve kept, the story delves into themes of identity, acceptance, and the transformative power of love.

  1. “Hate to Want You” by Alisha Rai

Alisha Rai’s “Hate to Want You” features childhood sweethearts Livvy and Nicholas, whose families are involved in a long-standing feud, turning them into enemies. Despite the odds, their undeniable attraction leads them to meet secretly once a year, maintaining a complicated relationship. This book explores the depths of forbidden love, the pain of separation, and the healing power of rekindled romance.

  1. “From Lukov with Love” by Mariana Zapata

In this slow-burn romance, figure skaters Jasmine Santos and Ivan Lukov go from antagonistic competitors to partners. Their relationship evolves from mutual disdain to respect and eventually to love against the backdrop of the competitive figure skating world. Zapata masterfully develops their relationship, focusing on character growth and mutual support and realizing that love grows in the most unexpected places.

  1. “Second First Impressions” by Sally Thorne

Ruthie and Teddy, the protagonists, have a complicated history that evolves from a childhood connection to a more complex relationship when they meet again as adults working at a retirement villa. This novel is a delightful mix of humor, heart, and the journey of overcoming past prejudices to discover love. Sally Thorne captures the essence of second chances and the power of love to redefine first impressions.

5 YA childhood friends to lovers books

Young Adult (YA) literature beautifully explores the transition from friendship to love, especially when it involves characters who have known each other since childhood. These stories encapsulate the essence of growth, change, and the deepening of bonds over time. Here are five YA books that wonderfully portray the journey from childhood friends to lovers:

  1. “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” by Jenny Han

This beloved series starts with Lara Jean Covey, who writes secret love letters to her crushes, never intending to send them. When the letters mysteriously get mailed out, her life is turned upside down. Among her past crushes is Josh, her neighbor and her older sister’s boyfriend, who has also been a close friend since childhood. The series faces the complexities of teenage love, evolving friendships, and the sweet moments that lead to unexpected romance.

  1. “Love and Gelato” by Jenna Evans Welch

Lina’s adventure begins when she travels to Italy to fulfill her mother’s wish of getting to know her father. Once there, she discovers her mother’s old journal and goes on a journey that leads her to uncover family secrets, explore the beauty of Italy, and experience her first love. Ren, a local boy and her guide becomes a key figure in her discoveries. Their friendship blossoms into something more as they share adventures, making this story a delightful read with a picturesque setting.

  1. “My Life Next Door” by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Samantha Reed watches the large, boisterous Garret family from her window for years, never interacting until Jase Garrett climbs to her balcony one summer evening. This marks the beginning of their deep connection, as Samantha becomes intertwined with the Garret family, and her relationship with Jase evolves from friendship to first love. This novel explores themes of family dynamics, ethical dilemmas, and the intensity of young love.

  1. “Always and Forever, Lara Jean” by Jenny Han

The third book in the “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” series, this novel continues to follow Lara Jean Covey through her senior year of high school as she faces the challenges of planning for college and the future of her relationship with Peter Kavinsky. Their relationship, which began with a fake dating pact in the first book, has grown into a deep and genuine bond. The story beautifully captures the uncertainties of future plans and the hope of childhood friends becoming lifelong partners.

  1. “Eleanor & Park” by Rainbow Rowell

Set in the 1980s, this novel tells the story of two misfit teenagers, Eleanor and Park, who slowly connect through shared comic books and mixtapes on their bus rides to school. While not childhood friends from a very young age, their story captures the essence of growing from acquaintances to friends to something much deeper. It’s a poignant, heartfelt exploration of first love, the struggles of teenage life, and the power of connection.

5 Fantasy childhood friends to lovers books

  1. “An Ember in the Ashes” by Sabaa Tahir

This series develops a complex relationship between Laia and Elias, who come from vastly different worlds within a brutal, ancient-like empire. Their paths intertwine in unexpected ways, evolving from allies to something deeper. The series masterfully blends elements of fantasy, romance, and a fight against tyranny with relationships that grow and change over time.

  1. “The Queen’s Rising” by Rebecca Ross

This story follows Brienna, who, after being accepted into a prestigious school, desires to master a passion and secure a patron. She becomes involved in a plot to overthrow a king and restore a queen to her throne alongside her childhood friend and eventual love interest, Aodhan Morgane. Their deep bond, rooted in shared history and mutual respect, flourishes against the backdrop of political intrigue and a fight for justice.

  1. “Shadow and Bone” by Leigh Bardugo

Alina Starkov and Mal Oretsev, orphaned by war, grow up together and share a deep bond that is tested as they navigate the treacherous world of the Grisha. When Alina discovers her own extraordinary power, it sets them on a path fraught with danger, dark magic, and political machinations. Throughout the series, their relationship evolves from childhood friends to complex romantic dynamics, set against the backdrop of the Grishaverse’s richly detailed fantasy world.

  1. “Seraphina” by Rachel Hartman

In the kingdom of Goredd, where humans and dragons coexist in a tense peace, Seraphina, a gifted musician with a secret lineage, becomes involved in royal intrigue. Childhood friendships, particularly with Prince Lucian Kiggs, play a crucial role as Seraphina navigates court politics, a murder mystery, and the challenges of her own identity. The evolving relationship between Seraphina and Kiggs is tender and complex, highlighted by their shared history and mutual understanding.

  1. “Truthwitch” by Susan Dennard

Safiya and Iseult are not lovers, but their bond is central to the Witchlands series, showcasing a powerful friendship with themes that could resonate with fans of the childhood friends-to-lovers arc in a broader sense of deep connections formed in youth. However, for those looking for a romantic twist on the trope within the series, secondary relationships, and the broader ensemble cast provide a tapestry of evolving relationships set against a world of magic, politics, and prophecy.

These stories not only rekindle the warmth of first friendships but also remind us of the beauty in seeing someone for who they truly are, having grown alongside them. The books we’ve explored offer a comforting escape into worlds where love evolves from the purest form of connection, proving that sometimes, the best loves are the ones that blossom from the roots of shared laughter, tears, and dreams.

Whether you’re a hopeless romantic or a lover of deep, meaningful narratives, may these tales inspire you to look around and appreciate the relationships that have weathered time by your side. Here’s to finding love in familiar places and the stories that capture the magic of growing up and falling in love with your best friend.

Read More Similar Romance Books:

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Pauline Jackson

I like to talk about popular books. My book review inspires you to read and save time. Also, I summarize the book and give you the best lessons or ideas that can change your life. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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