They say love and hate are related where indifference is the real indicator of someone not caring about you. Love and hate means passion, strong feelings, and both cause people to do stupid things. Every reader (and author) has a catnip trope. The insta-buy hook that feels like claws prying open your wallet and shelling out money for yet another book that will be added to the forever growing TBR pile.
Some love the one bed set up, or the pining, or the friends with benefits who accidentally grow feelings. I will read any of those any day of the week. But enemies to lovers? Take every cent I have. I want the messy, hot and cold, will they/won’t they hate at first sight because let’s face it, they’ll totally get together at some point.
Staying home (and safe!) has given me a lot of time to try and figure out why I love reading and writing characters who dislike each other. Is it their journey? The tough persona melting for the other? Is it the explosive chemistry when the characters realize they have feelings deep down?
I wish I had an answer besides the fact it’s amazing. But, here are the best, enemies-to-lovers movies and books to help you get your fill during this crazy time.
Silver Linings Playbook
Love them or hate them, Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper have got CHEMISTRY. From the start of the movie, to the end, the journey from enemies to the slow transition to friends… then something more. It is the perfect movie if you’re looking for angst, an emotional story, and how finding the SILVER LININGS is so important.
Ugh, the way Matthew Goode looks at Amy Adams…
A woman taking charge and proposing to her eh of a boyfriend on Leap Year? (Sorry Adam Scott, I literally love you) But instead of going through with it, she gets paired up with a jaded, handsome guy who fights her every step. It is wonderful how they push and pull and finally fight their way to a happy ending.
(Again, sorry Adam Scott. You don’t get your HEA in this movie)
The perfect laugh-out-loud, enemies to lovers story. Sandra Bullock is the boss from hell and pretends to date Ryan Reynolds so she can keep her job. Maybe it’s because I adore the actors or the fact their chemistry is hot AF or the fact they work in publishing… or, it’s because they dislike each other from the start and seeing them break off little parts of the walls around their hearts is so endearing.
You’ve Got Mail
Back when AIM was cool, SHOPGIRL ruled the rom-com world. Quirky, passionate bookstore owner going against the corporate sell out bookstore owner? It is delicious, slowburn, friends to lovers magic that is Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks. It’s also a love letter to the magic of books.
There is actually not an accurate number of how many times I’ve seen this movie. The number does not exist and it is in my top five movie list. It’s interesting how my favorite genre to read and write is also enemies to lovers? Maybe it’s because I watched this movie on repeat growing up? Who’s to say?
Now the books! The wonderful, enemies to lovers books that are my ESCAPE right now and a huge reason why I’m staying relatively sane. (Kinda)
The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
This was one of the stories that I wish I could erase from my mind to be able to reread it and experience all again. Sally CRUSHED this trope. It was fabulous from chapter one and is entertaining, delightful and has lots of steamy moments.
I started the book waiting to board a long flight, and finished reading the book during–which wasn’t great. I cried an embarrassing amount for sitting close to a stranger.
Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
Alex and Henry. The White House Trio.
I was late to the RWRB party but OMG. This is one of the best stories I’ve read and this one is on my forever list. The world Casey created with flawed characters who are discovering who they can be in the world is so relatable. The way the MC comes to terms being bisexual made my eyes well up so many times. I have fangirled and talked about this book so much that my friends are telling me to shut up. They bought it already.
The line between hate and LOVE is put to the test and the transition from we’re enemies to oh, this is attraction to oh, i like you? was delicious and slow and I 100000% understand why this book is still being talked about years later.
Kulti by Mariana Zapata
Soccer. Slowburn. Enemies. Combine that with the typical, Mariana Zapata-ness and this story is WONDERFUL. I love characters who aren’t perfect and that have flaws and Kulti is that person. He is flawed and grumpy and the way he falls for Sal…my chest felt as squishy as this dog’s face.
I’m really a fan of romances that aren’t sports I follow because I feel like I get to learn something along the way. The dedication of Sal, the badass MC, and her physical abilities–the spin of her being a professional athlete and the main focus of the story as a nice twist too. I am ALL for boss lady soccer players. Hello, the US Women’s National team…
Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert
This book spoke to me on various levels. First–I’m a HUGE fan of Talia and her magnetic way of writing that feels like characters are people you know. She is a word witch and bewitches readers with her love stories. This book though… my own family has battled issues (mental and physical) of what it’s like having fibromyalgia and to see a character have chronic pain and all the complications that come with it… it gutted me in the perfect way. I got to talk to people in my family who have chronic pain in a way I couldn’t before. Chloe Brown helped start conversations that needed to happen AND we got to meet Red.
He is the sweetest hero. I just want to hug him.
Well Met by Jen DeLuca
I’ve never been to a renaissance fair. I never had any desire to go to one–but now, hell yeah I do. This story painted a world so vivid and wonderful and I need a Simon in my life. Not at all because this is how I envision him.
This story is swoony and deep and the chemistry between to two characters is *chefs kiss.* This book felt like a hug because it put a smile on my face for DAYS. My copy is currently on my “keep forever” bookshelf.
In conclusion, enemies to lovers is my favorite trope to read and write and watch and devour.
Stay safe, healthy, and sane, and dive into those HEAs as much as you can. I know I will.