What were the biggest trends for romance books in 2023?

Romance books are one of the great joys in life if you're a reader and in honor of the plethora of amazing books published in 2023, we're looking back at what was trending.

Pear Street Books & Plants, 918 N Hudson Ave, Oklahoma City, specializes in Romance books.
Pear Street Books & Plants, 918 N Hudson Ave, Oklahoma City, specializes in Romance books. / DOUG HOKE/THE OKLAHOMAN / USA TODAY

Trends are something all of us take notice of and for romance books, it’s constantly changing. Whether you’re a reader or not, there is no denying the impact of certain authors and genres. 

Last year, I went through and shared some of the biggest romance book trends. I had so much fun with it so I wanted to do the same thing again for 2023. 

No matter if you’re a new romance reader, found a new favorite author or just have a few books you loved, there are some trends we just couldn’t get away from. It also has to do with the ever changing publishing landscape as there are so many different audiences for all romance books. 

Either way, I wanted to look back at some of the books published in 2023 and share some of the big trends for the year. 

What were the biggest trends for romance books in 2023? 

If there’s one trend that dominated romance books in 2023, it is fantasy romance or romantasy. No matter where you turned, everyone was talking about, recommending, or getting excited about a fantasy romance. The biggest one was easily Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros and its follow-up: Iron Flame. Some other big romantasy books were Throne of the Fallen, The Hurricane Wars, Bewitched, and Slaying the Vampire Conquerer

Another big trope for 2023 was second chance. There were so many second-chance romances published with Happy Place by Emily Henry being the biggest. Some other examples include Forget Me Not by Julie Soto, King of Greed by Ana Huang, Same Time Next Summer by Annabel Monaghan, and Final Offer by Lauren Asher. 

In addition, I feel like sports romance had a moment in 2023 and this is a trend that will carry into 2024. We got The Graham Effect by Elle Kennedy, Check & Mate by Ali Hazelwood, Cleat Cute by Meryl Wilsner, and Pucking Around by Emily Rath. I know these were all massively popular and successful so I’m hoping for more in 2024. 

As for covers, the trend I’m noticing is more “aesthetic” illustrated covers. I feel like the people on the illustrated covers trend are good but we’re getting more abstract covers. I can think of a few off the top of my head including Business or Pleasure by Rachel Lynn Solomon, The True Love Experiment by Christina Lauren, The Seven Year Slip by Ashley Poston, and The Only Purple House in Town by Ann Aguirre. 

Honestly, 2023 was another big year for romance books and romance readers. There were so many great trends but these were some big ones I noticed. Of course, I’d love to know which trends you liked and disliked this year. 

Which romance trends do you think will carry into 2024? Let us know, romance readers!

The 2023 Goodreads Choice Awards winners have been announced. dark. NEXT. Goodreads Choice Awards