Updated: Nov 20
The male/male (MM) romance genre has exploded in recent years, offering us all an amazing range of stories that explore love, passion, and relationships between two men. I stumbled into MM romance almost by mistake, finding and then loving Christina Lauren's Autoboygraphy, and I've never looked back. Whether you're a seasoned fan or just starting to explore, here are five MM romance books that you won't want to miss.
The Books I Picked and Why
by Andrew Sean Greer
Less won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and is a beautifully written novel about a man called Arthur Less. Here's a brief summary of what it entails:
Who says you can't run away from your problems?
You are a failed novelist about to turn fifty. A wedding invitation arrives in the mail: your boyfriend of the past nine years is engaged to someone else. You can't say yes - it would be too awkward - and you can't say no - it would look like defeat. On your desk are a series of invitations to half-baked literary events around the world.
QUESTION: How do you arrange to skip town?
ANSWER: You accept them all.
What would possibly go wrong?
And so Arthur embarks on a trip to escape, discovers love in unexpected places, and learns to let go of the past. The New York Times hailed this book as "inspired, lyrical," "elegiac," "ingenious," as well as "too sappy by half." I don't know about you, but I love a sappy romance! And this touching, funny, and sometimes heartbreaking book is a wonderful read.
Call me by your name
by Andre Aciman
Oh, the heartbreak of Call Me By Your Name! I want a different ending every time I read it.
Here we have the story of Elio, a 17-year-old boy who falls in love with Oliver, a summer guest at his parents’ cliff-side mansion on the Italian Riviera.
Set in Italy during the 1980s, this coming-of-age story is written from Elio's perspective, and throws the reader right into the depths of his obsession with Oliver and his attempts to feign indifference.
During the hot summer weeks that follow Oliver's arrival, currents of obsession and fear, fascination and desire, intensify the passion that burns bright between him and Elio. What grows is a romance of scarcely six weeks’ duration and an experience that marks them both for a lifetime. They discover the one thing both already fear they may never find again: true intimacy.
Whereas I might not class Call Me By Your Name as a romance (I'm sure I'm spoiling nothing by telling you the HEA is missing), it is a haunting novel with a raw emotional intensity that will leave your heart aching.
Red, White and Royal Blue
by Casey McQuiston
What happens when America's First Son falls in love with the Prince of Wales?
Isn't that just the best opening line of any book description? How could any serious romance reader turn that down? And this book was a huge bestseller. Let's get the lowdown on the story:
When his mother became President, Alex Claremont-Diaz was promptly cast as the American equivalent of a young royal. Handsome, charismatic, genius—his image is pure millennial-marketing gold for the White House. There's only one problem: Alex has a beef with the actual prince, Henry, across the pond. And when the tabloids get hold of a photo involving an Alex-Henry altercation, U.S./British relations take a turn for the worse.
Heads of family, state, and other handlers devise a plan for damage control: staging a truce between the two rivals. What at first begins as a fake, Instragramable friendship grows deeper, and more dangerous, than either Alex or Henry could have imagined. Soon Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret romance with a surprisingly unstuffy Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations and begs the question: Can love save the world after all? Where do we find the courage, and the power, to be the people we are meant to be? And how can we learn to let our true colors shine through? Casey McQuiston's Red, White & Royal Blue proves: true love isn't always diplomatic.
Red, White and Royal Blue deserved all its accolades and winning Best Romance Book in the 2019 Goodreads Choice Awards. It's a great premise, superbly executed. I loved the opposites attract story and the two main characters. If you’re going to read a gay romance novel – this is a must.
by Christina Lauren
How often does a good romance book swing on how interesting the two characters are at its heart? Always! I hear you cry, and Autoboyography is one of the best in this respect.
It was published in 2017 and follows the story of Tanner Scott, a bi-sexual teenage boy who falls for a Mormon missionary, Sebastian Brother, while attending a conservative high school in Utah.
When his best friend Autumn dares him to take Provo High’s prestigious Seminar—where honor roll students toil to draft a book in a semester—Tanner can’t resist going against his better judgment and having a go, if only to prove to Autumn how silly the whole thing is. Writing a book in four months sounds simple. Four months is an eternity.
It turns out, Tanner is only partly right: four months is a long time. After all, it takes only one second for him to notice Sebastian Brother, the Mormon prodigy who sold his own Seminar novel the year before and who now mentors the class. And it takes less than a month for Tanner to fall completely in love with him.
The two embark on a romantic journey, exploring their sexuality and navigating their feelings for each other, despite the challenges they face from the conservative community that surrounds them and forms the heartbeat of Sebastian's life. It's a heartfelt coming-of-age story about standing up for what you believe in, and one of my all-time favorite books.
by Neve Wilder
And I couldn't leave you without one total scorcher. This book needs to come with a warning: watch you don't burn your fingers! But really, what are we reading MM romance for if not for this? To tempt you, here's the book blurb:
Living with four other guys, it's bound to happen. Every guy's been caught taking care of business at least once, right? It shouldn't be a big deal.
But I don't know Eric as well as my other roommates, and things are a little awkward now. He's a loner. A mystery. Quietly confident. Smart. Sexy as hell.
I've been happily subsisting on the typical frat guy diet of booze and sorority girls. But the way Eric looked at me that night? There was something there. Something that's got me curious. Something that's stirring up feelings I thought I'd left behind for good. Something that's making me think I'm not as straight as I thought I was. I can't get him off of my mind. I don't think I want to. So when he offers to help me study for a midterm, I take him up on it. It's innocent. Probably. Maybe. There's no way I could've known what it'd start...
One final tip about this book ... keep an eye out for the shower scene! #wykyk
These five MM romance books are just the tip of the iceberg and I was torn on which ones to include. Whether you're looking for touching coming-of-age stories, epic tales of love and loss, or beautifully written works of fiction, there is something here for everyone.
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Until next time,
And I may be biased, but there's nothing quite like the excitement of the Techboys Series. You can find out more information about The Outcast here and buy it here. The Refusal is here and you can buy it here.
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