Romance and K-dramas are like peanut butter on your jelly sandwich. Every year, the K-industry comes with numerous romantic shows that make our hearts swell. Their strong storylines hold so much power over the audience that you end up passionately rooting for the main characters. This feeling is quite akin to reading a slow-burn romance and getting drowned in the fictional world on paper. These books gently build up the angst and the chemistry, leaving a strong impact like a K-dramas. Case in point: My Demon, Nevertheless, and more.
Sure the themes are recurring- oft recycled old-school cliches like love triangles, childhood friends, and more abound but fans still wait for each episode to air or turn the page for one more chapter. The thirst driven by K-Dramas to live more in the story is hardly quenched in those mere 16 episodes. So if you want to live in that world a little longer, linger with the characters, enjoy the universe, these Bookstagram recommended reads could do the trick.
Scroll down to read our curated list of books that will give you butterflies, like rom-com K-dramas:
1. The Red Palace by June Hur
If you enjoy watching historical K-dramas, this will be treat for you. Based in Joseon (Korea), 1758, the story narrates the tale of eighteen-year-old Hyeon, who has earned a position as a palace nurse. All she wants is to keep her head down, do a good job, and perhaps finally win her estranged father’s approval. But Hyeon is suddenly thrust into the dark and dangerous world of court politics when someone murders four women in a single night, and the prime suspect is Hyeon’s closest friend and mentor. Determined to prove her beloved teacher’s innocence, Hyeon launches her own secret investigation. In her hunt for the truth, she encounters Eojin, a young police inspector also searching for the killer. When evidence begins to point to the Crown Prince himself as the murderer, Hyeon and Eojin must work together to search the darkest corners of the palace to uncover the deadly secrets behind the bloodshed.
2. The Catch by Amy Lea
This book will give you major Hometown Cha Cha, or Welcome to Samdal-ri, vibes. The story follows Boston fashion influencer Melanie Karlsen, who finds herself in a rural fishing village on the east coast of Canada. The only thing scarier than nature itself? The burly and bearded bed-and-breakfast owner and fisherman, Evan Whaler, single-handedly disproves the theory that Canadians are “nice.” After a boating accident lands Evan unconscious in the hospital, Mel is mistaken for his fiancée by his welcoming yet quirky family, who are embroiled in a long-standing feud over the B&B. In a bold attempt to mend family fences, Mel agrees to fake their engagement for one week in exchange for Evan’s help with her social media content. Amid long hikes and campfire chats, reeling in their feelings for each other proves more difficult by the day. But is Mel willing to sacrifice her picture-perfect life in the city for a chance at true, unfiltered love in the wild?
3. Lonely For You Only by Monica Murphy
A fake dating story to relish. Young heiress Scarlett Lancaster is turning eighteen, and her dad has promised to hire a famous musician for her party. Delight turns to disappointment when it’s revealed that her dad hired Tate Ramsey, the former lead singer of a band that hasn’t been popular for years. Tate, after years of alcohol- and drug-fueled partying, is sober and ready for a comeback and blows the audience away with his performance—though Scarlett herself still isn’t impressed. But when they talk after he leaves the stage, their encounter ends in a kiss that surprises them both and immediately goes viral. The kiss propels them into the spotlight. Riding the wave of stardom, the two agree to start a fake relationship. But before long, they discover their feelings might not be fake after all.
4. You Have Reached Sam by Dustin Thao
A Bookstagram sensation, the plot of this book revolves around seventeen-year-old Julie having her future all planned out—move out of her small town with her boyfriend Sam, attend college in the city, and spend a summer in Japan. But then Sam dies. And everything changes. Heartbroken, Julie skips his funeral, throws out his things, and tries everything to forget him and the tragic way he died. But a message Sam left behind in her yearbook brought back memories. Desperate to hear his voice one more time, Julie calls Sam’s cellphone just to listen to his voicemail. And Sam picks up the phone. In a miraculous turn of events, Julie’s been given a second chance to say goodbye. The connection is temporary. But hearing Sam’s voice makes her fall for him all over again, and with each call, it becomes harder to let him go. However, keeping her otherworldly calls with Sam a secret isn’t easy, especially when Julie witnesses the suffering Sam’s family is going through. Unable to stand by the sidelines and watch their shared loved ones in pain, Julie is torn between spilling the truth about her calls with Sam and risking their connection and losing him forever.
5. XOXO by Axie Oh
Can we get a little commotion for the cover? And the title which can be perfect name for a K-drama. The book takes you on a ride with cello prodigy Jenny who has one goal: to get into a prestigious music conservatory. When she meets mysterious, handsome Jaewoo in her uncle’s Los Angeles karaoke bar, it’s clear he’s the kind of boy who would uproot her careful plans. But in a moment of spontaneity, she allows him to pull her out of her comfort zone for one unforgettable night of adventure before he disappears without a word. Three months later, when Jenny and her mother arrive in South Korea to take care of her ailing grandmother, she’s shocked to discover that Jaewoo is a student at the same elite arts academy where she’s enrolled for the semester. And he’s not just any student. He’s a member of one of the biggest K-pop bands in the world, and he’s strictly forbidden from dating. When a relationship means throwing Jenny’s life off the path she’s spent years mapping out, she’ll have to decide once and for all just how much she’s willing to risk for love.
6. Love On the Second Read by Mica De Leon
Emma Morales, tenacious romance book editor and proud cat lady, knows romance, but love? Nope. Thank you very much. Enter nerdy sci-fi and fantasy editor Kip Alegre, who quotes JRR Tolkien for breakfast and knows heartbreak all too well. When Emma gets a career-changing sci-fi romance manuscript, which may just save their publishing house from folding, she knows she must work with Kip if she wants to succeed. Sounds simple enough, right? But when well-meaning meddling best friends, an obsessive ex-boyfriend, and a beautiful ex-fiancée come into the picture, the job doesn’t seem so simple anymore. What starts out as a friendly—flirty—literary smackdown between Emma and Kip grows into something deeper than either of them had signed up for. The deal was to edit the book, not their lives. Emma and Kip may be willing to read the manuscript over and over again, but will they be willing to give love a second read?
7. Frappes for Three by Vidhya Sathyamoorthy
For all the love triangle K-drama lovers. Maya Joseph is a Penang girl who dreams of becoming a writer despite her father’s objections. Chong Mei Li is a stylish fashionista who wants to make her mark in the fashion world, although her parents want her to preserve their legacy by taking over the family business in Sabah. Rohan Das, born and raised in Delhi, needs to work hard and secure a good job to support his middle-class family. As the firstborn son, there’s a lot of pressure on him to excel and little room for him to explore his own interests. As luck would have it, their paths cross at Maestro University, and this unlikely trio soon becomes good friends. They each have their own dreams and aspirations but struggle with the burden of family expectations, difficult lecturers, and self-doubt. But no matter what happens, they’re always there for each other. This story of love, loss, and self-discovery reminds us that university life, often bittersweet, carves us into the people we are today. And many of the lessons we gain are learned outside the classroom with our dearest friends.