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What to Read Based on Your Favorite Love Actually Couple

by and  | November 27

We may wait until the holiday season to watch Love Actually every year, but it’s not just our favorite “Christmas” movie; it’s one of our favorite movies of all time. The characters, the coziness, the cheesiness—it’s just perfection. We love debating with other Love Actually fans over which story line is the best. Is it the love triangle between Juliet, Peter, and Mark? The surprisingly heartwarming bromance between Billy Mack and his manager, Joe? Or perhaps you’re a David and Natalie purist? No matter which is your favorite couple from the film (and there are many options), you can be sure that books with similarly satisfying story lines are, actually, all around us.

Say You Still Love Me

Say You Still Love Me

by K.A. Tucker

David and Natalie

If the instant palpable chemistry between lovable Prime Minister David and his sweet potty-mouthed secretary Natalie was your favorite story line in Love Actually, you might enjoy K.A. Tucker's Say You Still Love Me. This time she's the one in the power position and is totally thrown off-kilter when her firm's new security guard (from the dodgy end of town) turns out to be the boy who was her first love. He claims he barely remembers her, but you might have a feeling that that will change pretty quickly.

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Eleven

Eleven

by Mark Watson

Billy Mack and Joe

Love Actually is chock-full of warm and fuzzy moments, but the one where Billy Mack realizes that his ever-present manager, Joe, is his most loyal and caring friend might just be our favorite. There's something about the story line of a larger-than-life figure with a secretly lonely private life that tugs at our heartstrings—and the Billy Mack/Joe bromance (with a possibility for romance, maybe?) completes that picture. For a book that reminds us of this pairing, consider Mark Watson's Eleven, about a popular nighttime radio host who goes by the stage name Xavier Ireland and dishes out advice to callers, while by day he's a loner who maintains an awkward friendship with his co-host.

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Forever is the Worst Long Time

Forever is the Worst Long Time

by Camille Pagán

Juliet, Peter, and Mark

In Camille Pagán Forever Is the Worst Long Time, James Hernandez is desperately in love with Louisa “Lou” Bell. The only problem is that she’s engaged to his best friend, Rob. Sounds familiar, right? If you wish Love Actually spent a bit more time on the love triangle between Juliet, Peter, and Mark, then this is the book for you. It takes place over the course of 18 years and digs into the complex relationship of lifelong friends—while exploring the heartache of being in love with your best friend’s partner. Plus, James is a novelist, so you can only imagine how dreamy his confessional poster boards would be.

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Outlander

Outlander

by Diana Gabaldon

Jamie and Aurélia

Of all the quotable lines in Love Actually, one that especially resonates for us is, “I hate Uncle Jamie!” But here’s the thing: we don’t hate Uncle Jamie. In fact, we like Uncle Jamie very much (just as he is). And so does the beautiful and funny Aurélia, with whom Jamie has an instant connection regardless of the fact that they don’t speak the same language. Their cross-cultural romance is super dreamy, not unlike Jamie and Claire’s in Diana Gabaldon’s epic fantasy- romance series Outlander. Meaning: Jamie and Claire’s love literally defies space and time. Check it out; it lives up to its hype.

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Ask Again, Yes

Ask Again, Yes

by Mary Beth Keane

Harry and Karen

Love Actually taught us that even when your husband runs a fancy design agency and your brother is the prime minister, everyday life is mundane—but also beautiful. That's why it was especially heartbreaking when Harry cheated on Karen, his devoted wife, the adoring stay-at-home mom who makes papier-mâché costumes for their children's Christmas pageant, shops for their friends' birthday gifts, dishes out ice cream topped with endless love and support, and still manages to be charming at her husband's office holiday party. If you were touched by Karen and Harry's perfectly complicated day-to-day life, you will find yourself captivated by Mary Beth Keane's Ask Again, Yes, which explores the lives of two NYPD officers and their families as their worlds become intertwined, for better and for worse.

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Things My Son Needs to Know about the World

Things My Son Needs to Know about the World

by Fredrik Backman

Daniel and Sam

Fatherhood is hard enough when you've got a parenting partner in crime, but single fatherhood can be straight-up daunting—especially if you're the stepdad. If you held your breath watching Daniel eulogize his beloved wife and dive into solo-parenting the adorable, precocious Sam, worrying that he may be locked in his room "shooting heroin into his eyeballs," you will enjoy Fredrik Backman's Things My Son Needs to Know about the World. Just as Daniel was surprised and delighted when Sam revealed he was experiencing the "total agony" of being in love, Backman recounts the fatherhood firsts that fill him with wonder and take him by surprise. And Backman may as well have written this line for Daniel to deliver to Sam: "You can be whatever you want to be, but that's nowhere near as important as knowing that you can be exactly who you are."

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The Summer I Turned Pretty

The Summer I Turned Pretty

by Jenny Han

Sam and Joanna

Is there a cuter, more heart-swelling moment than when Joanna points at Sam while she’s singing and he’s drumming, and his smile takes up the entire screen? That big-feeling moment is ever-present in Jenny Han’s The Summer I Turned Pretty. Like Sam, the protagonist in this sweet YA romance, Belly, is finally seen by her longtime crush, but it’s a bit more complicated than you might expect. Belly has always cherished the summers spent with her mom’s best friend and two sons––sweet, good-natured Jeremiah and brooding, handsome Conrad––but this summer has the potential to change everything. It’s the first book in a dramatic, beautiful trilogy about first loves and innocence lost. You’ll love it.

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The Last Post

The Last Post

by Renée Carlino

Daniel and Carol

When Daniel reveals his celeb crush is supermodel Claudia Schiffer and then SHE SHOWS UP near the end as Carol, the mom of one of Sam's schoolmates? SWOON. Their adorably awkward exchange makes us cringe for Daniel every time, but in the best, most hopeful, butterflies-in-our-stomach way. Finding love again after the loss of a spouse must be so bittersweet. But it's important to live while you're still alive, and that's why we can’t help but root for Daniel and Carol. If you can’t either, we recommend The Last Post by Renée Carlino, which follows a young widow named Laya, who's struggling to cope with the unexpected death of her husband, and architect Micah, who helps Laya recapture her sense of adventure. It’s a novel that explores the concept of love after loss, and the courage it takes not just to survive but to thrive again.

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Choosing Love

Choosing Love

by Sherianna Boyle

Sarah and Karl

Oh, Sarah...how we wish you would just throw caution to the wind—and your phone out the window—every time we watch Karl come up those stairs. Your brother is well cared for, and this one night away from him could change your whole life for the better. Alas, no matter how much we hope (Every. Single. Time.), the ending is always the same. If you see yourself in Sarah, you should know: you deserve love, too. So allow us to recommend a little self-help book that will hopefully take you a long way: Choosing Love: Discover How to Connect to the Universal Power of Love—and Live a Full, Fearless, and Authentic Life! by Sherianna Boyle.

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Tangled

Tangled

by Emma Chase

Colin, Tony, and the American girls

In Emma Chase’s Tangled, Drew Evans is the consummate playboy. Wealthy, successful, and charming, he’s what goofy and lovable Colin from Love Actually wishes he could be. (Although, credit where credit is due: Colin managed to woo Elisha Cuthbert, Ivana Milicevic, January Jones, AND Shannon Elizabeth. He also convinced Denise Richards to take a chance on his friend, Tony!) Drew’s playboy ways are completely upended, however, when he meets his match in Katherine Brooks, the new associate hired at his dad’s company. What ensues is a sexy, steamy tit for tat, the kind of rendezvous Colin could only dream of before he left for Wisconsin.

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Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating

Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating

by Christina Lauren

John and Judy

We tend to forget Love Actually is an R-rated movie until we remember that John and Judy are basically naked throughout the entire thing. As stand-ins for sex scenes in movies, you might expect their story to be salacious, but it’s really the purest relationship between two adults in the entire film. It reminds us a lot of the titular characters in Christina Lauren’s rom-com novel Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating. Not only do they, too, have to move past some awkward first encounters, but they become best friends and eventually (after continually failing with the disastrous other dates they set each other up with) embark on a really sweet romance. Prepare to swoon.

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