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20 Best Colleen Hoover Books for Getting Out of a Reading Slump

You won't want to put down these page-turners from author and #BookTok darling Colleen Hoover

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Great reads from the queen of romance

By now, most readers have probably heard of Colleen Hoover, the romance darling of #BookTok. The best Colleen Hoover books are contemporary romance novels that rivet readers with complex storylines, abrupt plot twists and characters who can be as easy to hate as love. In a nutshell, she’s taken the sometimes-saccharine world of contemporary love stories and made it feel more authentic to the topsy-turvy nature of genuine relationships.

Though Hoover’s most popular book is 2016’s It Ends with Us, and she’s diligently churned out books for more than a decade, her romances have recently taken TikTok by storm. Case in point: The #CoHo hashtag (fans’ nickname for the author) has more than 199 million posts. Thanks to the attention, five of her books are currently on the New York Times bestseller list—three of them in slots two through four.

So which book should you pick up first? We’ve ranked the very best Colleen Hoover books based on the number of Goodreads ratings from everyday readers like you. So whether you’re craving books for women, bingeable beach reads or one of the best books you’ll ever read, these romantic romps and thrillers from Hoover are bound to satisfy. We’ve even thrown in a couple of her books for teens for good measure. Browse this list of Colleen Hoover’s best books, then get reading.

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Which Colleen Hoover book should I read first?

If you’re new to Colleen Hoover books, you can’t go wrong with It Ends with Us, which has garnered the most ratings and reviews on Goodreads. For readers who prefer young adult fiction, begin with Hopeless. And if you’re looking for a white-knuckle psychological thriller instead of a romance, start with Verity.

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In what order should I read Colleen Hoover’s books?

We recommend reading a series in order—for the Shatter series, read Shatter Me before Unravel Me, for instance. But the order in which you read each book series or stand-alone novel is entirely up to you. If you’re a book lover drawn to dark thrillers, start with the stand-alone page-turner Verity, then dive into Too Late. Fans of happily-ever-afters (HEAs in romance reader speak) might start with the stand-alone book Ugly Love and then move on to Hoover’s other romance novels.

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1. It Ends with Us

Publication date: August 2016

With more than a million ratings on Goodreads, It Ends with Us helped launch Colleen Hoover into the spotlight. The story infuses themes of jealousy and generational trauma into a classic love triangle. Lily is falling in love with Ryle. But no sooner has she realized this than her first love, Atlas, returns to her life. The endnote from the author reveals that themes from this stand-alone romance come from her own life. This tenderhearted read is set to be made into a romantic movie.

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2. Verity

Publication date: October 2021

Readers, be warned: Verity has a dark side. This seamless blend of romance and thriller follows writer Lowen Ashleigh into the home of bestselling author Verity Crawford. Lowen is invited to ghostwrite Verity’s latest book, but the house is full of secrets—and Lowen’s future is on the line in ways she would never have imagined. Be aware: This psychological thriller has themes of abuse, violence and grief. But the mature content hasn’t stopped Verity from becoming one of Hoover’s most popular stand-alone books yet, and it will appeal to romance readers who also gobble up horror books.

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3. Ugly Love

Publication date: August 2014

Is this the saddest book Colleen Hoover has ever written? Quite possibly. As one reader wryly put it, Ugly Love is about sad people being sad together, and it’s one of those contemporary romance novels that would make a perfect indie film. Neither Tate Collins nor Miles Archer wants love. They both agree to cash in on their mutual attraction with no strings attached—and that includes no conversations about the past. As fans of happy-for-now (HFN) romances might predict, the arrangement goes south when hearts teeter dangerously close to entanglement. Grab a box of tissues for this friends-to-lovers classic.

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4. Hopeless

Publication date: May 2013

Colleen Hoover presents herself as a bit of a chameleon as an author. Most new readers who stumble across her work on TikTok see her as a contemporary romance writer, but that label might make them miss her work in other book genres, like her stunning thrillers and young adult novels. Hopeless is the latter. Protagonist Skye falls for Dean Holder, a classic bad boy with secrets. Except one of his secrets relates to her past. Suffice to say, this YA romance—the first in the Hopeless series—takes a turn that shocked many readers. (Trigger warning: child abuse.)

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5. November 9

Publication date: November 2015

Craving a juicy read infused with serendipity and slow-burning love? Then pick up this classic book by Colleen Hoover. Built from a one-day-a-year romance trope, the book follows Fallon and Ben as they live completely separate lives—except on November 9 each year. The premise is intriguing on its own, but it’s the book’s final plot twist that keeps readers clamoring for more.

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6. Reminders of Him

Publication date: January 2022

Kenna Rowan has finally been released from jail. Life should feel like a breeze after what she’s been through, but friends and family have moved on. And worst of all, they’re determined to keep Kenna from her young daughter. Desperate for understanding and companionship, Kenna turns to Ledger Ward, a local bartender with troubles of his own. Pulsing with the twin themes of grief and forgiveness, Reminders of Him may be a new release, but it still ranks high among the best Colleen Hoover books and may even become one of the best books of 2022.

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7. Slammed

Publication date: September 2012

Most readers flock to the best Colleen Hoover books in search of an adult love story. But her first book, Slammed, centered on the thrilling romance of an 18-year-old girl, Layken. Just as Layken is left reeling from her father’s death, she meets Will Cooper. Spark fly. But will their irresistible attraction survive the aftermath of a devastating secret? Readers should be ready for an emotional roller coaster with this book of young love—yes, it’s sad, but it’s also beautiful. And it kicks off a trilogy about the pair. For more great reads on the regular, sign up for a book subscription box that’ll keep your shelves stacked.

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8. Maybe Someday

Publication date: March 2014

Lies. Betrayal. A tangled web of love and lust. Maybe Someday polarizes Goodreads reviewers with its themes of infidelity and restless dissatisfaction. When protagonist Sydney finds out her boyfriend has cheated on her with her best friend, she heads straight out the door and into a friend’s apartment—talented songwriter Ridge’s apartment. You know, the one he shares with his girlfriend, Maggie. So what does Sydney do when faced with the same chance at the betrayal that mangled her heart so badly? Maybe someday she’ll know if she made the right choice. (Or maybe you’ll find out in one of the book’s sequels.) If you spend hours on the road each week, it’s worth noting that you can download the audiobook version as well.

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9. Confess

Publication date: March 2015

Maybe you already saw the Confess TV series from Verizon’s now-defunct Go90 TV app. But even if you did, isn’t the book always better than the movie or television series? (The answer is yes, always.) As emotionally charged as every other Colleen Hoover book, Confess tells the story of a type-A heroine who falls head over heels for a moody artist. Meet Auburn Reed and Owen Gentry. At first, their steamy romance unfolds in the usual fashion. But soon enough, Auburn realizes that if she doesn’t want to lose everything she holds dear, she must bar Owen—and his dark secrets—from her life forever.

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10. Regretting You

Publication date: December 2019

Regretting You is considered one of the best Colleen Hoover books for the poignant way it captures family drama—the complicated nature of mother-daughter relationships and the different ways each generation navigates grief. Shot through with themes of redemption and second chances, the book follows Morgan Grant and her teenage daughter, Clara, after a tragic accident. True to form, the author peppered the book with plenty of gripping, steamy romance scenes.

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11. All Your Perfects

Publication date: July 2018

Colleen Hoover isn’t one to shy away from difficult topics, and All Your Perfects is no exception. Quinn and Graham’s marriage is on the brink. Somewhere along the way, their perfect love story veered off track. And though troubled relationships are common, that doesn’t make them any less heartbreaking. This gut punch of a story has garnered more than 168,000 ratings and nearly 20,500 reviews on Goodreads. Most fans rave about it while warning that it covers themes of infertility and betrayal.

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12. Heart Bones

Publication date: August 2020

Though Heart Bones is often marketed as YA or NA (new adult) fiction, the coming-of-age story feels timeless. The author explores the tender, sometimes painful transition to adulthood through protagonist Beyah Grim. After a tragic death, Beyah is forced to spend the summer in Texas with her estranged father. While there, she meets Sampson. And filthy rich, privileged Sampson shows her another way to live. The two decide to indulge in a summer fling—but this is Colleen Hoover, so prepare for some twists and heartbreak. Give it a try for free by downloading the book with Kindle Unlimited.

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13. Losing Hope

Publication date: October 2013

In Hopeless, readers follow Skye as she falls desperately in love with Dean. The second installment in the Hopeless series gives fans a peek into Dean’s fraught past—along with the thoughts and feelings he experienced during the first book’s timeline. As all sequels go, this novel was written to be read after the first book. The plot unfolds with thought-provoking themes of healing and redemption, but this follow-up is just as scintillating and sexy as the first.

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14. Layla

Publication date: December 2020

This bestselling paranormal romance—one of the best Colleen Hoover books in general—covers themes of eternal love and the afterlife. In the story, Leeds and Layla escape to a remote bed-and-breakfast to try to reconnect after an accident has traumatized Layla. Leeds knows that something has unsettled his lover, but he’s unsure how to reach her. That’s when he meets fellow guest Willow, who encapsulates everything Layla used to be. So who will he choose? And what is truly wrong with Layla?

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15. Finding Cinderella

Publication date: March 2014

Dean and Skye are back, but this time they’re minor characters. Finding Cinderella is part of the Hopeless romance series, and this novella is meant to be read after Losing Hope. It has a slightly more YA perspective, chronicling the steamy high school love story of Dean and Skye’s friends, Daniel and Six. Some Goodreads reviewers note that the plot includes very mature themes, considering the age of the characters, which is why this Colleen Hoover book falls somewhere between adult and young adult material.

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16. Too Late

Publication date: November 2016

Anyone enamored by the gripping romance in the author’s other books might be surprised by Too Late. Like Verity, it drags readers down a deep, dark plot riddled with controversial topics. Psychological abuse, substance abuse and mental illness, anyone? For readers unfazed by graphic content, this story is of a college girl clawing her way out of a hellish relationship with her drug-addicted boyfriend.

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17. Maybe Not

Publication date: December 2015

This 160-page novella offers the best of Colleen Hoover for readers short on time. The Maybe romance series works so well because the books include a familiar cast of characters with stories robust enough to be read as stand-alones. In Maybe Not—read it after Maybe Someday—the delightful and hilarious Warren takes on a female roommate, Bridgette. For him, there’s immediate sexual tension. But she’s more interested in giving him the cold shoulder than considering even an amicable friendship. Dripping with wit and an enemies-to-lovers theme, Maybe Not has captured the hearts of thousands of Goodreads readers. It’s the perfect short summer read for a bright, blue-sky day.

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18. Maybe Now

Publication date: April 2019

Yes, out of Colleen Hoover’s dozens of books and novellas, those in the Maybe series (this is book two) all snagged top 20 spots, thanks to high Goodreads reviews. In this sometimes heartwarming, sometimes saccharine reunion, the spurned Maggie gets her moment in the spotlight. Maybe Now asks important questions, like “Can you be friends with an ex?” and “How can lovers make romance last beyond the honeymoon stage?” Despite solid themes of friendship and love, many readers admit that Maybe Now ends on a supremely cheesy note. Pick up a copy to judge for yourself!

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19. Never Never

Publication date: December 2017

Colleen Hoover’s Never Never is distinct in more ways than one:

  • The series is packaged together in one binding.
  • The story is YA rather than adult contemporary romance.
  • Tarryn Fisher co-authors it.

Despite these peculiarities, Never Never is widely considered (by reviewers) one of the author’s best works. The romantic thriller follows two teens, Charlie Wynwood and Silas Nash, whose memories vanished suddenly in the middle of class one day. The two sudden strangers stick together to uncover the truth about what happened to them. Readers gush about the light paranormal themes and didn’t-see-it-coming plot twists.

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20. It Starts with Us

Publication date: October 2022

Where better to wrap up our top picks than with Colleen Hoover’s upcoming sequel to her knockout It Ends with Us? Pick up with beloved character Atlas’s viewpoint this time. One of romance readers’ most-anticipated books of 2022, the follow-up is slated to become another viral sensation infused with the author’s dear wit, touching romance and heartbreaking revelations.

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Leandra Beabout
Leandra is a lifestyle writer covering health, travel, and literature. A former high school English teacher, she covers books, words, and grammar for RD.com. When she’s not on deadline, you can find her curled up with a new library book or road-tripping through Europe or the American West.