Our 2024 Crash Course in Romance discussed the genre's biggest subgenres, latest trends, and buzzy titles to know in the genre. To make sure you've got all you need to feel confident navigating the world of romance, we're sharing tips for exploring the genre in NoveList and answering some of your questions from the webinar.

Romance in NoveList

NoveList offers plenty of resources to help you stay up to date with romance and help readers feel the love. Here are some ways to fast-track the process.

Cozy up to searching

Here’s how to use NoveList's Advanced Search to find great romance reads.

  • Look for a link to Advanced Search right under the basic search bar on the homepage. 
  • Enter "romances" in the first search field and select "GN Genre" from the drop-down menu.
  • Scroll down and narrow your search by a variety of limiters, like the audience, grade level, author's cultural identity, and more.
  • Click "search" and see the fantastic options. 

Get to know your favorite theme

Themes, also called tropes, are common, recurring plot elements that hook a reader. They can be make or break for romance readers. Some readers will read a book just because it has their favorite theme or trope. Some of the most popular themes in romance include enemies to lovers, fake relationship, love in a small town, and grumpy-sunshine.

To see all of NoveList's romance themes, check out our Story Elements Index.

  • Go to "Quick Links" in the top navigation bar.
  • Select "Story Elements Index".
  • Under the Themes section, select "view more themes" to see a full list.

Once you know what theme you want to find more of, you can search for it by going to the advanced search. For example, if you're looking for a romance with the theme together again:

  • Type "together again" in the first field.
  • Select "TH Themes" from the drop-down menu.
  • Click "search."

Navigate the spice levels

Need to find books that match the level of heat your reader wants? In NoveList, you can use our tone appeals of chaste, mildly sensuous, steamy, and explicit to match what your reader wants.

To search for a specific tone appeal, like steamy:

  • Go to the Advanced Search page.
  • Enter "steamy" into the first field.
  • Select "AP Appeal Factors" from the drop-down menu.
  • Click "search."

Want to stay up to date with the newest and hottest romances?

Use our genre browse carousels to explore the freshest books by age range and subgenre. These carousels let you hover over a title for its description, so you’ll know if it’s right for you immediately.

Here’s how to access genre browse carousels.

  • Go to "Browse By" on the top navigation bar.
  • Select "Genre" from the drop-down menu. 
  • Scroll down on the homepage to "Browse Genres" and select any of the square images.
  • Once you're on the Genre Browse page, select a genre from the drop-down menu next to "New and Popular in...".  

See the books that won the hearts of awards committees

If you want award-winning titles — whether for your collection, displays, or recommendations — head over to our Awards Page to find romance awards all on one page.

  • Go to "Browse By" on the top navigation bar.
  • Select "Award Winners" from the drop-down menu.
  • Under "Awards by Type," select "Romance".

Other media and resources

Here are some resources you can use, along with NoveList, to help you build your relationship with romance.

Awards websites:


Curate quality collections 

Worried that you’re not picking the best romance options for your collection? Use Core Collections to get impartial, authoritative guides that help you build and maintain well-rounded collections of the most highly recommended books. See it in action by requesting a free demo.  

Want to promote your library's romance collection?

LibraryAware subscribers can create newsletters, bookmarks, shelf talkers, flyers, and social and digital displays. Search "romance" in LibraryAware to find book flyers, widgets, and other resources you can use. Not a subscriber? Get a free demo and a trial!  

Your questions answered!

We had so many great questions from attendees at the Crash Course in Romance that we couldn't answer all of them during the webinar. But we want to make sure you get the information you need, so we answer those questions here.

Can you address the rise in book bans and challenges and how we can be proactive?

The answer depends on what specific element you're concerned about related to romance. Often, the level of sex depicted can be brought up in challenges, so being aware of the appeals related to that (in NoveList: chaste, mildly sensuous, steamy, explicit) and reading reviews are a great way to get familiar with how sex is depicted and make sure it matches what your reader wants.

If you want to make sure that you have a sense of the audience level the book was written for, you can search for books by audience level in NoveList. You can use the "refine results" section (on the left-hand side of any search results page) and select the audience level you want (adult, teen, 9-12, 0-8). Or, if you're on our advanced search page, you can select the audience level before performing your search.

On a book record in NoveList, you can also read reviews, look at the appeals attached to a book, or even look at the book's subjects to get a fuller picture.

Do you specify which books are available and appropriate for high school students? Is there some way to evaluate for school appropriateness?

All the books featured in our Crash Course in Romance are aimed at adults. However, if you want to find teen romances in NoveList, you can search for romances and limit results by audience level (in Refine Results or the advanced search page) or even grade level (on the advanced search page). That way, you can find romances written for teen readers.

The appeals related to "spice" for teen romances are a little different. You'll find chaste, mildly sensuous, and steamy; you won't see explicit. Mildly sensuous is usually going to mean sex happens but is not described (what some refer to as "closed door") while a steamy teen romance will usually describe sex in some detail. We always recommend talking to an individual reader about their specific comfort level.

Is "reality dating shows" a trope?

While that is not currently an official theme in NoveList, it is becoming a more frequent trend in romances. So, we'd say that it's on its way to becoming a trope.

On the topic of there being all types of sports romances, what's one golf romance?

If you want a recent golf romance, try Tessa Bailey's upbeat, grumpy-sunshine romance, Fangirl Down.

What is the difference between romance and women's fiction? A lot of books labeled "women's fiction" seem to have romance in them.

While a romance might be an element of the story in "women's fiction" (we use the genre term "relationship fiction" in NoveList) the romance is not the central focus of the plot. Also, a happily ever after (or happy for now) is not guaranteed, which is a defining characteristic of romance.

Halle Carlson, one of our presenters, added, " If you removed the romance plotline from a romance novel, the story no longer hangs together. Whereas in relationship fiction, if you removed the romantic storyline, you'd still have a complete story without it."

How do you find romances that read like literary fiction, or books classified as literary fiction that have romance plotlines?

Suppose you want to find literary fiction with a romance plotline. In that case, you can search for literary fiction with a romantic tone, or you can look in reviews of the book to see if they mention a romantic relationship or storyline.

You can do both searches using NoveList's advanced search page and using the combinations pictured below.

This webinar is now available with additional bonus content on Learn with NoveList. 

Yaika Sabat is the Manager of Reader Services at NoveList. She's currently reading A Proposal They Can't Refuse by Natalie Caña.