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    22 Books With The Grumpy/Sunshine Trope That You'll Absolutely Love

    Watch out, enemies-to-lovers: this trope is coming for your spot.

    Of all the swoony tropes, the one that is guaranteed to melt the icy heart of any cynic is the classic grumpy/sunshine trope. You know the one. One love interest is angry, indifferent – even cold – while the other is bubbly, happy to be here, finding the positive in any situation. Think: Roy Kent and Keeley Jones. Or hey, even Roy Kent and Ted Lasso! They shouldn’t work so well together! And yet, they can’t live without each other. If you love this trope, here are some books you can read to satisfy that need.

    1. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

    An old red pickup truck sits in a grassy field with the night sky above it.
    Simon & Scuster / Via

    A modern classic and widely-loved contemporary, Benjamin Alire Sáenz's 2012 book about two teen boys finding their place in the world by each other's sides makes serious points for the grumpy/sunshine trope. Ari goes through life with a chip on his shoulder, questions about the world weighing heavy on his mind, while Dante looks at the same questions with wonder and optimism, the yin to Ari's yang. And they learn a lot from each other, maybe even more than they bargained for.

    Get it from Bookshop or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    2. We Can't Keep Meeting Like This by Rachel Lynn Solomon

    A girl in a pink dress and a boy in a pink shirt over a purple shirt sit next to a toppling pink wedding cake.
    Simon & Schuster / Via

    Rachel Lynn Solomon, one of the best new romance writers, doesn't disappoint in her love-specific grumpy/sunshine pairing in We Can't Keep Meeting Like This. Tarek is a romantic to his core, all about grand gestures, and ever the optimist even when his relationships don't pan out: he's always grateful for the experience. Quinn, on the other hand, hasn't believed in love since she noticed something odd about her parent's relationship that they never discuss. Despite her cynicism, Tarek wears her down, turning her into a believer.

    Get it from Bookshop or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    3. Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert


    In the final book of Talia Hibbert's beloved Brown Sisters series, we meet the chaotic, purple-haired, sunshine in tornado form Eve Brown as she sunshine-spins her way into Jacob's bed and breakfast (and life). Jacob is icy, serious, and means business. He tries to resist her charms at first, but there's no denying their magnetic pull to each other — a strong force which may also be the reason Eve accidentally hits him with her car. Oops! 

    Get it from Bookshop or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    4. The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood

    A surprised looking male scientist is kissed by a girl scientist with freckles in front of a chemistry lab backdrop.
    Berkley Books / Via

    While she may be a cynic about love, PhD candidate Olive is always willing to test a new hypothesis, which leads to her kissing the first guy she sees: Adam, a professor with a reputation for being a tyrant. A fake dating plot ensues (bonus trope!) and it seems Olive's positive disposition — kind of a necessity when you're researching cancer cures —might be just the thing to melt Adam's hard exterior...and reveal his six-pack.

    Get it from Bookshop or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    5. The Spanish Love Deception by Elena Armas

    Elena Armas / Via

    In Elena Armas' debut, the tropes are plentiful: enemies-to-lovers, fake dating, slow burn, and of course: grumpy/sunshine. Lina needs a date to her sister's wedding, and her work nemesis Aaron — the steely blue-eyed thorn in her side —is the only one willing to come and go along with her charade of toting him around as her boyfriend. Lots of banter ensues, and Lina gets to see inside Aaron's soft center to the cinnamon roll he really is.

    Get it from Bookshop or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    6. The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren

    Gallery Books / Via

    Jess Davis is a single mom who wants to make sure her daughter's life is full of everything she's missed out on. A giving person, she gets her spirit from her grandparents who raised her and help her with her own daughter now. She isn't really thinking about love — until she hears about a new matchmaking service that relies on DNA science. It matches her with the stubborn, rude nerd Dr. Pena, and her belief falters. She gives it a shot anyway and finds that maybe science is working in her favor after all.

    Get it from Bookshop or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    7. It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey

    Avon / Via

    Piper rolls with the punches. After a crazy night lands her in jail, she's sent from sunny Los Angeles to Washington as punishment to run her late father's bar, and she's been doing it all with a smile. But a surly local fisherman threatens to dim her bright aura with his attitude, and she can't seem to escape him. But even broody Brendan can't resist Piper's sunny disposition and charm...

    Get it from Bookshop or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    8. The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

    A girl in a yellow dress looks over her shoulder at a guy in a yellow tie.
    William Morrow Paperbacks / Via

    Another modern classic in the grumpy/sunshine trope, Sally Thorne's The Hating Game centers on the lovable Lucy, who's up for a promotion. The only thing standing in her way? Joshua, her irritating coworker who attempts to one-up her every chance he gets. But when tension rises, the explosion isn't exactly what Lucy had in mind. And Josh isn't exactly what she expected, either...

    Get it from Bookshop or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    9. Always Only You by Chloe Liese

    Chloe Liese / Via

    Self-proclaimed grump Frankie can't stand the sunshiney Ren. Frankie manages social media for the hockey team Ren plays on, so when she's forced to stay with him, the close quarters and domestic setting seem to knock her walls down, allowing her to see all there is to love about Ren. And well, he's always known there's plenty to love about Frankie.

    Get it from Bookshop or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    10. Teach Me by Olivia Dade

    A woman sits at a desk with a laptop, smirking at a man standing over her shoulder.
    Hussies & Harpies Press / Via

    Standoffish Rose is determined to ice out the new teacher at her school, Martin, in spite of his warm demeanor. I mean, it's not his fault that he was given the history classes she wanted to teach. Still, Rose won't be easy to break. But when she does, she learns a lot about herself in the process, finding it can be kind of nice to let love in again.

    Get it from Bookshop or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    11. Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare

    A woman smirks in a big red gown in front of a castle.
    Avon Books / Via

    Izzy, daughter of a once famous, but now penniless author father, is bubbly despite her misfortunes — thanks to the hope instilled in her by the many fairytales her father wrote with her as the main character. Ransom, a duke, wishes to isolate himself after a saber accident leaves him blinded, spending his days alone in his castle. But when Izzy inherits his castle, he might just have to warm up to her.

    Get it from Bookshop or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    12. Well Met by Jen Deluca

    Berkley / Via

    Simon takes the renaissance faire seriously. He runs it, after all. So he doesn't find well-meaning Emily — who is only there to be her niece's guardian — charming, and he makes it well known to her. Yet when she's in her costume and he's in his, he flirts with her shamelessly, making her wonder if he really likes her or if he's just playing a part. 

    Get it from Bookshop or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    13. The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

    Baby blue book cover featuring various illustrated seashells and daisies.
    Simon & Schuster / Via

    Belly isn't exactly sunshine, but she is a sweetheart who tries to get on everyone's good side: especially Conrad's. Conrad has never been the most outgoing guy — that's his brother, Jeremiah — but lately he's even more moody and surly. Still, Belly is drawn to him, and for the first time, it seems like he's drawn to her, too. The first book in this trilogy from Jenny Han sets the scene for one of the most maddening and rewarding YA love stories of our time. 

    Get it from Bookshop or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    14. When Tara Met Farah by Tara Pammi

    Two girls face each other smiling, sitting on the edge of a bed.
    Tara Pammi / Via

    Tara needs to pass math to pass high school, but she can't do it on her own. Luckily, her mom's new live-in research intern, Farah, is a math genius. The two seem like total opposites: Tara is a bubbly extrovert where Farah is sullen, mourning the loss of her mother and more. But soon they find they're hitting it off. And beyond that, they're really falling for each other.

    Get the ebook from Amazon here.

    15. Make It Sweet by Kristen Callihan

    Montlake / Via

    After being publicly humiliated by her cheating boyfriend and her character's death in the show she starred in, Emma needs a break. That's how she finds herself at Rosemont in California, where she's looking forward to relaxing. Until she meets the handsome but reserved Lucian, grandson of the estate's owner. Emma may not have been looking for love, but sometimes what you need will find you...

    Get it from Bookshop or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    16. (Trust) Falling For You by Charish Reid

    In a green woodsy setting, a brown-skinned woman grins while a bearded white man stands with his arms crossed.
    Charish Reid / Via

    Yolanda is an English professor who loves what she does: making literature fun and bringing joy to her students and colleagues alike. Samuel is a history professor who forgot what having fun at work is like, opting to keep his head down and avoid socializing with his colleagues. But when a room assignment on their university's woodsy team-building retreat gets mixed up and they're forced to share a room, they have to compromise and find common ground. It might be easier than they think.

    Get it from Amazon here.

    17. Gingerbread by Rachel Cohn

    Simon & Schuster / Via

    Cyd Charisse may live in California, but she's not exactly a ball of sunshine. She's moody, a bit of a recluse, and she's got her reasons. Her boyfriend Shrimp is a total sweetheart who melts anyone's heart who meets him, including Cyd, who met him at the nursing home where they both volunteer. It's not always easy for them to get along, especially when they have to take it long distance, but he brings out the best in her and she loves him for him, and that's what makes it last.

    Get it from Bookshop or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    18. Written in the Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur

    Two women embrace in front of a skyline with constellations in the sky.
    Avon / Via

    Darcy is serious, skeptical, analytical, and so over love after yet another blind date gone disastrously wrong. Twitter astrologer Elle is free-spirited and someone who goes with the flow — until the flow suggests that she may be well-paired with the uptight Darcy. Through a fake-dating scheme, the two find themselves falling harder than they'd ever expected, proving that sometimes love is written in the stars.

    Get it from Bookshop or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    19. Heartbreak Boys by Simon James Green

    Scholastic / Via

    Simon and Nate are former childhood friends now tied together by something terrible: they were dumped by their exes, who continue to humiliate them by dating each other and flaunting their relationship on social media. To get back at them, Simon and Nate go on a road trip across England. Nate is shy and a bit of a recluse, but Simon is out there, bursting with life, inspiring Nate to come out of his shell. Through their pretending they find real feelings for each other and suddenly, they're not faking being happy.

    Get it from Book Depository here.

    20. The Marriage Game by Sara Desai

    Berkley / Via

    Layla may have lost her smile, but she's still the apple of her dad's eye. She resumes her sweet disposition even when she loses her spark in the wake of tragedy. Sam doesn't like anything messing up his routine, even if that something is Layla, the beautiful daughter of the man who rents the office space above his restaurant. Sam's been granted use of the office in a bit of a mix-up, and the close quarters help Layla find the spark she's been missing. 

    Get it from Bookshop or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    21. Beach Read by Emily Henry

    A yellow cover with a woman in a red one-piece swimsuit reading on her stomach, and a man sitting in a baseball cap reading.
    Berkley / Via

    January and Gus are both writers. January is optimistic and loves happily ever afters, but Gus is a bit of a grump whose endings usually involve death. The two couldn't be more opposite except for one thing: they're both suffering from serious writer's block that seemingly nothing, not even the peace of their neighboring beach houses, can cure. But perhaps the secret lies in seeing things through each other's perspective. And if they get more than they bargained for, well, that's just a bonus.

    Get it from Bookshop or at a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    22. Don't Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno

    Little, Brown Books / Via

    Rosa Santos is the sunshine and glue of her town of Port Coral, Florida. But she's harboring a curse: one that involves men and the sea. So the broody bad boy in town, a sailor with tattoos, is a bad idea. Right? But Alex turns out to be less rude than he seemingly portrays — he's even a star baker. Through a series of adventures to save the town's livelihood, Alex helps Rosa overcome her fears, and Rosa helps Alex smile again.

    Get it from Bookshop or at a local bookstore via Indiebound here.

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