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17 Books Like Ugly Love

Books Like Ugly Love

If you’re captivated by the glamour, intrigue, and complex characters of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo,” you’re in for a treat. 

This novel brings together the intricacies of love, fame, and identity, set against the backdrop of Hollywood’s golden age. With its rich storytelling and unforgettable protagonist, it’s no wonder readers are often left craving for more. 

If you’re searching for books that evoke similar emotions and themes or feature strong, enigmatic female protagonists navigating their own paths through life, then look no further. 

Here’s a curated list of novels that share the same depth as Evelyn Hugo’s unforgettable tale. 

Let’s check them out, one at a time. 

Books Like Ugly Love

1. November 9 by Colleen Hoover

This novel tells the story of Fallon and Ben, who meet by chance in Los Angeles and spend Fallon’s last day in the city together before she moves to New York. They agree to meet on the same date every year, despite leading separate lives in different cities. 

The book navigates their complex relationship, marked by personal growth, revelations, and the transformative power of love. Colleen Hoover masterfully blends romance with themes of forgiveness and self-discovery, making readers yearn for the characters’ happiness.

Major Similarities: 

Like “Ugly Love,” “November 9” is a deeply emotional romance that explores the complexities of timing and fate in relationships. Both novels feature Hoover’s signature storytelling style, focusing on damaged characters who must confront their pasts to embrace love. 

The narrative structure of “November 9,” with its once-a-year meeting, creates a tension and longing similar to the forbidden and constrained relationship in “Ugly Love.”

2. It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover

This novel dives into the life of Lily Bloom, who starts a relationship with Ryle Kincaid, a neurosurgeon with a no-dating rule that he breaks for her. As their relationship evolves, Lily’s first love, Atlas Corrigan, reenters her life, bringing past and present into a collision course. 

The story is a poignant exploration of the cycles of abuse and the difficult choices faced in the name of love, showcasing Hoover’s ability to tackle tough subjects with sensitivity and depth.

Major Similarities: 

It Ends with Us” shares the theme of a tumultuous love affair, similar to “Ugly Love,” where personal histories deeply affect present relationships. Both books deal with the emotional complexities within romantic connections and the courage it takes to confront painful truths. 

Hoover’s compelling narrative voice and the way she addresses serious issues through her characters’ journeys resonate in both stories.

3. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

“Me Before You” introduces readers to Louisa Clark and Will Traynor, who come from vastly different worlds. Louisa becomes Will’s caretaker after an accident leaves him paralyzed and despondent. 

Despite initial clashes, they develop a deep bond that challenges their beliefs about love and life. The novel is a heart-wrenching tale of love, loss, and the ethical dilemmas surrounding assisted suicide, told with warmth and empathy.

Major Similarities:

Both “Me Before You” and “Ugly Love” explore the theme of love emerging from unexpected circumstances, as well as the challenges of dealing with past traumas and current adversities. 

The emotional depth, character development, and the exploration of love’s power to transform lives are central to both narratives, offering readers a compelling blend of romance and drama.

4. After You by Jojo Moyes

As the sequel to “Me Before You,” “After You” continues the story of Louisa Clark as she struggles with grief and attempts to rebuild her life after Will’s death. Her journey is marked by unexpected encounters, including a surprising addition to her life that challenges her to move forward while honoring Will’s memory

The book captures the process of healing and the impact of loss on future relationships, blending humor with moments of profound insight.

Major Similarities: 

Like “Ugly Love,” “After You” deals with themes of love, loss, and the struggle to find happiness after experiencing deep emotional pain. Both novels address the complexities of moving on from past relationships and the ways in which love can offer redemption and hope. 

The emphasis on character growth and emotional resilience resonates in both stories.

5. Slammed by Colleen Hoover

In “Slammed,” eighteen-year-old Layken Cohen moves to Michigan after the death of her father, where she meets her neighbor, Will Cooper. Their immediate connection is tested by unexpected revelations and the responsibilities that Layken faces. 

The novel is a mix of romance, poetry, and the challenges of young love, highlighted by the characters’ shared passion for slam poetry. It’s a story about finding love, facing hard truths, and the power of expression through art.

Major Similarities: 

“Slammed” shares with “Ugly Love” the elements of a passionate, yet complicated, romance marked by significant obstacles. Both novels showcase Hoover’s ability to weave deep emotional narratives with engaging romantic elements. 

The use of poetry in “Slammed” adds a unique layer to the storytelling, similar to the way “Ugly Love” uses its narrative structure to enhance the emotional depth of the story.

6. The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo

This poignant novel follows Lucy and Gabe, two Columbia University students whose lives intertwine on September 11, 2001. Their relationship evolves in the shadow of the events that changed America, leading them on separate paths that intersect over the years. 

It’s a story of love found and lost, the choices that shape our lives, and the impact of timing on relationships. Santopolo explores the idea that some connections are meant to be, even when life pulls people in different directions.

Major Similarities: 

Similar to “Ugly Love,” “The Light We Lost” delves into the complexities of a love that’s both intense and fraught with challenges. Both novels explore the theme of timing and how external circumstances can impact personal relationships. 

The emotional depth and the focus on how past events shape the characters’ present and future echo the narrative and thematic elements found in “Ugly Love.”

7. All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover

This novel is a heartbreaking yet hopeful story about Quinn and Graham, a couple whose marriage is in peril as they struggle with the challenges of infertility. 

Hoover uses dual timelines to explore the beginnings of their love and the strains on their marriage, highlighting how past ideals and present realities can clash. The story is a raw and honest look at the struggles couples face, emphasizing communication, forgiveness, and unconditional love.

Major Similarities: 

“All Your Perfects” shares with “Ugly Love” a focus on the complexities of relationships, particularly how external challenges and internal conflicts can impact love. 

Both novels showcase Hoover’s talent for writing deeply emotional stories that explore the nuances of romantic relationships, including the pain and beauty of enduring love amidst hardship.

8. One Day by David Nicholls

“One Day” tells the story of Emma and Dexter, who spend the night together after their college graduation and form a complicated friendship that evolves over the next 20 years. 

Each chapter visits the characters on the same date, July 15th, showing how their relationship and individual lives change over time. It’s a story of missed opportunities, friendship, and the evolving nature of love, marked by humor and poignancy.

Major Similarities: 

Like “Ugly Love,” “One Day” explores a relationship that unfolds over time, marked by its ups and downs. Both novels delve into the theme of timing and how different stages of life impact the characters’ connection. 

The narrative structure of revisiting the characters on the same day each year in “One Day” mirrors the way “Ugly Love” navigates through its own timeline, showcasing the evolution of relationships against the backdrop of personal growth and change.

9. Before We Were Strangers by Renée Carlino

“Before We Were Strangers” is a story about missed connections and second chances. It follows Matt and Grace, who meet in college and develop a deep bond that is abruptly severed. 

Fifteen years later, they reconnect through a missed connections ad, leading to a chance to rekindle their relationship and explore what went wrong. The novel is a testament to the enduring power of love and the idea that it’s never too late to find your way back to someone.

Major Similarities: 

Both “Before We Were Strangers” and “Ugly Love” examine the themes of lost love and the possibility of rediscovery. Each story highlights the impact of timing and circumstance on relationships, as well as the emotional journey of coming to terms with past decisions. 

The narrative focus on rekindling a once deep connection amidst life’s uncertainties parallels the emotional depth and relationship dynamics explored in “Ugly Love.”

10. Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel

“Sea of Tranquility” is a beautifully crafted novel that spans centuries, from the early 20th century to the distant future, weaving together the lives of several characters across time and space. 

The story explores themes of existentialism, the impact of pandemics, and the nature of reality, all while maintaining a thread of connection through a mysterious anomaly observed by the characters. Emily St. John Mandel’s narrative is both speculative and deeply human, highlighting the interconnectedness of human experiences.

Major Similarities: 

While “Sea of Tranquility” ventures into more speculative territory than “Ugly Love,” both novels share an intricate exploration of human emotions and relationships set against the backdrop of larger existential questions. 

The emotional depth and the exploration of how past and present intersect resonate with the themes of love and connection found in “Ugly Love.”

11. Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren

This touching novel unravels the story of Macy Sorensen and Elliot Petropoulos, who were once inseparable as children and teenagers, sharing everything in their hideaway, including their deepest thoughts and feelings. 

Years after a devastating fallout that led them to go their separate ways, they stumble upon each other again, forcing them to confront their past and the unsaid words that tore them apart. The novel is a poignant exploration of first love, loss, and the power of forgiveness.

Major Similarities: 

Similar to “Ugly Love,” “Love and Other Words” is a deeply emotional narrative that focuses on the complexities of reconnecting with a past love. Both novels delve into the themes of unresolved feelings, the impact of secrets, and the journey toward understanding and reconciliation. 

The emphasis on character depth and emotional growth mirrors the heartfelt storytelling found in “Ugly Love.”

12. This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel

“This Is How It Always Is” is a novel about a family grappling with issues of identity, transformation, and acceptance, centered around the youngest son, Claude, who wants to be a girl when he grows up. 

The parents, Rosie and Penn, and their family navigate the challenges and joys of raising a transgender child. 

The story is a compassionate look at the complexities of parenting, the nuances of gender identity, and the unconditional love families can provide.

Major Similarities: 

While “This Is How It Always Is” focuses more on family dynamics and social issues than romantic love, it shares with “Ugly Love” a profound exploration of love’s power to overcome challenges. 

Both novels address themes of acceptance, the importance of communication, and the resilience required to face societal norms and personal trials, offering readers emotionally rich narratives.

13. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

The Nightingale” tells the story of two sisters, Vianne and Isabelle, in France during World War II who face the horrors of war in different but equally brave ways. Vianne must navigate life under Nazi occupation, while Isabelle joins the Resistance. 

The novel is a tribute to the strength and resilience of women during one of history’s darkest hours, highlighting the sacrifices made for love and freedom.

Major Similarities: 

Although “The Nightingale” is set against the vastly different backdrop of war, it shares with “Ugly Love” themes of love’s endurance in the face of unimaginable challenges. 

Both books explore the depth of human emotion, the sacrifices made for love, and the strength of the human spirit. 

The emotional intensity and the focus on relationships amid adversity in “The Nightingale” resonate with the passionate and tumultuous love story told in “Ugly Love.”

14. You Had Me At Hola by Alexis Daria

In “You Had Me At Hola,” Alexis Daria brings to life a captivating romance between Jasmine Lin Rodriguez, a soap opera star, and Ashton Suarez, a telenovela actor. 

As they are cast as leads in a buzzy new bilingual rom-com for streaming service, their on-screen chemistry spills over into real life. 

The novel delves into the world of show business, highlighting the pressures of fame while exploring themes of identity, culture, and the pursuit of dreams alongside a sizzling romance.

Major Similarities: 

Similar to “Ugly Love,” this novel explores the development of a complex relationship under unusual circumstances, where external pressures and personal insecurities play significant roles. 

Both stories effectively balance the steamy aspects of romance with deeper emotional journeys, character growth, and the struggle to maintain personal and professional lives amidst evolving feelings.

15. The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

“The Unhoneymooners” is a delightful enemies-to-lovers romance filled with humor, wit, and unexpected tenderness. Olive Torres and Ethan Thomas end up on a honeymoon trip together, despite their mutual disdain, after the bride and groom – Olive’s twin sister and Ethan’s brother – fall ill. 

The novel is a rollercoaster of mistaken identities, forced proximity, and the thin line between love and hate, as Olive and Ethan reconsider their perceptions of each other and their future.

Major Similarities: 

Much like “Ugly Love,” “The Unhoneymooners” navigates the complexities of relationships through humor, sexual tension, and emotional depth. Both novels feature protagonists who must navigate their past and present feelings to uncover what they truly want. 

The themes of overcoming obstacles and the transformative power of love are central to both stories, offering readers engaging narratives that blend romance with personal discovery.

16. Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover

“Maybe Someday” is a unique, emotionally charged novel that centers around Sydney and Ridge, two neighbors who form a deep connection through their shared love of music. 

As they collaborate on songs, their relationship deepens, despite the significant obstacles that stand in their way, including Ridge’s existing relationship. 

The novel is praised for its innovative integration of music with the narrative, offering a multimedia experience that enhances the emotional resonance of the story.

Major Similarities: 

Like “Ugly Love,” “Maybe Someday” explores the theme of forbidden love and the complexities of relationships that are “wrong” but feel so right. Both novels showcase Colleen Hoover’s ability to craft deeply emotional stories that capture the heartache and beauty of unexpected love. 

The emphasis on music in “Maybe Someday” parallels the unique narrative elements in “Ugly Love,” making both stories stand out in the romance genre.

17. On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves

“On the Island” tells the story of Anna Emerson, a thirty-year-old teacher, and T.J. Callahan, a sixteen-year-old student, who find themselves stranded on a deserted island in the Maldives after their seaplane crashes. 

As they struggle to survive in isolation, their relationship evolves from one of necessity to a profound bond that defies societal norms. 

The novel explores themes of survival, the natural evolution of relationships under extreme conditions, and the power of love to emerge in the most unlikely places.

Major Similarities: 

Both “On the Island” and “Ugly Love” present unconventional love stories that challenge societal expectations and explore the depth of human connection under extraordinary circumstances. 

The emotional journey from survival to love in “On the Island” mirrors the complex, barrier-breaking nature of the relationship in “Ugly Love.” 

Each narrative delves into the challenges of facing external judgments while navigating the path to genuine affection and understanding.

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