20 Best Authors Like Ali Hazelwood for Witty Romance Readers

Explore our guide with the top authors like Ali Hazelwood with a unique spin on modern new adult, and contemporary romance novels.

Ali Hazelwood has carved out a unique and incredibly successful literary niche in the romance world: Smart, flirty love stories about women who work in STEM fields and higher academia. It’s no huge surprise – Hazelwood herself is a neuroscience professor – but the approach resonated with readers worldwide thanks to books like The Love Hypothesis and Love on the Brain.

Suppose you’ve snapped up some romance author best sellers (don’t forget Hazelwood’s collection of novellas called Loathe to Love You). In that case, you may be desperate to find something similar until Hazelwood can release her next work. The romance aisle at your local – or digital – bookstore probably isn’t much help here. But this list has you covered with other writers to try while waiting.

Best Authors Like Ali Hazelwood Ranked

1. Lynn Painter

Vintage book and rose
Image of an open book on a wooden bench with a rosebud between the pages

Painter is a bestselling author who specializes in romantic comedies that are accessible to both teens and adults. She approaches stories with a quirky style that fans of Hazelwood may appreciate. Her books are friendly enough to a wide range of readers that you can easily share them with others or nominate them for an accessible, comforting book club read. Painter lives with her husband and children in Nebraska and writes for the Omaha World-Herald. But you’re probably more interested in reading novels like Mr. Wrong NumberThe Do-Over, or Betting on You.

“You aren’t a hot mess at all, Livvie. You’re just this . . . this . . . human tornado who is so alive, so filled with the energy of the moment, that there occasionally is a little collateral damage.”

Lynn Painter, The Do-Over
Mr. Wrong Number
  • Painter, Lynn (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 352 Pages - 03/01/2022 (Publication Date) - Berkley (Publisher)

2. Nisha Sharma

Beautiful young woman reading a book (relax, romance, poetry, rest)
Image of a young woman reading a book while lying on a deck

Sharma’s contemporary romances offer an excellent alternative to Hazelwood, that are likely to scratch the same itch. Indian family dynamics and culture inspire her books, but this Pennsylvanian writer and professor have an approachable style for everyone. Readers have a few options for diving in. Big Hazelwood fans will want to begin with Dating Dr. Dil, the first book in an upcoming series (so there’s plenty to wait for, including the second book, Tastes Like Shakkar). If you want a more reliable series, the Singh Family Trilogy is complete and begins with The Takeover Effect.

“Prem called out to his smart home device. ‘Google, play Dudes’ Night playlist.’ ‘Playing Dudes’ Night,’ Google replied. Taylor Swift’s album Reputation slipped through his wall speakers.”

Nisha Sharma, Dating Dr. Dil
Dating Dr. Dil: A Novel (If Shakespeare Were an Auntie, 1)
  • Sharma, Nisha (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 384 Pages - 03/15/2022 (Publication Date) - Avon (Publisher)

3. Christina Lauren

Lauren Billings and Christina Hobbs
Photo of Lauren Billings and Christina Hobbs smiling together

Christina Lauren may have appeared on bestseller lists frequently, but it is the pen name of two talented authors, Christina Hobbs, and Lauren Billings. Together they create powerful contemporary fiction, romances, and YA work, and their books have been translated into over 30 languages. Like a surprising number of authors on our list, they got their start in writing fan fiction before eventually meeting and pairing up to write professionally. 

Readers have many choices here, especially if they like casual romances and young adult relationships. The Unhoneymooners may be a good starting place and will likely become a movie, as is Roomies. The Wild Seasons series follows a group of friends after college and is another pick for those who want to dive into an entire series.

“Rumor has it your dad brought her flowers and she pulled off every petal and used them to spell PUTA in the snow.”

Christina Lauren, The Unhoneymooners
The Unhoneymooners
  • Lauren, Christina (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 416 Pages - 05/14/2019 (Publication Date) - Gallery Books (Publisher)

4. Katherine Center, 1972 –

Katherine Center
Photo of author Katherine Center

For a more traditional take on romances, Center is an excellent pick for comfort reads that are still a notable step above what you may call the Harlequin romances. Center earned her Masters in fiction from the University of Houston and has written numerous bestsellers, essays, and video talks. Readers can pick from various reads, but her most popular titles include the bestseller How to Walk AwayThings You Save in a Fire, and The Bodyguard. Not only are her books getting made into movies, but they’re also great picks for book clubs and other groups. 

“Yes, the world is full of unspeakable cruelty. But the answer wasn’t to never feel hope, or bliss, or love-but to savor every fleeting, precious second of those feelings when they came.“

Katherine Center, Things You Save in a Fire
Things You Save in a Fire: A Novel
  • Hardcover Book
  • Center, Katherine (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 320 Pages - 08/13/2019 (Publication Date) - St. Martin's Press (Publisher)

5. Tessa Bailey

Female reading a book in a meadow field
Image of a woman reading in a straw-filled meadow

Bailey is often described as a character-focused author, writing steamy romances prioritizing interesting female leads and often, gruff male love interests. She’s also been praised for her ear for dirty talk and her comedic plot points. As a prolific author, Bailey offers several starting points for new readers. You may want to start with Fix Her Up, a story of a party planner who concocts a fake relationship with a house flipper to improve both their standings, but it starts to turn into something genuine – it’s the first book in the Hot & Hammered series, each following a different couple in pursuit of zany love. 

“We’re not about cutting people out of our lives. We’re about refusing to accept anything less than what we deserve. About realizing that we’re all important here despite mistakes or bad relationships or lackluster careers.”

Tessa Bailey, Fix Her Up
Fix Her Up: A Novel
  • Bailey, Tessa (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 400 Pages - 06/11/2019 (Publication Date) - Avon (Publisher)

6. Elena Armas

Feather and book novel close to the candle
Image of old books on a table surrounded by rose petals

Armas finally did what many writers wanted during COVID: Use the lockdown as a time to write her first novel. That book, The Spanish Love Deception (another tale about a fake romance that turns into real feelings), immediately became a bestseller. While Armas is a Spanish writer instead of an Italian like Hazelwood, readers will still find lots to appreciate.

For example, Armas has a degree in chemical engineering and writes with a similar, smart style. Her books offer plenty of exciting plot work as well as steamy sex and seduction – it’s understandable if readers sense a certain amount of inspiration from telenovelas mixed with clever contemporary wit. Readers who enjoy her first book can also pick up The American Roommate Experiment. Unfortunately, like Hazelwood, Armas is a new author, and her third book, The Long Game, is still coming. 

“ ‘Do I have your attention?’ ‘You don’t need to do any of that.’ He lowered the large black-and-white-colored pages with a swift motion. ‘You always have my undivided attention, Catalina.'”

Elena Armas, The Spanish Love Deception
The American Roommate Experiment: A Novel
  • Armas, Elena (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 400 Pages - 09/06/2022 (Publication Date) - Atria Books (Publisher)

7. Amy Lea

African student girl reading book
Image of a young woman in a bookstore while reading

Canadian writer Amy Lea specializes in springy, feminist-forward romances that make great reads for teens and adults alike. Like many on our list, she’s a relatively new writer who has seen a burst of popularity and even has books optioned for film. Currently, Lea lives in Ottawa with her husband and Goldendoodles. Readers can choose between books Set on You and Exes & O’s, which deal with contemporary romance situations like fitness influences vs. gym nerds and the perils of modern dating apps. Lea’s third book, Woke Up Like This, is on the way, too. 

“When I was growing up, there was only one Disney princess who looked like me. And Mulan was great, don’t get me wrong. But just because I didn’t have blond hair like the other princesses didn’t mean I couldn’t be who I wanted to be.”

Amy Lea, Exes & O’s
Exes and O's (The Influencer Series)
  • Lea, Amy (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 400 Pages - 01/10/2023 (Publication Date) - Berkley (Publisher)

8. Six de los Reyes

Cute young woman reading a book
Image of a woman in a red dress reading a book

Another win for scientists-turned-romance-writers, Six de los Reyes is a scientist by the sea with an intelligent eye for summer flings, beach romances, and crushes turning into something serious. Hazelwood fans will have no trouble finding popular titles from Reyes like Beginner’s Guide: Love and Other Chemical Reactions, which is not a textbook but a clever romance about a molecular genetics graduate student who takes a scientific approach to her dating life with unexpected test results. Field Guide: Love and Other Natural Disaster is also a favorite, or you may want to try her Summer series, sultry collections of short story summer flings like Summer Crush.

“I don’t want to change me,” I answered. “That’s why I set up the parameters of the Boyfriend Experiment the way I did. Because this is who I am. And I really like my brain, and I just want someone who understands it. Someone whose brain I can also understand.”

Six de los Reyes, Beginner’s Guide: Love and Other Chemical Reactions
Beginner's Guide: Love and Other Chemical Reactions (Talking Nerdy Book 1)
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Six de los Reyes (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 158 Pages - 04/17/2016 (Publication Date)

9. Colleen Hoover, 1979 –

Colleen Hoover
Photo of Colleen Hoover on a video call

Hoover is now a well-known romance and young adult fiction writer – if you don’t know her name, there’s still a good chance you’d recognize the titles of some of her books, such as It Ends With Us. She didn’t start writing until later, starting her first book in 2011. Since then, she has written regularly and amassed an impressive catalog with plenty to choose from. It Ends With Us is a popular recommendation but can be challenging for some people because of its focus on domestic violence. Her other books are generally lighter, including Losing Hope and This Girl, which have both won Goodreads Choice Awards. 

“All humans make mistakes. What determine a person’s character aren’t the mistakes we make. It is how we take those mistakes and turn them into lessons rather than excuses.”

Colleen Hoover, It Ends With Us
It Ends with Us: A Novel (1)
  • It Ends with Us
  • A Novel
  • It ensures you get the best usage for a longer period
  • Hoover, Colleen (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

10. Elle Kennedy

Woman writing on her travel journal
Image of a young woman writing a letter under trees

Another author from Canada, Elle Kennedy, writes contemporary and suspenseful romance books. After earning a degree in English from York University, Kennedy began pursuing her goal of writing and soon authored a wide variety of novels. One of the most prolific writers on our list, readers can choose all kinds of romantic adventures from Kennedy, from very casual young adult romance to steamy bodice rippers. The Off-Campus series, focusing on college sex and relationships, is an excellent place to start. While each book can be read as a standalone, the first is The Deal, about a highly competent student tutoring the hockey team captain. 

“Sometimes people sneak up on you and suddenly you don’t know how you ever lived without them.”

Elle Kennedy, The Deal
The Deal (Off-Campus Book 1)
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Kennedy, Elle (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 342 Pages - 02/24/2015 (Publication Date) - Elle Kennedy Inc. (Publisher)

11. Helen Hoang

A woman reading a book
Image of a woman reading a book outside

Hoang’s innovative approach to romance with an eye on the woman in unique, often challenging positions will remind many readers of Hazelwood’s work. Daughter of a Vietnamese immigrant, Hoang grew up struggling with anxiety and related problems that eventually helped inspire her books about women working on the difference between their inner emotional landscape and outward impressions. The Kiss Quotient, Hoang’s first novel, is an excellent starting place, covering the journey of an autistic woman, Stella, who sets to work on her romantic life while dealing with her problems with intimacy and love. Related titles, including The Bride Test and The Heart Principle, follow it.

“If you can’t stand being with a woman who’s more successful than you, then leave her alone. She’s better off without you. If you actually love her, then know the value of that love and make it a promise.”

Helen Hoang, The Kiss Quotient
The Kiss Quotient
  • Hoang, Helen (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 352 Pages - 06/05/2018 (Publication Date) - Berkley (Publisher)

12. Emily Henry

Young couple learning together in the park
Image of a man and woman reading books together on a bench

Emily Henry’s bold take on adult romances quickly won attention and earned her places on book lists created by Oprah Magazine, The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, Buzzfeed, and many others. She’s considered one of the best modern romance writers, which embraces the quirks, moods, and wonder (and humiliation) of real relationships. Readers of Hazelwood may want to start with Book Lovers to get a taste of what Henry can do. However, her other romance titles, like Beach Read and People We Meet on Vacation, are famous works and easy standalone novels to enjoy. 

“’Nora.’ He just barely smiles. ‘You’re in books. Of course you don’t have a life. None of us do. There’s always something too good to read.’”

Emily Henry, Book Lovers
Book Lovers
  • Henry, Emily (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 416 Pages - 05/03/2022 (Publication Date) - Berkley (Publisher)

13. Talia Hibbert

An attractive girl sits at a rocking chair drinking morning coffee, reading romance in a paper book
Image of a woman reading a book on a wooden chair

Let’s head to Britain for Hibbert’s tantalizing romance work, which includes sharp, contemporary novels and paranormal romance for those who like a little otherworldly spice. Hibbert, who used an inheritance from her great-grandmother to start self-publishing before finding success, is acclaimed for her habit of writing very diverse main characters with various perspectives on life. 

From women struggling with chronic pain and autism, to characters with many different body types, readers will love the representation in Hibbert’s books. There are different series readers can choose from, from The Brown Sisters series to a new trilogy that just began with Get a Life, Chloe Brown.

“’Red,’ she whispered. ‘You don’t always have to be okay.’ She leaned closer and pressed a kiss to his cheek. He was still for a moment. But then he looked at her, and smiled, and murmured, ‘I know. But I am okay, with you.’”

Talia Hibbert, Get a Life, Chloe Brown
Get a Life, Chloe Brown: A Novel (The Brown Sisters Book 1)
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Hibbert, Talia (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 387 Pages - 11/05/2019 (Publication Date) - Avon (Publisher)

14. Chloe Liese

Woman reading book in swimming pool
Image of a woman sitting on a pool seat reading a book

Liese claims to focus on the three H’s – heat, heart, and humor. As a neurodivergent writer, like some of our other picks, she incorporates some of her own experiences in her work, and various characters also fall along the spectrum. Those interested in Liese can start with books like Better Hate than Never or Two Wrongs Make a Right, called contemporary Shakespeare retellings following sisters searching for love. 

“I have a strict moral code. I don’t share penises with friends.”

Chloe Liese, Two Wrongs Make a Right
Better Hate than Never (The Wilmot Sisters Series Book 2)
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Liese, Chloe (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 399 Pages - 10/10/2023 (Publication Date) - Berkley (Publisher)

15. Sally Thorne

Beautiful young woman reading a book on a window sill indoors
Image of a woman sitting by a window reading a book

USA Today bestselling author Australian Sally Thorne writes a sharp, humorous romance with exciting twists and a feel for finding love in another person’s unique outlook on life. The Hating Game was listed in the top 20 romance novels of 2016 by the Washington Post and landed a spot in the finalist list in the Goodreads Choice Awards romance category. Thorne lives in Canberra, Australia, and spends her time writing, reading, drinking tea, and hanging out with her Pug – Delia. Interested readers have several books, including The Hating Game99 Percent Mine, and Second First Impressions.

“’How You Doing, Little Lucy?’ His bright tone and mild expression indicates we’re playing a game we almost never play. It’s a game called How You Doing? and it basically starts off like we don’t hate each other.”

Sally Thorne, The Hating Game
The Hating Game: A Novel
  • William Morrow & Co
  • Ideal for a bookworm
  • Comes in Good condition
  • Thorne, Sally (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

16. Lauren Asher

Pages of book curved into a heart shape, close up
Image of an open book with pages turned into a heart shape

Has a common pattern emerged yet? Lauren Asher is another talented romance writer, a young millennial often writing with other millennials in mind, preferring to keep to a quiet life and letting her words do all the talking (she also offers mixtape playlists designed to play while reading certain books). One of her best titles is The Fine Print, the first of the Dreamland Billionaires series. It follows a brilliant fixer who works to make billionaire dream projects come true – and the rich man she starts to fall in love with despite his outward demeanor. Others may prefer the slightly more down-to-earth Throttled, about an up-and-coming Formula 1 racer. 

“You know how the saying goes. Act like a dick, lose said dick.”

Lauren Asher, The Fine Print
The Fine Print Special Edition (Dreamland Billionaires, 1)
  • Asher, Lauren (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 448 Pages - 07/04/2021 (Publication Date) - Lauren Asher (Publisher)

17. Jessi Kirby

A young teenager girl is focused reading an electronic romance with her ebook reader while she is on the bed
Image of a teen girl lying on a blanket and reading a digital book

When she isn’t writing, Jessi Kirby works as a middle school librarian with her family in California. But when writing, Kirby creates incredible YA romances that combine elements of mystery, drama, love, and suspense into addictive reads. Kirby’s first book, Moonglass, won awards for its take on the teen mystery as high schooler Anna moves to the beach with her father and falls in love while also exploring the mysteries behind her mother’s tragic death in the exact location many years ago. Golden and In Honor offer similar fascinating reads. Check out these authors like Debbie Macomber.

“I knew that meant we were done and that we’d smooth over the surface I’d just tossed a rock into, but even the waves that crash down on the beach start out as tiny ripples, far out at sea.”

Jessi Kirby, Moonglass
  • Kirby, Jessi (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 256 Pages - 04/24/2012 (Publication Date) - Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (Publisher)

18. Rachel Lynn Solomon

Young beautiful woman enjoying a cup of coffee at home
Image of a woman drinking a cup of coffee, reading a Kindle

Solomon writes about everyday people falling in love with a romantic comedy take that’s enjoyable to read and friendly for teens and ages well above. As an American expat living in Amsterdam with her husband, Solomon writes with empathy and fun, with an eye on struggling professionals trying to navigate a realistic world of love and money. Solomon’s popular books include Business or Pleasure (about a ghostwriter and struggling actor who pair up in more ways than one) and Weather Girl (where a meteorologist schemes with a sports reporter to save their bosses’ relationship).

“It’s still scary as fuck, though,” Alex continues. “Putting your heart out there and not knowing whether the other person will be careful with it.”

Rachel Lynn Solomon, Weather Girl
Weather Girl
  • Solomon, Rachel Lynn (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 352 Pages - 01/11/2022 (Publication Date) - Berkley (Publisher)

19. Mariana Zapata

Woman reading e-book on sofa
Image of a woman reading an ebook on a sofa

Bestseller Mariana Zapata writes traditional romance novels with a twist, sometimes called the new adult genre. Her main characters tend to find themselves at key turning points in their lives, like desperately landing a job at a motorcycle club (which happens to have a cute guy) or running away to the countryside to escape a past life (with a new landlord who is also a cute guy). 

With nearly a dozen books, readers have many choices here depending on what romantic circumstances they prefer and their particular flavor of a cute guy. Common recommendations include All Rhodes Lead HereLuna and the LieThe Wall of Winnipeg and Me, and her latest book, When Gracie Met the Grump (this one has superheroes). You might also be interested in our list authors like TL Swan.

“I didn’t want to like you. I didn’t plan on feeling this protective of you and your smile and your heart. Definitely didn’t want to fall in love with you and your secrets. But then you had to go off and say, ‘You snooze you lose, motherfucker,’ and I knew my life was never going to be the same after that.”

Mariana Zapata, When Gracie Met the Grump
When Gracie Met The Grump
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Zapata, Mariana (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 638 Pages - 09/15/2022 (Publication Date)

20. Abby Jimenez

Girl reading ebook on a digital tablet
Image of a girl reading an ebook on a floor

American writer and bestseller Abby Jimenez is a cake master. No, she founded her cake company Nadia Cakes and now owns multiple cake shops in California and Minnesota. She even won a Cupcake Wars on Food Network in 2013. But fortunately for all the readers, Jimenez is also a talented writer who enjoys acerbic commentary and unexpected meet-cutes with heartwarming results. 

For readers who want to start reading Jimenez, Yours Truly follows a doctor who starts crushing on her workplace rival. At the same time, The Happy Ever After Playlist focuses on an adrift young woman who happens to fall in love – with a sexy musician’s dog. Meanwhile, Friend Zone explores the world of a tough woman facing a difficult medical decision and a sudden whirlwind romance simultaneously. Check out this list of authors like Yvonne Whittal.

“I was a ghost, wandering the rooms of a museum of the person I used to be, and Jason was like one of the living who could somehow see me and decided to wander the place with me.”

Abby Jimenez, The Happy Ever After Playlist
The Happy Ever After Playlist
  • Jimenez, Abby (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 400 Pages - 04/14/2020 (Publication Date) - Forever (Publisher)

Looking for more? Check out our round-up of authors like Amanda Quick!

  • Tyler has been published on Huffington Post and Motely Fool. His article and blogs experience includes working for The Content Standard, Mad Mobile, Digital Landing, and Apass Education, among many others.