When it debuted on Netflix in 2018, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, the film adaptation of Jenny Han’s best-selling young adult novel, in many ways revived the teen rom-com. The sensitive and endearing love story between the introverted, baking-obsessed Lara Jean Covey (Lana Candor) and the popular lacrosse player Peter Kavinsky (Noah Centineo) captured the hearts of millions. The third and final installment of the trilogy, To All the Boys: Always and Forever, drops on Netflix on Feb. 12, and follows Lara Jean and Peter as they navigate college acceptances and relationship challenges ahead of graduating from high school.
Luckily for Jenny Han fans, her young adult novel The Summer I Turned Pretty is being adapted for television and is set to arrive on Amazon on an as yet unannounced date. While we eagerly await her next project, there are plenty of movies from the last few years that will inspire those cozy feelings, along with laughter and maybe a few tears. Like To All the Boys, these films feature young people falling in and out of love, fighting for their relationships and nurturing the friendships that exist outside of them.
Here are the best teen rom-coms to watch after you finish the To All the Boys trilogy.
Adaptations of Young Adult Novels
All the Bright Places
When we’re introduced to the central couple in this adaptation of Jennifer Niven’s best-selling 2015 young adult novel, it’s on bleak terms. High school student Theodore Finch (Justice Smith) is on a run when he sees his classmate Violet Markey (Elle Fanning) about to jump off a bridge. He convinces her not to jump—and the two form a special bond explored throughout the movie. While definitely darker in subject matter than To All the Boys, as All the Bright Places tackles suicide, grief and mental health challenges, it is similarly built around a relationship to root for, and has moments of teenage sweetness and romance.
Willowdean Dickson (Danielle Macdonald) is a 17-year-old “self-proclaimed fat girl” living in Texas where her mother, an ex-beauty queen played by Jennifer Aniston, runs the local Miss Teen Bluebonnet pageant. Though Willowdean, cruelly nicknamed “Dumplin’” by her mother, is comfortable in her own skin, she wants to shake up her conservative town, and spite her mother, by participating in the pageant. The adaptation of Julie Murphy’s 2015 young adult novel is not a traditional rom-com—though it does feature a cute romantic subplot between Willowdean and her coworker—but a wholesome portrait of self-love and acceptance, with a soundtrack by Dolly Parton, to boot.
In many ways, Love, Simon is as conventional as teen romantic comedies get: 16-year-old Simon Spier (Nick Robinson) is exchanging anonymous love letters with someone from his high school, and is desperate to learn the identity of the person he’s fallen for. But things are a little complicated: Simon is gay, and he’s not ready to come out of the closet, at least not just yet. What ensues is a thoughtful adaptation of the 2015 young adult novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda—the first major studio movie about a teenager coming out to his family and friends. The result is a wonderfully corny and remarkably unremarkable romantic comedy with a gay protagonist at the center.
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
This quirky and quiet adaptation of Jesse Andrews’ 2012 young adult novel sounds like a real downer. After all, there’s a dying girl in the title—and she’s a big part of the movie. But, somehow, a movie about a Pittsburgh teenager befriending a girl with leukemia (not because he wanted to—his mom insisted they hang out) is not a sad one. This is a different kind of love story—a touching look at friendship and death and all the small and weird moments that accompany growing up.
The Sun is Also a Star
Two teenagers who couldn’t be more different unexpectedly meet in Manhattan—and have undeniable chemistry. Daniel (Charles Melton) is a romantic college-bound kid while Natasha (Yara Shahidi) is pragmatic, science-driven and on a mission to stop her family from being deported the next day. In this adaptation of Nicola Yoon’s novel, the star-crossed-strangers-turned-lovers explore New York City as they question the role of fate and destiny in their random and potentially life-altering run-in.
More High School Love Stories
High school senior Alex Truelove (Daniel Doheny) has big plans to finally lose his virginity to his girlfriend Claire (Madeline Weinstein). But those plans are thrown into question when Alex meets the charming Elliott (Antonio Marziale), a gay high school graduate, at a party. Torn between his newfound feelings for Elliott and the very real (though maybe not romantic) love he has for Claire, whose mother has cancer, Alex attempts to make sense of his sexual identity while weighing the costs of following his heart.
The Map of Tiny Perfect Things
Seventeen-year-old Mark (Kyle Allen) spends his days doing the same things—very literally—a routine that is so practiced because it appears he’s trapped in a loop, and one he’d really like to leave. This all starts to change when he meets Margaret (Kathryn Newton), a teenager who is also stuck in that same summer day, though she’s not as eager to find an exit point. Together, they decide to map all the little moments in their small town, but their eventual romance complicates matters in ways they don’t expect. The Groundhog Day premise has been done many times before—most recently with last summer’s Palm Springs—but still gives way to a bittersweet and emotional narrative.
The Half of It
Lara Jean would certainly approve of this one: two teenagers at opposite ends of their school’s social scene, brought together by love letters. But they’re not the ones falling for each other. Instead, awkward band geek Ellie Chu (Leah Lewis) is ghostwriting love letters on behalf of her classmate, a lovable jock named Paul Munsky (Daniel Diemer). The movie follows their unexpected friendship—made more complicated when they both develop feelings for the same girl.
Yes, God, Yes
In Karen Maine’s semi-autobiographical Yes, God, Yes, we meet 16-year-old Alice (Stranger Things’ Natalia Dyer) as she navigates her Catholic high school in a Midwest town in the early aughts. A dirty rumor circulates about Alice performing a sexual act, the name for which she doesn’t even know the meaning of—gossip that follows her to a school retreat, where most of the film takes place. Though more of a comedy than a romance, this tender portrait of a teenager’s sexual awakening is equal parts sensitive, funny and sweet.
Bonus: Great Teen Movies About Friendship
Blockers stars Kathryn Newton, Geraldine Viswanathan and Gideon Adlon as three best friends whose prom night sex pact is thwarted by their nosy parents (Leslie Mann, John Cena and Ike Barinholtz). The movie follows the teenagers that night as their parents attempt to track them down, determined to stop them from losing their virginities, a journey that takes them to many hilarious spots (including a house party with the requisite parental chugging challenge). As the teenagers learn to embrace their respective sexualities, the adults in their lives get their own lesson on allowing their daughters to grow up on their own terms.
Sometimes the best kind of love story is the kind between two friends. Enter Olivia Wilde’s Booksmart. Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever play Molly and Amy, inseparable best friends who are about to graduate at the top of their high school class. Their futures couldn’t be brighter—Molly’s off to Yale while Amy’s about to volunteer for the summer in Botswana—but they are both wondering if they spent too much of high school studying. So they decide, the night before graduation, to finally party. The night, of course, does not go according to plan. But it leads the duo to discovering the the costs of their ambition and the joys of being a little rebellious.
Saoirse Ronan plays Lady Bird, known as Christine McPherson to her parents, in Greta Gerwig’s critically acclaimed 2017 solo directorial debut. The film chronicles Lady Bird’s senior year as she applies to colleges, tries out for the school musical, falls hard for the wrong boys and has lots of arguments with her mother (Laurie Metcalf). In heartbreaking and heartwarming terms, Lady Bird tries on many versions of herself on her journey of self-discovery.
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