If you’re one of the many people on my Twitter timeline who have discovered Ted Lasso over the past few months, you know that it is the perfect pandemic TV. It’s an excellent combo of positivity, humor, and wholesomeness and the minute I finished watching the season, I started it at the beginning again.
All of that is to say, I started to wonder where I could get similar feelings elsewhere, and of course where did I turn but romance novels? Below is a collection of romance novels (plus a bonus graphic novel) that I felt embodied the Ted Lasso vibes. What were my main criteria? The books had to be positive, charming, and somewhat fluffy (but not necessarily all fluff). Strong ensemble casts are also an underlying thread, because Ted Lasso wouldn’t be Ted Lasso without Coach Beard, Nate, Roy Kent, Keely, and even Jamie. Basically, I went looking for books that felt like warm hugs, and this is the list I came up with.
The Switch by Beth O’Leary
Ways in which The Switch is like Ted Lasso: both take place in England, both feature “fish out of water” characters getting their bearings and becoming part of their new communities, and both have an excellent ensemble of characters. The Switch is, admittedly, light on romance, but it’s also light on angst, which is important for this list. Plus there are some genuinely laugh out loud funny moments. This is one where I read aloud passages to my husband as I was reading. Goodreads reviews use words like “wholesome, endearing, and sweet” and “warm, cuddly, and super adorable” to describe it, which if those don’t give you Ted Lasso vibes, I don’t know what will.
The Duke Who Didn’t (Wedgeford Trials #1) by Courtney Milan
If you’ve watched Ted Lasso, you know there’s a pretty big reveal near the end of the season that almost feels anti-climactic, if it wasn’t Ted Lasso and perfectly done for the show. The Duke Who Didn’t has a similar “big reveal” moment – it’s important but it also somehow isn’t – and this is the main reason I included it on this list. I feel like this is the level of angst we can all handle in the pandemic. Secondary reasons to include it are that Jeremy is a bit goofy and fun, like Ted, and the side characters are great.
Irresistible You (Chicago Rebels #1) by Kate Meader
When I Googled “Books like Ted Lasso” to see if somebody else had written this article already, I came across this r/Fantasy post which reminded me of Irresistible You (my brain works in mysterious ways). Irresistible You has a few parallels to Ted Lasso. There’s a woman sports team owner, dealing with baggage because of how a man treated her. Plus, we have Remy DuPre, a character who, in the description, is established as “a veteran player with an attitude problem, a chip on his shoulder, and a smoldering gaze designed to melt her ice-compacted defenses.” Is that Roy Kent, or is that Roy Kent??? Don’t answer that, it’s rhetorical.
It Takes Two to Tumble (The Sedgwicks #1) by Cat Sebastian
To be perfectly honest, I probably could have included many of Cat Sebastian’s novels on this list. A lot of them have Ted Lasso vibes – low angst, quotable lines, and lovable characters. But It Takes Two to Tumble has Ben, who I believe is Ted Lasso reincarnated as a vicar in 1800s England responsible for three rough and tumble children. What gave me the major Ted feels here is Ben’s “management” style – he’s got the right blend of positivity, genuine empathy, and humor when caring for the children. Plus, there’s a grumpy ship captain, delightful side characters, and some baby animals as a bonus.
You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria
What’s almost as good as watching a TV show? Reading about one in a romance novel! I tagged You Had Me at Hola as lighthearted on my Goodreads, but that is only part of why I included it. It also has funny and sweet moments and a delightful ensemble of characters. The feeling of being able to lose yourself in the world of telenovelas while reading makes this a great option to take your mind off of how you’ve finished Ted Lasso and there are no new episodes yet.
Band Sinister by KJ Charles
This was the second KJ Charles book I’ve ever read, and my entire Goodreads review reads: “An utter delight.” I stand by that. Charles herself says “This is as near as I’m likely to get to a light-hearted romcom, which is to say it has an official body count of zero.” I don’t have exact comparisons to draw between Ted Lasso and Band Sinister, but Band Sinister is a fluffy romp with some feelings thrown in, so it definitely fits this list. Also, because this one takes place at a house party, the side characters are very present and add a lot of fun to the story.
The Bromance Book Club (Bromance Book Club #1) by Lyssa Kay Adams
Browsing books I’ve read while trying to compile this list, I realized I have read nearly zero soccer romances. But sports are all interchangeable, so baseball works, right? (Kidding! Or am I?) The sports team aspect is strong with The Bromance Book Club, and I’m sure you understand why that is similar to Ted Lasso. I do think it’s rare to get groups of guys together on page for any significant length of time in romance novels, so I wanted to include this one for that aspect, but it’s also funny and cute and relatively light on the angst, making it a perfect fit for this list.
Check Please (Volumes 1 and 2) by Ngozi Ukazu
Bonus graphic novel! Check Please is actually the reason that I came up with the idea for this list. I was re-reading Check Please Volume 1: #Hockey, when I realized Bitty was like what I assumed a young Ted Lasso would be (if Ted Lasso played hockey, I guess). They both love to bake, are excessively positive, and love their teams. Add in Jack, the grumpy team captain (literally Roy Kent – can we tell I have a thing for characters that can be described as Roy Kent?) and Check Please has strong Ted Lasso vibes. This is definitely a romance, and even if graphic novels aren’t typically your thing, I would encourage you to check it out!
So, there you have it. The nowhere near definitive list of books that I felt were similar to the TV show Ted Lasso. I would love to hear what you think in the comments – what books do you feel have Ted Lasso vibes?