I’m big on shipping. To become obsessed with something, I need to find a ship that appeals to me. And when I do, I like finding similar ships in books to think about my favourite characters in those situations.
So, why not make a book rec post out of this?
I know many of my regular readers won’t be familiar with this ship. But you’ve all seen me talk about the game Ensemble Stars. So what’s my favourite ship? That would be Izumi and Leo, aka Izuleo. These two met in their first year of high school and quickly became best friends to the point that they were rarely seen around the school without each other. But when some new school rules are implemented, Leo discovers that most of his unit mates don’t care about him, just his music. But Izumi? Leo would do anything for Izumi, including bringing down all the other units. This led to codependency and significant strain on their relationship until one day? Leo finally breaks and winds up locking himself in his room, refusing to return to school. Things are still somewhat strained when he finally does, and Izumi is terrified of scaring Leo off again. At this point in the story, they’ve moved past that. They’re getting the chance to mostly be happy in Italy, though many of their scenes in the current game have been pretty silly. But I’ll take what I can get.
So what was I looking for in these books? Friends to lovers, for sure. A strained relationship, something having separated them in the past, is preferable. But a strained present as one tries to help the other also works.
I’ve found three books that fit what I’m looking for.
The Wicker King by K. Ancrum
So this book doesn’t feature the most positive relationship. There’s a lot of toxicity in this book and so much codependency. I didn’t want to like August and Jack together but still, that glint of hope at the ending? It just made me smile.
You’ve probably seen people talk about The Wicker King online, but in case you’ve missed it, we follow August in this book as he tries to support his best friend, Jack, through his delusions. But as Jack loses himself further in the imaginary quest through his fantasy world, they find themselves in danger as even August begins to question what’s real and what’s not.
As well as the toxic relationship, the other similarities to Izuleo are the regular mentions of a King and his Knight, plus the mention of Lionheart. It was just perfection.
I found this book so difficult to put down. It doesn’t look small, but the book is split into short sections with a few multimedia elements. It’s so easy to read, so this could be an excellent pick for a readathon.
The Roughest Draft by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka
Whereas the last book was more of a dark contemporary, this book is a full-on romance. And an adult romance at that. In this book, we have two authors who had successfully written two books together, with the last one a big hit. But before they’d finished writing their big hit, something had happened, and their relationship had fallen apart. Several years have passed, and now they have to get back together to write a new book.
In this, we follow Katrina and Nathan. Since their fight, Katrina has gotten engaged and moved, but she’s not been able to write a single word. Nathan has gotten divorced and has managed to publish a book by himself. However, people still wonder when he will write another book with Katrina. When Katrina’s fiance and agent push for them to get back together to write another book, they agree, but neither thinks it will go well. Being stuck in a small Florida house, Nathan and Katrina learn about each other again and find a passion for more than just their writing.
I had such a fun time with this one. I was uneasy with the emotional cheating. Still, I liked seeing former friends growing closer again and falling in love whilst being creative. There weren’t any direct Izuleo comparisons, but it gave me precisely what I was hoping for.
Built to Last by Erin Hahn
The final book on this list is another romance, and it wasn’t quite what I hoped it would be. But I enjoyed the book enough that I decided to include it on this list. Once again, we have friends who fall out of contact after one of them runs away. Now years have passed, and their third costar has brought them back together for a TV show, and they wind up realising they’re still in love.
Shelby has been trying to move on from her TV and pop star past. She’s taken to refurbishing furniture with her Dad’s construction company. Cameron has been travelling worldwide, now behind the camera, filming nature documentaries, but he’s always been willing to come when Shelby calls. When the third part of their gang from their show calls them back for a business deal, they both agree. Still, sparks, good and bad, fly as they try to film a pilot of a reality renovation show that could help Shelby’s Dad out.
I thought this one would work well due to the running away and distance. Still, it turned out that Cameron and Shelby had been together romantically when they were younger. That led to a load of other complications, and though I enjoyed the book, it wasn’t quite as Izuleo as I’d have liked.
Still, it’s a fun friends-to-lovers book and was super easy to read.
2 thoughts on “Books That Match The Ship – Izuleo”
HJGFDHJFHJD ROSINA THIS IS OFFICIALLY ONE OF MY MOST FAVORITE POSTS OF ALL TIME. PERIOD. i love it so much?? ITS ALSO INCREDIBLY UNIQUE BECAUSE I’VE NEVER SEEN ANYONE REC BOOKS BASED ON SHIPS BEFORE. and i love that. all three of these sound SO SO GOOD i must read them asap?? BUT ESPECIALLY WICKER KING. I’M SO EXCITED FOR WICKER KING. thank you SO much for this!!!!!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Awww thank you! I don’t think I have either but I’m always looking for the ship vibes. I’ll probably do more for some of my other fave ships too! There will definitely be some different vibes, ha!
The Wicker King is really good and super quick so I hope you enjoy it. And either of the other two will be a great palette cleanser XD