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What are the 100 Reading Challenge Categories for 2023?

You asked, so here they are!

Below is a list of all 100 categories.

One aspect of the reading challenge is to read books of all varieties. This might mean seeking out some books in categories you may not be familiar with. Below we’ve given a brief description of each category, but please know, this can be very subjective and as long as you genuinely feel a book fits a certain category, we won’t argue. We do ask you to play fair and be honest about the book’s content.

Actor / Performer

The story includes a character who acts, dances, or sings as their profession, or aspires to do so.


The story includes a character who is dealing with or has dealt with an addiction, such as alcohol, drugs, gambling, etc. Addiction should be an element, but does not need to be the story’s only theme.

Adoption / Surrogacy / Infertility / Pregnancy

The story must include at least one of these issues, but it doesn’t have to be the only theme. For instance, if a police detective is pregnant while solving a murder, that would count.

Adventure / Survival

Stories that have exciting components, usually set in unfamiliar circumstances, settings, etc. and the characters must overcome great odds to survive.

Adventurer / Explorer / World Traveler

One of the characters actively seeks out new locales, experiences, etc. For example, the character travels to Africa for a safari.

Against the Odds

The character(s) triumph against the odds, whether that be against aliens invading earth or by overcoming obstacles to find their soulmate, perfect job, etc.

Age Gap

A story where one character is at least 7 years older than their romantic partner.


A story that involves extraterrestrial beings in some fashion.


A story filled with angst: insecurity, apprehension, anxiety. Essentially, the reader is taken on an emotional rollercoaster.

Asexual / Demisexual

A story with an asexual or demisexual main character. An asexual person typically doesn’t have sexual feelings or desires for physical intimacy. A demisexual individual experiences sexual desire after developing a strong emotional connection with someone. For all the nuanced types of attraction and a more thorough explanation, here’s an article to read.

Athlete / Coach

One of the characters either plays a sport or coaches. They don’t have to be professional but the sport should be an important part of the storyline, even if it’s a former athlete coming to terms with their career being over.


Stories that involve BDSM, which typically includes elements of roleplaying, dominance, submission, etc.

Bi or Pansexual

A story that has a character who identifies as bi or pansexual

Blue Collar

A story that has a character who is considered blue collar: wage earners who typically wear some type of work clothes or protective gear.

Boat / Cruise Ship

A story that features a boat or cruise ship.

Body Positivity

Stories that feature acceptance and appreciation of all body types.

Brothel / Sex Club

Stories that feature a brothel or sex club.

Butch / Femme

A romance with two characters and identifies as butch and the other as femme.

CEO / Executive

Stories that feature a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) or a high-ranking executive in a business.

Character with a Disability

One of the main characters has a disability of some type.

Cheating / Infidelity

The storyline deals with cheating or infidelity, although it doesn’t have to be the major plot point.

Chef / Caterer / Baker / Foodie

One of the characters enjoys cooking/baking or is a professional chef or caterer.

Coming of Age

A storyline that involves an individual growing up and accepting themselves.

Computers / IT / Hacker

One of the characters works with computers, IT, or is a hacker.

Danger / In Peril / On the Run

The story involves the characters being in danger and/or being on the run to survive.

Dark Romance

A romance that dives into the darker side of things, such as morally gray characters, perilous situations, and/or high stakes.

Disguised as a Man

A cis woman who pretends to be a man.


One of the characters is either divorced or is going through a divorce.


A futuristic and imagined story that has oppressive societal measures. It may seem like they’ve created a perfect society, but it’s enforced via totalitarian control.

Escort / Courtesan / Sex Worker

A story with a character who fits one of those categories.

Fake Relationship / Marriage of Convenience

Where the pairing in the novel starts off faking a relationship but end up falling in love.


A story with a fantasy plot. It can have a romantic subplot, but it doesn’t have to.

Femme / Femme

A romance with two characters who identify as femme.

First Love

A romance about a character’s first love.

Fish Out of Water

One of the characters is placed in a situation they’re unfamiliar with, such as a city girl having to run a ranch.

Forced Proximity / Stranded Together

A story where the two main characters are forced to be around the other, such as by being stranded in a cabin in the woods, or where they are forced into working or living together.

Found Family

When characters who aren’t related form family bonds.

Friends to Lovers

A story where the two mains start off as friends and end up falling in love.


The story involves a ghost(s) in some fashion.

Grumpy / Sunshine

A story where one of the mains is the grumpy sort and the other is cheery.


A story that is set in the past by at least 30 years. (TB and Miranda acknowledge this definition makes any story set during the time they went to high school “historical.”)


A story revolving around a holiday, such as Christmas, Passover, Hannukah, etc.

Hot for Boss

One of the characters is attracted to their boss.

Ice Queen

A story where one of the main characters comes across as cold, indifferent, and prickly. Usually, by the end of the story, she thaws somewhat.

Kidnapping / Disappearance

The story deals with either subject in some fashion

Living Abroad

One of the characters lives in a country other than where they were born.

Long-Distance Relationship

The characters do not live in the same location.

Love at First Sight

Immediate feelings of love.

Love Triangle

A story where there’s a rivalry where two people are pursing or involved with one individual.


A story that includes magic of some sort.

Married or Established Couple

A story where the couple is already in a relationship with each other when it starts out.

Menage / Polyamory

When someone is in an intimate relationship with more than one partner and all parties consent.

Mental Illness

One of the main characters has mental illness.

Misfit / Socially Awkward

One of the characters is either viewed as a misfit or socially awkward or believes themselves to be.

Murder / Crime / Serial Killer

A storyline with one or more of these components.

Mystery / Suspense

Stories around an unsolved element that attempts to solve the mystery or a story with suspense.


Deals with myths: stories, beliefs, values, etc. that either belong to a particular religion or cultural tradition.


A story where one of the main characters is on the autistic spectrum or has dyslexia, ADHD, etc.

No Strings Attached

A story where the characters become involved without having certain relationship or emotional connection expectations.

Nonbinary / Gender Fluid

Stories with characters who do not identify as exclusively male or female.

Nursed Back to Health

A story involving one character being nursed back to health.

Only One Bed

A situation when two characters who are not in a romantic relationship must share one bed.

Opposites Attract

Two people who are opposites, yet they still fall for each other.


Stories that deal with pirates, whether in the historical sense, modern day, or in space.

Reporter / Journalist

One of the main characters is either a reporter or journalist.


The storyline involves revenge of some type, whether in a relationship, business, or criminal enterprise.

Romance After 50

Where one of the main characters falls in love at the age of 50 or older.

Romance: Comedy

A storyline that deals with love in a humorous and light way.

Romance: Erotic / Erotica

Erotic romance: A story centered on the romantic nature of a relationship through sexual intimacy. Sex plays a strong role in the romance and character development. Erotica centers on sexual encounters, desires, or excitement and the central story arc is driven by sexual encounters, themes, or awakenings.

Romantic Suspense

A story with suspense but also has a romantic plot or subplot.

Royalty / Aristocrat

One of the main characters is royalty or an aristocrat.

Saving the World

A storyline involving saving the world, such as from attack from aliens, stopping a pandemic, or dealing with climate disaster. It can have a broad interpretation and will depend on the worldview of the characters.


A science fiction story that does not have romance as a central theme, though there may or may not be a romantic subplot.

Seaside / Beach

The story takes place at the seaside or beach, but doesn’t have to be entirely set there throughout the book.

Second Chance

Where a couple had been in a relationship and failed, but then try again later in life with an HEA.

Secret Crush

One of the characters has a secret crush.


The character learns about themselves.

Sex Toys

Sex scenes involve the use of toys.

Slow Burn

Where the characters develop romantic feelings at a slow pace.

Space Ship / Space Station

A story involves a space ship or space station.

Speculative Fiction

A story set in a world entirely different from reality with fantastical, supernatural, or futuristic elements. Some refer to them as what-if stories that involve changing the laws of what’s possible and/or real and what that outcome would look like.

Spy / Assassin

One of the characters is either a spy or assassin or is the target.

Starting Over

When one of the main characters has to start over in life, such as getting divorced, starting a new career, etc.

Steampunk / Gaslamp Fantasy

Gaslamp fantasy is a subgenre of fantasy and historical fiction, usually set in Victorian or Edwardian times. Steampunk is a subgenre of science fiction that puts a futuristic spin on Victorian settings and industrial steam-powered machinery.

Supernatural Elements

A storyline that involves the supernatural in some fashion.

Taboo / Forbidden

Involves a relationship that is considered taboo or forbidden.

Time Travel

A story that involves time travel.

Toaster Oven / Gay for You

A story when one of the mains comes out later in life (after the age of 29), because they either didn’t know or didn’t want to confront their identity. The story generally involves the character’s first romantic or sexual experience with a same-sex partner.


One of the characters identifies as a tomboy.

Urban Fantasy

A type of fantasy that takes place in a city.

Vacation / Travel

A story that involves vacation or travel of some variety.


A story with immortal beings who consume blood to survive.

Waitstaff / Barista / Bartender

A story with a character with one of those professions.


A story that deals with wartime.


A story that involves a wedding in some fashion.

Werewolf / Shifter

A storyline that involves a werewolf or shifter, which is someone who appears human but can shift their physical form to that of an animal or a mythical creature, such as wendigo, werecat, banshee, etc.

Witches / Wizards

A storyline that has witches or wizards.

Women’s Fiction

Stories centered on the life experience of women, usually involving personal growth, family issues, and/or a life change.

Workplace / Office Romance

A romantic relationship that happens in the workplace/office.

Xmas in July

Christmas books that we will encourage you to read at the opposite time of year.

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