Complete List of Nicholas Sparks Books by Year

Be prepared to get teary-eyed over these romantic dramas.

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If you're a reader who loves uplifting romantic novels, you've probably read a few Nicholas Sparks books. Sparks has written over 20 novels in his career, all of which have been best-sellers. He's sold more than 105 million books worldwide, and 11 of his novels have been turned into films.

Sparks was born on December 31, 1965. He is a native of Nebraska, though he has lived most of his adult life in North Carolina, where his books are set. He began writing in college, during which time he produced two novels. Neither was ever published, however, and Sparks worked a number of different jobs in his first years after graduating from Notre Dame.

Sparks' first book, published in 1990, was a nonfiction book co-written with Billy Mills called Wokini: A Lakota Journey to Happiness and Self-Understanding. Sales were modest, though, and Sparks continued to support himself by working as a pharmaceutical salesman in the early '90s. It was during this period that he was inspired to write his first novel, The Notebook. It was completed in just six weeks.

He secured a literary agent in 1995, and The Notebook was quickly picked up by Time Warner Book Group. The publisher clearly liked what they read—they gave Sparks a $1 million advance. Published in October 1996, The Notebook rocketed to the top of The New York Times Best Seller list and remained there for a year.

Now, Nicholas Sparks has written over 20 books, including A Walk to Remember (1999), Dear John (2006), and The Choice (2016), all of which have been adapted for the big screen. Read on to learn more about each of Nicholas Sparks' novels.

1996: The Notebook

The Notebook
Grand Central Publishing

The Notebook is a story within a story. It follows the elderly Noah Calhoun as he reads a story to his wife, who lies bedridden in a nursing home. Reading from a faded notebook, he recounts the story of a couple who are separated by World War II and then passionately reunite years later. As the plot unfolds, Noah reveals that the story he is telling is of himself and his wife, Allie. It is a tale of love, loss, and rediscovery for both young and old.

In 2004, The Notebook was made into a popular movie starring Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams, James Garner, and Gena Rowlands.

1998: Message in a Bottle

After The Notebook came Message in a Bottle. It follows Theresa Osborne, a divorced mother who finds a love letter in a bottle on the beach. The letter was written by a man named Garrett to a woman named Annie. Theresa becomes determined to track down Garrett, who wrote the note to express his undying love for the woman he lost. Theresa searches for answers to the mystery and their lives come together.

Nine years before publishing Message in a Bottle, Spark's mother died in a tragic horseback riding accident. He has said that the novel was inspired by his father's grief.

1999: A Walk to Remember

A Walk to Remember follows the story of middle-aged Landon Carter as he recounts his senior year in high school. Carter, the class president, cannot find a date for his senior prom. After poring through the yearbook, he decides to ask out Jamie Sullivan, a minister's daughter. Although they are two very different people, something clicks and a romance develops between the two—but that romance is cut short when Jamie learns she has leukemia.

The novel was inspired by Sparks' sister, who would die of cancer just eight months after its publication. This book was made into a movie starring Mandy Moore as Jamie and Shane West as Landon.

2000: The Rescue

The Rescue follows single mom Denise Holton and her disabled four-year-old son, Kyle. After moving to a new town, Denise is in a car accident and is rescued by Taylor McAden, a volunteer firefighter. Kyle, however, is missing. As Taylor and Denise begin to search for the boy, they grow closer, and Taylor must confront his own past romantic failures.

2001: A Bend in the Road

A Bend in the Road is a love story between a police officer and a school teacher. The police officer, Miles, lost his wife in a hit-and-run accident, with the driver remaining unknown. He is raising his son alone and Sarah, newly divorced, is his teacher.

This story was inspired by what Sparks and his brother-in-law experienced as Sparks' sister was undergoing treatment for cancer.

2002: Nights in Rodanthe

Nights in Rodanthe follows Adrienne Willis, a woman who is tending a friend's inn for the weekend in order to escape problems in her life. While there, her only guest is Paul Flanner, a man going through his own crisis of conscience. After a romantic weekend, Adrienne and Paul realize they must leave one another and return to their own lives.

Thes novel was made into a movie starring Diane Lane and Richard Gere. 

2003: The Guardian

The Guardian follows a young widow named Julie Barenson and her Great Dane puppy, Singer, who was a gift from her husband given shortly before he died. After being single for a few years, Julie meets two men, Richard Franklin and Mark Harris, and develops strong feelings for both. As the plot unfolds, Julie must confront deceptions and jealous emotions, relying on Singer for strength.

2004: The Wedding

The Wedding is the sequel to ​The Notebook. It focuses on Allie and Noah Calhoun's oldest daughter, Jane, and her husband, Wilson, as they approach their 30th wedding anniversary. Jane and Wilson's daughter asks if she can have her wedding on their anniversary, and Wilson works hard to please his daughter and make up for years of neglect of his wife.

2004: Three Weeks with My Brother

Nicholas Sparks co-wrote Three Weeks with My Brother with his brother Micah, his sole living relative. The story is rooted in a three-week trip taken around the world by the two brothers in their late 30s. Along the way, they examine their own relationship as brothers and come to terms with the deaths of their parents and sister. 

2005: True Believer

True Believer follows Jeremy Marsh, who has made a career out of debunking stories of the paranormal. Marsh travels to a small town in North Carolina to investigate a ghost story, where he meets Lexie Darnell. As the two grow close, Marsh must decide whether to stay with the woman he loves or return to his life of luxury in New York City.

2005: At First Sight

At First Sight is the sequel to True Believer. Having fallen in love, Jeremy Marsh is now engaged to Lexie Darnell, and the two have settled down in Boone Creek, North Carolina. But their domestic bliss is interrupted when he receives a number of unsettling emails from a mysterious sender that threaten their happy future together.

2006: Dear John

Dear John is a love story about an army sergeant, John, who falls in love shortly before 9/11. After the tragedy, he is inspired to re-enlist, leaving Savannah behind. John returns home to find his true love married, which he must come to terms with.

The book was made into a movie starring Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried, directed by Lasse Hallstrom.

2007: The Choice

The Choice is about Travis Parker, a bachelor enjoying his comfortable single life. But after Gabby Holland moves in next door, Travis becomes smitten with her—even though she already has a longtime boyfriend. As a relationship develops, the pair must confront what true love really means.

The book was made into a movie starring Benjamin Walker, Teresa Palmer, Tom Wilkinson, and Maggie Grace.

2008: The Lucky One

The Lucky One tells the story of a Logan Thibault, a Marine who discovers a photo of a mysterious smiling woman while on tour in Iraq. Believing that the photo is a good-luck charm, Logan sets off to find the woman in the picture. His search leads him to Elizabeth, a single mom living in North Carolina. They fall in love, but a secret in Logan's past may destroy them.

The Lucky One was made into a movie starring Zac Efron, Taylor Schilling, and Blythe Danner.

2009: The Last Song

In The Last Song, Veronica Miller's parents divorce and her dad moves from New York City to Wilmington, North Caroline. As a result, she becomes angry and estranged from both of them. Two years after the divorce, Veronica's mother decides that she wants her to spend the whole summer with her father in Wilmington.

This Sparks book was also made into a movie. The 2010 feature starred Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth.

2010: Safe Haven

Safe Haven is about a woman named Katie who moves to a small North Carolina town to escape her past. She must decide whether she can take the risk of a new relationship with Alex, a widowed father of two boys, or whether she must keep herself safe.

2011: The Best of Me

The Best of Me tells the story of Amanda Collier and Dawson Cole, two high school sweethearts who are reunited when they return home for a mentor's funeral. As they proceed to honor their mentor's last wishes, Amanda and Dawson rekindle their romance.

This Sparks book was made into a movie starring James Marsden, Michelle Monaghan, Luke Bracy, and Liana Liberato.

2013: The Longest Ride

The Longest Ride moves between two stories—an old widower named Ira Levinson and a young college girl named Sophia Danko. After surviving a car crash, Ira is visited by a vision of his dead wife, Ruth. Sophia, meanwhile, meets and falls for a cowboy named Luke. As the plot advances, Ira's and Sophia's lives intertwine in unseen ways.

2015: See Me

See Me follows Colin, a young man with anger issues who has been thrown out of his home by his cold and distant parents. Colin soon encounters Maria, a woman whose loving home environment could not be more different than Colin's. As the two slowly fall in love, Maria begins receiving anonymous messages that could wreck her romance.

2016: Two by Two

Two by Two follows Russell Green, a 32-year-old man who appears to have his life on track with a beautiful wife and adoring young daughter. But Green's life is soon upended when his wife decides to leave him and their child behind in pursuit of a new career. Green must quickly adapt to life as a single father while learning to rely on others to help him get by. As with all Sparks novels, there's a romance, too, as Russell reconnects with a former girlfriend and sparks fly.

2018: Every Breath

Published in 2018, Every Breath follows Hope Anderson, a 36-year-old woman in a long-term relationship that may be going nowhere, and Tru Walls, a Zimbabwean who travels to Sunset Beach, North Carolina with the hoping of learning about his late mother. The two strangers cross paths and fall in love, but family duties may get in the way of their happiness.

2020: The Return

The Return centers on Trevor Benson, a Navy doctor who is sent home after an injury. He returns to his North Carolina hometown and starts fixing up the home he inherited from his late grandfather. Along the way, he falls for Natalie, a deputy sheriff, and discovers that Callie, the teenage girl down the road, may know something about his grandfather's mysterious death.

2021: The Wish

The Wish tells the story of Maggie Dawes, a travel photographer facing a potentially devastating diagnosis. One holiday season, she begins to tell her assistant the story of her past. When she was sixteen, she was sent to live with an aunt in a remote North Carolina village, where she fell in love for the first time.

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Miller, Erin Collazo. "Complete List of Nicholas Sparks Books by Year." ThoughtCo, Apr. 6, 2023, Miller, Erin Collazo. (2023, April 6). Complete List of Nicholas Sparks Books by Year. Retrieved from Miller, Erin Collazo. "Complete List of Nicholas Sparks Books by Year." ThoughtCo. (accessed May 28, 2023).