Books to Read Based on Shows You Binge-Watch
Break up your binge-watching with some of these books!
There is no feeling quite like the rush of binge-watching a TV show; the obsession that makes it the center of your world for those days and weeks you watch it is equivalent to the honeymoon phase of a relationship. And, just like a breakup, the show ends at some point. With your heart broken, there’s nothing left to do except chase that feeling the show brought you. Whether you’re after tropes of tender mother-daughter love, suspense to keep you on edge, scandals and gossip for pure entertainment, or stories of injustice to grapple with, these book recommendations based on your favorite shows to binge will have you hooked all over again.
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1. 21 Questions by Alexandria Rose Rizik
If you love The O.C., read 21 Questions by Alexandria Rose Rizik!
The O.C. fans who loved the bad boy from the wrong side of the tracks mixed up in Newport Beach drama will drool over 21 Questions. In Laguna Beach, 16-year-old Kendra Dimes balances practicing for her upcoming surfing competition with healing from the loss of her brother to a drug overdose. She meets Brock Parker, the new mystery boy who comes from a family wrapped up with Mexican drug lords, and sparks fly. But even after playing a game of 21 Questions one night, both realize they have more to learn about each other - and themselves- in this coming-of- age story of healing and heartache.
You can pre-order 21 Questions here.
2. The Lockhart Women by Mary Camarillo
If you binged The The People v. OJ Simpson, read The Lockhart Women by Mary Camarillo!
For fans craving a new perspective after binging The People v. OJ Simpson, look no further than Mary Camarillo’s The Lockhart Women. After her husband leaves her for another woman, Brenda Lockhart is left with an emotional and financial mess. At the same time, the ongoing OJ trial is a media frenzy that underscores violence against women and race and class divisions, and Brenda thinks OJ is being framed by the police. She obsesses over nothing else - until her youngest, Allison, comes home with bruises, and Brenda suspects her daughter’s new boyfriend. Fans will love the parallels between the OJ case and the lives of the Lockhart women.
You can purchase The Lockhart Women here.
3. Anna K Away by Jenny Lee
If you are still obsessed with Gossip Girl, read Anna K Away by Jenny Lee!
Hello, Upper-Eastsiders. If you’ve desperately been missing the hot and messy drama of Gossip Girl, Jenny Lee has an answer for your sinful prayers. Spanning the globe over one unforgettable summer, Lee’s New York teens endure scandalous sex tapes, cheating boyfriends, forgiving the unforgivable, heartbreak, and growing up. The mighty will fall, but if Gossip Girl has taught us anything, it’s that they always claw their way back to the top. Anna K Away has that sought-after nostalgia of summers between the school year when teens growing up, find first loves and heartbreaks, enduring friendships, and themselves (aw!).
You can purchase Anna K Away here.
4. The Portrait of a Mirror by A. Natasha Joukovsky
If you can’t wait for The Days of Abandonment, read The Portrait of a Mirror by A. Natasha Joukovsky!
For lovers of Elena Ferrante’s The Days of Abandonment impatiently starved of the HBO adaptation, The Portrait of a Mirror will satiate that hunger. Inspired by the Narcissus myth, author Natasha Joukovsky weaves the stories of two juxtaposed couples: Wes and Diana, privileged, self-involved, and in constant wars of will and spite, and Vivien and Dale, carefully curated, picture-perfect, and soon to be wed. In one wickedly fun summer, the couple’s lives cross, and they all become enamored and rapt with desire for each other in a self-deluded fashion like that in The Days of Abandonment.
You can purchase The Portrait of a Mirror here.
5. A Hex for Danger by Esme Addison
If you love the magic in Charmed, read A Hex for Danger by Esme Addison!
The sunny-yet-sinister town of Bellamy Bay, North Carolina has its fair share of skeletons (and mermaids) in the closet, but it’s still mysterious when a body appears at the local museum. Meanwhile, Aleksandra Daniels runs the family herbal apothecary shop and helps her friend Celeste, who has her own mermaid heritage, plan the annual Mermaid Festival, all while keeping her supernatural secret hidden. When an artist that Celeste was spending too much time with is found dead in his office, Alex dives in to find the true culprit and clear her friend’s name. Lovers of the supernatural women from Charmed solving mysteries will love A Hex for Danger.
You can pre-order A Hex for Danger here.
6. Riding High in April by Jackie Townsend
If you enjoy watching Silicon Valley, read Riding High in April by Jackie Townsend!
Riding High in April contrasts the narcissism and destructiveness of the tech world with a moving story of resilience, love, and the pursuit of something unattainable. In the rising tech microcosms of Seoul, Singapore, Japan, and India, a tech entrepreneur makes a last-ditch effort to save his reputation, dwindling bank account, and long-term relationship with the only woman he’s ever loved with an open-source network platform that Microsoft deemed “reckless.” When she joins him in Seoul, they both realize Asia has changed them in unexpected ways. Fans fascinated and entertained by the Silicon Valley universe will eat up Riding High in April.
You can pre-order Riding High in April here.
7. On This Unworthy Scaffold by Heidi Heilig
If you watched Shadow and Bone in one day, read On This Unworthy Scaffold by Heidi Heilig!
Jetta’s home is crumbling at the hands of a deadly necromancer, who has used his blood magic to take control of the country, bringing on civil war. Jetta’s love interest, brother, and friend are all intent on infiltrating the palace to control the chaos and restore peace, but Jetta has been without treatment for her malheur for weeks. With her magical power, she could be her country’s hero... or she could bring further destruction. If you recently binged Shadow and Bone and loved the themes of magic, war, and a strong female protagonist, go read On This Unworthy Scaffold ASAP.
You can purchase On This Unworthy Scaffold here.
8. The Photographer by Mary Dixie Carter
If you were thrilled by The Woman in the Window, read The Photographer by Mary Dixie Carter!
Delta Dawn is always behind the camera when it comes to perfect moments. She observes children’s birthday parties and turns awkward hugs and tear-stained faces into precious moments for parents. But when Delta is hired for Natalie Straub’s birthday party, she crosses the line; she begins babysitting Natalie, and soon she’s drinking their wine, bathing in their tub, and befriending Natalie’s mother. She feels she’s never close enough until she learns photos aren’t the only thing she manipulates. Fans of the scary obsession and blurred reality in The Woman in the Window will be on the edge of their seats for The Photographer.
You can purchase The Photographer here.
9. The Guilt Trip by Sandie Jones
If you are anxiously awaiting Nine Perfect Strangers, read The Guilt Trip by Sandie Jones!
Nine Perfect Strangers is an adaptation of the novel by Liane Moriarty slated to be released on August 18th this year. If you can’t bear to wait for the unsettling thriller, then lose yourself in The Guilt Trip. With a building sense of unease, three couples find themselves by a gorgeous cliffside for one of the couple’s wedding. Soon, whether it’s the close quarters, the history between two of the married people who long ago decided to be just friends, or the fatal misunderstandings, jumping to conclusions could be deadly. The Guilt Trip evokes the “trust no one” theme of Nine Perfect Strangers that fans will love.
You can pre-order The Guilt Trip here.
10. A Sitting in St. James by Rita Williams-Garcia
If you were moved by The Underground Railroad, read A Sitting in St. James by Rita Williams-Garcia!
This story of the enduring legacies of slavery and its reach to modern-day racism from three-time National Book Award finalist Rita Williams-Garcia is brutal, astonishing, and difficult to read. It memorably tells the interwoven stories of those bound to a plantation in 1860 Louisiana, spanning generations from the big house and out in the fields to the tangled bonds of the descendants and the enslaved. While there are triumphs, like Madame Sylvie Guilbert sitting for a portrait after serving as mistress of Le Petit Cottage for over six decades, this book is full of routine horrors similar to the traumatic events in The Underground Railroad.
You can purchase A Sitting in St. James here.
11. Anarchy in High Heels by Denise Larson
If you devoured Mrs. America, read Anarchy in High Heels by Denise Larson!
This personal memoir chronicles a feminist troupe in the 70s and 80s brazenly undoing their conservative upbringings and embracing liberation. Denise Larson was just a wee twenty-four-year-old aspiring actress when, at an after-hours event called The People’s Nickelodeon, she accidentally creates the Nickelettes. What follows is a release of Denise’s suppressed satirical humor through a series of feminist skits, stunts, and musical comedy plays. Through this sisterhood, Denise comes into her feminine power as a playwright, stage director, and producer. If you felt inspired by the feminist power of the activists in Mrs. America, you need to read Anarchy in High Heels.
You can pre-order Anarchy in High Heels here.
12. The Marvelous Mirza Girls by Sheba Karim
If you keep re-watching Gilmore Girls, read The Marvelous Mirza Girls by Sheba Karim!
To shake her post-graduation blues and the pain of losing her aunt, Noreen agrees to follow her mother on a gap year trip to New Delhi in the hopes that India can bring her peace and shake her grief. She soon meets Kabir, who shows her the magic of the world’s most polluted city, and with his help, Noreen learns a new meaning for home. But when a family scandal strikes, Noreen and Kabir have to ask themselves what it means to truly stand by someone. If you miss the complicated but tender family connections in Gilmore Girls, then The Marvelous Mirza Girls is what you’ve been searching for.
You can purchase The Marvelous Mirza Girls here.
Let's Keep the Conversation Going
Which of these shows have you binged? Which books are you most excited to read?