When it comes to Stranger Things, there are two things we can all agree on: 1) the show is fantastic, and 2) it is entirely too short. So what are the best books for Stranger Things fans to read after they've binge-watched all eight episodes of the first season? I've got some great recommendations for you below.
Although Stranger Things is an homage to Steven Spielberg's 1980s filmography, the Nextflix Original Series hits on a unique combination of notes. The Duffer Brothers throw together a bike-riding Dungeons and Dragons party, science fiction-driven supernatural horror, and plenty of suspense. If you can imagine watching The Goonies, E.T., Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and Poltergeist all at the same time, you'll be close to picturing the Stranger Things experience.
Stranger Things has drawn its share of literary comparisons as well, largely to the works of Stephen King. But reading any coming-of-age story that features independent kids, the days before cell phones and the Internet, and at least a tinge of the unknown will make the wait for Stranger Things Season 2 a little easier to bear.
Check out my books for Stranger Things fans below, and share your recommendations on Twitter.
1. It by Stephen King
In the 1950s, seven friends must fight to save their hometown from a lurking, carnivorous evil that threatens them all. Three decades later, the Losers' Club is forced to reconvene when It returns to Derry, Maine.
2. Foxfire: Confessions of a Girl Gang by Joyce Carol Oates
In Joyce Carol Oates' 1993 novel, five girls from Upstate New York form a gang to bring justice to a variety of small town sex criminals, including a high school math teacher and a lecherous uncle.
3. House of Secrets by Chris Columbus and Ned Vizzini
Author and filmmaker Chris Columbus has called this novel a "cousin" to 1985's The Goonies. House of Secrets centers on three siblings who end up trapped in a trilogy of novels after their parents move them into the author's old house.
4. Before Wings by Beth Goobie
Two years after an aneurysm nearly kills her, 15-year-old Adrien signs on to work at her Aunt Erin's summer camp. There she meets Paul, who knows exactly how and when he will die, and dives into the mystery of the ghosts on the lake that have haunted her aunt for decades.
5. Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
When a creepy carnival rolls into their sleepy Illinois town, two teenage boys set out to investigate. What they find is nothing short of sinister: a pair of ringleaders named Cooger and Dark, who trick unwitting souls into joining their Pandemonium Shadow Show.
6. The Secret History by Donna Tartt
Years after the fact, a man reflects on the events that led him to murder one of his close-knit group of college friends. Donna Tartt slowly unwinds the story behind the other young man's death in The Secret History.
7. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon
This Pulitzer Prize-winning novel centers on a Brooklyn-born writer and his Czech cousin, who become power players in the burgeoning comic book industry in the years surrounding World War II.
8. Midnight Robber by Nalo Hopkinson
Set in the distant future, Nalo Hopkinson's science fiction novel follows Tan-Tan, a young girl living on a Carib-colonized planet. After her father kills a man in a duel, he flees with Tan-Tan to New Half-Way Tree: a place where mythological monsters live and breathe, and human convicts are sent to live out their remaining years in exile.
9. Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist
Set in a Stockholm suburb in the early 1980s, Let the Right One In centers on Oskar, a bullied 12-year-old, who befriends his new neighbor, an ancient vampire child named Eli.
10. Girls on Fire by Robin Wasserman
After the school's king of popularity commits suicide, and the girlfriend he left behind begins to personally victimize her, good girl Hannah befriends a rebellious classmate named Lacey and begins to explore everything the early 1990s has to offer.
11. Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang
Just after Halloween 1988, four 12-year-old paper delivery girls uncover an über-strange alien monster invasion in their hometown. If you've ever wanted an '80s action movie with an all-girl twist, pick up Paper Girls, ASAP.
12. We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
Since most of her family died in an unfortunate poisoning incident, Merricat Blackwood has been responsible for the care of both her sister, Constance, and the estate. But when a cousin turns up suddenly, Merricat must act quickly if she wants to protect Constance from danger.
13. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
When a monster finally shows up at Conor's house, it's not the one he's seen in his nightmares. This monster offers to tell him three stories, but he wants one in exchange, and the one he wants is the hardest one for Conor to tell.
14. The Girl with the Silver Eyes by Willo Davis Roberts
Katie is a loner, and she's trying to keep a low profile in her new town: a daunting task for a girl with telekinesis and the ability to talk to animals. She finds out there may be more children like her, but nosiness and suspicion from adults around her threaten Katie's safety.
15. The Boy Who Drew Monsters by Keith Donohue
After a near-death experience makes him afraid of going outside, a young boy named Jack Peter begins to draw monsters. When his family and friends begin to see and hear strange things around their coastal town, only Jack Peter knows what's really going on.
16. White Is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi
After their wife and mother dies, a man and his twin children are left alone in their big, ancient house. But the property is full of secrets, and as one of the twins begins to succumb to its powers, readers are drawn into the spiral of Helen Oyeyemi's dark storytelling.
17. Edge of Dark Water by Joe R. Lansdale
When the body of an aspiring Hollywood starlet is found in a river, her friend, Sue Ellen, concocts a plan to dig up her body, cremate it, and carry the remains downriver to scatter them in Hollywood. Sue Ellen enlists the help of her mother and two other friends, but her own financial troubles may complicate the memorial plan.
18. Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Shannon Watters, and Brooke A. Allen
Five girls at a unique summer camp solve puzzles and battle supernatural entities in this magical, nostalgic graphic novel from some of the biggest rising stars in comics.
19. The Boys of Summer by Richard Cox
Four years after a tornado devastates his hometown, 13-year-old Todd Willis wakes up to find that everything feels slightly off. He makes new friends, who help him navigate the strange new world he inhabits, and the five boys form a strong bond, which calls them back, 25 years later, to investigate the events of their fateful summer together.
20. The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
As a global phenomenon and her parents' impending divorce threaten life as she knows it, 11-year-old Julia must forge her own identity against the backdrop of her crumbling home life.