9 Books Jane The Virgin Probably Read And Loves

by Victoria Hills

Funny, sensible, loyal, kind: Jane Villanueva, the pregnant virgin at the center of CW's brilliant Jane the Virgin, is all of these. At her core, though, Jane is a storyteller-in-training dreaming of becoming a writer. And like all aspiring writers, Jane has spent a lot of her life buried in books.

These days Jane is a tad too busy with things like murder investigations and crazy-hot boyfriends — oh, and her pregnancy, maybe — to devour books at the rate she used to. But in between serving drinks and getting to know her famous dad, she likes to revisit her best and oldest friends. These are the novels she read and re-read, while riding on buses or late at night under the covers, hours after she should've gone to sleep. She cried and laughed over these books. She learned so much from these books.

Some of these stories are fluffy and funny. Others are complicated and dramatic. Her absolute favorites, however, are the novels that manage to be all of these at once, reflecting the changeability of her own life.

Hex and the Single Girl by Valerie Frankel

A not-quite-totally-average woman finds herself unusually drawn to a gorgeous rich playboy businessman. Jane knows how Emma feels about William Dearborn — electrified, unbalanced, thrilled — but she's also familiar with the other aspects of Emma's New York City life: the bizarre intersecting plots, the oddball friends and financial troubles, and especially the laugh-out-loud hilarity.

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White Oleander by Janet Fitch

Like Jane, White Oleander 's young Astrid is raised by an artistic single mother. But while Jane's mom is loving and supportive, always putting Jane first, Astrid's mom is cruel and manipulative. White Oleander follows Astrid's tumultuous journey through the foster care system after her mother chooses vengeance against a former lover over her own daughter. Jane loves this book partly because of Janet Fitch's gorgeous prose, but also because the story is so similar and yet so wondrously different from her own.

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Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

Family, identity, hardship, triumph, immigration, love, desire, belonging: Middlesex has it all. The Pulitzer Prize-winning novel is narrated by Cal, a middle-aged man who was raised as a girl until his unusual secret was discovered. Jane loves this book because it's too engrossing and incredible for her to respond any differently.

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Tess of the Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy

Yes, Jane adores the cadence and nuance of 19th-century British literature. But — although she maybe wouldn't admit this straight away — she also enjoys living vicariously through Tess's telenovela-style life and sensual romances. Mmm.

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The Blue Sword and The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley

Most episodes of Jane the Virgin incorporate young Jane, a sensitive and clever girl alive to the people and world around her. This is who I imagine curled up with Robin McKinley's award-winning YA novels about two brave girls struggling to save their strange, beautiful world from evil forces. McKinley's protagonists are loyal and fierce, compassionate and violent, devoted to their causes yet completely individualistic. These were some of the first books Jane ever read with well-developed girls that she wanted to be friends with.

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Can't And Won't by Lydia Davis

Ever since she was a child, Jane has wanted to be a writer. She loves this collection because its scores of stories — some only a few words long — reminds her that there's a story in every object she touches, and in every moment she lives.

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Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Here's a question Jane thinks about a lot: How do we end up with the people we love? Is it all raw attraction and sheer willpower, or something more tenuous and uncontrollable — fate, chance, or magic? In Landline , the supremely talented Rainbow Rowell tracks the rise and decline of Georgie McCall's marriage. Is there really such a thing as loving someone enough? Does the very fact of Georgie's marriage depend on a magic telephone that allows her to talk to her husband in the past?

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Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

Duh. Young Jane was obsessed with Ella Enchanted . Present-day pregnant Jane plans to read it to her own child.

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One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

A multigenerational story about a family who can influence reality with their desires? Jane read this in its original Spanish, poring over every exquisite paragraph.

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Image: CW