If you had asked me back in the spring what I thought the biggest film phenomenon of the late summer would be, I would not have said
. But now that we're here, nearing August and the descent into the final few months of the year, it really makes perfect sense. Who doesn't want to lose themselves in two hours of stunning Grecian landscapes, a star-studded cast, Abba songs that are both so cheesy and so catchy that you can't help but sing along — and, of course, Colin Firth's legendary dance moves? Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again is probably exactly what we all need right about now, and so it only makes sense that people are reveling in its simple delights everywhere from the theater to social media. Mamma Mia 2
But if you love the films you'll also know that there's a lot more to unpack than just summery vibes:
Mamma Mia deals with some heavier themes, including complicated mother-daughter relationships, love triangles (love squares?), enduring friendships, and so much more. So what to do when you've already streamed the first movie multiple times and your MoviePass is burning a whole in your pocket from repeated use? Read a book, of course! Below are 11 novels that will give you the same Mamma Mia feels for multiple reasons, even though they're not all musical romps. Whether you decide to play the Mamma Mia soundtracks in the background while you read is totally up to you.
'The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo' by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Much like Donna in Mamma Mia, Evelyn Hugo has led a very interesting and dramatic life. In
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo she relates all the glamorous and gritty details of her life to a young reporter, who ends up having more of a connection to the geriatric star than either of them realized. If you love the Mamma Mia trope of a fascinating woman's life story being slowly revealed, you'll devour this book. Click here to buy.
'Here We Are Now' by Jasmine Warga
A young woman trying to find her father? A love of music? A mom hiding paternity? Jasmine Warga's
Here We Are has all of these very Mamma Mia plot-lines. Taliah Abdallat has been sending Julian Oliver letters since she was 13, but she never thought she'd meet him. Until the famed rock star shows up on her doorstep. Because Julian Oliver is Taliah's father, even though her mother won't admit it. With her best friend Harlow by her side, Taliah embarks on a three-day journey to find out everything about her family. Click here to buy.
'Where'd You Go, Bernadette' by Maria Semple
A mother with secrets and a daughter desperate to find out the truth is
Where'd You Go, Bernadette? in a nutshell. When Bee's agoraphobic mother Bernadette goes missing right before a family trip to Antarctica, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, and secret correspondence, all in an effort to find her mother — and learn the truth about who she really is, once and for all. Click here to buy.
'The Joy Luck Club' by Amy Tan
Joy Luck Club is a modern classic all about mothers and their daughters, and the lifelong friendships that withstand it all. In 1949, four Chinese women, recent immigrants to San Francisco, begin meeting to eat dim sum, play mahjong, and talk. United in shared loss and hope, they call themselves the Joy Luck Club. Amy Tan examines the deep connection between these four women and their American-born daughters. Click here to buy.
'Save The Date' by Morgan Matson
Do you want more pre-wedding drama the likes of which even the characters in Mamma Mia have never seen?
Save the Date needs to be on your TBR. Charlie Grant’s older sister is getting married this weekend at their family home, and Charlie can’t wait— she is desperate for one last perfect weekend, before the house is sold and everything changes. The only problem? The weekend is shaping up to be an absolute disaster. And her perfect family may not be so perfect after all. Click here to buy.
'By The Book' by Julia Sonneborn
If you're more the type who loves to rom-coms about old lovers returning and totally upending well,
everything, you might enjoy By The Book by Julia Sonneborn. In it, Anne Corey is an English professor struggling for tenure discovers that her ex-fiancé has just become the president of her college — and her new boss. Anne should be able to keep herself distracted. After all, she’s got a book to write and a new romance developing with the college’s insanely hot writer-in-residence. But no matter where she turns, there’s Adam. In case you didn't guess it from the summary, it's a retelling of Jane Austen's Persuasion. Click here to buy.
'The Dirty Book Club' by Lisi Harrison
If your favorite thing about
Mamma Mia is the female friendship between Donna, Rosie, and Tanya, you'll love The Dirty Book Club. The book follows two generations of women who belong to a secret club that only reads erotic novels. Though there is definitely some cheeky fun to be had, as the women bond over bestsellers, the four strangers start to divulge the intimate details of their own lives… and as they open up, they learn that friendship might just be the key to rewriting their own stories. Click here to buy.
'Santorini Sunsets' by Anita Hughes
If more love triangle drama set in the Mediterranean is what your heart desires,
Santorini Sunsets is about to make your day. Brigit Palmer is thrilled to be in Santorini for her wedding to Hollywood heartthrob Blake Crawford, one of America's most eligible bachelors. Everything is going well... until she steps into the garden and sees her ex-husband Nathaniel hiding in the rose bushes. Nathaniel, a failed novelist, announces that Blake sold the rights to the wedding to a magazine, and he is the reporter assigned to the story. Click here to buy.
'A Mother Like Mine' by Kate Hewitt
Abby Rhodes returns with her young son to the small village where she grew up and throws herself into helping her ailing grandmother run the town's beach cafe. Then one evening, her mother, Laura, shows up after 20 years away and announces her plan to stay. As Abby gets little glimpses into her mother's life, she begins to realize there are depths to Laura she never knew.
Click here to buy.
'The World In Half' by Cristina Henriquez
Another story of a young woman wanting to learn more about her father,
The World in Half follows Miraflores, who always believed her father never wanted to know her. But when she returns home to care for her mother, who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, she discovers that her mother and father were actually in love... and that her father fought to know his daughter or years. So Miraflores embarks on a journey to Panama in search of him, and in turn, discovers herself. Click here to buy.
'The Book of Summer' by Michelle Gable
Island life and complicated mothers populate both
Mamma Mia and The Book of Summer, which follows Bess Codman upon her return to her family's crumbling Nantucket compound, Cliff House. Bess must now pack up the house and deal with her mother, a notorious town rabble-rouser, who refuses to leave. But as Bess unearths the secrets of Cliff House, she also grows closer to mother. Click here to buy.