What To Read Next, Based On The TV Show You Miss The Most
We all know how hard it can be when our favorite TV shows go off the air. No matter how many seasons we got to watch, we still miss looking forward to new episodes every week. And when we discover that our favorite shows have been off the air for ten years, like we learned about The OC finale this week? The emotions start to get real. It's crazy how close characters and stories can continue to feel in our lives, even when they've been gone for a decade. Can you believe you haven't watched a new episode of Seth and Summer's adorable bickering since 2007? Yeah, neither can we.
Of course, we can always re-watch our favorite shows thanks to the magic of DVD, Netflix and Hulu. But sometimes you need a little something new, though still reminiscent, of your favorite stories and characters. And that's where books come in. There are tons of standalone novels and book series that can compare to the feels of our favorite off-the-air television shows, from comedies to dramas, mysteries to magical realism. We've chosen eleven of our most-missed and best loved shows and one perfect book with go with each. If anything, reading them will just make you want to binge watch your favorites all over again.
1. Miss 'The OC'? Read 'The Summer I Turned Pretty' by Jenny Han
Fans of the classic 2000s summer-all-year-round teen series, The OC, will love Jenny Han's The Summer I Turned Pretty trilogy. All three books are set during the summer at the same beach house, shared by two families: one Belly and her mother and brother; the other Jeremiah, Conrad and their mother. For Belly, everything good happens between the months of June and August, when she is back at the beach, and back with Jeremiah and Conrad. For her whole life they have been her brother figures, her crushes, and everything in between. But one summer — one terrible and wonderful summer — everything changes. Belly's life with the boys over these three summers takes some seriously soapy twists and turns, and the romance and drama will definitely remind readers of their favorite Orange County foursome and their families.
2. Miss 'Pushing Daisies'? Read 'The Strange And Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender' by Leslye Walton
Pushing Daisies was known for its sweet and quirky magical realism, so fans will fall for the same in Leslye Walton's Ava Lavender. There’s certainly magic in the world of Ava Lavender, but there’s just as much focus on relationships, family and romantic, as well. In this generational saga, foolish love appears to be the Roux family birthright, and an ominous forecast for its most recent progeny, Ava Lavender. Ava—in all other ways a normal girl—is born with the wings of a bird. In a quest to understand her peculiar disposition and a growing desire to fit in with her peers, sixteen-year old Ava ventures into the wider world, ill-prepared for what she might discover and naïve to the twisted motives of others. A large cast of interesting characters add depth to the story, and the city that the Lavenders live in is as rich and wonderful as the world of Pushing Daisies...though definitely a tad scarier.
3. Miss 'Parenthood'? Read 'This Is Where I Leave You' by Jonathan Tropper
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For another family saga worthy of the Bravermans, you've got to pick up Tropper's This Is Where I Leave You. The death of Judd Foxman’s father is the first time the entire family has reunited in years, and the seven days of sitting shiva allows them to explore the complicated and hilarious relationships between parents, siblings and spouses. As the week quickly spins out of control, longstanding grudges resurface, secrets are revealed, and old passions reawakened. For our main character Judd, it’s a week-long attempt to make sense of the mess his life has become while trying in vain not to get sucked into the regressive battles of his madly dysfunctional but lovable family.
4. Miss 'The West Wing'? Read 'The Hopefuls' by Jennifer Close
If you loved the political drama and staffer hijinks of The West Wing, you'll fall for Jennifer Close's The Hopefuls. When Beth arrives in Washington, D.C., she hates everything about it: the confusing traffic circles, the ubiquitous Ann Taylor suits, the humidity that descends each summer. At dinner parties, guests compare their security clearance levels. They leave their BlackBerrys on the table. They speak in acronyms. And once they realize Beth doesn't work in politics, they smile blandly and turn away. Soon Beth and her husband, Matt, meet a charismatic White House staffer named Jimmy and his wife, Ashleigh, and the four become inseparable, coordinating brunch, birthdays, and long weekends away. But as Jimmy's star rises higher and higher, their friendship — and Beth's relationship with Matt — is threatened by jealousy, competition and rumors.
5. Miss 'Gilmore Girls'? Read 'Ten Girls To Watch' by Charity Shumway
Obviously the girl power was one of your favorite aspects of Gilmore Girls, and if you also loved watching Rory's burgeoning journalism career, then Charity Shumway's Ten Girls to Watch is the book for you. Dawn West is a recent graduate trying to make her way in New York City. She's got an ex-boyfriend she can't quite stop seeing, a roommate who views rent checks and basic hygiene as optional, and a writing career that's gotten as far as penning an online lawn care advice column. So when Dawn lands a job tracking down the past winners of Charm Magazine's "Ten Girls to Watch" contest, she's thrilled. After all, she's being paid to interview hundreds of fascinating women: once outstanding college students, they have gone on to become mayors, opera singers, and air force pilots. As Dawn learns their life stories, she discovers that success, love, and friendship can be found in the most unexpected of places. Most importantly, she learns that while those who came before us can be role models, ultimately, we each have to create our own happy ending. This is a fun, insightful debut novel about passion, creativity, and the power of women.
6. Miss 'My Mad Fat Diary'? Read 'My Mad Fat Diary' by Rae Earl
This is a clear choice, but nothing can quite compare to the perfection of My Mad Fat Diary but Rae Earl's own words. The memoir on which the show was based follows Rae Earl, a fat, boy-mad 17-year-old girl, living in Stamford, Lincolnshire in 1989 with her mother in a small house with a mint green bathroom and a refrigerator Rae can't keep away from. She’s also just been released from a psychiatric ward. This is the hilarious, harrowing and touching real-life diary Rae kept during that fateful year. Surrounded by people like her constantly dieting mum, her beautiful frenemy Bethany, her friends from the private school up the road, and the handsome, unattainable boys Rae pines after, My Mad Fat Diary is the story of a young woman just hoping to be loved at a time when slim pop singers ruled the charts. Rae's chronicle of her world will strike a chord with anyone who's ever been a confused, lonely teenager clashing with her parents, sometimes overeating, hating her body, always taking herself very seriously, never knowing how positively brilliant she is and keeping a diary to record it all.
7. Miss 'Mad Men'? Read 'Revolutionary Road' by Richard Yates
Mad Men was compared to Revolutionary Road for years while it was on the air, and for a good reason. Both stories look at the darkness behind the beautiful facade in 1950s America. Yates's novel follows Frank and April Wheeler appear to be a model couple: bright, beautiful, talented, with two young children and a starter home in the suburbs. Perhaps they married too young and started a family too early. Maybe Frank's job is dull. And April never saw herself as a housewife. Yet they have always lived on the assumption that greatness is only just around the corner. But now that certainty is about to crumble. With heartbreaking compassion and remorseless clarity, Richard Yates shows how Frank and April betray not only each other, but their best selves.
8. Miss 'The Office'? Read 'Then We Came To The End' by Joshua Ferris
The Office was all about the hilarity of working in the same four walls, five days a week, with people who are as different as they are weird and wonderful. Ferris's book captures that same feeling. Readers become a part of a fictional advertising agency through numerous impromptu conversations, where the colleagues come alive. We learn that Larry and Amber have had an affair, and that Amber is pregnant. We know that Chris Yop is panicking because he exchanged his office chair without permission, and that Joe Pope is universally despised because he got promoted and now everyone has to listen to him. No one likes Karen Woo because she's always trying to seem smarter than everyone else. And the head boss, Lynn, has cancer, but she doesn't want anyone to know. We understand that the agency is in trouble, and that the unstable Tom Mota is being laid off. We realize that anyone could be next. And we're dying to know what's going to happen next.
9. Miss 'Downton Abbey'? Read 'The House at Tyneford' by Natasha Solomons
Fans of Downton will love this book, which is set during the war in a grand house full of drama. It's the spring of 1938, and it's no longer safe to be a Jew in Vienna. Nineteen-year-old Elise Landau is forced to leave her glittering life of parties and champagne to become a parlor maid in England. She arrives at Tyneford, the great house on the bay, where servants polish silver and serve drinks on the lawn. But war is coming, and the world is changing. When the master of Tyneford's young son, Kit, returns home, he and Elise strike up an unlikely friendship that will transform Tyneford — and Elise — forever.
10. Miss 'Breaking Bad'? Read 'Trainspotting' by Irvine Welsh
Trainspotting is a gripping narrative from the Scottish drug scene of the '90s, perfect for fans of the grittiness of Breaking Bad. Taking the form of shorts stories, this book is narrated by different members of a group of friends (like if Jesse's pals in season two each got their own full-length episode) each taking, buying, jonesing for and trying to get off of heroin. This story is not for the faint of heart, as it provides raw and real depictions of life as a drug addict, and its long-lasting effects. This book will certainly deliver some chilling scenes that will stay with you long after the final page is turned.
11. Miss 'Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries'? Read 'The Daisy Dalrymple Mysteries' by Carola Dunn
Maybe no one can quite compare to the fierce, sassy, super sleuthing ways of Phryne Fisher, but we're sure her fans will love reading about Daisy Dalrymple anyway. Also set in the 1920s, but this time in Britain, these books follow Daisy, a freelance writer and amateur sleuth who is most conveniently married to a Detective Chief Inspector. This series of cozy mysteries starts as Daisy, embarks on her first writing assignment...and promptly stumbles upon a corpse. If you're looking for another glitzy 1920s world full of sprawling country estates, gritty Scotland yard detectives, and getting fulfilling wrap-ups to every case, this series is definitely for you.