You might have heard that the much loved TV series Gilmore Girls has made its way to Netflix. If, like me, you don’t have Netflix (or if you have already re-watched the entire series), these books might help you capture some of the happy feelings from the series. If you don’t feel like reading this whole list I’ve discovered that in my mind I consider fantasy titles great read-alikes for this series in general. (Thanks to my friend Kristin for suggesting this list idea!)
If you want books with a quirky ensemble of characters:
- Heist Society by Ally Carter: Time is short and the job is monumental but Kat has a crack crew and, hopefully, enough talent to pull off an impossible heist (and maybe right a few wrongs along the way).
- Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley: As Ed walks Lucy through Shadow’s art, the night that promised to be a disaster turns into something else. In a city filled with missed connections and opportunity, Ed and Lucy are right where they’re supposed to be
- Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones: Sophie Hatter is the eldest of three sisters, which everyone knows means Sophie is doomed to failure should she ever set out to seek her fortunes. Sophie is resigned to her fate–living obscurely, and less than successfully, working in the family hat shop. Except that this is not a traditional fairy tale and events soon intervene to set Sophie on a very unexpected course indeed for an eldest daughter.
- The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater: Only one rider can win on race day–if they can stay alive long enough to finish the course–and the stakes for both Sean and Puck couldn’t be higher but as this unlikely pair trains side-by-side they might find a greater prize than anything from the race purse.
- Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White: Jessamin has been an outcast since she moved from her island home of Melei to the dreary country of Albion. Everything changes when she meets Finn, an enigmatic young lord. Armed with only her wits, Jessamin will have to navigate the murky waters of Alben politics and magic–not to mention the uncharted territory of her own heart.
If you want books with witty banter:
- Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg: Both Macallan and Levi are pretty sure they’re better as friends than anything else. Except they can’t help wondering if the complications that come with being more than friends might just be worth it.
- Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta: Sixteen-year-old Francesca Spinelli has a lot of limitations on her life. The worst might be her forced transfer to St. Sebastian’s, a former boy’s school that’s trying to turn co-ed.
- Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan: If every town has a story, so does every resident. Kami’s own story has caused her a fair bit of trouble over the years and not a few friends. That’s what happens when your best friend seems to be an imaginary boy you talk to in your head.
- The Archived by Victoria Schwab: Someone wants to hide something about the Coronado. And perhaps about the Archive too. If Mac can’t solve the mystery that remains the entire Archive could collapse.
- The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater: As Blue and these improbable raven boys find each other things start changing for them and their small town. Together they could unearth untold magic and power, as long as they can find it first–and control it.
If you want books with a sweet romance:
- To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han: No one was ever supposed to see Lara Jean’s love letters except for Lara Jean. They were never meant for anyone else. With all of her feelings laid bare for these five boys, Lara Jean isn’t sure how to go back to the girl she used to be before the letters were delivered.
- Enchanted by Alethea Kontis: In a land as ripe with magic as Sunday’s, it isn’t particularly surprising to meet a talking frog. The real surprise comes when he shows an interest in Sunday’s stories and quickly becomes her dear friend. And maybe something else.
- Open Road Summer by Emery Lord: It takes a cross-country tour but over the course of one unforgettable summer Reagan will learn that mistakes aren’t forever, even if friends are, and home doesn’t always have to be somewhere to leave.
- Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins: With uncertain plans for college and the future looming, Josh and Isla will have to learn to be apart before they have any chance of staying together.
- The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith: Lucy and Owen don’t have a lot in common to start with. They don’t even know much about each other. Still their relationship plays out across the miles in the form of postcards and sporadic emails. Although both Lucy and Owen try to move on they soon realize an unfinished something keeps pulling them back to each other.
If you want books with an awesome family:
- Roomies by Tara Altebrando and Sara Zarr: What starts as an innocuous email about whether to buy a microwave or a mini-fridge turns into a series of emails that might lead to friendship and a few other insights during a summer filled with possibility.
- Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan: Dash and Lily don’t have much in common but somehow they connect on the papers bound in that red notebook. Will these two misfits make sense in person? Only time will tell if their fledgling relationship can survive Lily’s family, Dash’s friends, some comical disasters and, of course, the holiday season in New York City.
- The Year My Sister Got Lucky by Aimee Friedman: The harder Katie clings to her memories of City life, the more Michaela adapts to life in Fir Lake, leaving Katie to wonder what happens when your home doesn’t feel like a home and your best friend starts to look like someone you don’t know.
- Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson: Scarlett Martin and her family live in the Hopewell Hotel in the heart of New York City. That might sound like a dream come true but just ask Scarlett about her fifteenth birthday and it’s easy to see the sometimes harsh realities that owning and running a hotel can really entail.
- Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson: With the help of some unlikely friends, Sloane starts working her way through the list her best friend left behind when she disappeared with no notice. Apple picking at night should be easy. Dancing until dawn might actually be fun. Kissing a stranger could go either way. Skinny dipping? Stealing something? Those might take a little more work
If you want books about smart characters:
- When It Happens by Susane Colasanti: At the beginning of the year Sara and Tobey don’t really know each other. By the end, Sara and Tobey might have a whole new beginning together.
- Love and Other Foreign Words by Erin McCahan: Love is a word found in many languages. And with so many things around her changing, Josie is about to get a crash course in the true meaning of the word
- The Shadow Society by Marie Rutkoski: Darcy always wanted to be part of something, to belong somewhere. But she may have more than she bargained for with a mysterious boy named Conn and infiltrating an even stranger group called the Shades.
- This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales: With a chance at real friends and something that makes her truly happy, Elise might be able to change herself after all.
- Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin: It starts with a coin toss. If Naomi had picked tails she never would have gone back for the camera. She wouldn’t have tripped on the stairs and hit her head. There would have been no ambulance and no amnesia. Naomi would remember her boyfriend and whatever it was they had in common. She’d remember the lives her parents have been living. She would remember her best friend Will and why he calls her Chief and keeps making her mix tapes. But Naomi picked heads.