12 YA Book Recs Based Off TV Shows!! // Stranger Things, Gilmore Girls, Friends, & More

Fictional worlds have my whole heart.

I’ve been in love with books for as long as I can remember, and I think the fact that I’m even here, blogging about books, speaks to that. More recently though, maybe in the past three or so years, I’ve also fallen in love with fictional worlds in multiple TV shows. I love talking about both books and television, so I thought it would be fun to combine both of those loves into one post!

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So because I’m actually a Fangirl™ I’m going to be giving book recommendations based off of some of my favorite TV shows. My hope is that if you’ve seen the show and enjoyed it, you might be able to find some books to read. But alternately, if there’s a book you enjoyed, you might get a show recommendation as well!

Don’t take this as an exact translation, since I’m going to focus more on the overarching themes or specific characteristics for each book, but hopefully it can be a pretty accurate depiction of the show versus the books. Also, I think I’m being creative by writing this post?? But if it turns out it’s already been done, please know that I wasn’t aware.

So, for lack of a better way to start the post, let’s get to the recommendations!

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The first show I’m going to be giving recommendations for is Stranger Things. I only watched this show for the first time last summer, but I quickly became obsessed (and when I say obsessed, I mean I have a Pinterest board with 432 pins on it, have watched every cast interview multiple times, frequently google the show to look for updates, was Max for Halloween, and now have many 80s songs on my playlists).

I feel like if I were to go on, this whole post would become me fangirling over Stranger Things (as if it already isn’t), so I’ll just say that I wholeheartedly recommend it, even if you don’t usually like shows on the scarier side- I don’t, and I loved this. The amazing plotlines, cinematography, and characters make it the best show I’ve ever watched.

Amazon.com: Stranger Things Poster (2016) Netflix 24x36 inches A ...A Brief Summary, via Wikipedia

“Set in the 1980s in the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana, the first season focuses on the investigation into the disappearance of a young boy amid supernatural events occurring around the town, including the appearance of a girl with psychokinetic abilities.” {Added from me: lots of lovable characters, adventure, and crying will be sure to be a part of your watching experience.}

Something that I love about Stranger Things is that as much as it is about supernatural occurrences, the more important parts of it are the very prevalent themes of family relationships, friendship, and growing up, which are all themes found in many books.

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1)The Mysterious Benedict Society (The Mysterious Benedict Society, #1)1984

The Raven Boys: Even though Stranger Things passes over more more into the realm of sci-fi rather than magical realism, I think this series and the show hold very similar feelings of “we live in an ordinary world, right? Oh wait, suddenly we’re caught up in some crazy supernatural stuff.” Plus, both Stranger Things and The Raven Cycle have a really lovable group of friends and you’re certain to want to adopt them all.

The Mysterious Benedict Society: If there was ever an iconic group of kids banded together to save the world (with adults as their sidekicks), it would be the MBS gang. Or the Stranger Things gang, because that description fits too, which is why I think this middle grade novel is the perfect companion to the show! There’s way less creepiness in MBS, but the kids-saving-the-world dynamic is there.

1984: So…I really didn’t like this book when I read it a few years back for school, but it fits really well with Stranger Things, so here it is anyway. The whole idea of Big Brother watching and not knowing who to trust remind of a lot of the intensity that Stranger Things episodes often have. However, this book (in my opinion) does not have near the depth of characters as the show, and there isn’t anything supernatural.

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The second show is another one of my all-time favorites, Gilmore Girls! Gilmore Girls is the first Netflix show I ever watched, and I’ve been rewatching it as of late, further solidifying its place in my shows Hall of Fame.

Gilmore Girls Poster - Life's Short. Talk Fast - NerdKungFuA Brief Summary, via Me Because I Couldn’t Find One I Liked

“Following the lives of Lorelai Gilmore and her daughter Rory, Gilmore Girls explores the mother-daughter bond between the two as Rory attends high school and later college in New England. Along the way, you meet romantic interests, family members, come to love life in small Stars Hollow, drink a lot of coffee, and learn to keep up with the quick witted and fast-paced conversations between Lorelai and Rory.

Although this is more of a slower paced show, its comedic timing, relatable drama, and the fact that it has a bibliophile as a main character make it well worth a watch. There are so many important themes in it (family, love, connection) that I think translate really well to a lot of books I’ve read.

In addition, many specific aspects of Gilmore Girls, like the small town closeness of Stars Hollow, the bond between Lorelai and the daughter she had at sixteen, and the academic pressure Rory feels in high school and college can be found in many YA novels as well.

The Last Summer of the Garrett GirlsYou Asked for PerfectWith the Fire on High

The Last Summer of the Garrett Girls: In this novel, the four sisters live in a small town called Remington Hollow, and beyond just sounded similar to Stars Hollow, I saw so many similarities between both of the towns. The idea of living in a quaint town where everyone knows about everyone’s personal lives and has literally watched you grow up is so prevalent both in The Last Summer of the Garrett Girls and in Gilmore Girls.

You Asked for Perfect: This is the most accurate depiction I have ever read of the pressure school puts on high school students, and Ariel’s academic focus and desire for success is deeply reminiscent of Rory’s attitude towards school. She too is Ivy League bound, aspiring valedictorian, and sees academic achievement as the end all be all. If you were able to relate to Ariel, I think you can relate to Rory, and vice versa.

With the Fire on High: Although Rory is already sixteen when the show starts, and in With the Fire on High Emoni’s child is still very young, both this book and Gilmore Girls show teenage mothers making huge sacrifices to give their daughters the best lives possible. Ultimately, they both showcase how great a mother’s love is and the bond that can form between a mother and daughter.

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The last show I’m going to give its own ~major recommendations~ section is another one of my all time favorite shows, Friends! Unfortunately this show was taken off of Netflix US at the beginning of 2020 (it should have been an omen) so I haven’t watched it in quite a while, but it still holds a special place in my heart.

Blast from the Past: Friends | Movies | San Luis Obispo | New ...A Brief Summary via IMDb

“Rachel Green, Ross Geller, Monica Geller, Joey Tribbiani, Chandler Bing and Phoebe Buffay are six 20 something year-olds, living off one another in the heart of New York City. Over the course of ten years, this average group of buddies goes through massive mayhem, family trouble, past and future romances, fights, laughs, tears and surprises as they learn what it really means to be a friend.”

Although Friends is about adults and these are YA recommendations, I still feel that they’re very reminiscent of the complicated, yet incredibly amazing friendships formed between the characters on the show. In addition to having great friendships, this is pretty much the funniest show I’ve ever watched, so humor is also critical to a book reminding me of Friends.

Famous in a Small TownSix of Crows (Six of Crows, #1)Red, White & Royal Blue

Famous in A Small Town: I’m kind of obsessed with all of Emma Mills’s friend groups, but the squad in this one is especially close to my heart. With their iconic groupchat, constant banter, and individual personalities, they are very worthy of growing up to become as close knit as Rachel, Monica, Ross, Chandler, Joey, and Phoebe.

Six of Crows: Heists in Ketterdam are a far cry from coffeeshops in New York City, but I had to put Six of Crows with Friends because I think both of them showcase the complexities and trust that comes along with being such a great friend group. The characters in the novel don’t all get along at first, but as the book progresses they gain trust and respect for each other, and that’s how true friendships that last a lifetime are formed.

Red, White & Royal Blue: This isn’t a YA novel (shh, I’m breaking the title of my post), but it certainly reminds me a lot of Friends. An iconic group of young adults who quickly form a tight friendship? Check. Dialogue that will actually make you laugh out loud? Also check. Set in a big city? Check.

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Those are the major shows I have multiple recommendations for, but I also love a lot of other shows too! (Because really, what else has there been to do in quarantine besides read and watch Netflix.) So for a few other shows that I’ve enjoyed, here are singular book recommendations that I think fit well with the show:

Don't Date Rosa Santos

Don’t Date Rosa Santos gives me the exact same vibes as Jane the Virgin! Both of them feature Latina main characters who have a strong bond with their grandmother and mother, as well as strong aspirations for their future, a desire to connect and learn more about their family’s culture and heritage. Rosa and Jane were very similar as characters and their respective cultures (Rosa’s family is Cuban and Jane’s was from Venezuela) are infused into the show and book.

A List of CagesAlthough I have a very high regard for A List of Cages and a much lower regard for Riverdale, I actually think they fit pretty well together. Both the show (at least in the first couple of seasons) and this novel manage to simultaneously tackle traditional high school drama while also dealing with deeper rooted themes and troubles in the lives of teenagers. Additionally, there’s a huge sense of found family in both Riverdale and A List of Cages, and an abudance of platonic and romantic relationships that are well worth fangirling over.

The Unlikelies

The Unlikelies really gives me peak Outer Banks vibes. Both the show and this book are set in summer, and they’re filled with adventure. Although in OBX the characters are searching for a treasure and in The Unlikelies they’re being do-gooders, it’s still a similar idea. They’re also both set in beach towns and feature an amazing group of friends that support each other and yet have their own individual personalities and goals!

 

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This post is getting lengthy, so I’ll wrap it up here- but I hope this could help give you some book recommendations, show recommendations, or both! I had a really good time pairing these together because I certainly have an affinity for both reading and bingeing. There were some shows I love, like The Office, that I either couldn’t think of recommendations for or didn’t want to continue making this post longer, so maybe if this is successful I can do a part two with different shows at some point.

I hope you’re doing well! Sending you all the well wishes for your July so far. I hope you’re getting to relax as much as possible and spend time reading or doing whatever else makes you happy. Stay safe and healthy, and I’ll see you all next time!✨

Have you read any of these or watched these shows? Do you agree with my recommendations? What shows should I watch next? I’d love to talk with you all in the comments.

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Credits for image in my featured image >> Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

55 thoughts on “12 YA Book Recs Based Off TV Shows!! // Stranger Things, Gilmore Girls, Friends, & More

  1. STRANGER THINGS, YESSSSS!
    And The Raven Boys and The Mysterious Benedict Society are so good!
    And, of course, I love The Last Summer of the Garrett Girls, though I haven’t seen Gilmore Girls.

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  2. This is such a fun creative post idea ❤ I'm weird because I almost never watch shows lol but also low-key this post is making me want to do the reverse of you recing books based off shows and making me want to watch shows based off the books I love lol. I absolutely adore Red White and Royal Blue, Famous in a Small Town, and Six of Crows so maybe I should watch Friends?? then again people have been telling me that forever and I still haven't… whoops

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    • Aww, thank you, Kay!! Your posts are always the epitome of creative so this means a lot coming from you.❤️ Haha, I feel that, that’s me with movies! I barely watch movies unless it’s an adaptation of a book or something. If you like all those books, I really do think you would enjoy the friendships and humor of Friends!! I’m not sure what platform it’s on since getting taken off Netflix, but hopefully you can find it if you ever want to watch it. xx

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  3. What fantastic recommendations!! I can’t believe I’d never paired TRC and Stranger Things together, because it feels like a perfect fit. I haven’t read With the Fire on High yet, but from your description it sounds like it goes so well with Gilmore Girls, and I can’t wait to pick it up 😀 This is so creative and I love the thought you put into all of the books you picked!

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    • Thank you so much, Margaret!! Aww, yes, TRC and Stranger Things both give me spooky-yet-lovable vibes, if that makes any sense.😅 Ahh, that makes me so happy to hear! Thank you again, and I wish you all the happiest reading and watching. xx

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  4. Um okay so basically this post is the best EVER and I love like all the shows you’ve talked about.

    AHHHH OMGGG Literally ANY time I rec ST to someone (my all time fave btw) who ‘s a reader, I ask “Do you like TRC?” because they are SO similar. We love to see it. But also eeeekkk we have the same obsession level, myself probably more. Not to brag (seriously not) but 80s MUSIC BUT ALSO MERCH!! I live in an ST sweatshirt haha.

    Also love Gilmore Girls and I’ve already been excited for WTFOH so this comparison makes me even more pumped. But also You Asked For Perfect sounds so GOOD??

    Omg FRIENDS TOO OLIVIA YOU NEED TO STOP!! RW&RB and SoC def give off Friends vibes though. I now also need to get my hands on that Emma Mills book.

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    • Ahh, Ruby!! Thank you so much, this comment made me smile so, so much.😭❤️

      Stranger Things is the best!! I hadn’t thought about pairing it with The Raven Cycle until I wrote this post but now I’m going to go around recommending it to people all the time, haha. Oh my gosh, I love that, I don’t doubt your obsession level is greater because I only started it last year…but haha, that’s awesome. I have a sweatshirt too, it says Starcourt Mall and it is a prized possession of mine.

      I’m so happy that this made you excited for With the Fire on high! You Asked for Perfect is really, really good, although the disclaimer I’ve been giving when I recommend it is that if you’re in school as you read it, it might cause too much stress. However, if not, it’s super amazing and the main character reminds me of Rory in a lot of ways.

      HAHA!! Ahh, Emma Mills seriously writes THE cutest friendship groups ever so you should definitely check it out. Thank you again for this comment! xx

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I LOVE THIS POST ALMOST AS MUCH AS I LOVE YOU!!!! (The Gilmore Girls one made my heart soar 😉 )

    I can definitely see YAFP and WTFOH as relating to GG, and oh, yes, the academic struggle portrayed is VERY similar in both!! And of course Garrett Girls is that perfect summery small town vibe for it.

    I haven’t sen Friends yet but your recommendations are making me want to because I adore SOC and RW&RB so much!!! And as you know, I’m working on expanding my Emma Mills collection :DD

    Stranger Things I haven’t tried yet (except for a couple episodes with friends) because it’s to creepy for me!! I really hate horror and supernatural because I get scared so easily haha. The little I know of it though sounds very similar to TRC!!

    I loved this post Olivia ❤ sending you lots of love xx

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    • RHI!! You’re so kind to me, thank you!! I adore you. And I thought of you as I gave the Gilmore Girls recommendations, I think bonding over it was our first time to fangirl over something together.🥺

      Ahh, thank you- I was trying to give recs based on the different aspects of Gilmore Girls, so I’m glad you agree with them, as you are an Ultimate Fan.

      Yes yes yes! I really do love Friends. If you have access to it on some sort of streaming platform (I’m not sure which one has it now) then you should definitely give it a try if you’re ever in the mood for a funny sitcom filled with great relationships.

      Oh, I totally understand that. I have never watched Stranger Things by myself even though I’ve watched it straight through twice now, I still couldn’t ever do it alone, haha. I get the feeling Ronan would love it though…

      Thank you again!! Sending you all the love.💖

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  6. “Unfortunately this show was taken off of Netflix US at the beginning of 2020 (it should have been an omen)” haha 🙂 true. Fantastic recommendations; I’ll be looking for a few of them! Books that are likemovies are so much better than books based on movies or even worse movies based on books (if that sentence even makes sense).

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    • For real, the first bad thing to happen in 2020 was the removal of Friends from Netflix! Ahh, thank you so much.💗 No, that makes complete sense, and I do agree! An adaptation is a risk, but books that are just ~like~ movies have so much more potential.

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  7. I love this post so much, Olivia!! I could tell that you put so much thought into connecting the books and shows together 🥺🥺 Admittedly, I am really bad at watching TV shows, haha. It’s not just that I don’t have time, but I also lose interest in them pretty quickly if they’re ongoing and/or have multiple seasons 😅 I really want to watch Gilmore Girls, The Office, Jane the Virgin, and so many other popular TV shows, but I just don’t have the attention span for them… Right now I’m watching Avatar: The Last Airbender though, which technically counts as a TV show. It’s just three seasons, yet I’m still going through it really slowly :”)

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    • Ahh, Caitlin!! Thank you so much.🥺 You’re too kind to me!! I definitely understand not being able to get into TV shows, it’s kind of an acquired taste that took me a while to develop. They certainly require both an attention span and a dedication to time and (if you get attached like me) one’s emotional wellbeing, haha. Oh, I’ve heard quite a few good things about Avatar: The Last Airbender! I hope you enjoy it, and thank you again for this comment. xx

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  8. I am in LOVE with this post, Olivia! AND YOUR BLOG IN GENERAL! SO SO PRETTY! ❤ ❤ ❤
    And I loved Gilmore Girls! Rory did start to get a bit irritating in the later seasons but still, it was an awesome show, must say!

    AND Riverdale! Although the later seasons are – for want of a better word – a bit comic…I mean…that whole rocket thing?! I mean..REALLY?! xD xD BUT I still enjoyed watching it and you are right, the characters have high regard for their ''found family'' ❤ 🙂 + A List of Cages looks SUPER PRETTY
    ! I LOVE IT SO MUCH! ❤ ❤ 🙂

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    • Ahh, thank you so much!! This comment is so sweet and made my day.🥺💗I really appreciate the kind words!!
      Haha, I’d have to agree- even though Rory wasn’t always the most likable character, I certainly got invested enough to always continue watching.

      You couldn’t be more right! My friend and I mostly just keep watching the later seasons together for pure entertainment purposes and because we’re invested in the characters. The first season really is pretty good, though! A List of Cages is so, so adorable (though has heavy aspects too, as a warning) and definitely has that same found family vibe. Thank you again for this comment, I’m so happy you enjoyed reading my post! xx

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      • (i replied before but it didn’t get through?)

        SERIOUSLYY!! Rory was a bit – MEH – but her mother though (Lorelai, right? i forgot! 🤣) SO COOL!

        Heavy is fine. I am DEFINITELY going to read A List of Cages! 😍😍🦋

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  9. This post!!!
    I love your love for Stranger Things :))
    Ahh With the Fire On High is such a good match! I never would’ve thought of that, but it’s so great.
    Ahaha, I love your note about how Friends was an omen.
    Okay for shows, I’ve only watched the first episode, but my friend is absolutely obsessed with All American, and I feel like it could possibly be up your alley.

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    • Ahh, thank you!! Haha, I do love Stranger Things quite a lot.
      Thank you! It was a bit of a stretch, but I was trying to find books that matched different aspects of the show, and when scanning my bookshelf, it jumped out at me.
      I really think it was- we should have known 2020 was going downhill when Friends was taken away.👀
      Oh, I feel like we talked about you wanting to watch All American a long time ago! (Maybe at the beginning of quarantine…or the beginning of the year…it all blends together in a series of comments.) It does sound up my alley, after I finish my current show (Gossip Girl lol) maybe I’ll check it out! Thank you for the recommendation. :))

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ahaha, that makes sense–I’ve been talking about wanting to watch All American for a while now. Butttt, I don’t think it’s going to happen. I haven’t fully accepted it yet, but I think I’m more of a movie person than a TV show person. Are you more partial to one or the other, or pretty equal?
        Okay! If you love it, please tell me so I can tell my friend who’s obssessed. If not, also please tell me, so I can tell her that I’m not the only one who wasn’t pulled head first into it.

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        • I think I’m more of a TV show person than a movie person! This can be exemplified by how I only watched five Marvel movies last summer, when I had nothing to do, but watched two or three TV shows during the school year. I am enjoying movies a lot right now, though, so maybe it’s more equal than I thought.
          Okay, will do. :))

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  10. this is such a creative post idea, I love the concept! I really need to watch Stranger Things asap. Benedict Society… got me thinking back to elementary school years, the nostalgia is so real. Whenever I see anything related to Friends it makes my heart smile. I loved what you said about the themes that SoC and Friends share, it just made everything about the two seem even more meaningful than it already is 💕

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    • Aww, thank you so much, Aria!💛 Stranger Things is so good, and if you love the squad of kids from Mysterious Benedict Society (could they be any more adorable🥺) then I definitely think you’d also love the kids from Stranger Things. Ahh, SoC and Friends have my heart forever. Thank you again for the sweet words! xx

      Liked by 1 person

  11. i’m not too good at watching the more popular shows, but i love the stranger things and mbs comparison! the vibes aren’t quite the same but it definitely has that kid gang saving the world similarity as you said ❤ and i've only watched a bit of jane the virgin, but from what i've heard of rosa santos it sounds like the perfect comparison! i've been meaning to read rosa santos for so long 😭 this is such a great post!! ❤

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    • Aww, yay! I live for groups of kids saving the world and the adults being the sidekicks, it’s the cutest.🥺 But yes, Stranger Things definitely has much more of a scary vibe! I hope you enjoy Rosa Santos if you read it, I really enjoyed it overall and thought the characters and culture was really great to read about. Thank you so much, May!💛

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  12. I loved stranger thing and I haven’t read raven boys yet !!! I don’t know why but I really need to go read it now ! Great recommendations and I have added so many books to my tbr now

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  13. I loved Gilmore Girls so much, and I actually just recently finished watching it with my mom!! This is such a great post, and I’m definitely going to be looking at the books you recommended for Gilmore Girls 🙂

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  14. Oh my god your recommendations are on point, I love this so much 🥰 I’m such a fan of the Gilmore Girls recs you have here and I can’t wait to read the summer of the garrett girls, it’s been on my tbr for a long, long time and it sounds so good!! 🥰

    Liked by 1 person

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