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The student news site of New Trier High School

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The student news site of New Trier High School

New Trier News

5 books to read based on your favorite TV shows

These books have similar characters, plots and themes as these popular TV series

A lot of people hate reading, especially since watching television is an easier and more mind-numbing activity. However, books can be just as intense and heart-gripping as a good show. I’ve compiled a list of my favorite books that have similar plots as popular shows in the hope that the next time you consider staring at your screen, you try one of these amazing novels instead.  


If you loved the drama series “Gossip Girl”:

Read the romance series “Magnolia Parks” by Jessa Hastings

MAX’s “Gossip Girl,” which was previously on Netflix, is known for its drama, messy relationships, and deceit. I loved tuning into this show whenever I needed to take a break from my sometimes “boring” and “normal” high school life. Much like “Gossip Girl,” the “Magnolia Parks” series gave me a thrilling and exciting experience. Following a group of wealthy, 20-year-old London socialites, the book series felt similar to the show because of the crazy and completely unrealistic situations it presents. It always made me wonder what it would be like to be rich and run wild in a big city with all my friends. Much like Serena van de Woodsen in “Gossip Girl,” protagonist Magnolia Parks is the “it” girl of her city. Both of these characters have a chaotic energy that pulls you in. Everyone wants to be them, to know them, and to watch them. Another big theme both works follow is the presence of VERY toxic relationships. Much like Blair and Chuck’s romance, Magnolia and BJ know they’re meant to be together—they just don’t know how to be together. If you loved “Gossip Girl” because it gave you the chance to experience a crazy lifestyle, “Magnolia Parks” is a great series you should check out because of its similar disorderly aura. 


If you loved the mystery series “Wednesday”:

Read the mystery novel “The Similars” by Rebecca Hanover

Netflix’s “Wednesday” follows the notable daughter of the “Addams family,” Wednesday Addams. During the show, Wednesday is sent to an eerie boarding school where murder and mystery lurks at every corner. If you loved the atmosphere and dark academia essence of this show, “The Similars” might also interest you. Like “Wednesday,” the protagonist Emmaline attends a boarding school where she must uncover her school’s secrets and conspiracies. Both works include inexplicable love interests and secret societies where the history is rich and unnerving. “The Similars” follows Emmaline as she navigates the introduction of six clones at her school. All of the clones belong to previous or current students, including Emmaline’s recently deceased best friend, Oliver. Although the major plot points of the stories are different, “Wednesday” and “The Similars” have the same creepy and daunting vibes. If you loved the mystery and suspense of “Wednesday,” be sure to read “The Similars.” 


If you loved the coming-of-age drama “The Queen’s Gambit”:

Read the romance novel “Check and Mate” by Ali Hazelwood

“The Queen’s Gambit” follows young chess prodigy Beth Harmon while she makes her way to fame. Like “The Queen’s Gambit,” “Check and Mate” also features a young female chess prodigy. Both works highlight the importance of women and their victories and challenges in a male-dominated world. Similar to Beth, Mallory, the protagonist of “Check and Mate,” struggles with the loss of a parent. Although both work’s main focus is on chess, they also touch on grief, romance, ambition, and the need to win. “Check and Mate” definitely felt lighter and more fun than “The Queen’s Gambit,” especially because it’s classified as a romantic comedy. After Mallory experiences the loss of her dad, she loses her interest in chess. However, when a competition pops up with a huge cash prize, Mallory enters and ends up beating an 18-year-old grandmaster, Nolan. Right away, Nolan becomes fascinated with her ability, and they end up going from rivals to friends, and eventually lovers. Beth and Mallory both experience a similar first (or in Mallory’s case, first time in four years) chess tournament experience where they’re seen as the underdogs. No one expects some of the only women in the tournament to succeed at all, let alone beat a grandmaster. While Beth goes on to find and grow into herself, Mallory falls in love with chess all over again. If you loved the competitive and empowering energy of “The Queen’s Gambit,” read “Check and Mate.” 


If you loved the horror series “The Watcher”:

Read the thriller novel “The Woman in the Window” by A.J. Finn

Netflix’s “The Watcher” is a story about a married couple who move into a new house, only to find themselves receiving creepy letters from someone who calls themself “The Watcher.” In the letters, “The Watcher” talks about how he is in a long line of people who watch the house. The letters quickly become cultish and unnerving. Overall, the show was very unsettling, much like “The Woman in the Window,” where the protagonist, Anna Fox, suffers from agoraphobia, the fear of going outside. Anna spends most of her days sitting in her armchair watching the new family across the street from her window until one day, she witnesses a murder…or so she thinks. Similar to “The Watcher,” the book is filled with illusions and things that aren’t what they seem. Both works had me questioning reality. “The Woman in the Window” also includes creepy relationships with neighbors and spying. If you loved the sense of paranoia in “The Watcher,” make sure to check out “The Woman in the Window.” 


If you loved the coming-of-age series “Never Have I Ever”:

Read the romance series “Today Tonight Tomorrow” by Rachel Lynn Solomon

Netflix’s “Never Have I Ever” follows Devi Vishwakumar as she makes her way through high school, boys, popularity, and friends. The series is super funny and is something a lot of teens can relate to. The connection to “Today Tonight Tomorrow” stems from the romance between Devi and Ben Gross. Much like Devi and Ben, Rowan and Neil are huge academic rivals and enemies. They compete for everything and are constantly getting into heated debates. The two relationships are super similar, so if you loved Devi and Ben near the end of the series, you’ll love the romance between Rowan and Neil in “Today Tonight Tomorrow.” The two clash on test scores and even student council elections. However, on the last night of their senior year, they’re brought together and realize they have more in common than they think. Like Devi and Ben, Rowan and Neil are able to connect through their share of academic pressures and family drama. If you loved the bickering love in “Never Have I Ever,” you should read “Today Tonight Tomorrow.”


I know how hard it can be to think about taking the time and effort to start reading a book. However, if you like any of the shows above you wont regret picking up any of their novel counterparts. You don’t have to love it, or even like it, but all I’m asking is that you try. I hope you enjoy your reading! 

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