Hello everyone! Sabrina here again. I know the title is a bit of a weird one, but essentially I am recommending you eight books to try based on other things – but those things aren’t other books (um, for the most part anyway). I didn’t necessarily love all these books – in fact, I didn’t like a few of them – but I still think you have a high chance of enjoying them if you like the other things I mention, and vice versa!
Paper Girls + Stranger Things
I’m starting with one of the simplest comparisons – and one I’m sure I’ve made before. Paper Girls is a graphic novel series set in 1988 centred around a group of girls who deliver the newspapers in their town. What starts as a normal Halloween ends up being all kinds of weird and science-fiction-y and the series expands from there. I’m sure you’re aware of Stranger Things too, but in case you’re not, it’s a sci-fi TV show also set in the 80s centred around a group of boys. I’m sure you can already see the similarities there! I did enjoy the Paper Girls series more though*, to be honest, because it was faster paced. Both series don’t give you all the answers right away – in fact, they only give you enough to keep you interested – so I think if you like one, you will definitely like the other.
*Actually, I am not even up to date with Stranger Things
Gideon the Ninth + Portal
My brother looked alarmed when I told him I was including this in the post, because I haven’t actually played very much of the Portal 2 video game and he doesn’t want me to get spoiled, lol. But I couldn’t resist making this comparison! In Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir, we follow a bunch of characters that travel to an old mansion with old, abandoned laboratories and try to solve a really important (and also old) puzzle by first completing a series of smaller, related puzzles. This is the main aim of the first Portal game – you have a bunch of puzzle levels you need to complete, set in laboratory-like rooms, but eventually the plot of the game kicks in and things become uh… pretty sinister – which is something that happens in Gideon too, as the plot becomes a sort of murder mystery. In Gideon, we also see hints about the people who have previously tried to solve the puzzles (sorry, I know I’m repeating this phrase a lot), and there are similar hints in Portal. Overall, I think they are more similar than you would first think!
Wilder Girls + Annihilation
This is another of my simple matches, and this one is even a little bit of a cheat, because though I haven’t read it, Annihilation was a book before it was a movie. Still, both the movie and Wilder Girls by Rory Power deal with similar kinds of horror – those to do with both nature and humankind. Annihilation is about a group of women scientists who go into a mysterious area surrounded by a “shimmer” to explore and Wilder Girls is about a bunch of students from an all-girls school quarantined on an island after contracting a mutation-causing virus. Both stories are set in dangerous locations, both due to outside forces and the people the characters are stuck with. I do feel that Annihilation has a more satisfying ending, but they are both reasonably slow-paced and are mysterious in weird ways.
Vicious + End of Me
End of Me is a song from the band A Day To Remember and it has to be said that it first and foremost reminds me of the relationship between Clark and Lex from Smallville (yeah, that TV show in particular, no other Superman-related story). But, it is also relatable to Vicious by V. E. Schwab and probably any other friends-to-enemies story, with lyrics such as “you know me all too well” and “don’t say that it’s not fair that you’re not the person you wanna be”, and of course: “you’ll be the end of me”. I think you can probably draw the connections there between the song and Victor and Eli’s relationship.
The Sisters Grimm + Once Upon a Time
I have a feeling I might have mentioned this book series on the blog before, but I can’t be quite sure. It’s a middle grade fantasy series by Michael Buckley that I absolutely loved as a kid and can hardly remember now – and I never finished the last book – but I do know it had a lot of similarities to the TV show, Once Upon a Time, which I enjoyed for over five seasons but never finished watching. Both stories involve a town that fairytale characters are stuck living in, Storybrooke in OUAT and Ferryport Landing (a.k.a. Fairyport landing) in the Sisters Grimm. In OUAT, the main character is Emma, a skeptic who doesn’t believe the young character of Henry when he tells her that she’s his mum and also the daughter of Snow White. The main character in The Sisters Grimm is named Sabrina, and she is also pretty skeptical about fairytale characters, not showing any of the enthusiasm that her younger sister, Daphne, does. There’s also the fact that Emma joins up with the town’s sheriff to solve crimes while Sabrina and Daphne, along with their grandmother, are known as “the fairytale detectives”. Both stories also have a more lighthearted tone, so it’s even more likely that you will enjoy one if you already like the other.
The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle + Cluedo
This is possibly the weirdest match I’m making today. I never thought I would compare a book with a board game, but here we are. In case you don’t know, Cluedo (which is known simply as Clue in North America) is a game in which you have to figure out who committed a murder, as well as other circumstances around the death (this can vary depending on which version of the game you are playing, but traditionally it is the suspect, room and weapon you need to get right). The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton (which is known by The Seven and A Half Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle in North America – an amazing additional coincidence in my opinion) is a murder mystery that follows one man who has to find the killer whilst also dealing with body-swapping and a time loop. The body-swapping reminds me of how you must travel to different places in Cluedo in order to move forward in the game, because the main character finds out different clues depending on which body he is in. He’s also under a strict time limit and you feel time pressure when you’re playing Cluedo as well, because you have to solve the murder before the rest of the players do to win. Both the game and book also have a historical feel to them, so the atmosphere is very similar!
A Duke By Default + Falling Inn Love
My final comparison is by no means perfect, but I do think these stories have a lot in common. Both A Duke By Default by Alyssa Cole and the Falling Inn Love movie involve characters that move from the city to a small town in a different country altogether and end up restoring, with the assistance of their love interest, an old building. The book follows Portia, who goes to Scotland for a sword-making apprenticeship and ends up helping Tavish bring new life to the armoury. The movie follows Gabriela, who wins an inn in New Zealand that she soon discovers needs a bit more than a simple makeover – cue the local contractor, Jake. The stories also both include a nice restaurant that benefits from the female character arriving in town. Though they’re both really cute stories that I enjoyed, A Duke By Default, in my opinion, has better secondary storylines and themes, but I can’t be too harsh on Falling Inn Love, because it’s only a movie, after all 😛
What do you think?
Are you familiar enough with any of these combinations to say if you agree with them or not? Do you ever find yourself reading a book and realising it reminds you of something else? Finally, do you have any friends-to-enemies book recommendations for me? Let me know!