Hello friends! A someone that loves the theater and musicals in general, I’ve long wanted to share my favorite musicals with you on here. However, I’m aware that most of you are hear for bookish content, so I decided to pair the two together. For today’s post, I picked five musicals I really enjoyed, pairing each of them with 3-3 books. I’ve had a lot of fun working on this post and trying to find fitting books for each musical, and I hope you’ll have just as much fun reading my post as I had writing it.
I know everyone and their mother hated The Prom on Netflix, but I actually enjoyed it and I wish I could see it performed in a theater one day. It’s not a groundbreaking musical, but it’s fun, vibrant, and most of the songs are really catchy. If you want to see colorful and entertaining musical about a lesbian protagonist who is trying to take her girlfriend to prom, The Prom is a good choice.
🌿 I picked Felix Ever After for The Prom, because one of the key topics of the musical is the discrimination and homophobia the protagonist, Emma, faces in her high school. That theme made me think of Felix Ever After, a YA Contemporary where Felix, the main character, is being harassed by an unknown person both on- and offline.
🌿 While this isn’t a key topic of the musical, we learn that Emma lives with her grandmother because her parents refused to accept her sexuality. That reminded me of I Wish You All the Best where Ben is forced to live with their estranged sister after their parents throw them out of the house when they come out as nonbinary.
🌿 Dating Sarah Cooper follows two girls who pretend to date each other for all the wrong reasons.. but who soon start to question their sexuality and realize that they have very real feelings for each other. The bigotry these two face made me think of what Emma goes through in The Prom, as sadly she gets a lot of hate from her peers.
Into the Woods
Unfortunately, as far as I know Into the Woods never premiered in Hungary, so I had no chance of seeing it in the theater. For that reason I was very excited for the movie adaptation of the play and I loved it so much when I saw it for the first time in the cinema. Since then I’ve rewatched it multiple times, thoroughly enjoying it every time.
🌿 For Into the Woods, I knew I wanted to select lighter fantasy books and the very first one I thought of was Cemetery Boys. This YA fantasy follows Yadriel who, in an attempt to prove himself to his family, accidentally summons the ghost of the school’s resident bad boy who refuses to move on until they find out what happened to him. I love the banter, friendship, and the romance in Cemetery Boys and I can wholeheartedly recommend this lovely book.
🌿 Besides being a lighter sort of fantasy, Into the Woods is also really atmospheric, as is An Enchantment of Ravens. If I had to describe this novel I’d probably say that it’s a slow-moving, whimsical, and beautifully written fantasy with a sort of road trip at the center of the story. Actually, the trip the characters are taking through all sorts of places / woods is a bit similar to Into the Woods, where the characters have to head into the woods at multiple points.
🌿 Part of Into the Woods’ charm is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously and is really entertaining. These qualities immediately made me think of GOod Omens, a fantasy / comedy about an angel and a demon who are trying to stop the apocalypse from happening. While I think that the show is miles better than the book – mostly because it develops the characters much better, in my opinion – I’d highly recommend the book too.
You might not know this but Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier was adapted into a musical in Austria, and while it never went to Broadway or West End, it did come to Hungary and has been performed in one of our theaters for years. I learnt about it from one of my friends and I went to see it as soon as I could. Thankfully, the play didn’t disappoint – the music was incredible and so was the staging. I’d gladly rewatch this play one day.
🌿 This is a very on the nose recommendation, but I couldn’t not recommend My Cousin Rachel, as I love this novel even more than Rebecca. This is an engaging Gothic mystery that I loved from start to finish.
🌿 Plain Bad Heroines is a relatively recent favorite of mine, as I read it late last year. I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I loved the slow-moving plot, the unique writing style, and the fact that we followed two different group of characters – one group in the past, one in the present. If you want to know more about Plain Bad Heroines, I recommend reading my review by clicking here.
🌿 While The Death of Mrs. Westaway is more like a traditional mystery-thriller than the other two novels, I think it fits the mood of Rebecca. For me, both novels had a sort of claustrophobic feel to them – in Rebecca, the protagonist finds herself in an unwelcoming place that she cannot really leave as it’s her husband’s estate. In The Death of Mrs. Westaway, the heroine finds herself in a similarly spooky house after arriving to a funeral.
I’m going to be honest, I don’t actually love the story of Grease, as a lot of it is obviously very dated and problematic. I did grow up watching this musical, though, and I love and listen to the music to this day. I haven’t seen this in the theater, but I really enjoyed Grease: Live with Carly Rae Jepsen, Vanessa Hudgens, and others that they did a few years back.
🌿 As Only Mostly Devastated is a Grease retelling, it was no question that I’d recommend this YA contemporary for this musical. I love the way Sophie Gonzales used multiple motifs from Grease, and I really appreciate the way she changed and modernized these elements.
🌿 Even though Glitterland is a very different story from Grease, it was one of the first books I thought of as a possible recommendation for this musical, mostly because it has an opposites attract romance. That being said, the book deals with darker themes – such a suicidal ideation – so be careful if you pick it up.
🌿 I’m going to be honest, out of all the musicals on this list, I struggled the most with Grease, because it was so hard to find fitting recommendations for it! In the end, I decided to go with The Roommate for my final pick, because I see some similarities in how the heroines in the play and the musical gain some self confidence by the end of their respective stories.
I saw the film version of Sweeney Todd years ago after one of my friends recommended it to me, and I’ve been wanting to rewatch it since then because it left a strong impression on me. This is definitely the most horrifying musical I’ve ever seen, so bear that in mind if you haven’t seen it yet.
🌿 I recently finished reading the Market of Monsters series, so you can expect me to push this trilogy at you constantly for the next couple of months. Not Even Bones is the first book in the trilogy, and the reason why I’m recommending it is that it has some of the best morally gray / villainous characters I’ve ever read about. Also, it gets quite gory which is more than fitting for a book recommended to fans of Sweeney Todd.
🌿 If you’re looking for a thriller with a married couple that kills together, My Lovely Wife is for you. It’s not the most exciting of books, mostly because it’s rather predictable, however, I had a really good time reading it.
🌿 As I’m writing this post – it’s mid-April right now, if you’re wondering – I’m currently reading and loving the third Sweetpea novel. This thriller series follows Rhiannon, a serial killer who starts killing people after years of living as normally as possible. Rhiannon is incredibly witty, which makes these books fast, entertaining reads.
Do you enjoy musicals? What are your favorite musicals? (I have a lot more than these five and might make a post like this in the future.) Have you read any of these books?