For years now, I’ve seen many of the vlog channels I watch use “If You Like This, Try That” to offer recommendations. For some reason, I’d always had a lot of trouble seeing enough of a resemblance between books to make a strong enough connection to confidently say that enjoying one would probably mean liking the other. Recently, however, I’ve read quite a few books that reminded me pretty strongly of others that I’d read. Usually, there was something about the characters that called to mind another book, but sometimes it was similarities in the plot or even the theme. In each case, I’ve tried to pair a more popular book with something that people might not be so familiar with. I decided I’d give this kind of recommendation a try, and hopefully it is something I can revisit again in the future when I see some more similarities!
If you like We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver, you might also like Defending Jacob by William Landay
I read both of these in my first year of doing reading challenges, and was immediately struck by the similarities. Both are books about teenage boys who are accused of horrific acts of violence, and whose parents are struggling with the idea of their sons’ involvement. In both cases, the boys come from two-parent households where the parents don’t agree their son’s behaviour, with one believing he must be innocent, and the other believing that he could be that violent. Both are also a little slow-paced in places, so it might take some time to get into the stories, but both are fascinating from a psychological perspective. These were two of the most memorable books I read that year, and have stuck with me even now, nearly 5 years after I read them. Both are quite creepy!
If you like Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, you might also like Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia
Both of these books feature female main characters who are actively involved in online communities. Cath in Fangirl writes an extremely popular fanfiction series for the Simon Snow series, which are that world’s Harry Potter books. Eliza is the anonymous creator of a very popular webcomic called Monstrous Sea. For both of these girls, their online lives are very important to them and they are highly invested in the stories they create, and both are very introverted characters. Both characters also have very strong relationships with their family, and learn to come out of their shell a bit with the help of people who understand how important their online worlds are to them and support them. I found both books very relatable and they are two of my favourites.
If you like the Lumberjanes series by Noelle Stevenson and Shannon Watters, you might also like the Giant Days series by John Allison
Aside from the obvious similarity of these both being graphic novel series, I was surprised to realize how much they seemed to have in common. Both series are about groups of female friends living away from home. In Lumberjanes, there are five girls who share a cabin at a summer camp, and in Giant Days, they are three college roommates. Both series follow the friends as they navigate a variety of obstacles, and they both have a very strong emphasis on friendship and the way the girls support each other. Both also feature diverse casts of characters. While the Lumberjanes series has more fantasy elements than Giant Days, both of them have similar humour and a similar blend of serious and silly situations. Both are quick and a lot of fun to read. Even the art styles of these two series seem a bit similar to me.
If you like The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid, you might also like The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
I actually read The Thirteenth Tale first, but I think fans of either one would enjoy the other. Both are books that feature a young woman who is hired by a famous person to document their lives. Evelyn Hugo is a famous Hollywood movie icon, and Vida Winter in The Thirteenth Tale is a famous author. Both stars have been hiding secrets about themselves and their lives that the women hired to write about them are determined to uncover. Both are also people who have moved away from the public eye, and handpicked the women to write their biography for reasons unbeknownst to her at the time. The two books are different styles, with the Thirteenth Tale having a much more of a gothic mystery feel, while Evelyn Hugo is a bit more of a contemporary or even historical fiction. Both are very well-written and compelling stories that are easy to get absorbed in.
If you liked The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare, you might also like The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice & Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
These are both series that I tried for the first time this year, and I was struck by several similarities. Both are set in Europe in the past. The Infernal Devices is set in Victorian England, while The Gentleman’s Guide explores several European countries, including England, in the 1700s. Both feature groups of three main characters, two male and one female. Both have a major character who is struggling with a physical illness or disability, which are significant to that characters’ arc as well as those around them. Both also feature a similar kind of snarky humour and banter between the main characters. The overall storylines in both books are quite different, with the Infernal Devices series involving paranormal elements, while The Gentleman’s Guide is more of a quest story. However, the similarities in the setting and some of the character dynamics are close enough that I think fans of one would like the other.
If you like The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis, you might also like Sadie by Courtney Summers
To be completely honest, I liked The Female of the Species but didn’t love it, while Sadie is one of the best books I’ve read so far this year. Actually, when I read Sadie, my initial reaction was that it was the book that I’d expected The Female of the Species to be. Both books feature a teenage girl who is seeking revenge for the deaths of their sisters. Alex in The Female of the Species seems to have a naturally more dark and violent nature, while Sadie is acting out of anger and revenge. Both are determined not to let the man who killed their sisters get away with his actions, and will stop at nothing to make sure he is punished. Both books also include outside perspectives, with Sadie involving a podcast by a man who was following her story, and The Female of the Species including perspectives from two other characters. Both books also have very gripping endings.
If you like The Astonishing Colour of After by Emily X.R. Pan, you might also like Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman
I would also highly recommend Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman if you like The Astonishing Colour of After, but Summer Bird Blue seemed like a bit closer of a fit. Both of these books are about teenage girls who are dealing with grief after the death of a family member. The characters in both of them travel to a place they have never visited before to stay with relatives as they try to come to terms with their loss. In the Astonishing Colour of After, the main character Leigh travels to Taiwan to stay with her grandparents, while in Summer Bird Blue, Rumi goes to Hawaii to live with her aunt. Both girls are trying to hold onto the person they have lost, with Leigh believing her mother has become a bird, and Rumi trying to finish the song she and her sister had been writing together. Both books are beautifully written and are excellent representations of grief and loss.
If you like Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz, you might also like Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Koharram
Full disclosure: both of these books were 4 star reads for me, not 5 stars. However, when I read Darius the Great is Not Okay, I was immediately noticed several similarities. Both books are about teenage boys who are dealing with depression, who make friends with another boy who shares their culture. In Aristotle and Dante, the boys are Mexican-American, and in Darius the Great, they are Persian and meet when Darius travels to Iran to visit his grandparents. In both stories, the boys quickly develop a very strong friendship that hints at something more. There was one particular scene in Darius the Great when he is talking to one of his parents about his friend that reminded me very strongly of a conversation that happened toward the end of Aristotle and Dante. Both are stories about boys who start to feel more comfortable with themselves through their bonds with the boy they meet.
If you like On The Come Up by Angie Thomas, you might also like Let Me Hear a Rhyme by Tiffany D. Jackson
Angie Thomas and Tiffany D. Jackson have both become some of my new favourite YA authors, and I was very surprised to see that their newest books had some similarities. Both books are about African American teenagers with a talent for rap. In On the Come Up, the main character Bri wants to become a rap star in order to help support her family, who are struggling financially. In Let Me Hear a Rhyme, Quadir and Jarrell decide to make their friend Steph, who was recently killed, a rap star, with the help of his sister Jasmine. Both books are so well-written, with very interesting and memorable characters. Both also touch on deeper topics about how African Americans are viewed and treated. Both books are about fighting for your dreams and what it takes to pursue this kind of fame. I also think both are interesting books even for people who are not necessarily rap fans. I’m not really into rap, but loved both of these.
If you like The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen, you might also like The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine
Even at a surface level, these two have a lot of similarities. Both of these are thrillers that are written by two female authors. Liv Constantine, for those who don’t know, are sisters Lynne and Valerie Constantine, who write together under a shared name. Both of these books focus on women who have been replaced in their marriage by a younger woman. It is actually really hard to talk about how these books are similar without revealing anything that might be a spoiler, but both involve narrators who might not be so reliable, and characters who are manipulative and conniving. Both are very compelling, and although it took me a little time to get into each of them, they were worth it. Both have moments that are genuinely very creepy. Both also seem to be relatively polarizing books, since I’ve seen that most reviews either love them or hate them.