Done binging the latest TV sensation? Pick up a book and keep the good times rolling.
When your eyes inevitably begin to glaze over on your 29th episode of Gossip Girl in almost as many hours (yes, we speak from experience), picking up a book is the perfect way to escape.
But, maybe you’re not ready to end your stay in the immersive world of your favourite Netflix show or movie. These recommendations will help you find the perfect read based on two shows you just can’t live without, whether you’re a fantasy fan, history buff or hopeless romantic.
1. Riverdale + Scream = Two Can Keep a Secret
All of the salacious scandal of Riverdale meets teen-centric thriller à la Scream in Karen M. McManus’s Two Can Keep a Secret. This standalone murder mystery from the bestselling author of One of Us is Lying centres around two teens, Ellery and Malcolm, as they try to solve the historic murder of the town’s Homecoming Queen and another recent, unexplained disappearance.
2. Sisters + Grace and Frankie = The Godmothers
The latest novel from #1 bestselling author Monica McInerney is family drama at its best, not unlike cult-fave Aussie TV show Sisters or the hilarious Grace and Frankie. The Godmothers follows Eliza, who’s always been enveloped by unflinching adoration and support from her two godmothers, despite a complicated relationship with her own mother. Affected by a tragic event at 17, Eliza retreats into herself – that is, until 13 years later, when one of her godmothers appears with an opportunity to leap into the great unknown . . .
3. Ugly Delicious + Bojack Horseman = Un-cook Yourself
Nat’s What I Reckon’s Un-cook yourself is our best iso buddy’s ‘deep and meaningful guide to life’, and we couldn’t be more stoked about it. If you’re still clueless as to who this tattooed ratbag with a frying pan is, let us introduce your latest obsession. A cooking show with a sweary twist, Nat’s What I Reckon is a YouTube sensation that we’d describe as somewhere between David Chang’s Ugly Delicious and animated fave Bojack Horseman. This hilarious (and very tongue-in-cheek) self-help guide is also interspersed with Nat’s favourite recipes. Get cookin’ (no jar sauce allowed)!
4. Gossip Girl + Elite = Anna K
Attention, Upper East Siders: there’s a new book in town, and we’re obsessed. Jenny Lee’s Anna K retells a particularly well-known piece of Russian literature, catapulting it into 21st century Manhattan where the fashion is mouth-watering, money is no object and scandal is rife. Gossip Girl fans will feel right at home, as will those loving the hot new Spanish series Elite. Oh, and did we mention Lee has reimagined Anna as gloriously Korean-American? It’s time to turn your fave K-Pop songs on and hunker down with this ‘dazzlingly opulent’ must-read.
5. Sex Education + The Politician = Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts)
Salacious, scandalous and sex-positive – Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts) is the LGBTQ+ mystery every teen (and adult alike!) needs in their lives. Fans of hilarious Netflix original Sex Education will notice parallels with this incredible story, as protagonist Jack starts up his own sex advice column, not unlike Otis’s famed clinics. Throw in The Politician-level scandal and we’re on our way . . .
6. The Queen’s Gambit + Outlander = The Champagne War
Fiona McIntosh’s sweeping wartime saga, The Champagne War, follows an emboldened champenoise determined to protect her husband’s legacy when he heads off to war – that is, until he doesn’t return, and everything changes in an instant. She sets up an underground hospital to care for wounded soldiers, which brings with it an enigmatic new patient and some stirring feelings. Similarly focused on the life of a strong woman as raved-about new series The Queen’s Gambit, with all of the passion and drama of Outlander, The Champagne War is an epic historical tale of love, war and fortitude in hard times.
7. On My Block + Crash Landing on You = Frankly in Love
The fake dating trope is one we can’t get enough of (sue us), satisfied by addictive Korean drama Crash Landing on You. Throw in all the drama of On My Block and you’ve got adorable yet angsty romance Frankly in Love. High school senior Frank is Korean American, and his traditional parents have one wish for him – that he finds a nice Korean girl to settle down with. Of course, the girl he happens to fall for is white – so it’s up to him and family friend Joy to convince their parents that they’re a couple to cover up their illicit relationships. This book is full of cute romance, but it also deals with some heavy stuff, including race relations and family obligation.
8. Emily in Paris + Lovesick = Ghosts
What if your life seemed idyllic on the surface, but was really falling apart? This perfectly describes Nina Dean, a successful food writer, who’s actually dealing with far more than meets the eye. Dolly Alderton is a relatable millennial voice, and in Ghosts has crafted a story that’s witty yet tender, full of heart and hits home effortlessly. With all the painful ‘figuring life out’ of Emily in Paris and the same wry British humour of Lovesick, Ghosts is a must-read for 20-and-30-somethings just trying to hold it all together.
9. Shetland + Doc Martin = The Thursday Murder Club
Four geriatrics with a penchant for investigating unsolved mysteries are quickly embroiled in a real-life case when a brutal killing takes place right under their noses – what could go wrong!? Perfect for fans of British murder mystery shows like Doc Martin and Shetland (which takes place in a similarly remote community, albeit not a retirement village), The Thursday Murder Club is a witty yet riveting romp of a book that takes some dark and twisty turns. How could you NOT want to read about crime-solving octogenarians?
10. The Crown + Dynasty = American Royals
History books often refer to George Washington as “the man who could have been king.” But how would our world be different, if instead of establishing a democratic republic, America had remained a monarchy instead? American Royals takes place in that version of the present day – one where instead of being president, George Washington was their first king, and his descendants still sit on the American throne. It follows all the intrigue and romance within the American royal family, with a feminist twist: focusing on the princess who will be America’s very first queen.
11. Inside the World’s Toughest Prisons + To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before = Inside the Tiger
Okay, okay – hear us out. In perhaps our wackiest pairing, we’re throwing together a hard-hitting doco series with Netflix’s sweetest, most talked-about teen romcom. Yet, quite startlingly, this pairing truly does give us Inside the Tiger vibes. Hayley Lawrence’s celebrated YA contemporary follows Bel, who’s still coping with her mother’s murder. As part of a class assignment, Bel begins writing letters to Death Row inmate Micah, who’s shackled up in a Thai prison . . . and immediately, they’re drawn to one another. Will loving him mean losing the people who mean the most to her?
12. Young Wallander + Ozark = The Kingdom
Jo Nesbo’s writing is Nordic noir at its best, not unlike hit Scandi crime shows such as Young Wallander, Wallander and The Killing. Nesbo’s latest book, The Kingdom, is an intriguing thriller that follows two brothers whose paths diverged after their parents’ deaths. Reunited after some years in their sleepy hometown, a series of unanticipated events threatens to derail both brothers’ lives. Nesbo drills deep into the root of their family conflicts, exposing secrets left and right, barrelling headfirst into twists no one will see coming. This family saga turned dark crime novel will be a hit amongst fans of gritty shows like Ozark.
13. Stranger Things + The Mist = Harrow Lake
Welcome to Harrow Lake. Someone's expecting you . . . All of the 80s nostalgia of Stranger Things meets Stephen King’s best in Harrow Lake, a bitey YA thriller from Kat Ellis. Lola’s dad is a bigshot horror film director, so she’s pretty confident nothing scares her. But, when her dad is the victim of a vicious attack, she’s shipped off to live in Harrow Lake. Lola quickly realises that not everything in this eerie town is as it seems – and there’s something, or someone, stalking her every move.
14. The Witcher + The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina = The Dark Tide
We love nothing more than a dark, witchy story – especially one that’s rooted in Scottish and Polish folklore like The Dark Tide. Every year on St. Walpurga's Eve, the Witch Queen lures a boy back to her palace. An innocent life to be sacrificed on the full moon to keep the island city from sinking. But then our main gal Lina spends time with the queen, and neither are like the other expected. Against their will, the two girls find themselves falling for each other. As water floods Caldella’s streets and the dark tide demands its sacrifice, they must choose who to save: themselves, each other, or the island city relying on them both.
What are you currently binging on Netflix?
2020 marks Monica McInerney’s 20th year as a published author. Here she offers 20 memories and observations on her writing career.
Monica McInerney on the family secrets, overseas trips and strange times that shaped her heartwarming new novel.
Fiona McIntosh shares five surprising facts she learned while researching The Champagne War.
Fiona McIntosh on the jewels and journeys that sparked the idea for her latest novel.
Fiona McIntosh on studying 1930’s Britain and India in pursuit of the perfect setting for her latest novel.
Download McIntosh’s story behind her novel, The Perfumer’s Secret.
A classic whodunit for the most perceptive reading groups.
Sweep your book club off to the sun-kissed vineyards of rural France.
A sweeping, epic story of love and betrayal from Fiona McIntosh; The Pearl Thief will leave a lasting impression on your book club.
Absorb the heroism, heartache and healing of The Tea Gardens with your book club.
Author Krystal Sutherland shares her favourite stories.
The First Lady of the United States pens a letter to her younger self.