We all know that feeling – you just finished binge-watching the latest season of your favorite show and now have to wait nearly a year for the next. So what do you do in the meantime? Well, you could rewatch the show, or you could read a book that’s similar to the show. That’s what I’m here for. I went through Netflix’s most popular original shows and paired some books with them if you’re trying to kill some time between seasons.
Many of the shows on this list are based on books. Instead of recommending you read them, I found similar books or series in case you don’t want to compare the show and source material.
‘Fate: The Winx Saga’: ‘Crown of Feathers’ by Nicki Pau Preto
When it came to Fate: The Winx Saga’s recommendation, I tunneled in on Bloom’s powers more than the overall plot of the show. She’s a fire fairy, so I wanted a book that had fire magic worked into it. That’s why Crown of Feathers and its two sequels would be perfect. This would also work if you’re a fan of the original show, Winx Club.
In Crown of Feathers, Veronyka has dreams of being a Phoenix Rider ever since her sister betrayed her. To achieve her goals, she disguises herself as a boy and embarks on a journey to find the acclaimed Riders. But on the trip, Veronyka’s sister pops back into her life and joins her quest because the new empire is on their tails, also looking for the Riders.
‘Emily in Paris’: ‘Kisses and Croissants’ by Anne-Sophie Jouhanneau
Honestly, I both love and hate Emily in Paris, but I think Kisses and Croissants is better. Both have the same vibe and tone, with the protagonist going to Paris for one reason and staying for another. Honestly, can Netflix make this a show or movie instead?
Mia is in Paris to achieve her dreams – she just wants to audition for a French ballet company – in less than two months. But ballet isn’t the only thing waiting for her there; Louis, her tour guide, is pretty charming. It is the City of Love, after all.
‘Ginny and Georgia’: ‘The Mother-Daughter Book Club’ by Heather Vogel Frederick
The Mother-Daughter Book Club series follows five teenagers, each of which gets their own book or two. They come together when their mothers start a book club to bond with other mothers and daughters. The series follows the girls going through many life events in middle and high school.
This series is pretty old – I started reading it in junior high – but it’s also timeless. And if you love Ginny and Georgia because of the mother-daughter dynamic, as well as friendships being made and broken, you’re going to love the entire series.
‘Sex Education’: ‘Perfect on Paper’ by Sophie Gonzales
Have you ever wondered what Sex Education would be like if Otis was a girl? Sophie Gonzales answers that question with Perfect on Paper. The concept is similar, and I can see each of the Sex Education characters as gender-bent counterparts to the book characters.
Darcy Philips is the anonymous advice-giver at her school – and she doesn’t like being blackmailed. Alexander Brougham sees Darcy collecting the advice request letters and decides to use that knowledge to get help of his own. Alexander will keep the secret if Darcy helps him get her best friend to date him again.
‘Sweet Magnolias’: ‘Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons’ by Lorna Landvik
Somehow, Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons is a standalone. I could read an entire series about the women in the book club, but I’ll settle for one book. The bond between friends is strong in both Sweet Magnolias and Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons. And trust me, you’ll have trouble putting it down for anything except the next season of Sweet Magnolias.
Freesia Court is home to the Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons book club. But to be honest, it’s more than a book club; it’s lifelong friendships that have been strong for decades. Faith, Audrey, Merit, Kari, and Slip rely on each other to stay grounded as they go through various life events together.
‘Virgin River’: ‘Chasing Perfect’ by Susan Mallery
Chasing Perfect is the first book in an extremely long series. But don’t worry, they fly by so you’ll never be bored with them. The series currently has 20 novels and several more novellas. Just from vibes alone, Fool’s Gold, California, is just the place for fans of Virgin River.
Fool’s Gold, California, is basically a revolving door town. The men never seem to stick around. And Charity Jones is set on changing that. She’s ready to settle down, and Fool’s Gold is the perfect town to get a fresh start. The only thing she doesn’t love about it is Josh, the town’s famous resident.
‘Dead to Me’: ‘The First Mistake’ by Sandie Jones
I’ll be honest, I have yet to watch this show. But my parents tell me all about it… including what happened in the latest finale. Based on what I know, The First Mistake would be the perfect thing to spend time waiting for a third season.
Alice’s life has been fantastic since her marriage to Nathan. But things start to go downhill when her best friend, Beth, doesn’t seem to be her best friend. Between her friend and husband both acting weirdly, Alice doesn’t know where to turn or what to think.
‘Warrior Nun’: ‘Grave Mercy’ by Rachel LaFevers
Grave Mercy starts off the His Fair Assassin trilogy; there’s also a spin-off duology titled Courting Darkness. If you love Warrior Nun and the girls trained to kill, you’re in for a treat. In addition, the tone of the series is exactly what you’d expect in the Netflix show.
The His Fair Assassin series follows different girls from St. Mortain Convent. Each girl has been trained as an assassin. The first follows Ismae, a girl blessed by Death himself, as she finds herself falling for her target.
‘Heartstopper’: ‘If This Gets Out’ by Sophie Gonzales and Cale Dietrich
If you binge-watched Heartstopper as soon as it came out, I’m willing to bet you either finished the graphic novels before or immediately after watching. So, I decided to recommend another sweet love story that follows characters become close friends and then fall in love.
Ruben and Zach are one-half of the boy band Saturday. And though they seem perfect in front of the cameras, life behind the scenes isn’t going well. Ruben has been forced into the closet by the band’s management team.
However, while on tour in Europe, Ruben and Zach start to realize hiding their feelings isn’t what they want to do anymore. With or without their management’s support, it’s time for them to tell the world.
‘Squid Game’: ‘The Plotters’ by Un-Su Kim
When it came to recommending a book for Squid Game lovers, I really wanted to find a book that was either set in Asia or written by an Asian author. And that’s when I found The Plotters. It was written in Japanese and set in an alternate version of Seoul. And it’s just as action-packed and high-stakes as the Netflix show.
Plotters are Seoul’s most dangerous criminals – they think of everything when it comes to assassinations, from the target to the getaway. Reseng was raised to never question orders from the Plotters. And everything runs smoothly until it doesn’t. Now with everything in disarray, it’s up to Reseng to decide if he’ll go back to his unquestioning ways.
‘Never Have I Ever’: ‘My So-Called Bollywood Life’ by Nisha Sharma
Just like with Squid Game, I wanted to find a book that follows a young Indian protagonist. I remembered My So-Called Bollywood Life, and it fit perfectly. Winnie and Devi are pretty similar while still being vastly different characters. And if you love the ups and downs of Devi’s life, you’re going to struggle to put down this book.
Winnie has always dreamed of having a Bollywood-style happy ending. So, when she returns home to find her boyfriend kissing someone else, she’s devastated. Even worse, he’s taken the spot Winnie wanted at the student film festival. To get her happy ending back on track, Winnie turns to Dev, someone who can help her move on and accomplish her dreams.
‘The Crown’: ‘The Woman Before Wallis’ by Bryn Turnbull
I could have easily recommended a non-fiction book about anyone in the British royal family. But that’s too easy. Instead, I focused on a scandal-filled fictional story that could easily fit into Bridgerton or The Crown. Even the description of the book says it’s perfect for The Crown.
In 1926, Thelma had just married Viscount Duke Furness and plunged straight into the British aristocracy. Everything seems to be picture-perfect until she is introduced to Edward, Prince of Wales. Thelma dives into an affair, but things get even rockier when her sister is wrapped up in her own scandal.
‘Vikings: Valhalla’: ‘Odinn’s Child’ by Tim Severin
I know I’m recommending this for Vikings: Valhalla fans, but this series is perfect for fans of any Viking-centric show. The Viking book series draws heavily from Norse mythology and history while giving readers a completely new story.
The three books in the Viking series follow Thorgils over the course of his life. The first book is set in 1001 as he arrives in Greenland to be raised by Gudrid. But things aren’t quite as expected when he sets out on a quest for Odinn.
The second book is set in 1019, months after Thorgils escaped the Irish Church. While on the run, he meets Grettir, his new brother in arms. The third book, set in 1035, follows Thorgils time as a Varangian lifeguard. It skips a few years to 1066 to see the battle at Stamford Bridge.
‘Outer Banks’: ‘I Killed Zoe Spanos’ by Kit Frick
I went off vibes alone with this recommendation. Nothing about this book’s plot is really similar to Outer Banks, but I feel like it fits. It’s been a while since I binge-watched, but from what I remember, Martina from I Killed Zoe Spanos reminds me of the group of friends in the Netflix show.
Anna Cicconi is only in town for the summer for a nannying gig but somehow gets wrapped into a murder mystery. When she shows up in the midst of Zoe Spanos’s disappearance, she realizes she looks like the missing girl. When Zoe’s body shows up, Anna is charged in the case. But Martina Green doesn’t believe it, so it’s up to her to clear Anna’s name.
‘Cobra Kai’: ‘The Book of the Sword’ by Carrie Asai
I found it difficult to recommend something for Cobra Kai because I was focusing on a group of kids and martial arts. So, I widened my focus to just books containing martial arts. And that’s when I remembered reading the Samurai Girl series. And it’s perfect for Cobra Kai fans.
Heaven was adopted after falling from a plane crash when she was a baby. Now, she’s nineteen and must become a samurai to protect herself. Her brother was killed by a ninja at her wedding, so she goes to his friend to teach her what she needs to know to survive.
‘Shadow and Bone’: ‘The Reader’ by Traci Chee
From the books to the show, it’s obvious the Grishaverse’s magic system is unique. So I wanted a series with a world that’s just as different. And it was hard to narrow it down, but I did it. The Sea of Ink and Gold trilogy is just what Shadow and Bone fans need while waiting for season two.
Sefia has been learning to survive in the wild with her aunt after her father was killed. After Nin is taken, though, Sefia must rely on the only thing she still has from her father – a book. But she can’t read. And Sefia has no idea where her aunt was taken. Despite all that, she sets out to find the people responsible for killing her father and taking her aunt.
‘Arcane’: ‘Foundryside’ by Robert Jackson Bennett
League of Legends and Arcane have one of the most unique magic systems and worldbuilding I’ve come across, so I had to do it justice by finding something similar. Foundryside is the first book in The Founders Trilogy where magic and technology have been combined in the same way as LOL.
A war is brewing in Tevanne. After Sancia steals an artifact from the Merchant Houses, she’s in the sights of someone who wants the artifact for themselves. To survive, Sancia must learn to use the item’s powers. But it’s going to take a lot more than luck and a few unlikely allies on her side.
‘Stranger Things’: ‘Meddling Kids’ by Edgar Cantero
I know the title of the book sounds more like Scooby-Doo! than Stranger Things, but let me explain. To me, Stranger Things is just a darker and more science-fiction version of Scooby-Doo! (except the talking dog). So, this book sounded perfect to me. Also, Meddling Kids’ plot sounds like it could fit in Stranger Things.
The year is 1990, and the Blyton Summer Detective Group is meeting up again for the first time since 1977. Now grown up, the group has to go back to where it all ended – to the mystery that keeps them up at night. Andy, Kerri, Tim, Nate, and Peter will finally uncover the monsters in the dark. But there’s a problem – Peter’s dead.
‘The Umbrella Academy’: Gerard Way’s Run of ‘Doom Patrol’
The Doom Patrol comic series follows a group of characters who aren’t perfect heroes, but at least they’re trying, right? Gerard Way’s run follows Crazy Jane, Rebis, Robotman, and the rest of the team as they take on the Vectra. Later issues in this run see Niles Caulder come and go as well.
It seems a bit obvious, but sometimes the easy choice is the right choice. I’ve noticed a lot of overlap in fans of Doom Patrol and The Umbrella Academy, both with the shows and the source material. So, why wouldn’t I recommend this comic series to those that haven’t read it yet?
‘The Witcher’: ‘Markswoman’ by Rati Mehrotra
There are so many series that are perfect for fans of The Witcher, but I rarely hear anyone recommend the Asiana duology. In The Witcher, it’s said that only men can be Witchers. In this book series, it’s actually rare to see a man in the Order. So, think of it as a gender-bent Witcher story in another universe.
Kyra is a Markswoman, one of the Order of Kali’s warriors. Though she pledged her loyalty to Asiana’s people, she dreams of getting revenge on the people who killed her family. So, when they take control of the Order, Kyra runs to protect herself. But that brings her face-to-face with the only male Order, the Order of Khur.