Read-alikes of Your Favorite Books

“I just finished Margaret Atwood’s A Handmaid’s Tale, and it blew me away! What’s another book like that?”

We get questions like this every day at CPL. And while no two books are going to give you exactly the same reading experience, we know of plenty that are pretty similar to  that great book you just read.  For example, here are four titles that got a lot of Checkout time last year, and four others you might like just as much.

infographic illustrating the book selections mentioned in this article.

If you’d like to find more books to love, check out our reader’s advisory database NoveList (available on the eResources page of our website.) NoveList is the premier database of reading recommendations, available through libraries around the world, and makes it easy to match the right book with the right person.

Staff Picks are everywhere!

If there’s one thing we love, it’s recommending books. A walk through our main & lower levels will reveal a dozen or more themed book displays featured throughout, which we change and update frequently. There’s also our “Reader’s Depot” on the main level, which features the current NYT Bestsellers Lists, release dates for upcoming titles, read-alike lists, and more.

Anyone going through the Checkout area has seen our Staff Picks wall. This wall is filled in daily with books our staff members have read and enjoyed. There’s ALWAYS something good to read there!

You may not know that there is also a “Staff Picks” page in our catalog. Staff members have put together some themed book lists there for you to peruse. You can browse these Staff Picks right from home, and if you see something you like, reserve a copy online!


If you’re reading this blog, you already know there are a ton of reading suggestions here. Elsewhere on social media, our Tumblr is full of book lists & book news, too.  And of course, you can always come right out and ask us for reading suggestions. Or let us know about a book you enjoyed. We love getting book recommendations almost as much as giving them!

My Most Frequently Recommended Children’s Authors

One of my favorite things about working in the library is getting the chance to do favsalanna-the-first-adventurereader’s advisory. This is librarian jargon for answering questions about what book a patron (or their child) might enjoy reading next. On our part it involves discovering what the reader is most interested in, and what kind of books they usually enjoy most. While I might occasionally get stumped in the adult fiction category, when it comes to books for children (or teens) I could go on for hours. We all have our favorites, particularly if given free reign to mention any genre of book we enjoyed, or when we find a patron that has enjoyed some of the same books that we loved as well.

faviconThere are several authors that most parents, librarians, and parents think of first and fondly, such as E.B. White, Beverly Cleary, C.S. Lewis, Judy Blume, Lemony Snicket, Roald Dahl, Kate DiCamilloand more. Once the typical go to books have been read, or dismissed by the young reader since the parents suggested them, I have several of my own go to authors that I usually favssisters-grimmrecommend. Here is my “short” list.

Tamora Pierce has several series, all connected by the fantasy world they are set in and some overlapping events and characters. You do not have to read all of the series to enjoy the others. The first series is Song of the Lioness, about a young girl who defies all the odds to become a knight. She has books in both the children’s and young adult sections of the library. Other series include Beka Copper, the Daughter of the Lioness or Trickster series, Circle of Magic, and  Protector of the Small.

favsnerdsMichael Buckley has one stand alone novel (Undertow) for young adults and two wonderful series for children. The Sisters Grimm is a mystery series about orphaned sisters Sabrina and Daphne Grimm who are sent to live with an eccentric grandmother, who just happens to live in a town with a variety of fairy-tale characters. NERDS is a series that combines all the excitement of international espionage and all the awkwardness of elementary school. The series features a group of unpopular students who run a spy network from inside their school. With the help of cutting-edge science, their nerdy qualities are enhanced and transformed into incredible abilities!

Tom Angleberger has a selection of fun and fast paced books that are great for favsmustashreluctant readers. There is Fake Mustache, the Origami Yoda series, the Qwikpick Papers series, and Horton Halfpott.  All of his books have silly humor, illustrations, and realistic characters in less believable situations.

E.D. Baker tends to writes books that take our assumptions about princesses, magic, and fairy tales and makes us look at them with new eyes. First came The Frog Princess which started a series. Soon after came The Wide-Awake Princess and its follow ups. There is also the stand alone (at least so far) A Question of Magic and the start to another series with The Fairy-Tale Matchmaker.

favsfrogOther great authors, that rarely disappoint readers willing to give them a chance include Avi, Shannon Hale, Neil Gaiman, Jonathan Stroud, Gail Carson Levine, Ben Hatke, Jennifer Holm, Vivian Velde Vande, Holly Black, Matt Christopher, Diana Wynne Jones, Lois Lowry, Louis Sachar, Jerry Spinelli, Andrew Clements, Margaret Peterson Haddix, Cornelia Funke, and so many more. Still looking for suggestions, or need a specific recommendation for you or your child? Swing by the Children’s Room and any of us will be glad to help and share our favorites!

Hungering for More?

Did you love the Hunger Games trilogy? Did it leave you eager to read other books that might speak to you in the same way? Perhaps you are just so eager for the next movie to come out that you need something in the same vein to keep your excitement flowing. Well, have no fear! There have been many fantastic dystopian books, and series written so there is plenty to chose from. Here are five of my top picks for books to read to satisfy whatever reading hungers have risen in you.

Inside Out and Outside In by Maria V. Snyder is a pair of novels, also available in an omnibus version called Inside. Living Inside is simple, you do your job and do not even think about changing your status. Scrubs need to do their jobs keeping everything running smoothly, while living in overcrowded quarters. As far as the scrubs know the uppers, the elite, take them for granted and look down upon them, and some do. However, uppers are quite sure that the [Cover]scrubs are exaggerating their challenges and being lazy. Trella, a scrub with a vast knowledge of the pipes and in between places, does a friend a favor and discovers that the world is even more complicated than she thought. What might be Outside, and why are things controlled by so few? Revolution comes, and Trella becomes a reluctant leader. But when the mysteries of Inside are uncovered, will she discover that the greatest danger might actually come from Outside? Snyder’s other books have more of a fantasy flavor, but I highly recommend them as well as just lain great reads, starting with Poison Study.

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater is set in a world that hold races every [Cover]November. These are no ordinary races, they are completed by riders trying to keep a hold of water horses so that they can cross the finish line. Some of the riders live, others die, and some wish they had died. Sean Kendrick is a returning champion that keeps his word, doubts, and fears to himself as much as he can. Puck Connolly is going to be the first girl in the races, although she never meant to get involved. Although circumstances have left her few alternatives. She is going to challenge and break other barriers on her way. While she knows it will not be easy, she is far from prepared for what awaits her.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan is a story about isolated society and zombies. Mary lives in an isolated village and knows little about history or the world outside, but she has questions. Her village is protected by an archaic religious order called The Sisters, who take charge of Mary and ready her for marriage after her mother is bitten by one of the undead from the surrounding woods. But, the [Cover]village’s defenses are breached and Mary’s world is forever changed. A small group that goes in search of answers and find both more and less than they expected. The only warnings I give to readers that are considering picking up this novel, there are some scenes with graphic violence, it is a very intense read. Oh, and have the sequels handy because there are many questions that carry over. The second book in the series is The Dead-Tossed Waves, and the third book is The Dark and Hollow Places.

Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer highlights the fears about a world-wide catastrophe, which does not seem all that far from reality. The mo[Cover]on is hit by an asteroid and moves to a closer orbit to the Earth. This causes natural disasters and climate changes. The normal concerns of Mirand are buried under the need for survival. Thankfully, Miranda’s mother has made preparations and their family is better off than many others. The are stuck together in close quarters, keeping tabs on the status of the world. The story is brought to us through Miranda’s journal, so most of the violence is not firsthand, but readers will be drawn into the conflicts and concerns of the world, and the group watching their supplies dwindle while their doubts grow. The story does offer some hope, but leaves much for any reader to dwell on and consider for themselves.

The Maze Runner by James Dashner makes readers wonder about what they would do if they woke up somewhere with no memories. Thomas wakes up and is welcomed to t[Cover]he Glade. No one in the Glade knows who they were, or how they got there. All they know is that every morning the stone walls that surround the Glade open into the maze, and every night the doors close. They know that every thirty days a new boy is delivered to the Glade. But the day after Thomas arrives the routine is broken, and the first girl to ever arrives in the Glade. The message she carries is even more shocking than her arrival. Thomas needs to unlock the hidden secrets in his mind to discover the truth, and his own importance.

Other reading recommendations that you might enjoy include Legend by Marie Lu, Ashfall by Mike Mullin, Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi, Above World by Jenn Reese, Divergent by Veronica Roth, Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake, Matched by Ally Condie, City of Bones (starts the Mortal Instruments series and is soon to be a movie) and Clockwork Angel (starts the Infernal Devices series) by Cassandra Clare, and Enclave by Ann Aguirre.