15 Books Like Call Me By Your Name

Books Like Call Me By Your Name

Are you still caught up in the beautiful melancholy of Elio and Oliver’s love story from “Call Me By Your Name”? 

Do you find yourself yearning for another tale that will sweep you away with its tender romance and poignant narrative? 

I have curated a list of books that capture the same essence of longing, desire, and the complexities of love just like André Aciman’s masterpiece. 

So, if you’re ready to embark on a journey of heartache, passion, and self-discovery, let’s delve into these captivating reads that will leave you spellbound and utterly entranced.

Books Like Call Me By Your Name

1. “Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe” by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

This novel explores the unique friendship and eventual romance between two boys, Aristotle “Ari” Mendoza and Dante Quintana, who are seemingly opposites in many ways. Set in the 1980s in El Paso, Texas, the story delves into themes of identity, family, and the complexities of love and friendship. 

Through lyrical prose, Sáenz beautifully captures the boys’ journey towards understanding themselves and each other.

Major Similarities: 

Like “Call Me By Your Name,” this book focuses on a deep, evolving relationship between two young individuals discovering their sexual identities and emotions. 

The setting plays a crucial role in shaping the narrative, with both stories taking place in vividly described locations that contribute to the characters’ experiences. Additionally, both novels tackle themes of self-discovery, the bittersweetness of first love, and the challenges of societal norms.

2. “The Song of Achilles” by Madeline Miller

Madeline Miller’s “The Song of Achilles” retells the story of Achilles and Patroclus, a legendary pairing from Greek mythology, with a tender focus on their relationship. 

The novel is a reimagining of their lives, from their boyhood to the Trojan War, highlighting the depth of their bond against the backdrop of ancient prophecy and heroic quests. Miller’s lyrical writing style brings a modern sensibility to these classical characters, exploring themes of fate, glory, and love.

Major Similarities: 

Both “Call Me By Your Name” and “The Song of Achilles” offer a poignant exploration of a deep and complex relationship between two male characters, set against a richly detailed historical or cultural backdrop. 

The novels share a lyrical and evocative prose style that delves into the emotional landscapes of their protagonists, and both address the themes of longing, destiny, and the ephemeral nature of love.

3. “Lie With Me” by Philippe Besson

“Lie With Me” is a stunning novel translated from French by Molly Ringwald, which tells the story of a passionate love affair between two teenage boys in 1980s France. 

The narrative is both a look back at a clandestine relationship and a meditation on the impossibility of forgetting one’s first love. Besson’s writing is spare yet emotionally rich, capturing the intensity of first love and the pain of its loss.

Major Similarities: 

Like “Call Me By Your Name,” “Lie With Me” explores a secretive, intense relationship between two young men, set in a picturesque European setting. 

Both novels are characterized by their beautiful, evocative prose and a strong sense of place, which serves as a backdrop to the exploration of themes such as the discovery of sexual identity, the impact of societal expectations, and the lasting effect of first love.

4. “We Are Okay” by Nina LaCour

“We Are Okay” is a profound and moving novel about grief, loneliness, and the power of love and friendship. 

The story follows Marin, a college freshman who has isolated herself in the wake of a devastating loss, as she confronts her past and the truths about her family and first love. LaCour’s narrative is intimate and heart-wrenching, exploring the depths of human emotion and the path towards healing.

Major Similarities: 

While “We Are Okay” and “Call Me By Your Name” differ in their specifics, both novels are deeply introspective, exploring the inner lives of their protagonists as they navigate complex emotions and relationships. 

The themes of love, loss, and the journey towards self-acceptance are central to both stories, as is the impactful, evocative prose that draws readers into the characters’ experiences.

5. “The Heart’s Invisible Furies” by John Boyne

“The Heart’s Invisible Furies” is a sweeping novel that follows the life of Cyril Avery, born out of wedlock in post-war Ireland, as he comes to terms with his homosexuality in a country that does not accept it. 

Through humor and tragedy, Boyne crafts a poignant narrative of identity, friendship, and love, spanning several decades and capturing the societal changes in Ireland regarding sexuality and human rights.

Major Similarities: 

Both “Call Me By Your Name” and “The Heart’s Invisible Furies” deal with the protagonists’ struggles with their sexual identities in environments that are not always accepting. The novels span significant periods in the characters’ lives, providing a broad perspective on their personal growth and the evolution of their relationships. 

Additionally, both stories are marked by their emotional depth, rich characterization, and the exploration of love in its many forms.

6. “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda” by Becky Albertalli

This novel introduces us to Simon Spier, a not-so-openly gay high school junior navigating the complexities of love, friendship, and identity. When an email falls into the wrong hands, Simon’s secret is at risk of being exposed, thrusting him into a complicated dance of blackmail, bravery, and affection.

Albertalli’s writing is both humorous and heartfelt, offering a refreshing take on the coming-of-age narrative with a memorable cast of characters.

Major Similarities: 

Like “Call Me By Your Name,” “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda” centers on a young protagonist grappling with his sexual identity and the intricacies of first love. 

Both stories emphasize the importance of acceptance, the fear and exhilaration of coming out, and the universal quest for understanding and intimacy. 

The engaging, emotionally rich narrative and the focus on character development echo themes found in “Call Me By Your Name.”

7. “Giovanni’s Room” by James Baldwin

Set in 1950s Paris, “Giovanni’s Room” tells the story of an American man’s tumultuous affair with an Italian bartender named Giovanni. This groundbreaking novel delves into themes of sexuality, identity, and societal norms, exploring the protagonist’s internal conflict and the consequences of his decisions. 

Baldwin’s masterful prose captures the complexities of love and the pain of alienation, making it a classic of gay literature.

Major Similarities: 

Both “Giovanni’s Room” and “Call Me By Your Name” offer a deep exploration of an intense, complicated relationship between two men, set against a European backdrop. 

The novels are celebrated for their beautiful, evocative writing and their poignant examination of forbidden love, identity, and the societal pressures that shape personal choices and relationships.

8. “Call If You Need Me” by Michael Zadoorian

“Call If You Need Me” is a novel about discovering love in unexpected places. It follows the journey of a young man who, after experiencing loss, finds himself in a small town where he meets and falls for another young man, leading to a profound exploration of love and grief. 

Zadoorian’s narrative is rich with emotion and the beauty of discovering oneself and others in the midst of sorrow.

Major Similarities: 

This novel shares with “Call Me By Your Name” the theme of unexpected love that deeply transforms the characters involved. Both narratives are characterized by their emotional depth, the exploration of first love, and the impact of location on the story’s mood and the characters’ development. 

The tender portrayal of love’s complexities and the protagonists’ journeys towards self-discovery are central to both stories.

9. “History Is All You Left Me” by Adam Silvera

Adam Silvera’s novel is a poignant tale of love, loss, and redemption. It follows Griffin, whose first love and ex-boyfriend, Theo, dies in a drowning accident. 

Griffin must navigate his complicated feelings, especially as secrets about Theo’s last relationship come to light, forcing him to confront the truth about love and the process of healing. Silvera’s exploration of grief and the nonlinear path of moving forward is both heartbreaking and hopeful.

Major Similarities: 

“History Is All You Left Me” and “Call Me By Your Name” share a deep dive into the themes of first love and profound loss, exploring the impact of grief on young individuals. 

Both novels are emotionally rich, offering a detailed look into the hearts and minds of their protagonists as they navigate the complexities of their feelings. The emphasis on memory, the pain of separation, and the struggle for identity and acceptance are key similarities.

10. “Less” by Andrew Sean Greer

“Less” follows the story of Arthur Less, a failed novelist on the brink of turning fifty, who embarks on a worldwide adventure to avoid the wedding of his former lover. 

This Pulitzer Prize-winning novel is a satire of the American abroad, a touching love story, and a heartfelt comedy about the human tendency to avoid and confront love and loss. Greer’s narrative is filled with wit, humor, and deep insights into the nature of love and aging.

Major Similarities: 

Like “Call Me By Your Name,” “Less” explores themes of love, loss, and the passage of time, albeit with a more humorous tone. Both novels feature protagonists deeply affected by past relationships, embarking on personal journeys that are as much about self-discovery as they are about escaping the pain of lost love. 

The rich character development, introspective narrative, and exploration of the complexities of romantic relationships are central themes in both books.

11. “What If It’s Us” by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera

This collaborative novel from Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera brings together two boys, Arthur and Ben, in a serendipitous meeting at a New York City post office. 

As they navigate the ups and downs of a new relationship, they face challenges and misunderstandings that test their bond. The novel is a heartwarming and humorous exploration of young love, fate, and the universe’s role in bringing people together.

Major Similarities: 

“What If It’s Us” and “Call Me By Your Name” share a focus on the beginnings of a romantic relationship between two young men, filled with the excitement, uncertainty, and intensity of first love. 

Both stories delve into the nuances of identity and the search for belonging, underscored by the poignant moments that define a relationship. The rich, emotionally charged narrative and the exploration of the impact of timing and fate on love are central themes in both books.

12. “On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous” by Ocean Vuong

Ocean Vuong’s debut novel is a letter from a son to a mother who cannot read, exploring their family’s history that began before he was born, with roots stretching back to Vietnam. 

The narrative weaves between past and present, exploring themes of identity, race, and sexuality, against the backdrop of their life in America. Vuong’s poetic prose captures the beauty and brutality of life and love, offering a haunting reflection on the power of storytelling.

Major Similarities: 

Both “On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous” and “Call Me By Your Name” explore complex familial relationships and the protagonists’ awakenings to their own identities and desires. 

The lyrical quality of Vuong’s writing mirrors the evocative and sensuous prose found in “Call Me By Your Name,” with both novels offering profound insights into the nature of love, loss, and self-discovery against a culturally rich backdrop.

13. “Swimming in the Dark” by Tomasz Jedrowski

Set in the 1980s Poland under Communist rule, “Swimming in the Dark” tells the story of Ludwik and Janusz, two young men who find themselves falling in love against a backdrop of political and social repression. 

The novel is a poignant exploration of the struggle to maintain love and identity in a time and place where both could be considered subversive. Jedrowski’s writing beautifully captures the tension between desire and the harsh realities of the external world.

Major Similarities: 

Like “Call Me By Your Name,” “Swimming in the Dark” is a deeply moving tale of first love and the societal challenges that come with it. Both novels are set against picturesque, yet politically charged backdrops that significantly affect the characters’ lives and relationships. 

The themes of forbidden love, the pain of secrecy, and the bittersweetness of a love that cannot fully blossom in the open are central to both stories.

14. “The Great Believers” by Rebecca Makkai

“The Great Believers” is a powerful and poignant novel that navigates the lives of a group of friends in 1980s Chicago and the impact of the AIDS epidemic, alongside a parallel story set in contemporary Paris. 

Makkai’s narrative explores themes of friendship, loss, and redemption, capturing the emotional depth and resilience of her characters. The novel is a tribute to the power of community and the indelible mark of loss and love on the human spirit.

Major Similarities: 

Both “The Great Believers” and “Call Me By Your Name” delve into the complexities of relationships impacted by societal and historical events. 

While “Call Me By Your Name” is more focused on a singular romantic relationship, both novels beautifully explore the impact of external circumstances on personal identities and relationships. Makkai’s and Aciman’s works are imbued with a deep sense of nostalgia, loss, and the enduring nature of love.

15. “Red, White & Royal Blue” by Casey McQuiston

Red, White & Royal Blue” is a charming and witty novel about the unlikely romance between Alex Claremont-Diaz, the First Son of the United States, and Prince Henry, a British royal. 

What starts as a rivalry turns into a secret romance that could upend their lives and the diplomatic relations between their countries. McQuiston’s writing is both humorous and heartfelt, offering a fresh take on the enemies-to-lovers trope with a significant focus on identity, duty, and love.

Major Similarities: 

Like “Call Me By Your Name,” “Red, White & Royal Blue” explores a secret and intense relationship that forces the characters to confront their identities and futures. Both novels are characterized by their engaging narratives, the exploration of love in the face of societal expectations, and the personal growth of their protagonists. 

The themes of secrecy, the discovery of self, and the transformative power of love are prevalent in both stories, offering readers a compelling exploration of young love.

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