10 Books Like Stranger Things

Books Like Stranger Things

Calling all Hawkins residents (and honorary ones)! 

Are you feeling the post-season blues? 

Does the Upside Down still loom large in your mind? 

Well, no more waiting.  

Because while we eagerly await the next season, there’s a whole world of thrilling stories waiting to be explored. 

Get ready to crank up the synths, grab your flashlight, and crack open one of these books that capture the essence of Stranger Things – a blend of nostalgia, suspense, and otherworldly adventures that will leave you wanting more. 

Let’s check them out. 

Books Like Stranger Things

1. Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang

“Paper Girls” is a graphic novel series that begins in the early hours after Halloween in 1988. It follows a group of four 12-year-old newspaper delivery girls who stumble upon a supernatural mystery involving time travel, warring factions from the future, and alien technology. 

The story is rich in ’80s nostalgia, combining elements of adventure, science fiction, and coming-of-age themes, much like “Stranger Things.”

Major Similarities: 

Both “Paper Girls” and “Stranger Things” are deeply rooted in ’80s culture, featuring a group of young protagonists on bicycles, confronting supernatural and sci-fi elements in a small town setting. 

The series shares a similar vibe of mystery and camaraderie among the children, who must navigate the challenges of adolescence while being caught in extraordinary circumstances.

2. Summer of Night by Dan Simmons

This novel is set in the summer of 1960 in the small town of Elm Haven, Illinois, where a group of twelve-year-old boys discovers that an ancient evil is stirring. 

As they are about to start their summer vacation, they find themselves battling malevolent entities and a centuries-old mystery. The book blends elements of horror, thriller, and supernatural, with a strong focus on the bonds of friendship among the boys.

Major Similarities: 

“Summer of Night” mirrors “Stranger Things” in its portrayal of a tight-knit group of friends facing otherworldly dangers in a small-town setting. 

The nostalgic backdrop, emphasis on childhood friendships, and the supernatural horror element are core aspects that fans of “Stranger Things” would appreciate.

3. The Body by Stephen King

Also known by its film adaptation title, “Stand By Me,” “The Body” is a novella from Stephen King’s collection “Different Seasons.” It’s about four boys who go on a hike across the countryside to find the body of a missing boy in the summer of 1960. 

The journey tests their friendship and confronts them with the harsh realities of death and the transition from childhood innocence to adulthood.

Major Similarities: 

Like “Stranger Things,” “The Body” explores themes of friendship, adventure, and the loss of innocence, set against a nostalgic backdrop. 

Although it lacks the supernatural elements, the focus on a group of friends embarking on a life-changing journey in a small town resonates with the dynamics seen in “Stranger Things.”

4. It by Stephen King

“It” revolves around the lives of seven children in the town of Derry, Maine, who find themselves terrorized by an evil entity that exploits the fears and phobias of its victims. 

The novel alternates between two time periods, 1958 and 1985, as the friends return to their hometown as adults to confront the creature once again. “It” blends horror with a coming-of-age story in a small-town setting.

Major Similarities: 

The narrative of a group of friends banding together to fight a supernatural evil in a small town is a central theme in both “It” and “Stranger Things.” 

The story’s emphasis on childhood bonds, the transition to adulthood, and the nostalgic setting make it a compelling read for fans of the series.

5. The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak

Set in 1987, “The Impossible Fortress” combines elements of a coming-of-age story with a heist narrative. The story follows 14-year-old Billy Marvin and his friends as they embark on a quest to obtain a copy of a new issue of Playboy. 

However, the real heart of the story lies in Billy’s unexpected relationship with Mary Zelinsky, a fellow computer enthusiast, which leads to an adventure filled with coding, gaming, and 80s pop culture.

Major Similarities: 

While not as steeped in supernatural elements as “Stranger Things,” “The Impossible Fortress” captures the essence of 1980s nostalgia, the trials of adolescence, and the deep bonds of friendship. 

The blend of technology, personal growth, and the pursuit of a seemingly impossible goal mirrors the adventurous spirit and camaraderie of “Stranger Things.”

6. Boy’s Life by Robert McCammon

“Boy’s Life” follows the story of Cory Mackenson in the small town of Zephyr, Alabama, during the early 1960s. It’s a magical tale that combines elements of mystery, horror, and fantasy as Cory witnesses a car plunge into a lake with a handcuffed corpse, leading him and his father on a quest that uncovers deep secrets and wonders of the small town. 

The novel is a poignant exploration of childhood, combining the everyday with the extraordinary in a way that captures the essence of youth and adventure.

Major Similarities: 

The blend of a coming-of-age story with supernatural and mystery elements in a small-town setting draws strong parallels with “Stranger Things.” 

Both narratives delve into the adventures of young protagonists as they uncover the deeper, darker secrets of their communities, emphasizing themes of friendship, courage, and the transition from childhood to adolescence.

7. Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero

Set in 1990, “Meddling Kids” follows a group of former child detectives who reunite as adults to tackle the unresolved case that haunted their early years. 

The story is a darkly comedic take on the classic mystery-solving kids’ genre, with elements of horror, supernatural, and adventure. As they confront the traumatic memories of their last case, the group uncovers a deeper, more sinister plot that threatens the world.

Major Similarities: 

“Meddling Kids” captures the essence of childhood camaraderie and adventure found in “Stranger Things,” with a group of young protagonists facing supernatural forces. 

The blend of humor, horror, and nostalgia, along with the theme of confronting past traumas, makes it a compelling read for fans looking for a mix of mystery and supernatural elements.

8. The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor

“The Chalk Man” alternates between 1986 and 2016, telling the story of Eddie and his friends who use chalk figures to communicate secret messages. 

However, these innocent symbols lead them to discover a dismembered body, entangling them in a mystery that spans decades. The novel is a gripping thriller with elements of horror, exploring themes of memory, guilt, and the impact of past actions on the present.

Major Similarities: 

Like “Stranger Things,” “The Chalk Man” features a group of friends who find themselves embroiled in a dark mystery within their small town. 

The dual timelines and the blend of childhood innocence with a more sinister reality echo the nostalgic yet eerie atmosphere of “Stranger Things,” making it a fascinating read for those who enjoy a blend of thriller and supernatural elements.

9. Firestarter by Stephen King

“Firestarter” tells the story of a young girl named Charlie McGee who has the ability to start fires with her mind, a result of a government experiment her parents participated in. 

As she and her father run from a government agency seeking to harness her power, the novel delves into themes of love, trust, and the misuse of power. It’s a gripping tale of survival and the extraordinary capabilities of the human mind.

Major Similarities: 

The presence of government agencies experimenting with supernatural abilities and the central role of a young protagonist with extraordinary powers draw strong parallels with “Stranger Things.” 

The themes of family, government conspiracy, and the exploration of supernatural abilities in a real-world setting make “Firestarter” resonate with fans of the series.

10. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

This novel follows Jacob Portman as he discovers the ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores the abandoned home, he realizes that the children were more than just peculiar; they may have been dangerous, and they might still be alive. 

The book combines mysterious elements with a fantastical twist, incorporating vintage photographs that blend seamlessly into the narrative, creating an immersive reading experience.

Major Similarities: 

The exploration of a hidden world filled with children possessing unique powers mirrors the supernatural elements in “Stranger Things.” 

The blend of mystery, adventure, and the fantastical, along with the young protagonists’ journey of discovery, makes this novel appealing to fans who enjoy stories about extraordinary abilities and hidden secrets.

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