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11 Books to Read if You Love Stranger Things

By Ashly Moore Sheldon • June 30, 2022

The last two episodes of season four of Stranger Things air on July 1 and after we greedily devour them, we will undoubtedly be looking for more retro supernatural horror to fill the demogorgon-sized void it has left in our lives. So we've put together a reading list for similarly crazed fans of the show.

Firestarter by Stephen King

Cited as an inspiration for the show, the King of Horror has written many books that fit the bill. This one has it all. After meeting as test subjects in a shady government experiment, Andy and Vicky both develop psychic talents. When they get married and have a child, these powers are concentrated in their daughter. The 1984 film stars Drew Barrymore.

Imagining Elsewhere by Sara Hosey

It's 1988, and reformed bully Astrid is forced to move from Queens to the small town of Elsewhere. Although this town is totally weird, Astrid sees the move as a way to reinvent herself. That is, until Candi—a teenage tyrant with supernatural powers who rules Elsewhere—decides she wants Astrid to join her ranks.

The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle

This novel reimagines a story by H. P. Lovecraft, another inspiration for the Stranger Things creators. This is the story of Charles Thomas Tester, hustling to put food on the table and keep the roof over his father's head. But when he delivers an occult tome to a reclusive sorceress in Queens, he opens a door to dark forces.

My Best Friend's Exorcism by Grady Hendrix

The year is 1988. High school sophomores Abby and Gretchen have been best friends since fourth grade. But after an evening of skinny-dipping goes disastrously wrong, Gretchen begins to act strangely. She's moody. She's irritable. And bizarre incidents keep happening whenever she's nearby.

Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero

A mashup of Scooby Doo, H. P. Lovecraft, and The Hardy Boys, this throwback has got that nostalgic feel that we all love about Stranger Things. The Blyton Summer Detective club solved their last case in 1977. But did they get it wrong? Now it's 1990 and they must come back together to reckon with the fallout.

Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

The show is about to begin. Jim Nightshade and William Halloway are two 13-year-old best friends when a strange carnival rolls into their small town sometime after midnight, ushering in Halloween a week early. This classic coming-of-age tale promises a dark twist.

Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

After her mother dies, sixteen-year-old Bree wants nothing to do with her family memories. A residential program for bright high schoolers at UNC-Chapel Hill offers the perfect escape. But when Bree witnesses an otherworldly attack on her first night there, she's ushered into a secret society.

Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand

When teenage girls start disappearing in their isolated island community, Marion, Zoey, and Val decide to take up the investigation. This book ticks a lot of the boxes. Strange monsters from alternate dimensions? Girls with supernatural abilities? A small town with dark secrets? Check, check, check!

Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist

Also an award-winning movie in both the U.S. and Sweden, this tale brings us back to the 1980s. The body of a teenager is found in a Swedish suburb, emptied of blood. Twelve-year-old Oskar has some ideas about it, but the murder isn't the first thing on his mind. A strange new girl has moved in next door.

Small Town Monsters by Diana Rodriguez Wallach

Vera Martinez wants nothing more than to escape Roaring Creek and her parents' reputation as demonologists. Maxwell Oliver is dealing with his own family drama, and wishing he could just enjoy his last summer before senior year. When Maxwell and Vera join forces, they find themselves facing the darker side of humanity.

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

The monster in Conor's backyard is not the one he's been expecting—the one from the nightmare he's had every night since his mother started her treatments. This monster is ancient. And wild. And it wants something from Conor. Something terrible and dangerous.

And if all you want is more of the real thing, you can always pick up Notes from the Upside Down: An Unofficial Guide to Stranger Things by Guy Adams. This fan-tastic guide has every fact you could ever wish for. Also fun is the Stranger Things series by multiple authors, with diverting prequels and sequels featuring lesser-known characters.

Hopefully, this resource helps tide you over until the campy '80s creepfest returns for Season 5.

Read more by Ashly Moore Sheldon

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