A Cosmology of Monsters
This haunting story of a family stalked by monsters is narrated by the youngest child of the family, Noah. In the late 1960s, two members of the Turner family have recurring nightmares of an orange-eyed monster, and the patriarch becomes obsessed with creating a haunted house called the Wandering Dark. The family tries to keep Noah away from all the horror, but they don’t know that Noah is being visited by the same orange-eyed beast. A horror novel with characters you care for just as much as the residents of Hawkins.
The Saturday Night Ghost Club
One of the things that makes Stranger Things so likable is the irresistible combination of creepy tales and coming-of-age stories. Craig Davidson captures that dynamic in The Saturday Night Ghost Club, which centers on a group of misfit kids growing up in 1980s Niagara Falls. Twelve-year-old Jake Baker and his new friends spend their time gleefully tracking down ghosts, fueled by Jake’s uncle Calvin, who has an affinity for the occult. But there’s more to uncover in their haunted town than anyone could have anticipated.
Stranger Things: Darkness on the Edge of Town
Who doesn’t need more Jim Hopper in their lives? In the newest Stranger Things novel, Chief Hopper tells Eleven about his past life, back when he still had a wife and daughter. In 1977, Hopper had just returned from Vietnam and was working on a big case with the NYPD—a series of unsolved murders—when shady agents confiscated all the evidence. But Hopper did as Hopper does, going rogue and searching for answers on his own, until the threat became so huge as to engulf his own family.
I Know What I Saw
Linda S Godfrey
In this fascinating and chilling nonfiction exploration of monsters and myths, Linda Godfrey unfolds humanity’s obsession with monsters, tracing their evolution through myths, folklore, and urban legend, and interviewing eyewitnesses to werewolves, Sasquatch, and other lesser-known creatures. Godfrey, an expert on the matter, invites us to rethink reality and unexplained phenomena—whether or not we’d like to believe in demogorgons roaming the earth.
This novel takes place in an alternate version of Victorian England (reminiscent of the Upside Down), where anytime someone behaves badly—especially members of the lower class—their body releases smoke. Thomas and Charlie meet at school, where they’re punished for having any black marks on their white uniforms. When the two visit Thomas’s family, they realize there might be more behind the smoke than what they’ve been led to believe.
In the summer of 1977, the Blyton Summer Detective Club takes on their final mystery: the Sleepy Lake monster. While this small-town group of detectives might sound like the gang in Stranger Things, by 1990, they’ve all gone their separate ways—something we hope never happens to the kids in Hawkins. But the estranged friends are each haunted by memories of the past, and they must reunite to set things straight.
While this one features a solo mission, Stranger Things fans will love the sci-fi aspect of the setting. Jazz has lived in Artemis, a colony on the moon, since she was a child. While she’s always been gifted at nearly everything she tries, she decides to work as a porter with a side hustle of illegal smuggling. When she’s offered a huge payday for the biggest crime of her life, Jazz promptly jumps on it, but it leads to a lot more trouble than she anticipated.
Lord of the Flies
What happens when you leave a bunch of boys alone to rule themselves? According to Lord of the Flies, nothing good (maybe that’s why Stranger Things brought in Eleven). The story of how these boys find themselves stranded on an island and forced to fend for themselves is still as fascinating as when it was first published over 60 years ago—a classic distraction until we’re back in Hawkins.
Stranger Things: Suspicious Minds
The first Stranger Things novel is the prequel all fans need. It takes us back to the summer of 1969, when Terry Ives volunteers for a government experiment in the quiet town of Hawkins and befriends a fellow test subject—a girl known only as 008. As Vietnam rages in the background, Terry observes the supernatural powers of Eight and tries to unfold what’s beginning to look like a world-changing conspiracy.
At Read It Forward, we’re more prone to binge-reading than binge-watching—but like everyone else, we get totally swept up in the new seasons of Stranger Things. Whether you watch for the disturbing monsters or the heartwarming friendships, the show is so thrilling, it always leaves us with an inevitable question: how do we distract ourselves until the next season? Luckily, there are several great reads out there to fill the Eleven-shaped hole in our hearts. These Stranger Things books and thematic lookalikes will do the trick.
Featured Image: Courtesy of Netflix