The captivating science fiction drama of the horror series Stranger Things is full of '80s vibes that keep fans clamoring for more. While you're waiting in anticipation for your favorite Netflix obsession to return for Season 3 on July 4, these 12 books to read if you like Stranger Things may help tide you over.
These books could also help stave off those nagging worries about what exactly the details of the season 3 Stranger Things trailer hinted at in terms of the fates of your beloved characters, and the fan theories about the darkness presiding over Hawkins, Indiana once again that are keeping you up late at night. Full of the same nostalgia and the pure adrenaline-pumping intensity that you've come to expect from Stranger Things, these 12 page-turning thrillers will have you on the edge of your seat.
Within the pages of these 12 novels, you'll find coming-of-age stories riddled with teenage angst, mysterious paranormal activity that will scare the pants off of you, and throwback vibes that you just can't get enough of. If you love Stranger Things, prepare to geek out over these 12 books that will leave you even more excited than your last marathon-watch of the first two seasons.
1. 'The Boys Of Summer' by Richard Cox
After a devastating tornado rips apart a Texas town, Todd Willis awakes from a four-year long coma to discover that his small town is just a bit off from how he remembers it. The Boys of Summer explores what happens with Todd and the friends he makes the summer after he wakes up, as well as 25 years later when they must re-examine the secrets they have harbored about the mysterious darkness of their town. The teen angst you love in Stranger Things is delightfully mirrored in this novel.
2. 'Paper Girls: Volume 1' by Brian K. Vaughan & Cliff Chiang
Although the protagonists of this '80s-era sci-fi adventure story are female, you'll definitely get full on Stranger Things vibes from the graphic novel Paper Girls: Volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughan and Wonder Woman artist Cliff Chiang. The first in a series, alien invasions and time travel abound for a group of teenage girls beginning on Halloween night in a 1988 suburban Ohio neighborhood.
3. 'Ready Player One' by Ernest Cline
You may already be familiar with the smash hit Steven Spielberg film adaptation of this novel, but reading Ready Player One will have you fangirl-ing all over its '80s pop culture obsessed narrative. Set in a dystopian future where virtual reality reigns supreme, the plot may not be much like Stranger Things, but the major nods to '80s sci-fi classics like Star Wars and Dungeons and Dragons cannot be denied.
4. 'It' by Stephen King
Easily one of the most recognizable of Stephen King's work, this #1 New York Times bestseller follows a group of teens into adulthood as they reunite in their small town where a creepy sewer clown continues to wreak havoc. It's the stuff of nightmares, but the paranormal parallels and mysterious horror angles that connect Stranger Things and It are undeniable.
5. 'Boy's Life' by Robert McCammon
The season of 12-year-old Cory Mackenson's life readers will discover when reading Boy's Life finds him smack dab in the middle of paranormal forces with ghost encounters, sorcery, and even a run-in with a dinosaur at a local fair. The nostalgic yet thrilling tale is set in a 1960s summer, but is sure to give you plenty of supernatural mysteries to sink your teeth into while you recover from marathon-watching back-to-back seasons of Stranger Things.
6. 'The Changeling' by Victor LaValle
This mesmerizing tale will creep you out even more than the Upside Down. The Changeling by Victor LaValle is a harrowing tale of your worst parenting fears made real, wrapped up in a dark fairytale-like story filled with lies, betrayal, and mythological wonderment.
7. 'The Power' by Naomi
In Stranger Things, Eleven inherited psychokinetic abilities that allowed her to tap into powers that others do not possess. If you enjoy Eleven's storyline, you can take a deeper dive into what it means for women to possess supernatural powers with Naomi Alderman's award-winning novel The Power.
8. 'Meddling Kids' by Edgar Cantero
If you love the nostalgic pop-culture references in Stranger Things, you're not going to be able to put down Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero. The novel follows a group of teens in 1977 who call themselves the Blyton Summer Detective Club, and how they reunite as adults to solve the mystery surrounding a paranormal event from their past.
9. 'Firestarter' by Stephen King
As a huge influence to Stranger Things, it is no surprise that a second Stephen King novel makes an appearance on this list. Firestarter features telepathic characters with powers that stem from governmental experiments who are on the run from their former captors to hide their extremely powerful child who can start fires with her mind.
10. 'The Hellbound Heart' by Clive Barker
In a 2016 interview with Entertainment Weekly, the Duffer Brothers revealed that the horrifically scary monster they created for Stranger Things back in Season 1 was inspired in part by the film Hellraiser, which was based on the Clive Barker novel The Hellbound Heart. Readers will be captivated by the creepy monsters and enthralling storyline about attempting to bring a man back to life following his horrifying death.
11. 'Edge of Dark Water' by Joe R. Landsdale
On a quest to take their friend's ashes to Hollywood, three friends venture out into the great unknown to discover the harsh realities of a world filled with horrifying twists and turns in Edge of Dark Water. This Stephen King-esque psychological thriller will keep you entranced until the very end, just like your favorite episodes of Stranger Things.
12. 'Something Wicked This Way Comes' by Ray Bradbury
One of my absolute favorite science fiction and horror writers is, hands-down, Ray Bradbury. In Something Wicked This Way Comes, Bradbury creates a terrifyingly beautiful world of an eerie carnival that arrives in a midwestern town where two adolescent boys discover horrifying evils that they attempt to put an end to once and for all. It is a coming-of-age story that rivals the teenage crises of Stranger Things with the same sort of mystical, jaw-dropping details the show is known for.