Stranger Things is a series that has taken the world by storm. A mixture of young relatable protagonists, 80s nostalgia and Lovecraftian horror has made it a favorite of mine.
I’ve loved Stranger Things ever since its first season was released on Netflix.
I guess I’m a fan of stories about youthful protagonists encountering dangerous scenarios. It takes us back to the past, to our own youth, makes us reminisce about it, but also makes us wonder how we’d handle a situation like that.
Stranger Things, however, did even more. It combined this nostalgia and reminiscence with nothing other than Lovecraftian horror in the form of the twisted Upside Down and the terrifying Demogorgon.
It’s a series that’s nothing short of fantastic.
For those of you who can’t wait for season four, I put together a list of Stranger Things books and other, similar books you might want to read.
Here’s my list of Stranger Things books:
Suspicious Minds is one of the Stranger Things books set before the events of the show.
This prequel shows us what happened to Eleven’s mother, while she was a text subject in the MKUltra program. The novel’s set in a mysterious lab, features sinister scientists and reveals a secret history.
We’re taken back to the year 1969. Terry Ives, Eleven’s mother, is a young college student who eventually joins the MKUltra, a secret government program about unleashing the greatest of human potentials. Soon enough, however, things turn dark as more and more about the project’s revealed.
Suspicious Mind is a great read for any fan of the show and is probably one of the most popular Stranger Things books out there.
Darkness on the Edge of Town’s is another one of the Stranger Things books set before the events of the show. This one’s all about Jim Hopper and reveals his past life as a police detective in New York City.
The year’s 1977 and Jim Hopper’s just returned from the Vietnam War and tries to return to his normal life. Things change when federal agents arrive to investigate a series of cultish murders.
Before long, however, Hopper notices things aren’t what they seem. He sets out to figure out the truth before the agents can bury it forever.
While Suspicious Minds contained many of the supernatural elements Stranger Things is known for, Darkness on the Edge of Town is much more realistic, but also grittier.
It’s a fantastic Stranger Things book and very well worth reading, not only for fans of Jim Hopper.
Max Mayfield was a character who was introduced in the second season of Stranger Things. After her parents divorced, she and her stepbrother, Billy Hargrove, moved to the small town of Hawkins.
While Billy soon became one of the most hated characters, Max quickly became the newest member of our group of main characters.
Runaway Max sheds light on Max’s past, but that’s only the case for the first half of the book. The rest of the book, however, serves as a retelling of the events of season two from the perspective of Max. While it’s interesting to follow events through her eyes, it doesn’t add a lot to the experience.
Yet, it’s still an interesting and well written Stranger Things book, one that’s definitely worth buying for fans of the series.
Rebel Robin is a book all about season three’s Robin who quickly became a fan favorite.
It’s less a Stranger Things book, and more a novel about Robin Buckley. It’s a story of self-discovery that begins during Robin’s sophomore year. When Robin’s friends begin dating, she realizes something about herself: she likes girls.
The book follows her as she comes to terms with herself and her sexuality.
While Rebel Robin’s not a horror book, it’s still worth reading for fans of self-discovery stories and fans of Robin Buckley.
I’m usually more a fan of manga, but I’ve recently ventured into graphic novellas as well.
The Other Side is a graphic novella all about my favorite part of Stranger Things, the dark, twisted world of the Upside Down. After Will finds himself in this strange and dangerous world, we follow him as he tries his best to survive.
What makes this Stranger Thing book so interesting is the focus on the Upside Down. The moment we learned of this strange place, I was hooked and wanted to learn more about it.
While we didn’t learn too much about it in the show itself, we do in this Stranger Things book. It’s well worth reading, especially for those fans who want to learn more about the Upside Down.
Fans of Stranger Things might very well be familiar with It by Stephen King.
While the novel itself has many similarities with Stranger Things, its 2017 adaption also featured Finn Wolfhard, who played the role of Mike in Stranger Things.
The novel follows a gang of kids, the so called ‘Losers Club’ who have to fight a supernatural entity which manifests as the Pennywise.
Yet, It is more than just a horror novel, it’s a coming-of-age tale and one about a group of underdogs triumphing over a terrible evil.
The story of It, however, continues thirty years later. After the death of one of their former members, the Losers Club has to bind together once more and defeat It for good.
It is one of Stephen King’s most cherished and popular novels and I think it’s the best example of Stranger Things books not related to the show.
Here we have another entry by horror master Stephen King. The Body’s another coming-of-age story featuring four young boys who set out to find the body of a missing boy.
What begins as a quest to become local heroes soon turns more dangerous when the boys get more than they ever bargained for. They have to not only confront their own inner demons but also a group of local bullies.
It should become an unforgettable adventure, not only for our four heroes, but for anyone who picks up this novella.
The Body’s most known for being the basis for the 1986 movie Stand by Me, but the novella very well stands up for itself. It’s another great Stranger Things book any fan of the show should pick it up.
What begins when two thirteen-year-old boys, Will and Jim, attend an October carnival called “Cooger & Dark’s Pandemonium Show,” soon turns into quite an adventure.
Something Wicked This Way Comes is a dark fantasy novel penned by the great Ray Bradbury.
At the carnival, the boys witness how an adult man rides a carousel backward and turns back into a twelve-year-old boy. From here on out, things get not only stranger and more mysterious but also much more nightmarish.
It’s a fantastic novel, one full of adventure and a cast of characters as weird as they are unforgettable.
It’s a dark and weird novel, but one I highly recommend to any fans of Stranger Things.
Meddling Kids is a novel very reminiscent of Stranger Things and contains a variety of elements that made the show so popular.
The novel proves a fascinating mixture between the teen detective genre and Lovecraftian Horror.
At the outset of the novel, a group of young detectives set out to solve the mystery of Sleepy Lake. After spending a terrifying night at Deboën Mansion, they eventually learn who the culprit is.
Yet, thirteen years later, each surviving member of the group suffers from trauma related to this very night. When they learn they got the wrong guy, the group has to reunite to find out what really happened back in 1977.
Meddling Kids is a fantastic mixture of spin-tingling horror and young detective fiction, one that is both fresh and original.
If you loved Stranger Things, I’m sure you’ll love Meddling Kids.
Skeleton Crew is my favorite Stephen King short story collection. It features a variety of stories, as well as King’s popular novella, The Mist.
While Stephen King’s a horror writer, some stories in this collection can be different. Examples are The Jaunt and Mrs. Todd’s Shortcut, which are both amongst the best stories in this collection.
Yet, the collection has its fair share of disturbing and terrifying stories. The best amongst them is without a doubt the suspenseful Gramma which is told entirely and intimately from the perspective of a young boy.
Overall, Skeleton Crew is amongst the best horror short story collections I’ve read and a great entry point to the works of Stephen King. Anyone who’s looking for Stranger Things books might want to give this one a try.
I’m a huge fan of the works of H. P. Lovecraft, as you can see in my list of the best Lovecraft stories.
Lovecraftian fiction and cosmic horror have always been amongst my favorite genres. If you, like me, enjoyed the twisted Upside Down and the many horrors it spawned, you could do much worse than to read the works of H. P. Lovecraft.
While his earlier works are more reminiscent of twisted horror stories, it’s his later works, those works who make up the Cthulhu Mythos,
While his earlier works are more reminiscent of twisted horror tales in the tradition of Edgar Allan Poe or Lord Dunsany, are not bad, it’s his later works that will be most interesting to fans of Stranger Things. It’s his great texts, those who make up the Cthulhu Mythos who were without a doubt an inspiration for Stranger Things and the Upside down.
If you like Stranger Things, the Upside Down, you could do much worse than to check out the works of H. P. Lovecraft.
I’m a big fan of Reddit’s Nosleep. I’ve shared a fair number of my short stories on there, but have read countless others over the years.
My favorite of the many talented writers on Nosleep has to be C. K. Walker. She’s published three volumes of short fiction, but my favorite amongst them is, without a doubt, Volume 2.
It contains some of her best stories, but the most akin to Stranger Things has to be her masterpiece, Borrasca.
This long, epic tale centers on an urban legend in a small mining town and features a cast of teenage protagonists.
While it’s another anthology and not one of the offical Stranger Things books, I still think the works of C. K. Walker are very worth reading, especially Borrasca.
This one might be a strange and unexpected addition to the list. Two Years’ Vacation by Jules Verne is an adventure novel and couldn’t be farther from the horror so prevalent in Stranger Things.
The reason I added it to the list, however, is the scenario depicted in the novel. It tells the story of a group of school boys who get stranded on a deserted island and have to struggle to survive.
It can be best described as a Robinson Crusoe-type story, but one for and with children.
Overall, I had a lot of fun reading this novel. The survival aspect was quite interesting and well done and it became rather gripping in its later half.
If you’re tired of horror and want to read something akin to a Stranger Things book in a different genre, give this one a try.