I cannot believe that this is my first time writing one of these posts! I adore reading posts like this, but I have never found enough book pairings that I felt confident in sharing. Something changed in 2020, and I read so many books that I thought were perfect for readers of other books that I loved. I am so excited to talk about them!
The Broken Girls/Plain Bad Heroines
I could not think of a more perfect pairing than The Broken Girls and Plain Bad Heroines. Both of these mysteries are set at an all-girls boarding school where there have been murders and where characters from the future are looking back on what happened at these schools many years ago. They have a very similar atmosphere and tone and elicited similar emotions in me as the reader. I would recommend starting with The Broken Girls and then, if you enjoyed the themes, I would pick up Plain Bad Heroines, which is longer and a bit more complex. I read and loved both of these books in 2020, and I look forward to seeing what both authors write next!
Grown/My Dark Vanessa
Grown and My Dark Vanessa were both published in 2020 and both took on the difficult topic of the grooming of teenage girls. The main characters in both of these books are abused by men who are in a position of power and authority. Grown is YA while My Dark Vanessa is adult fiction, but I found them to be equally harrowing and I find myself haunting by them. These books made me deeply uncomfortable, which was the intention of both authors, and I appreciated that the “relationships” were never romanticized in any way. I highly recommend both, but proceed with caution.
Sadie/The Female of the Species
The Female of the Species has been a favourite of mine for a couple years now, so I could not help noticing the similarities when I finally got around to reading Sadie last summer. Both are YA novels that follow a teenage girl who is seeking revenge for the murder of her sister. Both Sadie and Alex, the protagonist in The Female of the Species, will go great length on their journey for vengeance. I don’t want to touch on any more similarities between the two books, as they could be seen as spoilers. Both books are incredible in their own right and I think that you will take something different away from each of them, so it is still worth reading both.
Let Me Hear a Rhyme/The Beauty that Remains
What makes Let Me Hear a Rhyme and The Beauty That Remains a perfect book pairing is that they both follow teenagers who have experienced loss and turn to music to deal with their grief. They both highlight the power of music and how everyone grieves differently. They are also both incredible examples of the found family trope where a shared grief brings characters together. These are two of my favourite YA novels that I find myself constantly recommending.
The Illuminae Files/The Themis Files
I am just now noticing how similar the titles are these two series are! The Themis Files feels very much like the adult version of The Illuminae Files. Though they are different in many ways, both series are SciFi stories that are told through mixed media, including security tapes, emails, reports, etc.
The Five People You Meet in Heaven/The Midnight Library
The Midnight Library was one of my favourite books of 2020, and I think a large reason why I enjoyed it so much was that it gave me the same feelings I had when I read The Five People You Meet in Heaven, which is one of the books that made me fall in love with reading again. Both books have this SciFi element where the main character has died and is reflecting on their life. In The Midnight Library that means living through alternate realities where the main character makes different choices each time and in The Five People You Meet in Heaven it means meeting people whose lives were affected by the main character. I found both to be incredibly inspirational and they both made me reflect on my own life.
Have you read any of these books? Do you have a perfect book pairing?