Sally Rooney’s Normal People was a game-changer for the literary world when it first came out, and we’re here to welcome newcomers who just finished the series. Is it possible that you were smitten with the cast? Never fear, we’ve got your back. Since the story takes place between high school and college for the main characters, this book falls into that strange middle ground where more mature themes are addressed while the characters are still young. As far as the literary world is concerned, well, you know we’re a big fan of crossovers.
It’s a good idea to read one of these stories after you’ve finished reading “Normal People” (on a page or a screen). If you’ve enjoyed Connell and Marianne’s books, we know you’ll fall in love with these characters and their stories as much as you did.
Books to Read After ‘Normal People’
BOOKS TO CURE THAT HANGOVER
1. Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi
Penny Lee had no recollection of her time in high school at all. Even though she had a few good friends and was doing well in school, she has yet to meet anyone meaningful in her love life. In Austin, Texas, Penny will be seventy-nine miles away from everything she’s ever wanted to leave behind, but she can’t wait to get started on her writing career.
Sam can’t get out of this situation. Emotionally, psychologically and financially. He works at a café and spends the night in an empty storage room upstairs, where he sleeps on a mattress on the floor. His seventeen dollars in his checking account and his dying laptop are really testing him right now, but he knows that this god-awful chapter of his life will serve as inspiration for when he is a famous movie director.
A collision of unbearable awkwardness occurs when Sam and Penny cross paths. To avoid the awkwardness of having to see each other, they exchange cell phone numbers, text, and eventually become digitally inseparable, exchanging their darkest fears and most private fantasies.
2. Sorry for Your Loss by Jessie Ann Foley
Average Pup Flanagan, the eighth child, is used to being overlooked because of his age. He’s barely making it through his courses. He allows his long-term crush to run roughshod over him. So far, he hasn’t decided on a college major. Patrick, his older brother, was the only person who ever made him believe he could be more than he was.
Pup’s family and friends won’t talk about Patrick’s sudden death, so all they can say is, “sorry for your loss.”
Things begin to make sense when Pup succeeds in a photography assignment he previously thought he’d fail. His ideal woman reveals her true self to him. Pup is blindsided by a new world when he makes a new friend unexpectedly. As a result, the photograph that was supposed to show Pup a way out of his grief actually reveals someone else who is still unable to move on from their own. Pup had no idea that someone had a secret regret.
3. You Say It First by Katie Cotugno
Meg’s life is perfect: she and her best friend, Emily, are planning to attend Cornell University in the fall, and she works at a voter registration call center in a suburb of Philadelphia. When one of those calls connects her with a stranger from a small town in Ohio, everything changes.
A family tragedy has left Colby reeling, and he’s stuck in a dead-end job. In the end, he doesn’t have time for any privileged rich girl who preaches about the sanctity of politics. As a result, he says the worst possible thing and hangs up.
There’s more to come…
After a few more candid, sometimes heated, always surprising phone calls, the two develop a long-distance friendship and, over time, a deeper connection. When Meg and Colby connect over the phone and across state lines, they forge a bond that will last a lifetime. Is it possible that they’re just too dissimilar to get along in the end?
4. Anna K by Jenny Lee
Anna K. is here. Although she prefers the company of horses and Newfoundland dogs, she is already seventeen and a member of Manhattan and Greenwich society. She has a perfect (if boring) boyfriend named Alexander W., and her Korean-American father is extremely proud of her (even if he can be a little controlling). Lolly’s younger sister Kimmie is trying to adjust to everyday life after an injury ends her career as an ice dancer; Steven’s best friend Dustin has fallen head over heels in love with Kimmie; and Steven’s brother, Steven, is dealing with the fallout from a sexting scandal.
At a time when her peers are struggling with the difficulties of adolescence, Anna seems to float above it all. Only one night at Grand Central Station does she meet Alexia “Count” Vronsky, and everything changes. Alexia is everything Anna isn’t. He’s a notorious playboy who’s hopped around boarding schools and lives for his own pleasure. Anna may be the first time he’s ever been in love; he’s not sure. She has to decide how much of her life she is willing to give up in order to be with Anna as they become inseparable. A shocking revelation threatens to derail their relationship, and she is forced to question whether she ever truly knew herself.
Now is the time to buyAnna K!
5. We Used to Be Friends by Amy Spalding
Even though James and Kat were best friends their freshman year of high school, they drifted apart by their senior year.
At the same time that James is getting ready to leave for college, she reflects on the end of her friendship with Kat and considers the possibilities of a new beginning with her first girlfriend.
Kat’s high school sweetheart parents are divorcing at the end of her senior year, and James is worried that everything she believes about love and her future is a lie. Kat wants nothing more than James to continue to be her steady rock. We Used to Be Friends is a heartfelt look at the pains of growing up and separating from one’s best friends.