If You Like The Good Place, Read This
Today YA Librarian Cindy Shutts has put together a fabulous list of recommended reads for fans of The Good Place. If you have titles to add, please leave us a comment. We’re huge fans of the show in my house and I want to hear all your reading recommendations.
The Good Place is the popular sitcom on NBC starring Kristen Bell and Ted Denson. The basic premise is that a group of four people are placed in the afterlife and they think they are in the good place but are actually in the bad place and part of an experiment to change how torture is done. This is the fourth and final season. This season is about finding out if you can be a good person in a world connected to bad consequences. For example, if you drink a Coke-a-Cola, do you lose points because they are the worst plastic polluter in the world, even though you personally recycle the bottle? Is it possible to become a better person in the afterlife? What do we owe each other?
Elsewhere: A Novel by Gabrielle Zevin
Fifteen- year -old Liz has just died and moved on to Elsewhere, where people who have died age backward and get jobs. She has to learn to move on from life to the afterlife, while falling in love with a man who is also learning to age backward and whose wife is still alive.
More Than This by Patrick Ness
A boy about to die wakes up and does not know if he is in the afterlife. He will have to figure out where he is to go on with his life.
Croak by Gina Damico
Lex is sent away to spend time with her Uncle Mort, but when she is with him she finds out he is a grim reaper. Uncle Mort is now going to teach Lex the family business, but Lex develops a taste for justice.
It’s a Wonderful Death by Sarah J. Schmitt
RJ’s soul is accidently reaped by a grim reaper and she wants to talk to a manager because she should not be dead.
I Woke Up Dead at the Mall by Judy Sheehan
Sarah is murdered and wakes up at the Mall of America. She is given a death coach and told she will have to be able to move on after her death or be forced to walk the mall forever.
Demon Chick by Marilyn Kaye
Jessica always had a rough relationship with her politician mother, but she never expected her mother to sell her soul to the devil. Jessica finds herself living in one of the better neighborhoods of hell with a demon named Brad who seems to be a nice guy.
The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand
The Christmas Spirits gave Holly Chase a second chance at life. She did not listen to their advice and now she is one of the ghosts of Christmas Past, who is in charge of warning people about their possible fates.
The 39 Deaths of Adam Strand by Gregory Galloway
Adam is depressed and tries to commit suicide thirty-nine times, but every time he wakes up and feels fine. He will have to find out why this keeps happening.
Heaven Looks a Lot Like the Mall by Wendy Mass
Tessa wakes up after a gym accident in the mall. She is very confused and she starts to relive her life and the moment that led up to her death. She has to figure out who she is and what she wants now.
Scythe by Neal Shusterman
Everyone used to die after a period of time, but now in a world where death has been eliminated people have taken on the role of the scythe. The people of the scythe have the responsibility of quelling the population. Two teens have been chosen to be the scythe and they must succeed, because if they do not they will be killed.
Open Mic Night at Westminster Cemetery by Mary Amato
Lacy wakes up and finds out she is dead in Westminster Cemetery. She must try to adjust to her afterlife, but it is hard not knowing how she died and what happened to the people she cared about.
The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing by M.T. Anderson
Octavian has grown up learning philosophy and science, but as he becomes a teenager he realizes something is wrong. He learns that he and his mother are part of a science experiment testing the mental capability of Africans and that he is enslaved.
Feed by M.T. Anderson
In the near future everyone gets their entertainment from feeds in their head telling them what is cool and what is not. However, on a spring break trip to the moon Titus and his friends fall victim to a hacker who turns off everyone’s feed. Titus has to learn to live without someone always telling him what to value.
Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers
Regina was one of the mean girls at her school, but when she is falsely accused of cheating with her best friend’s boyfriend she is expelled. She slowly learns to deal with the consequences of her actions.
The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer
Matt is not like everyone else. He is the clone of a narcissistic drug dealer. Everyday he is in danger from people who wish him harm and the only way out is to escape.
Firecracker by David Iserson
Astrid loves her life going to a posh boarding school and her grandfather happens to be a nuclear arms dealer. Astrid gets kicked out of her boarding school and vows revenge on everyone who betrayed her, but she starts to learn things about herself. She realizes she is a trashy person and she had to decide if she is going to change.
Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina (Parent Issues)
Nora knows something is wrong with her brother, but her mother is not listening to her. She wonders if he is connected to a string of murders in her city.
Dicey’s Song by Cynthia Voigt (Parent Issues)
Dicey’s mother abandons her and her three younger siblings. Dicey is trying to keep her young siblings together and takes them to their grandmothers home, but she does not know how to relate with having someone who wants to help her.
Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang (Unlikeable Narrator)
Liz Emerson decides to drive her Mercedes into a tree because she thinks the world would be better off without her. What does her life mean and how can people impact each other?
Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy (Unlikeable Narrator)
Alice had cancer and thought she was going to die, so she created a bucket list and completed most of it. Now suddenly she is in remission and has to deal with the consequences of her actions.
Finding Felicity by Stacey Kade (Indecisive)
Caroline is not good at making decisions and after her parents’ divorce instead of living in the real world she finds comfort in an old television show she found online. Her mother decides to push her out into real world and Caroline must makes real life decisions.
Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor (Nigeria)
Sunny lives in Nigeria but she was born in America. Sunny is an albino so she has to avoid direct sunlight but suddenly she discovers she has magical powers.
Turtles All the Way Down by John Green (Anxiety)
Aza decides to hunt down a missing billionaire and reconnects with her old friend Davis. She has to deal with her anxiety from her OCD while solving this mystery.
Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets by Evan Roskos (Anxiety)
James is experiencing anxiety and depression and he decides to make his own therapist, Dr. Bird. This way he can deal with his vanished sister and his abusive parents.
People Like Us by Dana Mele (Boarding School)
Kay has decided reinvent herself at her new school to cover up her past. But unexpectedly, a dead body is found near the lake of her school and her new world starts to collapse.
Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake (Sibling Rivalry)
Three siblings who are princesses and have been raised apart are now forced to compete in a battle to the death to decide who will be the new queen.
All You Never Wanted by Adele Griffin (Sibling Rivalry)
Thea wants everything her sister has such as beauty, brains, popularity, and a good-looking boyfriend. Thea decides to spin the truth to get what she wants.
Epic Fail by Claire LaZebnik (Wealth and Name Dropping)
Elise’s sister has caught the attention of Hollywood royalty and now Elise must spend time with the rich and famous. Is your importance based on who you know?
Gym Candy by Carl Deuker (Football)
Mick wants to be the best running back for himself and his team, but he knows he needs an edge to make him bigger and faster.
DJ Rising by Love Maia (DJ)
Marley lives for music, but has to struggle with the fact his mother is an addict. Marley’s dream is to be professional DJ. When he gets a job things start to go well, but disasters at home cause everything to fall apart.
Past Perfect by Leila Sales (Pranks)
Chelsea wants to hang out with her friends and eat ice cream, but she has to get a summer job at the Essex Historical Colonial Village. She learns about friendship while being involved in an epic prank war.
Paper Towns by John Green (Florida)
Quentin lives in Florida and has lived next door Margo his entire life. When she is missing, he has to find her and goes on the adventure of a lifetime.
Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza (Robot But Not a Robot)
Mila finds out that she is an experiment in artificial intelligence. Her mother is actually one of the scientists who created her. It has been decided that Mila should be scrapped and now she will have to fight for her life.
Your Robot Dog Will Die by Arin Greenwood (Robots)
Nano lives on Dog Island where a company has decided to make robotic dogs and this island is the home of the last of the living dogs. After a genetic experiment, dogs have stopped wagging their tails and are being recalled.
Delirium by Lauren Oliver (Falling in Love)
Lena lives in a world where love is considered a disease and you are supposed to receive the cure when you turn eighteen. Lena meets Alex just before she is to receive her cure and her feelings change.
LIFEL1K3 by Jay Kristoff (Artificial Intelligence)
Eve lives on a junkyard island filled with radiation. She learns she is gifted with the power to destroy robots with her mind and now she has to escape a gangster who has her on his most wanted list.
The Good Demon by Jimmy Cajoleas (Demons)
Claire was possessed by a demon, but when her demon is exorcised away from her she is left all alone. Her demon was like a friendly sister who helped her. Claire is ready to do anything to get her demon back.
The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles (Underworld)
Zoe is dealing with her father’s death in a caving accident and she and her brother are attacked and then saved by a bounty hunter called X. X is from a hell called the Lowlands and he is sent to take the soul of Zoe’s attacker. X makes a mistake and wants to capture Zoe.
The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones (Demon Deals)
Dee’s life is not going well. Her home life is terrible and she is about to be kicked out of school, but she decides to make a deal with a demon. He asks for her heart.
Serpentine and Sacrifice by Cindy Pon (Underworld)
Skybright has always wondered who she really is but has focused her time training to be a lady’s maid for her friend Zhen Liu. One night, she realizes she is not quite human and has to find her destiny.
Filed under: Reader's Advisory
About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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