If you are a super fan in search of a new Gilmore Girls fix, I can’t bring the show back, but I CAN give you these amazing recommendations for several books to read if you like the Gilmore Girls as much as I do.
This particular list of books to read if you like Gilmore Girls includes everything from characters, small town settings, Fall-inspired romances, and storylines that will remind you of Stars Hollow, the Gilmores, the Dragonfly Inn, Luke’s Diner, Luke, Sookie, and more! You really can’t go wrong with any of them.
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All Books to Read if You Like Gilmore Girls
The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller
Best for fans of Hallmark movies and/or small-town romances
I first heard of The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living when a blogger I follow described it as one of the best books to read if you like Gilmore Girls. I snagged it immediately!
In this Fall-themed book, protagonist Livvy leaves behind a fancy pastry chef job in Boston and visits her friend in a quaint Vermont town like Stars Hollow.
She takes a job at a local inn like the Dragonfly Inn and starts befriending the townsfolk and falling for a local who comes home to care for his ailing father. There is a Harvest dinner, an apple pie contest, and everything you would expect from Stars Hollow itself in this light novel.
Empire Falls by Richard Russo
Best for fans of character-driven literary fiction
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize
Empire Falls is one of the best books I have ever read — period. And there’s both a lot about it that’s like Gilmore Girls, and a bit that’s different. Let’s talk about this Pulitzer Prize winner I know I will read again someday to get a deeper look into the subtle themes and symbolism.
First, the similarities to Gilmore Girls: The main character, Miles Roby, is a dutiful diner owner in a small England town, raising a daughter from a prior relationship. Sound familiar? There’s more. Miles must cope with a difficult, older rich woman, meddling townspeople, and unrequited love, as he dreams of a better life in the Gilmore favorite vacation spot, Martha’s Vineyard.
So, what’s different? First, it’s highly character-driven and literary — not so light and sweet. I would describe it as Beartown or Friday Night Lights meets Gilmore Girls. Next, it has a fair deal of darkness and violence.
All in all, it’s about what happens to those who stay behind in a small town when an empire (the largest manufacturing employer) falls. The reader is reminded of the classic quote from one of Rory’s favorite books, The Great Gatsby: “and so we beat on, So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”
But that really just scratches the surface of this masterpiece. It’s incredibly nuanced with characters so well-drawn I felt like I knew them all, and I even slowed down the audiobook nearing the unputdownable ending so it would last longer.
First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen
Best for fans of Practical Magic
First Frost takes place during a chilly October in small-town North Carolina, where Claire Waverley has started a healing candy company that’s destroying all of her work-life balance. (It’s like Stars Hollow with a hint of Southern charm — and drama.)
Meanwhile, her sister, Sydney Waverley, longs for a baby, and Sydney’s daughter, Bay, has fallen in unrequited love. When a mysterious stranger arrives, they must each make choices as they await the apple tree’s blossoming during the Fall season’s First Frost.
It’s an enchanting story of love, loss, and starting all over again. And, when I say enchanting, I mean enchanting. This book is a real treat for fans of the Practical Magic series and Gilmore Girls. It has all the magical feels of fall along with some light family drama. I mean, isn’t that exactly why we love the Gilmores so much?!
First Frost is without a doubt, one of my top recommendations on this list, especially during the Fall season. Don’t sleep on this backlist hit!
The Gilmore Companion by A.S. Berman
Best for fans of nonfiction and/or behind-the-scenes stories
The Gilmore Companion is a behind-the-scenes look at the television series Gilmore Girls, from the first episode to the last and everything in between. It gives you scoop about the show from the show creators, employees, and actors themselves. And if you are a Richard Gilmore fan, his voice is featured prominently throughout.
The reader can reminisce and learn something new at the same time h one of the best Gilmore Girls books. It also makes a great pairing for a Gilmore Girls rewatch.
Gilmore Girls: At Home in Stars Hollow by Micol Ostow and Cecelia Messina
Best for kids and kids at heart
At Home in Stars Hollow is a cute children’s book for up-and-coming fans of Gilmore Girls. It covers all the basics of the show, including the beauty of the seasons, and it offers a sense of finding a place where you belong in the world.
The Marvelous Mirza Girls by Sheba Karim
Best for fans of diverse and/or Young Adult reads
Author Sheba Karim pitched The Marvelous Mirza Girls to me as Gilmore Girls meets New Dehli, India, and graciously sent me an advanced copy to read. I couldn’t resist! I would add that it also has parallels to the cute Netflix show Never Have I Ever.
Recent high school graduate Noreen embarks on a gap year trip to New Dehli with her mother, with whom she has a very close and open relationship like Lorelai and Rory.
Noreen grieves the loss of her aunt Sonia as she meets a handsome local who shows her around town, experiencing a culture of Bollywood celebrities, fourteenth-century ruins, karaoke parties, and Sufi saints.
Amidst breathtaking pollution, she also faces “the real world” by coping with gender-based scandals as she comes of age with the help of her very vocal and modern mother.
Musical Chairs by Amy Poeppel
Best for fans of light family dramas
Musical Chairs was recommended to me by a podcast one of the best books to read if you like Gilmore Girls because it takes place in a small Connecticut town and the main character’s family is wealthy like the Gilmores, but she is more quaint and uncaring about wealth.
Bridget plans on spending the summer at her Connecticut country home with her boyfriend Sterling… until he abruptly breaks up with her and her twin twenty-somethings arrive home unannounced and full of crises.
She relies on her longtime friendship with Will, with whom she has a chamber group, but must deal with a missing violinist. What’s more, is that her elderly father wants to get married on her property.
It’s a humorous and heartwarming take on family and love in which any Gilmore Girls fan can get immersed.
One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle
Instant New York Times bestseller
Best for fans of books about mothers and daughters
One Italian Summer is a book about the unshakeable love between mothers and daughters, like Lorelai and Rory.
When Katy’s mother, her best friend in the world, dies, she struggles to cope and decides to take the Italian vacation they had planned to take together, alone. It’s so reminiscent of Lorelai’s “Wild” excursion in Netflix’s A Year in the Life, and did I mention that Lauren Graham herself actually narrates the audiobook?!
Once she’s in Positano, the stunning seaside cliff town where Katy’s mother once spent a Summer long ago, she meets a woman who doesn’t just look like her mother but appears to actually be her mother, albeit at age 30.
Katy is surprised by this twist of magical realism in a way that only Serle, known for her stories mixing grief with magical realism, and Lauren Graham (a/k/a Lorelai), known for her character’s neuroses, can both pull off to perfection. It’s one of my favorite books of 2022.
Part of Your World by Abby Jimenez
Best for fans of Luke and Lorelai
The storyline is a simple and familiar one: when a wealthy woman from a well-to-do family with high expectations of her meets a small-town, dutiful family business owner, sparks fly, but she fears truly allowing him to be “part of her world” as she applies for a job position that will uphold the family name and longstanding traditions.
What’s unique about it is the small-town charm and the humor and grace with which the story is told, leaving readers’ hearts warmed like their favorite episode of Gilmore Girls.
Talking As Fast As I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (and Everything in Between) by Lauren Graham
Best for fans of memoirs and/or Lauren Graham
New York Times bestseller
In Talking as Fast as I Can, actress Lauren Graham shares a collection of personal essays in a voice that’s as fast and quirky as her character, Lorelai Gilmore. She reveals behind-the-scenes stories about Gilmore Girls and reflects on her life, particularly as a working actress.
While she opens up about the challenges of being single in Hollywood, this isn’t a “tell-all” but rather amusing ruminations as PG as Gilmore Girls. It’s a little bit Lauren, a little bit Lorelai, and a whole lot of fun.
The book includes photos and excerpts from the diary Graham kept during the filming of the recent Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, but I also loved the audiobook memoir read by Graham herself.
Already read it? Check out more books by Lauren Graham.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
Best for fans of Young Adult books
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is a great escape read and one of my favorite love story books similar to Gilmore Girls. It will make you think of a teenage Rory and consider her three leading men: Dean, Jess, and Logan.
It’s a sweet story of the charming high schooler Lara Jean, who writes each of her crushes a letter about how she really feels, then hides them. Then, one day, she discovers that her letters have been mailed, causing all of her lifelong crushes to confront her — from her first kiss to the boy from summer camp and even her older sister’s ex-boyfriend.
Like Gilmore Girls, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before has caused diehard fans to choose “Teams” of their favorite suitor for dear Lara Jean.
The Tourist Attraction by Sarah Morganthaler
Best for fans of romantic comedies
Amazon Editors’ Pick for Best Romance
The male lead in The Tourist Attraction gave me total Luke Danes vibes. In Alaska, he runs a small-town diner known as “The Tourist Trap” run by a grumpy local.
Zoey is on her dream two-week vacation in Alaska when she visits the diner. Like Lorelai, Zoey is just so cheerful as she humorously interacts with the locals, including a rogue moose, that she just may change his heart.
The Twelve Dates of Christmas by Jenny Bayliss
Best for the holiday season
The Twelve Dates of Christmas is a Christmas romance book in which thirty-four-year-old Kate Turner is ready to say “Bah, humbug” to relationships in the sleepy town of Blexford, England, a charming place like Stars Hollow during a season in which you can “smell snow” like Lorelai.
Kate’s found fulfillment in her designing career and in her scrumptious side job baking like Sookie in her old friend Matt’s neighborhood café, reminiscent of Luke’s Diner.
When her best friend signs her up for a dating agency that promises twelve dates with twelve different men in the weeks before Christmas, she figures the odds must finally be in her favor.
Yet with each new date more disastrous than the one before–and the whole town keeping tabs on her misadventures like our favorite Stars Hollow residents–Kate must remind herself that sometimes love may have been right under her nose all along.
Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple
Best for fans of humorous, quirky characters
Like Lorelai, Bernadette is a quick-witted and sharp mom raising a daughter. After years of prioritizing motherhood over an art career, her actions begin to cause some slapstick humorous moments that make people think she has gone crazy.
So, she escapes to Antarctica and, in the process, finds personal meaning. Bernadette is a beloved literary character with a voice all her own, which will make you laugh out loud, as her daughter searches to reunite with her.
Well Met by Jen DeLuca
Best for fans of modern romance
After repeatedly hearing Well Met was like Gilmore Girls, I decided to give in and read it, despite the fact I’m not much of a modern romance reader. I ended up quite liking it! And I agree it definitely has Gilmore Girls vibes.
When a young and single Emily’s sister becomes injured in an accident, she moves to her small town to help her recover. She ends up volunteering for the local Renaissance Faire alongside her teenage niece and meeting and falling for the leader who has a complex history with the fair.
Cue the Stars Hollow and Liz vibes!
Those are the best books to read if you like Gilmore Girls. To recap and help you decide what to read first or next, my top 3 picks are:
- The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living: best for fans of Hallmark movies and/or small-town romances
- Empire Falls: best for fans of character-driven literary fiction
- Part of Your World: best for fans of Luke and Lorelai
Related Gilmore Girls Posts
If you loved this Gilmore Girls post, you will love these posts:
- Gilmore Girls Book List
- The Ultimate Gilmore Girls Gift Guide
- Best Gilmore Girls Quotes
- Top Books Rory Would Read Today
- Best Gilmore Girls Food and Cookbook
Follow my Gilmore Girls reading challenge @TheRoryGilmoreBookClub on Instagram.