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9 Books Like Normal People To Read If You Enjoy Romance Novels

books like normal people

Normal People, a realistic and heart-gripping young adult novel has won the hearts of people across generations. If you enjoyed reading it, here is a list of books like Normal People that you might enjoy. 

Irish writer Sally Rooney’s second book Normal People quickly gained popularity when it was released in 2018. The novel received wide critical acclaim and became a best-seller in the US in the first year of its release. Being called a literary phenomenon of the 20th century, the novel deals with themes of love and desire along with modern difficulties faced by youth. These coming-of-age experiences of the intelligent-introverted Marianne and the all-rounder-popular Connell are beautifully written by Sally in simple prose. Normal People has been a favourite for everyone, and rightfully so. Rooney has an incredible ability to spot the intangibilities of our time and expose them in a tender way.  

Here is a compiled list of amazing books that are a must-read if you enjoyed Normal People.

List Of Books like Normal People

  1. Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney
  2. One Day by David Nicholls 
  3. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell 
  4. Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
  5. Writers and Lovers by Lily King
  6. Call me by your name by André Aciman
  7. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  8. The Idiot by Elif Batuman
  9. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

1. Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney

Conversations with Friends is the debut novel of Sally Rooney. Published in 2017, this novel is mainly set in Dublin. The novel follows two college students Frances and Bobbi, they are former girlfriends turned best friends. When they perform spoken-word poetry at Dublin avenue, they meet the couple, Melissa and Nick. Bobbi begins to crush on Melissa, while Frances is strongly drawn to Nick. Hence starts a complex affair. 

This deeply sensual heart-wrenching novel is developed with Sally’s clever skills in writing an effective frame story. This book delves into the realistic and complicated themes of self-esteem, love, sexuality, and class. If you love reading books like Normal people and can’t get enough of Sally Rooney’s writing style, Conversations with Friends is a book for you. 

2. One Day by David Nicholls 

Published in 2009, this book centres around the characters Dexter and Emma, two people who find it difficult to admit their love for one another. A lesser-known novel, One Day brings out the themes of loneliness and discontent. The protagonist’s self-acceptance journey shows the power love can have. 

Terribly flawed Dexter and Emma may be but their intentions are genuine, just like everyone they are trying to find the right place in life. Their relationship will captivate you. This book is sure to appeal to a person who likes reading realistic contemporary love stories and is searching for books like Normal people

3. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell is an absolute fan favourite when it comes to YA fiction novels. In the novel, we learn the story of two little odd birds. Eleanor, fire redhead and awkwardly dressed. Park, a weird and silent Asian. The two little school-going misfits slowly get to know each other during their daily bus ride to school. A relationship that starts from an annoyed greeting insult blossoms into incomprehensible unconditional love. This book is incredibly touching in its simplistic storytelling. 

Rainbow Rowell’s ability to capture the anxieties, fear, obsession and true devotion a teenager feels towards life is why this book is well-worth reading if you’re in search of books similar to Normal People.

4. Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

Haruki Murakami is one of the most highly regarded writers of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Norwegian Wood, a 1987 Japanese novel appealed to readers worldwide. It’s through the themes of alienation, surrealism, nostalgia, and pain that Murakami masters the subtle nuances of life. Norwegian Wood is a story about Toru Watanabe who mourns the loss of his high school friend, Kizuki. Traumatized by the loss, Toru finds himself falling in love with Kizuki’s girlfriend, who herself feels so tortured and traumatized by the instances in her life that she struggles to have a stable relationship with Toru. 

Toru and Naoko’s existentialism may feel very depressing at times but the novel’s poetic and mysterious narrative will hold you in and never let you forget the feeling of reading the story for the first time.  There are few literary works that can match the genius of this one and if you want to read books like Normal people, Norwegian Wood is a no-brainer. 

5. Writers and Lovers by Lily King

The fifth novel by the American author, Lily King, Writers and Lovers is a recent release. Published in 2020, the novel explores the story of an aspiring writer Casey Peabody. Now in her 30s, she feels uninspired by life and struggles to begin writing a novel. 

While recovering from the loss of her mother, she is accepted to a writing residency. She meets a man, falls in love, and discovers unexpected secrets. As life goes for many, we see Casey navigate her way through her career and relationships. The book is filled with passion, desire, and grief. If you’re searching for similar books like Normal People, Writers, and Lovers’ realistic representation of the hardships truly lives up to those expectations. 

6. Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman

Call Me By Your Name is a coming-of-age romance masterpiece published in 2007. The book has been well received since its inception but it especially gained more attention after the Academy Award-winning film adaptation of the same title. This young adult fiction follows the summer romance between Elio, an Italian-Jewish teenage boy, and Oliver, an American-Jewish Grad student in his early 20s.

The novel presents an honest account of love and desire from Elio’s point of view and reminds the reader of how strong the emotions are. André Aciman through his powerful narrative creates a nuanced and heart-wrenching story. Call Me By Your Name has a universality because the readers are reminded of their own journey of falling in love. You cannot go wrong with this choice if you are on the lookout for romance books like Normal people. It is truly a must-read. 

7. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

In this fictional tale, Iconic Hollywood actress Evelyn Hugo is in her later 70s. After living a life of glamour and public scrutiny, Evelyn finally decides to tell her own truth of marrying 7 men in her lifetime. She does so by choosing an unpopular magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job. Monique herself is not in the best place, her husband has left and her professional life hasn’t gone to her plan. 

Monique enters the Luxurious yet intoxicating home of Evelyn and learns much about the actress’ untold truth about life, partners, career, and love. Themes like loss, betrayal, and sacrifice marked by Evelyn’s relationships are reminiscent of books like Normal people. Said to be loosely based on the lives of legendary actresses like Elizabeth Taylor and Rita Hayworth, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo will not disappoint.  

8. The Idiot by Elif Batuman

Selin is a freshman at Harvard and the daughter of Turkish immigrants. Set in 1995, e-mail is a new technology through which Elevelyn by accident meets Ivan, an older mathematics student from Hungary. She also befriends her Serbian classmate Svetlana. Her correspondence with Ivan and the experiences she has while travelling to Hungary and Paris, at the end of her school year open up a new world for Selin. 

Everything previously in Selin’s typical American life had been unlike all this, this journey is not only about self-discovering but reinventing oneself. As you walk through this novel’s multi-spatial setting, it will make you reflect deeply on the unguarded affronts and beauty of youth. Similar to books like Normal People, this Pulitzer prize finalist, The Idiot will change your perspective on life. 

9. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is about a young boy named Charlie, he is shy and introverted, usually acting like an actual wallflower just observing people from afar. Though this is not a story that centres around a relationship or for that matter, love as a central theme, it shows Charlie coping with a recent loss and deeply hidden childhood traumas. Though he suffers from mental health issues, he is still a ‘normal’ boy looking for a sense of belonging.  

Stephen Chbosky’s choice of optimism is evident. He brings understanding and caring people into Charlie’s life. It teaches us that people are more like you than they seem. Charlie finds that in Patrick and Sam, who helps him discover the happiness of friendship, music, and first love. In this coming-of-age one can’t help but feel protective towards Charlie just as we felt for Marianne and Connell in a book like Normal People. Forever wishing nothing ever harms their pure soul again.

Also Check Out: Books like I’m Thinking of Ending Things

Honourable Mentions

The following books were not a part of the list but are great options if you’re looking for more books similar to Normal People.

  1. The Course of Love by Alain de Botton
  2. Tender by Belinda Mckeon 
  3. Show Them a Good Time by Nicole Flattery
  4. Sorry for Your Loss by Jessie Ann Foley

When Lost aired over a decade ago, its successful narrative created a pop culture impact and changed the landscape of television. If you are a fan and want to watch shows like Lost then you can have a look at this list we made just for you.

Lost

The hugely successful television series Lost aired in 2004. The premise, as we know, deals with a group of people surviving a commercial passenger plane crash on a remote island. The show masterfully explores supernatural and sci-fi elements on this mysterious south Pacific island. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTu8iDynwNc

The use of cliffhangers at the end of each episode of Lost kept the viewers on the edge of their seats, desperately craving for the next episode to come. Even though it's a large ensemble cast, most of the characters receive a justifiable personal arch. Lost was inspired by the movie Castaway and became one of the most expensive pilots to be shot at the time! Lost continues to be appreciated for its originality in storytelling and dynamic character arcs. 

List of TV Shows Like Lost

  1. The Leftovers
  2. Manifest
  3. Lost Room
  4. Twin Peaks
  5. The Prisoners
  6. Battlestar Galactica
  7. The New People
  8. Flight 29 Down
  9. Fringe
  10. Alcatraz
  11. Under the Dome
  12. Dark

1. The Leftovers (2014)

IMDB ratings: 8.3/10

Cast: Carrie Coon, Justin Theroux, Amy Brenneman and Margaret Qualley

Creator: Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta

The director of Lost, Damon Lindel also created a supernatural drama series called The Leftovers. The show begins 3 years after an unexplainable global event called ‘Sudden Departure’  where almost 2 per cent of the population, nearly 140 million people, disappear. The Leftovers isn't about WHY people are gone, it's about how the ones who remain dealt with their loss, people often try to comfort themselves with dreams, angels, gods, or even death.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLT3YUALJno&t=8s

The Leftovers will leave you with so many questions but beyond words, you have to feel it and savour its unanswered questions to find peace. The Leftovers is an incredible television series that starts incredibly well but loses its way by the series's end. I have to say though, Carrie Coon has brilliant moments in the end. The Leftovers is so weird, fragmented and nonsensical at times that it reminds me of Lost. If you are looking for shows like Lost, I recommend that you give The Leftovers a try.

2. Manifest  (2018) 

IMDB ratings: 7.1/10

Cast: Melissa Roxburgh, Josh Dallas and J.R. Ramirez 

Creator: Jeff Rake


The Manifest is a supernatural drama show about a bunch of people who discover that they lost 5 years of their lives when they landed in New York after their aeroplane faced severe turbulence. All the people on the plane were presumed to be dead. Now, these people have to find a way to adjust themselves to a new life around their loved ones. Mild spoiler! They learn their loved ones and the rest of society is not as they left it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1hNAIzkQWY

I found that the show’s premise was very intriguing and the actors give a very convincing performance. The narrative details of the show, however, in my opinion, are a bit sloppy and inconsistent. The writers surely have room for improvement but their concept is incredibly thrilling. Every episode of Manifest keeps you on your toes. Manifest has completed 3 seasons up until now and continues to be on air. Manifest is a pretty good choice if you want to watch TV shows like Lost.

3. Lost Room (2006)

IMDB ratings: 8.1/10

Cast: Peter Krause, Julianna Margulies and Peter Jacobson

Creator: Christopher Leone, Laura Harkcom

This lesser-known show The Lost Room is an American Sci-fi television miniseries which only had 3 episodes of 90 mins each and no follow-up seasons. The show was based on a very unique idea where the room in question (known as the ‘Lost Room’) and the objects in the said room had supernatural powers. This strange room is set in a 1960s motel along the iconic U.S. Route 66. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfWrECLnFYU

One day the protagonist (Peter Krause) Joe Miller’s daughter disappears inside the room. Joe, with the help of objects present in the room, tries to find his daughter Anna (Elle Fanning). The story of Lost Room was intensely engaging. I found the direction and the actor’s performances to be absolutely brilliant. It baffles me that the creators did not return to make another short season within the same concept. If you have been searching for TV series like Lost then I can assure you that Lost Room will be worth a watch.

4. Twins Peaks (1990) 

IMDB ratings: 8.8/10

Cast: Kyle MacLachlan, Mädchen Amick, Sherilyn Fenn and David Lynch

Creator: David Lynch

David Lynch, the well-known director of weird and captivating films such as Eraserhead and Blue Velvet created an iconic show called Twin Peaks. It is a hauntingly eccentric show about the investigation of the mysterious murder of a small-town homecoming queen named Laura Palmer. Believe me, as odd as the show may seem at first, you will grow to love it, after all, it is considered to be one of the best mystery shows ever created. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zwn9ou_nf-I

With the mysteries, the supernatural elements and the list of bizarre characters, Twin Peaks has it all. In my opinion, the cinematography of the show was truly ahead of its time. Kyle’s Dale Cooper was especially entertaining. Twin Peaks’ experimental formula of the satirical soap opera is extremely unsettling yet rewarding to watch, I must warn you, it’s not for the faint-hearted!  If you are in search of TV shows like Lost then Twin Peaks won’t disappoint you.

The Prisoners (1967)

IMDB ratings: 8.5/10

Cast: Patrick McGoohan, Angelo Muscat and Geroge Markstien

Creator: Patrick McGoohan


The Prisoner centres around an unnamed British agent (Patrick McGoohan) who tries to flee his country after abruptly quitting his high-ranking government job. He is abducted and held captive in a strange ‘sea-side’ village that is isolated from the rest of the world. This village is a highly secure and monitored place filled with weird technology. There are only 17 episodes to this late 60s show but it manages to bring up such surreal surprises, it's sure to leave a great impact on the viewer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JrNr85fPms

The Prisoner’s unique concept influenced many popular shows including Lost. The creators of Lost even cited the show. I was very impressed by how ahead of its time The Prisoners proves to be. If you want to watch more shows similar to Lost the Prisoners should definitely be on your list.

6. Battlestar Galactica (2004)

IMDB ratings: 8.7/10

Cast: Katee Sackhoff, Edward James Olmos and Tricia Helfer 

Creator: Glen A. Larson

The 2004 Battlestar Galactica is a reboot of the original 1978 miniseries of the same name. Do not be mistaken by the title, the show is not related to Star Trek.  Battlestar Galactica is set in the 7th millennium AD and follows Cylons, the robot enemy of humanity that resurfaces to destroy the 12 colonies of Mankind. Only a few survive and are able to escape on ships led by a powerful warship called Battlestar Galactica. Mankind struggles to fight the Cylons and work their own political agendas and disputes while finding their long-lost 13th colony Earth.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TnYsf2Yv8i8

The show is a dark, intense and gritty socio-political commentary with EPIC cinematic value. The script is especially clever and as a huge fan of sci-fi shows, this show ticks the boxes in all the right categories. When the show was released, it blew the viewers and critics away. As far as an obsessive and gripping story goes, Battlestar Galactica is one of the most similar to shows like Lost. 

7. The New People (1969)

IMDB ratings: 7.3/10

Cast: David Moses, Zooey hall and Tiffany Boiling

Creator: Larry Gordon Aaron Spelling

The New People is an American Tv series that aired only for 1 season and is focused on a couple of college students who survive a plane crash. The incident takes place while they were returning from a trip to Southeast Asia, their plane crashes on an island in the south of the Pacific ocean. 

By now this show must already be sounding a lot like Lost to you, and it surely is. The remaining group of people discover an unusual truth about the island: there’s an above-ground unused nuclear test site filled with supplies for the survivors. If you want to see more plane survival stories like Lost then The New People should definitely be on your list.

8. Flight 29 Down (2005)

IMDB ratings: 7.2/10

Cast: Allen Alvarado, Halle Hirsh and Corbin Bleu

Creator:  Stan Rowgow D. J. MacHale

The show Flight 29 Down is a drama series about a group of pre-teens/teens who are stranded on a South Pacific island after their plane crashes in a tropical storm while they were flying from an eco-adventure camping trip in Palau. The show is in many ways a younger version of the Adult-centred show Lost but sans the supernatural elements. I’d say that the show draws inspiration from the show The New People.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLeG0w3kL8k

Flight 29 Down uses the technique of a video diary as a plot device for the viewers to keep up with the story of these children. It was very engaging to watch young intelligent characters finding their way on the island. The first two seasons of the show are quite engaging but I seemed to lose interest in its 3rd and final season. Regardless, Flight 29 Down is a really good series to watch if you want to see TV shows like Lost.

9. Fringe (2008)

IMDB ratings: 8.4/10

Cast: Anna Torv, John Noble and Joshua Jackson

Creator: J. J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman, and Roberto Orci

Fringe is a popular Sci-fi crime drama television series. It may seem like a standard procedural drama at first, but the show actually explores the parallel universe, alternate versions of people filled with crazy scientific experiments. I personally had a great time watching this show.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29bSzbqZ3xE

Fringe is actually inspired by shows like Lost, The X-files and The Twilight Zone. The 3 main characters of the show work with a special division called Fringe. There are so many brilliant twists and turns in Fringe that in my opinion, the show is at the top of its category. If you are searching for TV series like Lost, I strongly recommend you watch Fringe

10. Alcatraz (2012)

IMDB ratings: 6.9/10

Cast: Sarah Jones, George Garcia and Jonny Coyne 

Creator: Elizabeth Sarnoff, Steven Lilien, Bryan Wynbrandt

This American fiction show is based on the infamous Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary built on Alcatraz island in San Francisco Bay. The prison is now closed but once kept some of the most dangerous criminals of America. The show takes the liberty to make a show around the conspiracies of the place.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V514ACIGp_k

In the interesting premise we see that under unknown circumstances, 256 inmates and 46 guards of the prison disappear without a trace. Later the disappeared ones start to appear one by one without ageing a day and resume their criminal activities with no realisation of disappearance. A special government unit is dedicated to finding and putting those criminals back in prison. If you are looking for mystery shows similar to Lost, try watching Alcatraz. 

11. Under the Dome (2013)

IMDB ratings: 6.5/10

Cast: Alexander Koch and Rachelle Lefevre

Creator: Stephen King

Based on a novel written by the sci-fi legend Stephen King, Under the Dome tells the story of the residents of the fictional small town called Chester's Mill, when a huge, transparent and indestructible dome suddenly cuts them off from the rest of the world. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_Y5YeYrqUk

Now the trapped residents try to find a way to discover the truth, origin and purpose of these domes. This journey forces them into situations where they learn more about each other than they ever knew. Under the Dome may not be on the top of this list but it’s quite a decent watch if you’re looking for mystery shows similar to Lost

12. Dark (2017)

IMDB ratings: 8.7/10

Cast: Louis Hofmann, Lisa Vicari and Gina Stiebitz

Creator: Baran bo Odar, Jantje Friese

The German-language Netflix series Dark is an interesting blend of Science fiction and Mystery. Truly a compelling and mind-bending story to watch. At the beginning of Dark, many children suspiciously start disappearing in the German town of Winden. The dark past of generational mysteries of 4 families living in the town namely, Kahnwald, Nielsen, Doppler, and Tiedemann is brought to light.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrwycJ08PSA

After the discovery of a wormhole, the lives of the families intertwine more than one can imagine. I believe every element of the show is top-notch, especially Dark’s cinematography, which is a TRUE masterpiece. If you are looking for TV series similar to Lost then the intense and gripping story of Dark is sure to keep you engrossed.

Honourable Mentions

Here are a few TV shows like Lost that didn’t make the list, but you can check them out nonetheless: 

  1. Carnivale
  2. Yellowjackets
  3. Game of Thrones
  4. Black Mirror
  5. Flashforward