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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 like Gilmore Girls with all the warm and cozy vibes of Stars Hollow.

books like gilmore girls with a cup of coffee.

Gilmore Girls is a major theme at The Literary Lifestyle, and I run The Rory Gilmore Book Club, in which we take the Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge and read the books referenced on Gilmore Girls.

This particular list of books like Gilmore Girls includes everything from quirky characters to small town settings, Fall-inspired romances, and charming storylines that will remind you of Stars Hollow, the Gilmores, the Dragonfly Inn, Luke’s Diner, Luke, Sookie, and more!

Top 3

TOP PICKS

The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living: (popular with readers of The Literary Lifestyle) Best for fans of Hallmark movies and/or small-town romances

Empire Falls: Best for fans of small-town, character-driven, literary fiction

Part of Your World: Best for fans of Luke and Lorelai

Quick List

  1. The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller
  2. Empire Falls by Richard Russo
  3. First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen
  4. The Gilmore Companion by A.S. Berman
  5. At Home in Stars Hollow by Micol Ostow and Cecelia Messina
  6. The Marvelous Mirza Girls by Sheba Karim
  7. Musical Chairs by Amy Poeppel
  8. One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle
  9. Part of Your World by Abby Jimenez 
  10. Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham
  11. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
  12. The Tourist Attraction by Sarah Morganthaler
  13. The Twelve Dates of Christmas by Jenny Bayliss
  14. Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Marie Semple
  15. Well Met by Jen DeLuca

Details on the Best Books 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 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.

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 Gilmores’ 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.”

It’s incredibly nuanced with characters so well-drawn that I even slowed down the audiobook 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. 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. 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 all the hottest Gilmore Girls news, from the first episode to the last and everything in between. It gives you all the 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. 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 short and sweet illustrated 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, which is both a core theme of the show and a lesson for young ones.


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 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 as one of the best books like Gilmore Girls because it takes place in a small Connecticut town and the main character is quaint whereas her family is wealthy.

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 narrates the audiobook?!

Once Katy’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 rather appears to 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.


Part of Your World by Abby Jimenez

Best for fans of Luke and Lorelai

Part of Your World by Abby Jimenez is a loveable romantic comedy, reminiscent of all your favorite late 90s/early 00s movies.

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 romance 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 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.

This one simply hits all the right notes.


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

National bestseller

Where’d You Go, Bernadette? is an all-time favorite and an excellent book about motherhood as well as escaping family drama and finding yourself.

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, and I agree this book 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!


Conclusion

The above books like Gilmore Girls showcase all the charming vibes of Stars Hollow and its quirky residents, from romance to family drama and beyond. To recap and help you decide what to read first or next, my top 3 picks are:

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