Recommending Books Based On My Old Favorite TV Shows

“On the second Sabbat of Twelfthmoon, in the city of Weep, a girl feel from the sky.”

First line in Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Today I’m combining books and nostalgia as I recommend books based on old TV shows I used to be obsessed with. To be honest, I’m still quite obsessed with a few of them.
My definition of “old” is completely based on what I wanted that definition to be, so I decided the last episode must have aired before 2020 for the show to be eligible for this post, although most of the shows are older than that. Also, as I was compiling my list, I noticed the shows had some very memorable theme songs because remember when all shows used to have opening credits? What happened to those? There were some iconic tracks so I’m obviously sharing the song for each show to get you in the mood. Enjoy!

One Tree Hill

Number of seasons: 9 (2003-2012)
Genre: Teen Drama

Synopsis: We follow two half-brothers, Lucas and Nathan Scott, in the small town of Tree Hill as they fight over anything from basketball to girls to their dad but slowly start to bond.

Basketball is a big deal in this show and when I see sports, I want to recommend the only sportsbook I’ve read which is The Foxhole Court, the first book in the All for the Game trilogy by Nora Sakavic. They play a fictional sport in that one that is more like lacrosse but they are just as passionate about it as the characters in One Tree Hill are about basketball.
The show is centered around the Scotts and the people in their immediate vicinity and they tend to create a lot of drama, so I feel like everyone else in Tree Hill must relate to the book The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness, a book about the people who aren’t main characters.
Finally, there’s also a specific storyline in the show involving Peyton Sawyer that reminds me of the book Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks because it gets creepy and very stalkerish. And that’s all I’m going to say on that.

Mr. Robot

Number of seasons: 4 (2015-2019)
Genre: Thriller Drama

Synopsis: Elliot Alderson works as a cybersecurity engineer but is also an activist hacker in his free time. He struggles with a lot (!) of psychological problems such as clinical depression and severe anxiety which all have pushed him into drug abuse.

This is the best show ever and I will not hear anything against it! It’s the kind of show where you don’t actually know what it’s about until the last episode of the last season so it’s a little hard to recommend books based on it but I promise that all my recommendations are spoiler-free, both for the show and the books.
My first choice is Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman because both have severe mental issues as their core theme.
Next up is Piranesi by Susanna Clarke which I’m primarily recommending for its WTF-is-going-on element which is something Mr. Robot has in common. There are also a few other overlaps that I won’t go into details with though.
Lastly, I want to recommend These Violent Delights by Micah Nemerever. What the book has in common with Mr. Robot is brutality and intellect, often in combination. The book is about a toxic relationship and let’s just say that there are plenty of those in the show.


Number of seasons: 5 (2008-2012)
Genre: Fantasy Adventure

Synopsis: A young Merlin arrives at Camelot to apprentice with the court physician but also ends up with the task of protecting Prince Arthur. Also, Merlin can do magic but magic is very forbidden in Camelot.

Why have I not read any Arthurian legends retellings?
Okay, but a young boy arrives at a new place to be an apprentice to an old man while also becoming involved with protecting royals? And he has magical abilities he needs to hide? That’s basically the plot of Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb. I’d say Merlin manages a bit more humor than Hobb but the stakes are equally high.
I’m also seeing similarities between the show and A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab. Like Merlin, the main character Kell is one of the few people who have his magical abilities and Kell also serves the throne although less secretly than Merlin. Both characters also have a close bond with the heir to the throne, which is my favorite thing about Merlin.
I’m reaching a bit with the last one here but on a couple of occasions in the show, Merlin turns into an old man and there’s a very distinct personality that goes along with that persona (he’s a terrible person). And that makes me think of the elderly main character in A Conspiracy of Truths by Alexandra Rowland. He’s also a bit grumpy but that could have something to do with him being arrested for a crime he didn’t commit.

Teen Wolf

Number of seasons: 6 (2011-2017)
Genre: Supernatural Teen Drama

Synopsis: You know what this is. Hot people turning into werewolves.

This show might be the reason I decided to include theme songs in this post because nothing beats the Teen Wolf opening credits.
I have read very few books about werewolves and liked just about *checks notes* zero. That said, though, there are werewolves in The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare despite them not being the main characters. They are also some good books to recommend because, like in Teen Wolf, there’s a lot of action and fighting BUT who is making out with whom is equally if not more important than how the world is going to get saved.
While Half Bad by Sally Green is actually about witches, there are also people turning into animals. The main character Nathan is also quite the brooding loner type so this is basically for you who wanted Derek as the main character in the show.
As the show progresses, we start to see other supernatural creatures than just werewolves so by the end it feels like everyone has a Thing, which isn’t unlike the characters in The Diviners by Libba Bray. Again, a series where it’s very important who is making out with whom.


Number of seasons: 10 (2001-2011)
Genre: Superhero Teen Drama

Synopsis: The coming-of-age story of Clark Kent and his journey to becoming Superman.

I’ve not read many books about superheroes but demi-gods aren’t far off so how about some Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan? Those books also have the coming-of-age element and both Percy and Clark face trouble trying to connect with their biological fathers.
We’re staying with the god theme and that’s all I’m to say about the next one which is Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor.
The setting most used in the show is the farm where Clark lives with his parents so I’m recommending something with that atmosphere and that is Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell. It’s a cute and fun graphic novel that is much more lighthearted than Smallville though.

Not gonna lie, I had so much fun with this! And now I want to rewatch all of these shows! Let me know if you’ve watched any of them and what you thought of the recommendations. Do you want me to do it again? Also, tell me what YOUR favorite “old” TV show is!

7 thoughts on “Recommending Books Based On My Old Favorite TV Shows

  1. This is such a cool idea! 🤗🤩 Although I’m afraid the books in this post overlap a lot more with what I’ve read than the TV shows do with what I’ve watched – the only one of these I’ve tried is Merlin, and I never got past the first couple of episodes 😅 I have read a ton of Arthurian Legend retellings, though, so if you ever want recommendations, I’ve got you! Although I have yet to find the perfect adult retelling – so far, I think T.A. Barron’s Merlin series and Legendborn are probably my favorites, and they’re both YA 🤔

    Also, that Mr. Robot theme song is epic! (Yes, I think it’s better than the Teen Wolf one 😁) And so is your reasoning behind some of the book pairings. I lost it when you explained why you paired The Diviners with Teen Wolf 🤣

    And my own favorite old TV show? It’s Star Trek, obviously! Nothing can possibly compete! (Well, at least with Next Generation and Voyager 🥰 The original series and the newer stuff is a bit questionable, but I still love it because it helps flesh out the world…) In fact, the only thing I’ve been watching these last few weeks is Voyager because it’s just my ultimate comfort show and after all the car trouble and the idiotic things I did this weekend, I needed it! (Remember how I said I made it home uninjured? Well, that lasted exactly one day 🙈 I had a truly spectacular fall off my bike, and the only positive thing I can say about it is that I miraculously didn’t break any bones 😅)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I still love Merlin a lot so I was just so shocked to learn that I haven’t read a single Arthurian Legend retelling! I was so sure I had! But yeah, there are actually quite a few YA ones that come to mind now, but I feel most of them are gender-bent which is probably why I haven’t been picking them up 🤔

      Well, the music for Mr. Robot did win an Emmy so I can accept you thinking it’s better than the Teen Wolf theme song 😄 I think the visuals of the opening credits of Teen Wolf enhance the song though and since that’s primarily how I’ve heard it, I find that song very epic.

      I haven’t watched Star Trek though! At least not the series. I’ve watched the movies with Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto, and I really loved the first one, although I’ve forgotten what I thought of the second (probably not a good sign 😅). It never really made me interested in the series though, oddly enough. Maybe because I knew it was so old and new stuff was coming out so I’d just never catch up anyway 😅 But your obsession with sci-fi suddenly makes so much sense!
      Well, you having a problem-free week also seemed a little unrealistic 😂 With your car problems and now bike problems, you’re just going to have to walk everywhere from now on. But good to know that your injury this time wasn’t too severe 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, I took an Arthurian legend course at university, and for that alone I had to read/watch about ten retellings… So I feel like I’m pretty well versed by now! 🤣

        And noooo, Line, the Star Trek movies aren’t good! 🤯 They’re okay at best! The series are way better! Okay, well, not the original one, that’s pretty sexist and has horrible special effects… But the others are awesome! If you do ever want to give it a try, I recommend just beginning with Next Generation and leaving the original (except maybe the movies, those are alright 😅) for later…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I clearly spent my time at university doing the wrong thing 😮😂

        I’m sorry but I do stand by my opinion on the first movie. I’ve watched it several times because I really like it 😄 I might look into the series some more now that you’ve given me a starting point, though 😇

        Liked by 1 person

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