The teenage main characters from Stranger Things stand together in a group, in a shopping mall, lit by red neon lighting.

Photo: Netflix

A Summer of Drowning by John Burnside (2011)

This haunting novel begins with twenty-something Liv reminiscing about the events of a strange summer a decade ago. Filled with teenage angst, a tense plot and strange Norwegian folk tales, A Summer of Drowning straddles a line somewhere between mystery, suspense and horror.

Suspicious Minds by Gwenda Bond (2019)

For those of you who are fully obsessed with Stranger Things and want to journey further into its world, Gwenda Bond’s Suspicious Minds – the first official Stranger Things novel – takes us back to summer 1969 for a creepy prequel story that explores what really happened to Eleven’s mother.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson (1962)

If you enjoy the creeping sense of dread in Stranger Things, pick up this masterful example of small-town horror. Starting with a crime that shocks and ripples through this tiny town, you won’t regret stepping into Jackson’s unsettling world in a book that's packed with atmosphere and more than a hint of black comedy.

Black Hole by Charles Burns (2005)

Set in mid-70s suburban Seattle, Black Hole is a genre-transcending graphic novel that deals with suburban malaise, teenage alienation, the relentless anxiety and the longing to escape. Illustrated in incredible detail, this graphic novel explores a specific moment of flux in American culture, as well as the kids caught up in it.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle (1962)

A children's classic that lives up to re-reading as an adult, the heroes of this book travel through time and space to bring a kidnapped loved one back home from somewhere beyond this world – a theme that should be very familiar to fans of Stranger Things.

The Power by Naomi Alderman (2017)

If you’ve ever wondered what it might be like to have Eleven’s powers, The Power is the book to pick up. The story begins with women all over the world discovering that they suddenly have the power to inflict great pain with a flick of their fingers…

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (2011)

Lose yourself in a virtual reality treasure hunt filled with 70s and 80s sci-fi references. While there may not be any plot similarities between Cline’s breakthrough debut novel and Stranger Things, Ready Player One is filled with nostalgia. You can now see the book brought to life in a Steven Stielberg-directed blockbuster film adaptation starring Tye Sheridan and Olivia Cooke.

The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories by H. P. Lovecraft (1926)

Scare yourself with some of the best stories from the grandfather of weird fiction. Between these pages you’ll find things that lurk, scurry and move unseen. The title story involves three linked narratives which piece together the disturbing story of the monstrous extraterrestrial being known as ‘Cthulhu’. 


Night Film by Marisha Pessl (2013)

One of the things that makes Stranger Things so brilliant is the fact that it's filled with so many cultural references from the 80s. Night Film is similar in that way, with an addictive plot that effortlessly combines cult cinema and horror.

Ghost Stories by M. R. James (1931)

Pop a jumper on and grab a blanket, because this book will chill you to the core. Written to entertain friends on Christmas Eve, these stories went on to transform and modernise a genre. Filled with the now-common signs of impending terror, James’s stories reveal a world where the familiar becomes diabolical and evil brushes against everyday life in the most unexpected ways.

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