Books to read if you love Cruel Summer

Whether you’re curious about the hyped TV mystery or still not over that ending, we’ve got a reading list ripe in '90s nostalgia, teenage drama and mystery.

A still from Cruel Summer
Are you hooked yet? Cruel Summer. Image: Freeform

Not heard of Cruel Summer? It’s only a matter of time. The Amazon Prime drama has become the sleeper hit of the season thanks to its twisting plot, retro setting (yes, the '90s is retro now) and did-she, didn’t-she drama.

It’s likely you’ll devour the 10 episodes far more quickly than you may have originally planned, so we’ve pulled together some accompanying reads that will let the mystery linger a little longer – or until season two drops, at least.

The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides (1993)

Eugenides’ modern classic may have been set in the 1970s, but its release in the early nineties had major influence on how teenage girlhood was seen and portrayed during the decades to come. The first line is as much of a spoiler as the title: the book is about the five enthralling teenage Lisbon sisters, and their self-inflicted demise, as narrated by a form of “Greek chorus” of men who knew them at the time. To read it is to be catapulted into the almost imperceptibly sinister suburbs of America, but also a meditation on adolescence and the passage of time – all of which permeate through Cruel Summer, too.

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