If you liked this popular book, try this less popular book

Happy Monday, pals! Today I’m doing another “if you liked this, try this” post, but for popular and less popular books. I always try to highlight less popular books and wanted to talk about some that I’ve read and enjoyed recently.

I should say just to start that most of these books (if not all) are traditionally published books that may, at some point, have been popular. But, I rarely see them talked about in the online community and wanted to highlight them.

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If you liked The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, try The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O’Neil

The Lonely Hearts Hotel takes place in Montreal during the Depression, and is super magical-feeling and heart-warming. It doesn’t have a circus, but it does have a performance that features clowns and feels as magical-feeling as The Night Circus does.

What they have in common: magical-feeling writing, magical-feeling settings, performances of some sort, romance.


If you liked the Secret History by Donna Tartt, try Social Creature by Tara Isabella Burton

I need to credit Rachel for this one, who said in her review that Social Creature is The Secret History’s “beach read cousin”, which is so true.

What they have in common: a murder that you know is coming, pretentious characters, characters falling from grace trying to hide the fact that they murdered a friend, a lot of tension, not really much of a plot if we’re being honest but that’s not the point.


If you liked Pachinko by Min Jin Lee, try The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant

The Boston Girl is the fictional memoir of a Jewish American woman growing up in Boston around the time of the first (second?) world war. It’s super interesting and really well-written.

What they have in common: have a long timeline, focus on women and their relationships, take place during an interesting time in history.

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If you liked Pachinko by Min Jin Lee, try Glass Beads by Dawn Dumont

Glass Beads is a short story anthology focusing on First Nations people in Canada. It follows the same four people throughout their adult life, and is super interesting. It’s definitely not “an Aboriginal Pachinko” but they have a lot of similarities.

What they have in common: have a long timeline, focus on women and their relationships, talk about hardships experienced by a minority group.


If you liked All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven, try Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

I DNFed All the Bright Places, but really enjoyed Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock. If you, like me, hated the main character in All the Bright Places and were mad about the suicide, I’d highly recommend Leonard Peacock. The main character is still annoying, but he’s tolerable and I actually felt for him.

What they have in common: focus on mental health in teenagers, particularly depression.


If you liked Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor, try Tamora Pierce

I think everyone should just read Tamora Pierce in general and she’s super underrated. I’d particularly recommend her Beka Cooper trilogy if you want something with a lot of feels and a lot of magic.

What they have in common: fantasy series, young adult characters, strong female characters, lots of magic, good writing.

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So those are my recommendations for lesser known books based on popular books you’ve likely read. Have you read any of these? What were your thoughts? Do you agree with me on any of them? Are there any other popular books you want recommendations for? Let me know!

Thanks for reading! xx

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17 thoughts on “If you liked this popular book, try this less popular book

    1. They’re so similar thematically! Obviously the writing is very different, and some themes are different, but both of them are about pretentious people and the killing of a friend soooo

      And yes, Boston Girl is so good! I hope you enjoy it when you get to it!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you! I think both of them are definitely unlike anything else, but also there are books that have similar aspects, you know? Like The Lonely Hearts Hotel definitely isn’t The Night Circus, but the writing and vibe feel similar. And Social Creature and The Secret History are very different, but have similar topics

      Liked by 1 person

  1. What a great post to do! Social creature is really tempting cos I liked secret history so much. Forgive me leonard peacock sounds really good as well. I didn’t realise Tamora Pierce was underrated! I thought loads of people read her stuff- I guess I’m just in my own bubble 😉 I haven’t read Terrier yet though- I should check it out 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much!

      If you wanted a lighter, easier-to-read but still entertaining book, Social Creature is definitely the one! It has a lot of the same themes as the Secret History.

      I think Tamora Pierce is one of those authors who isn’t *really* underrated, but it seems like no one online ever talks about her. I’ve rarely seen her talked about on blogs/booktube, which is sad! And I hope you enjoy Terrier when/if you get to it!

      Liked by 2 people

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