100 books like Mary's Monster

By Lita Judge,

Here are 100 books that Mary's Monster fans have personally recommended if you like Mary's Monster. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Lonesome Dove

Lee Goldberg Author Of Calico

From my list on humor that makes us human.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been writing crime stories since I was a child. They entertained me and helped me cope with a lot of family strife. My first novel was published in college and sold to the movies, which got me into screenwriting, leading to writing hundreds of hours of TV and fifty novels to date. The one thing all of my stories share is humor because I believe it’s an essential part of life–and of memorable story-telling. Humor makes characters come alive, revealing shades of personality and depths of emotion you wouldn’t otherwise see. Here are five books that taught me that it’s true and that continue to influence me as a writer. 

Lee's book list on humor that makes us human

Lee Goldberg Why did Lee love this book?

This is my favorite book of all time, by far. It’s a sprawling, epic Western for people who don’t like Westerns. But that’s just one of the many things it does brilliantly.

McMurtry was the master at finding humor in every character, no matter how loathsome or pitiful, and in every situation, no matter how heart-breaking or violent, without sacrificing or undercutting anything for a laugh. He makes the humor seem as natural as breathing, crying, or bleeding, which is a vital coping mechanism for dealing with life…it certainly is in my own.

But McMurtry taught me how to incorporate that into my storytelling and how important humor is in humanizing characters. It’s how he got me to emotionally invest in his characters and almost believe they are real. Perhaps that’s why this novel is the only one I have re-read multiple times in my life that I still wish…

By Larry McMurtry,

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked Lonesome Dove as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Larry McMurtry's Pulitzer Prize winning novel is a powerful, triumphant portrayal of the American West as it really was. From Texas to Montana, it follows cowboys on a grueling cattle drive through the wilderness.

It begins in the office of The Hat Creek Cattle Company of the Rio Grande.
It ends as a journey into the heart of every adventurer who ever lived . . .

More than a love story, more than an adventure, Lonesome Dove is an epic: a monumental novel which embraces the spirit of the last defiant wilderness of America.

Legend and fact, heroes and outlaws,…


Book cover of The Remains of the Day

Victor Lodato Author Of Honey

From my list on packing an emotional punch.

Why am I passionate about this?

In addition to writing novels, I’m also a playwright. Whatever form I work in, I’m drawn to character, drama, and emotion. I aspire to write literary page-turners that feel as rich and complicated as real life.  Also, I want the endings of my books to slay readers and break their hearts. Of course, when I say that, I’m not necessarily speaking of sorrow; sometimes your heart breaks from expanding, from a surfeit of feeling. Your heart breaks only to grow larger.

Victor's book list on packing an emotional punch

Victor Lodato Why did Victor love this book?

This novel about an English butler’s lifetime of service and his friendship with the housekeeper, Miss Kenton, is an absolute stunner.

Near the end of the book, when the butler and the housekeeper run into each other again, years after their service to Lord Darlington, the scene is expertly understated. 

This book doesn’t give in to trite sentimentality, but rather, it moves you by its keen understanding of human nature.

By Kazuo Ishiguro,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked The Remains of the Day as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

*Kazuo Ishiguro's new novel Klara and the Sun is now available to preorder*

The Remains of the Day won the 1989 Booker Prize and cemented Kazuo Ishiguro's place as one of the world's greatest writers. David Lodge, chairman of the judges in 1989, said, it's "a cunningly structured and beautifully paced performance". This is a haunting evocation of lost causes and lost love, and an elegy for England at a time of acute change. Ishiguro's work has been translated into more than forty languages and has sold millions of copies worldwide.

Stevens, the long-serving butler of Darlington Hall, embarks on…


Book cover of All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys' Soccer Team

Chris Tebbetts Author Of Me Myself & Him

From my list on you’d never think were so compulsively readable, but are.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was pitching my then novel-in-progress, Me, Myself, and Him to editors and agents, I usually got one of two responses: either “That sounds like a tough sell” or “That sounds great, and not like anything I’ve seen before.” Of course, I preferred to hear the latter, but I also enjoyed winning over skeptics by giving them something much more accessible than they might have expected, based on my pitch. It all speaks to the special place I have in my heart for the books you never expect to love…and then love anyway.

Chris' book list on you’d never think were so compulsively readable, but are

Chris Tebbetts Why did Chris love this book?

I posted about this book on social media last year and called it one of my favorite reads, ever. A large handful of friends said it was one of theirs as well. There’s something about this book—deeply absorbing, compulsively readable, and edge-of-my-seat emotional—that just clicks. There’s even a kind of genius in the title itself, letting us know ahead of time that every one of the Thai boys’ soccer team stranded in that underground cave (a story you might remember from the news) were safely rescued at the end of the ordeal. From that vantage point, you can really just sink in and absorb this amazing story from every one of the many angles Christina Sonntornvat tells it. Bonus points for being something that kids and adults will love.

By Christina Soontornvat,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked All Thirteen as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Winner of the 2021 Kirkus Prize for Young People's Literature
A 2021 Newbery Honor Book
A 2021 Robert F. Sibert Honor Book
A 2021 YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults Finalist
A 2021 Orbis Pictus Honor Book

A unique account of the amazing Thai cave rescue told in a heart-racing, you-are-there style that blends suspense, science, and cultural insight.

On June 23, 2018, twelve young players of the Wild Boars soccer team and their coach enter a cave in northern Thailand seeking an afternoon’s adventure. But when they turn to leave, rising floodwaters block their path out.…


Book cover of The Passion of Dolssa

Chris Tebbetts Author Of Me Myself & Him

From my list on you’d never think were so compulsively readable, but are.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was pitching my then novel-in-progress, Me, Myself, and Him to editors and agents, I usually got one of two responses: either “That sounds like a tough sell” or “That sounds great, and not like anything I’ve seen before.” Of course, I preferred to hear the latter, but I also enjoyed winning over skeptics by giving them something much more accessible than they might have expected, based on my pitch. It all speaks to the special place I have in my heart for the books you never expect to love…and then love anyway.

Chris' book list on you’d never think were so compulsively readable, but are

Chris Tebbetts Why did Chris love this book?

A healer and a matchmaker cross paths in 12th century France, and….zzzzzzz, right? Or so I thought, until I tried this Printz honor book, a piece of gorgeously written historical fiction that turned out to be a complete page-turner and attention-grabbing thriller. I’m a big TV watcher, so when I say that I was turning off the TV at night to spend more time with this book, you can take that as a 5+ star review. It’s one of my favorite YAs, and for what it’s worth, could just as easily have been shelved as an adult title. 

By Julie Berry,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Passion of Dolssa as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

The Printz Honor winner that garnered five starred reviews and was hailed by the New York Times as "magnificent"!

Dolssa is an upper-crust city girl who's been branded a heretic, on the run from the friar who condemned her mother to death by fire and wants Dolssa executed, too. Botille is a matchmaker and a tavern-keeper, struggling to keep herself and her sisters on the right side of the law in their seaside town. When their lives collide by a dark riverside, Botille rescues a dying Dolssa and conceals her in the tavern, where an unlikely friendship blooms. Aided by…


Book cover of Nix Minus One

Don Aker Author Of The Space Between

From my list on grappling with loss.

Why am I passionate about this?

Having been a teacher for many years, I have had the great fortune to be surrounded by young people most of my adult life. As a result, I’ve been witness to countless moments reflecting the struggles of teenagers facing various challenges in their lives. Without question, one of the most painful is having to grapple with loss, and regardless whether it involves a friend, a family member, a home, an opportunity, or any number of other misfortunes, the act of facing and rising above that loss is often character-defining. I will always be grateful to my many students whose candour and courage have both inspired me and informed my own writing.

Don's book list on grappling with loss

Don Aker Why did Don love this book?

Nix Minus One is a heartbreaking story of a 15-year-old boy who must come to terms with the death of his older sister, Roxy, whom he adored. Told in free verse, it recounts the guilt he feels at having argued with her on the night she got drunk at a party and staggered into the path of an oncoming truck. I loved how each poem can stand alone but, sequenced together as they are, they form an unforgettable narrative. More than a novel about the sorrow of loss, this is a poignant, beautifully written story about the painful process of healing.

By Jill MacLean,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Nix Minus One as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

An exquisite middle-grade novel by the award-winning Jill MacLean

Fifteen-year-old Nix Humbolt doesn't talk much. He's barely outgrown his "Fatty Humbolt" days, and although he is taller and leaner now, he has learned it is best to keep a low profile. He dreams about his only friend's girl, but of course she is hopelessly out of his league. Lonely and introverted, he is happiest in his father's woodworking shop, where he builds exquisite boxes and tables. The only battles Nix fights are on his Xbox - until the day he finds the guts to fight for Swiff Dunphy's neglected dog.…


Book cover of Love That Dog

Marty Rhodes Figley Author Of Emily and Carlo

From my list on dogs, poetry, and dogs in poetry.

Why am I passionate about this?

Years ago, I returned to school at Mount Holyoke College to complete my bachelor’s degree in American Studies. I took a course on Emily Dickinson at the poet’s home in Amherst, Massachusetts—what a thrill! On the first day of class I learned that for sixteen years Emily’s constant companion was Carlo, a Newfoundland dog. Having experienced a hairy, slobbery encounter with a Newf when I was twenty while wearing a white dress, I knew the myth of Emily, pristinely dressed, untouched by the more earthy emotions was wrong. A new story needed to be told. That was the beginning of Emily and Carlo.

Marty's book list on dogs, poetry, and dogs in poetry

Marty Rhodes Figley Why did Marty love this book?

Want a book that tells a poignant story and will inspire you to write poetry? Well, have your tissues ready for this one. Jack, an elementary school student, balks at writing poetry. When Miss Stretchberry’s class examines various famous poets’ work he is critical. For example, he thinks “Mr. Robert Frost has a little too much time on his hands.” This short funny and moving novel in free verse follows Jack’s journey as he learns to use poetry to express his feelings and to eulogize his beloved yellow dog, Sky. The poems mentioned in the book are included at the end. Just like poetry at its best, Love That Dog will enchant readers while using only a few special words. 

By Sharon Creech,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Love That Dog as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

The Newbery Medal-winning author of Walk Two Moons, Sharon Creech, brings readers a story with enormous heart. 

Love That Dog shows how one boy named Jack finds his voice with the help of a teacher, a pencil, some yellow paper, and of course, a dog. Written as a series of free-verse poems from Jack's point of view, and with classic poetry included in the back matter, this novel is perfect for kids and teachers, too.

Jack hates poetry. Only girls write it and every time he tries to, his brain feels empty. But his teacher, Miss Stretchberry, won't stop giving…


Book cover of Shout

Amber Smith Author Of The Way I Used to Be

From my list on me-too movement.

Why am I passionate about this?

I began writing The Way I Used to Be back in 2010. For me, it started simply as a place to work through my own private thoughts and feelings about sexual violence. I was writing as a survivor myself, but also as someone who has known, loved, and cared for so many others who have experienced violence and abuse. By the time I finished, I realized my novel had evolved into something much bigger: a story I hoped could contribute something meaningful to the larger dialogue. These powerful books on this list are all a part of that dialogue, each based in a richly diverse, yet shared reality. Readers will learn, grow, heal, and find hope in these pages.

Amber's book list on me-too movement

Amber Smith Why did Amber love this book?

For decades, Laurie Halse Anderson’s work has been a guiding light for so many young people in her honest portrayals of life’s hardest challenges, including sexual assault. Her 2019 book Shout, a memoir written in verse, is a deeply personal reflection on her own experience with sexual assault and its impact on her life. She first tackled this topic twenty years earlier in her groundbreaking 1999 novel, Speaka book that profoundly affected me as a young person. Born out of outrage over the lack of change that has happened in regard to how society treats survivors (and perpetrators) of sexual violence in the twenty years since Speak was published, Shout is a beautifully fierce and moving call to action for today.

By Laurie Halse Anderson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Shout as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

Award-winning Speak author Laurie Halse Anderson's New York Times bestselling poetic memoir and call to action, which garnered eight starred reviews!

Bestselling author Laurie Halse Anderson is known for the unflinching way she writes about, and advocates for, survivors of sexual assault. Now, inspired by her fans and enraged by how little in our culture has changed since her groundbreaking novel Speak was first published twenty years ago, she has written a critically acclaimed poetry memoir that is as vulnerable as it is rallying, as timely as it is timeless. In free verse, Anderson shares reflections, rants, and calls to…


Book cover of Macy McMillan and the Rainbow Goddess

Beverley Brenna Author Of Sapphire the Great and the Meaning of Life

From my list on kids living here and now.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love middle-grade stories that touch the mind, the heart, and the funny bone. These books are filled with possibilities and hope—they give me courage for the future. I have three grown sons who have inspired much of my thinking about children and childhood, and I keep close to me all of the children I worked with as a teacher, hoping they might finally see themselves and the world they know in the pages of what their children read. I’m grateful to other writers who inspire me to read, and to write, creating the best stories we can for kids living now, today, in the world we have (and imagining the world we want to see). 

Beverley's book list on kids living here and now

Beverley Brenna Why did Beverley love this book?

Macy’s mom is getting married and Macy isn’t looking forward to a new step-dad and two pesky little step-sisters. When Macy and her best friend have a falling out, the crabby ancient woman next door—who doesn’t even know sign language—couldn’t possibly become an ally…or could she? I love the free verse format of this novel, and the use of bolded text for dialogue, and how Macy’s hearing impairment is a streamlined and interesting aspect of her characterization.   

By Shari Green,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Macy McMillan and the Rainbow Goddess as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

Winner of the 2018 ALA Schneider Family Book Award, Middle Grade Books category

Sixth grade is coming to an end, and so is life as Macy McMillan knows it. Already a "For Sale" sign mars the front lawn of her beloved house. Soon her mother will upend their perfect little family, adding a stepfather and six-year-old twin stepsisters. To add insult to injury, what is Macy's final sixth grade assignment? A genealogy project. Well, she'll put it off - just like those wedding centerpieces she's supposed to be making.

Just when Macy's mother ought to be understanding, she sends Macy…


Book cover of Once I Ate a Pie

Marty Rhodes Figley Author Of Emily and Carlo

From my list on dogs, poetry, and dogs in poetry.

Why am I passionate about this?

Years ago, I returned to school at Mount Holyoke College to complete my bachelor’s degree in American Studies. I took a course on Emily Dickinson at the poet’s home in Amherst, Massachusetts—what a thrill! On the first day of class I learned that for sixteen years Emily’s constant companion was Carlo, a Newfoundland dog. Having experienced a hairy, slobbery encounter with a Newf when I was twenty while wearing a white dress, I knew the myth of Emily, pristinely dressed, untouched by the more earthy emotions was wrong. A new story needed to be told. That was the beginning of Emily and Carlo.

Marty's book list on dogs, poetry, and dogs in poetry

Marty Rhodes Figley Why did Marty love this book?

This is “dog confidential” presented in charming free verse. Just like people, all dogs are different. We find this out from fourteen assorted pooches. These appealing canines, depicted in soulful, richly oil-painted illustrations, confide to the reader about their likes, dislikes, and proclivities.  Among this revealing group are a barker, a pie-eater (I can identify with that), a cuddler, a people herder, a shy shrinking violet, a sleeper—and a party animal. I know all my dogs have had different personalities, and this charming book sends that message in a most unique and appealing way. It’s a good reminder for us all about our special “best friends.”

By Patricia MacLachlan, Emily MacLachlan Charest, Katy Schneider (illustrator)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Once I Ate a Pie as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A sweet and funny collection of poems by Patricia MacLachlan, the author of the Newbery Medal–winning Sarah, Plain and Tall.

It's a dog's life!

Every dog has a tail to wag . . . and a tale to tell. Patricia MacLachlan and Emily MacLachlan Charest asked a collection of canines to speak up—and so they do, in words, barks, and yips. Captured here are accounts of happy days filled with squeaky toys, good smells, plenty of naps, and the very important jobs they do for the people they love to love.


Book cover of Seedlip and Sweet Apple: Poems

DeMisty D. Bellinger Author Of Peculiar Heritage

From my list on poetry inspired by history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I care about social justice, equality, and history, as well as beauty and art. As an African-American woman who was raised working class and who understands how history informs the present, I have fallen in love with the depiction of history in poetry and prose. Not all of my writing has something to do with race or gender or class, but all of my writing is about justice in some way. I want to get to the good of people.

DeMisty's book list on poetry inspired by history

DeMisty D. Bellinger Why did DeMisty love this book?

This is a biography of Mother Ann Lee, the woman who brought the Shaker Religion to Colonial America. Extensively researched and beautifully rendered, these poems grab you and bring you into eighteenth-century England and New England. It is also a celebration of motherhood, love, death, and grief, as well as of an early American woman in leadership. Sometimes deceptively soft, the movement and violence of Colonial America will snap the reader forward, inviting us to question our past.

I revisited Ross’ book when writing about historical figures, mostly real. In my book, I looked at some historical figures, including Tituba and Harriet Tubman, and found reading Seedlip and Sweet Apple a good primer in writing historical poetry.

By Arra Lynn Ross,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Seedlip and Sweet Apple as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Seamlessly bridging the material and spiritual worlds, Seedlip and Sweet Apple takes the reader into the mind of a true visionary: Mother Ann Lee, the founder of the Shaker religion in colonial America. With astonishingly original poems inspired by extensive historical research, Arra Lynn Ross creates a collection linked thematically through the voice and story of the woman who was believed by her followers to be Christ incarnate. Broadly and inclusively spiritual, this remarkable debut captures the ineffable experience of ecstatic vision, activating the progression from literal reality to heightened perception. Simultaneously, this journey delves into the manifold issues of…


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