100 books like Starling Days

By Rowan Hisayo Buchanan,

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

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of Blue-Skinned Gods

Ilana Masad Author Of All My Mother's Lovers

From my list on fiction about queer millennials.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a queer millennial myself, I’m fascinated by the many different approaches writers of my generation have taken to queerness. American millennials have, I think, a unique perspective—when we were kids, gay jokes were prevalent everywhere on TV. Now same sex marriage is legal. On the other hand, there has also been a hard swing of the pendulum, and LGBTQ rights are being curtailed once again. Celebrating the plurality of queer contemporary stories is important to me, a reminder that we’re always going to be here, and that just as queer artists always have, we’ll continue having an impact on the cultural landscape.  

Ilana's book list on fiction about queer millennials

Ilana Masad Why did Ilana love this book?

There are so many things I love about this book, starting with the concept: Kalki, the novel’s narrator, was born with blue skin, and has been raised in an ashram as a child-god, the tenth reincarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu. As the years go by and Kalki grows up, he begins to question his parents’ authority, the strictures that have been placed on him his whole life, and his own godhood. As a young adult, he finds himself in New York City, where he gets his first taste of real rebellion, with all the joys and sorrows that accompany it. Incredibly queer, fast-paced, and emotional, I read this book in big chunks, gulping it down. 

By SJ Sindu,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Blue-Skinned Gods as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the award-winning author of Marriage of a Thousand Lies comes a brilliantly written, globe-spanning novel about identity, faith, family, and sexuality.

In Tamil Nadu, India, a boy is born with blue skin. His father sets up an ashram, and the family makes a living off of the pilgrims who seek the child’s blessings and miracles, believing young Kalki to be the tenth human incarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu. In Kalki’s tenth year, he is confronted with three trials that will test his power and prove his divine status and, his father tells him, spread his fame worldwide. While…


Book cover of Pizza Girl

Carrie McCrossen and Ian McWethy Author Of Margot Mertz Takes It Down

From my list on feminist perspectives, coming-of-age, and humor.

Why are we passionate about this?

Hi! We are writers currently living in Los Angeles after 18 years in New York. We wrote Margot Mertz after reading American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Online Lives of Teenagers by Nancy Jo Sales. It was the first time we heard of boys cultivating and curating non-consensual nude pics, effectively treating them like Pokemon cards. It was infuriating, especially when we realized there are no federal laws to protect victims of revenge porn at the time. So it became a focus of our work. We love a main character who’s angry but also funny, and desperately seeking change.

Carrie's book list on feminist perspectives, coming-of-age, and humor

Carrie McCrossen and Ian McWethy Why did Carrie love this book?

The logline sounds like the most depressing character study you’ll ever read. A story of a pregnant teenager, Jane, who lives with her mom after the death of her father. Jane spends her days delivering pizzas and her nights drinking beers alone in a shed behind their house. But thanks to the prose, and the pacing of the plotting, this book is both funny, engaging, and something of a psychological thriller. Especially when Jane becomes obsessed with one of her regulars, a stay-at-home mom. We marveled at Kyoung Frazier’s ability to put us in the head of Jane, in a way that we actually wanted to stay there.

By Jean Kyoung Frazier,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Pizza Girl as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Named a Vogue, Esquire, NPR, Marie Claire, and Refinery29 Best Book of the Year. Perfect for fans of Normal People and Fleabag

Great inventiveness, unfailing intelligence and empathy, and best of all a rare and shimmering wit' Richard Ford

A moving story about an unforgettable young woman trying to find her place in the world...

Eighteen years old, pregnant, and working as a pizza delivery girl, our dysfunctional heroine is deeply lost and in complete denial about it all.

Her world is further upended when she becomes obsessed with Jenny, a stay-at-home mother new to the neighbourhood.

As one woman…


Book cover of Don't You Know I Love You

Ilana Masad Author Of All My Mother's Lovers

From my list on fiction about queer millennials.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a queer millennial myself, I’m fascinated by the many different approaches writers of my generation have taken to queerness. American millennials have, I think, a unique perspective—when we were kids, gay jokes were prevalent everywhere on TV. Now same sex marriage is legal. On the other hand, there has also been a hard swing of the pendulum, and LGBTQ rights are being curtailed once again. Celebrating the plurality of queer contemporary stories is important to me, a reminder that we’re always going to be here, and that just as queer artists always have, we’ll continue having an impact on the cultural landscape.  

Ilana's book list on fiction about queer millennials

Ilana Masad Why did Ilana love this book?

I really love books about artists, women who are able to get angry, queer flourishing, and difficult family dynamics, and this book is about all of this. Angelina has recently graduated college when a car accident causes her to lose work and need to move back in with her parents. She and her father have always had a difficult relationship and being under his roof now is harder than ever, especially as she knows he doesn’t appreciate her desire to have a career as an artist. When Angelina meets Janet, a young queer artist, the two begin a friendship that blossoms soon into something more, inspiring Angelina’s own work. The writing is so mesmerizing, and Bogart’s description of the artwork Angelina makes is beautiful. Also – there’s a dog in this book, a very good dog, and she lives. 

By Laura Bogart,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Don't You Know I Love You as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The last place Angelina Moltisanti ever wants to go is home. She barely escaped life under the roof, and the thumb, of her violent but charismatic father, Jack. Yet home is exactly where she ends up after an SUV plows into her car just weeks after she graduates from college, fracturing her wrist and her hopes to start a career as an artist.

Angelina finds herself smothered in a plaster cast, in Jack's obsessive urge to get her a giant accident settlement, in her mother Marie's desperation to have a second chance, and in her own stifled creativity - until…


Book cover of Real Life

Lucy Jane Bledsoe Author Of Tell the Rest

From my list on not-the-same-old queer stories.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been reading queer fiction for, well, I guess about 50 years. First, brilliant novels by James Baldwin, Virginia Woolf’s Orlando, and cheesy lesbian pulp novels. In the eighties, feminist presses and a wealth of new queer literature sprung into existence. It’s easier now to find great queer fiction, if you dig a little. My approach is to read widely, all kinds of authors, from all kinds of backgrounds. So the whole idea of a “best 5” is hard for me to get my mind around. I could have listed 25 more. Thank you for reading!

Lucy's book list on not-the-same-old queer stories

Lucy Jane Bledsoe Why did Lucy love this book?

A perfect fit for the not-the-same-old-queer novel list, Taylor’s story features a Black gay biochemist who is working on his degree at a Midwestern university.

I love this book for the intimacy in its portrayal of the protagonist, Wallace, the way his thoughts and feelings and decisions are revealed with such precision. I felt his joys and his pains so clearly.

A science nerd gay character! What’s not to love?

By Brandon Taylor,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Real Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A FINALIST for the Booker Prize, the National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Prize, the VCU/Cabell First Novelist Prize, the Lambda Literary Award, the NYPL Young Lions Award, and the Edmund White Debut Fiction Award 
 
“A blistering coming of age story” —O: The Oprah Magazine

Named a Best Book of the Year by The New York Times, The Washington Post, New York Public Library, Vanity Fair, Elle, NPR, The Guardian, The Paris Review, Harper's Bazaar, Financial Times, Huffington Post, BBC, Shondaland, Barnes & Noble, Vulture, Thrillist, Vice, Self, Electric Literature, and Shelf Awareness

A novel of startling intimacy, violence, and…


Book cover of You, Again

Ali Rosen Author Of Recipe for Second Chances

From my list on romances with complicated heroines.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a contemporary romance author who loves to feature my own messy heroines – mostly because they are the type of women I read! So my favorite books often feature women who are complex and even stereotypically unlikeable. I love seeing my expectations subverted and a more winding, emotional way to a happy ending. 

Ali's book list on romances with complicated heroines

Ali Rosen Why did Ali love this book?

This is billed as a modern When Harry Met Sally tale of frenemies who meet over the years and eventually become friends then lovers. But this book is so much more than that.

I loved the heroine, Ari, so much in this book. She is a comedian, so she’s hilarious, but she’s also a mess. And I love my messy women. This book is incredibly fun and filled with so much tactile New York goodness that it instantly became a favorite I know I’ll read over and over.

By Kate Goldbeck,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked You, Again as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • A commitment-phobe and a hopeless romantic clash over and over again—until heartbreak and unexpected chemistry bring them together in this “funny, warm, and quite addictive” (The New Yorker)enemies-to-friends-to-lovers debut romance.

“Fresh, witty, and utterly romantic.”—Ali Hazelwood, New York Times bestselling author of The Love Hypothesis

Can they stop hating each other long enough to fall in love?

When Ari and Josh first meet, the wrong kind of sparks fly. They hate each other. Instantly.

A free-spirited, struggling comedian who likes to keep things casual, Ari sublets, takes gigs, and she never sleeps over after hooking up. Born-and-bred…


Book cover of The Perfect Crimes of Marian Hayes

Melissa McTernan Author Of Marked for Each Other: The Princess and The Barbarian

From my list on romance in which the heroine saves herself.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been a voracious reader my entire life, but it wasn’t until a few years ago that I discovered romance. How many times had I turned up my nose at those ridiculous books with half-naked men on the cover? Countless. Little did I know the absolute joy those books held inside. I love to read and write romance, especially stories with strong heroines and deliciously squishy-inside heroes. Not to mention all the amazing queer stories out there proving that love is love. These aren’t your grandmother’s bodice-rippers (I mean, they are a little bit, but only in the best ways). The genre is constantly growing, and I’m always eager to find new converts like me!

Melissa's book list on romance in which the heroine saves herself

Melissa McTernan Why did Melissa love this book?

Looking for another historical romance that flies in the face of tradition? The Perfect Crimes of Marian Hayes begins with the title character murdering her husband, the duke. Right from the start Marian takes her destiny into her own hands. Needing a little help from the highwayman, Rob, doesn’t make Marian weak. In fact it’s her strength (and prickliness) that Rob loves the most. Watching these two learn to lean on each other is perfection. This book is number two in a duology. It can be read as a stand-alone but the story makes a bit more sense if you read The Queer Principles of Kit Webb first.

By Cat Sebastian,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Perfect Crimes of Marian Hayes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Cat Sebastian returns to Georgian London with a stunning tale of a reluctant criminal and the thief who cannot help but love her.


Marian Hayes, the Duchess of Clare, just shot her husband. Of course, the evil, murderous man deserved what was coming to him, but now she must flee to the countryside. Unfortunately, the only person she can ask for help is the charismatic criminal who is blackmailing her—and who she may have left tied up a few hours before…

A highwayman, con artist, and all-around cheerful villain, Rob Brooks is no stranger to the wrong side of the…


Book cover of Ten Rules for Faking It

Barbara Claypole White Author Of The Unfinished Garden

From my list on romance to feature characters with mental illness.

Why am I passionate about this?

The two people I love most, my husband and my son, manage obsessive-compulsive disorder. Their struggles constantly inspire me and illustrate the courage it takes to navigate everyday life with an invisible disability. We don’t talk enough about that courage. Instead, society passes judgment and shares OCD jokes. There’s nothing funny about a chronic, potentially fatal illness that demands lifelong management. After all, we don’t laugh at diabetics, and people aren’t defined by their disabilities. (Think of Helen Keller’s achievements!) My passion is to create characters who chip away at the stigma, shame, and stereotypes of mental illness. They also prove the mantra, “You are not your disorder.” Amen.

Barbara's book list on romance to feature characters with mental illness

Barbara Claypole White Why did Barbara love this book?

Kudos to the author for creating a charming romance that brings readers deep inside crippling social anxiety. Taking it one step further, the novel shows how effectively someone—the heroine—can mask mental illness. Here is the heartbreaking reality: anxiety is easily hidden and often misread as anti-social behavior.

By Sophie Sullivan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ten Rules for Faking It as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Impossible to read without smiling - escapist romantic comedy at its finest' Lauren Layne

'Once you start reading, you won't be able to put it down' Lyssa Kay Adams

What happens when your love life becomes the talk of the town?

As birthdays go, this year Everly Dean has hit rock bottom.

If catching her boyfriend cheating with his assistant wasn't enough, Everly's rant about Simon the Snake, a.k.a. Cheating Ex, accidentally being broadcast live on the radio really sealed the deal...

When public humiliation turns her into a viral sensation with a string of potential dates, and suddenly there's…


Book cover of The Good Sister

Michelle Stimpson Author Of Sisters with a Side of Greens

From my list on tumultuous relationships between siblings.

Why am I passionate about this?

My mom says I always had my head in a book. In fact, I got in trouble once for reading a questionable book while sitting in the choir stand at church. I’ve always been a reluctant rule-follower. Reading allowed me to explore worlds that I wasn’t allowed to talk about, let alone visit. Even now, as an adult, my life is pretty boring. But the books I read and the stories I write—that’s where it all goes down, baby!

Michelle's book list on tumultuous relationships between siblings

Michelle Stimpson Why did Michelle love this book?

I adore quirky characters, and the author nails it with the main character, Fern Castle. (Fern immediately reminded me of Gail Honeyman’s Eleanor Oliphant.)

The author dropped hints of a super-dark secret between Fern and her sister, Rose, in the very first chapters, and I was hooked from that moment on. I love complex relationships in the middle of a flashback mystery.

By Sally Hepworth,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Good Sister as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

"A stunningly clever thriller made doubly suspenseful by not one, but two unreliable narrators." — People

Sally Hepworth, the author of The Mother-In-Law delivers a knock-out of a novel about the lies that bind two sisters in The Good Sister.

There's only been one time that Rose couldn't stop me from doing the wrong thing and that was a mistake that will haunt me for the rest of my life.

Fern Castle works in her local library. She has dinner with her twin sister Rose three nights a week. And she avoids crowds, bright…


Book cover of The Prince

Barbara Claypole White Author Of The Unfinished Garden

From my list on romance to feature characters with mental illness.

Why am I passionate about this?

The two people I love most, my husband and my son, manage obsessive-compulsive disorder. Their struggles constantly inspire me and illustrate the courage it takes to navigate everyday life with an invisible disability. We don’t talk enough about that courage. Instead, society passes judgment and shares OCD jokes. There’s nothing funny about a chronic, potentially fatal illness that demands lifelong management. After all, we don’t laugh at diabetics, and people aren’t defined by their disabilities. (Think of Helen Keller’s achievements!) My passion is to create characters who chip away at the stigma, shame, and stereotypes of mental illness. They also prove the mantra, “You are not your disorder.” Amen.

Barbara's book list on romance to feature characters with mental illness

Barbara Claypole White Why did Barbara love this book?

This historical romance features an ambitious heroine, who doesn’t allow undiagnosed OCD to define her life, and a displaced immigrant determined to reclaim his birthright, despite a physical disability. The parallel between their struggles illustrates how physical and mental illnesses share similar challenges. Why can’t we treat them equally?

By Katharine Ashe,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Prince as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The temptation of her lips...

Libby Shaw refuses to accept society's dictates. She's determined to become a member of Edinburgh's all-male Royal College of Surgeons. Disguising herself as a man, she attends the surgical theater and fools everyone-except the one man who has never forgotten the shape of her exquisitely sensual lips.

...will make a prince say yes to her every desire

Forced to leave his home as a boy, famed portraitist Ziyaeddin is secretly the exiled prince of a distant realm. When he first met Libby, he memorized every detail of her face and drew her. But her perfect…


Book cover of Acts of Desperation

Ore Agbaje-Williams Author Of The Three of Us

From my list on very, very messy relationships.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m genuinely fascinated by human nature and why we behave the way we do, the things that make us act within or out of character, and at what point they become a part of who we are rather than just a lapse in judgment or an isolated incident. Relationships in particular fascinate me because of the way they force us to reckon with our behavior towards ourselves and other people. I love seeing how writers explore and examine those relationships, whether before, after, or during them, and how they allow their characters to move through those moments. Often, despite how far-fetched some of the scenarios may feel, I find myself within their pages.

Ore's book list on very, very messy relationships

Ore Agbaje-Williams Why did Ore love this book?

I loved this book – and read it in one or two sittings – because of how skillfully the author, Megan Nolan, is able to explore the pits of a broken relationship and the attempts and failures of trying to heal.

It pulls no punches in its depiction of what we are willing to do when we believe we are in love and that that love is good, and also in its depiction of what happens to us when the bad reveals itself in all its naked ugliness. Once you’ve read this, you’ll want to read anything else Nolan writes next.

By Megan Nolan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Acts of Desperation as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

*A NEW STATESMAN, OBSERVER, IRISH TIMES, i, SPECTATOR AND STYLIST BOOK OF 2021*

'Please believe the hype ... a seriously exciting writer' Sunday Times

'Such brilliant writing about female desire... honest and visceral' Marian Keyes

Discover this bitingly honest, darkly funny debut novel about a toxic relationship and secret female desire, from an emerging star of Irish literature.

Love was the final consolation, would set ablaze the fields of my life in one go, leaving nothing behind. I thought of it as a force which would clean me and by its presence make me worthy of it. There was no…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in romantic love, mental disorders, and presidential biography?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about romantic love, mental disorders, and presidential biography.

Romantic Love Explore 872 books about romantic love
Mental Disorders Explore 169 books about mental disorders
Presidential Biography Explore 19 books about presidential biography