100 books like The Savage Kind

By John Copenhaver,

Here are 100 books that The Savage Kind fans have personally recommended if you like The Savage Kind. 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 Always Coming Home

Valerie Nieman Author Of In the Lonely Backwater

From my list on young women saving their own lives.

Why am I passionate about this?

Like my narrator Maggie, I was a child, then a teen wandering the woods and dreaming of a life. I’ve always hated those books/TV shows/films where women, especially young women, are helpless and reliant on a man to get them out of trouble. I gravitate toward stories where females figure out their own paths, not always to a happy ending. I’m still a wanderer today, mostly solo, from New York City to the vast Highlands of Scotland, and while the world can seem scary, I’m confident and free on my own. 

Valerie's book list on young women saving their own lives

Valerie Nieman Why did Valerie love this book?

This is an incredibly intricate book, braiding many strands together to tell the story of people who “might be going to have lived a long, long time from now in Northern California.” One thread tying it all together is Stone Telling, a young girl caught between her mother’s rich tribal life and the militaristic city life of the man who is her father. She tells him, “I am a woman, and make my own choices,” but learns that is not the case in the land of the Condors. Her story illuminates two of the many ways to be human. (I’m re-reading this now.)

By Ursula K. Le Guin,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Always Coming Home as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An "ethnographic" novel that portrays life in California's Napa Valley as it might be a very long time from now, imagined not as a high tech future but as a time of people once again living close to the land.

Book cover of Parable of the Sower

Fiona Tolan Author Of The Fiction of Margaret Atwood

From my list on dark, dystopian futures written by women.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an academic and a passionate reader of women’s fiction. My job title, Reader in Contemporary Women’s Writing, is also, fortunately, my hobby. I love to think about how women’s writing explores women’s lives today. I chose the theme of dystopian fiction because The Handmaid’s Tale has been so central to my work. Still, other potential topics that came to mind were motherhood, home and domestic labour, reproductive politics, and feminist protest. It strikes me now that each of the books on my list also cover these topics. This is the element of my work I love – drawing out the connections and political convictions that make today’s women’s writing so powerful.

Fiona's book list on dark, dystopian futures written by women

Fiona Tolan Why did Fiona love this book?

This is the first book I ever read by Butler and it remains my favourite. Butler’s vision of near-future America is one of climate crisis, economic collapse, and social anarchy. The scenes of violence and degradation are terrifying.

What I love about this novel is how Butler creates a true hero – visionary, determined, and inspirational – in Lauren, a teenage girl. Written as a journal, the protagonist’s youth can be heard in her language ("I hate being a kid," she complains), but Butler has every faith in her as an extraordinary leader. In many ways, it’s a classic quest novel, as Lauren’s followers head north in search of safety; it’s also an attempt to articulate a new way of thinking about the earth and our relationship to it.

Butler uses elements familiar to dystopian writing, and the novel reminds me of many others, but it somehow manages to be…

By Octavia E. Butler,

Why should I read it?

25 authors picked Parable of the Sower as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The extraordinary, prescient NEW YORK TIMES-bestselling novel.

'If there is one thing scarier than a dystopian novel about the future, it's one written in the past that has already begun to come true. This is what makes Parable of the Sower even more impressive than it was when first published' GLORIA STEINEM

'Unnervingly prescient and wise' YAA GYASI


We are coming apart. We're a rope, breaking, a single strand at a time.

America is a place of chaos, where violence rules and only the rich and powerful are safe. Lauren Olamina, a young woman with the extraordinary power to…

Book cover of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Rebecca Hazell Author Of The Sweeper: A Buddhist Tale

From my list on to cheer you up and get you to look around.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in suburbia—or urban sprawl—with fairytales and children’s nonfiction series like Lands and Peoples. My passion for reading (and history and art museums) nurtured my sense of wonder and awe at the richness of the world. I was inspired to write nonfiction about heroic people by my own children, whose social studies education lacked dazzle and examples of heroism. I had already been creating educational materials for schools, but I wanted to inspire their wonder about and appreciation of the world. My kids are grown, but I’m still writing for young readers. An avid world traveler and historian, I've always aspired to bring other people, places, cultures, and times to life.

Rebecca's book list on to cheer you up and get you to look around

Rebecca Hazell Why did Rebecca love this book?

I have never tired of Alice’s outrageous, surreal romp through the world of imagination.

It transports me to the magical strangeness not only of Wonderland but also of this world. I love the way unlikely adventures can happen, how odd friendships can arise, how reality can shift just as fantasy does. It empowers my own imagination and channels it into creativity and wonder.

By Lewis Carroll,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked Alice's Adventures in Wonderland as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (commonly shortened to Alice in Wonderland) is an 1865 novel by English author Lewis Carroll (the pseudonym of Charles Dodgson). It tells of a young girl named Alice, who falls through a rabbit hole into a subterranean fantasy world populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures. It is considered to be one of the best examples of the literary nonsense genre. The tale plays with logic, giving the story lasting popularity with adults as well as with children.

One of the best-known and most popular works of English-language fiction, its narrative, structure, characters and imagery have been enormously…

Book cover of The Girls in the Stilt House

Karen Dionne Author Of The Wicked Sister

From my list on getting lost in the wilderness, or the ocean.

Why am I passionate about this?

USA Today and #1 internationally bestselling author of The Marsh King's Daughter - “Subtle, brilliant and mature . . . as good as a thriller can be.” – The New York Times Book Review, and soon to be a major motion picture starring Daisy Ridley and Ben Mendelsohn, and The Wicked Sister, a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2020. "Massively thrilling and altogether unputdownable. Dionne is proving to be one of the finest suspense writers working today.” – Karin Slaughter

Karen's book list on getting lost in the wilderness, or the ocean

Karen Dionne Why did Karen love this book?

Set in 1920s Mississippi, this Southern novel weaves a harrowing tale of two teenage girls who are drawn into a dangerous world of bootleggers and moral corruption. Forced to come to terms with their hidden past, they discover that they are linked in ways that could cost them their lives.

As rich and lush as the Natchez Trace swamps where the story takes place, Mustian’s lyrical prose combined with her deep insight into the resiliency of the human spirit make this novel shine. You know a book is good when you wish you’d written it!

By Kelly Mustian,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Girls in the Stilt House as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Remarkable debut.... [a] nearly flawless tale of loss, perseverance and redemption."-Publishers Weekly, STARRED review
Set in 1920s Mississippi, this debut Southern novel weaves a beautiful and harrowing story of two teenage girls cast in an unlikely partnership through murder-perfect for readers of Where the Crawdads Sing and If the Creek Don't Rise.
Ada promised herself she would never go back to the Trace, to her hard life on the swamp and her harsh father. But now, after running away to Baton Rouge and briefly knowing a different kind of life, she finds herself with nowhere to…

Book cover of Jar of Hearts

Michelle Godard-Richer Author Of Fatal Hunt

From my list on fiction with realistic portrayal of crime.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always had a fascination with crime and human behavior which led me to complete an Honours Degree in Criminology at the University of Ottawa. I studied the minds of criminals and what drives their behavior. It’s truly disturbing that under the right circumstances, people are capable of horrific things. I also studied victims of crime and the impact their suffering has on their lives and the way it can influence their behavior in the future. Naturally with this background, I gravitate towards writing and reading books that explore these topics in depth.

Michelle's book list on fiction with realistic portrayal of crime

Michelle Godard-Richer Why did Michelle love this book?

Jennifer always puts her characters through the wringer, and she keeps you on the edge of your seat with her clever plotting. This story has split timelines in which we get to see the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of a teenage girl and the horrible secrets her friends are forced to live with into adulthood when the truth finally comes out.

By Jennifer Hillier,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Nationally Bestselling Author!

* Winner - Best Novel, 2019 ITW Thriller Award * Authors on the Air Network - Thriller of the Year 2018 * Finalist - Anthony Award for Best Novel * Finalist - Macavity Award for Best Novel * MysteryTribune Ten Women Mystery and Thriller Writers You Should be Reading * Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Best of 2018 * Bustle’s Best Thriller 11 Authors Read This Year * CrimeReads’ 20 Best of 2018 * Writer Types Podcast Favorite Books * LitReactor Best Books of 2018 * CrimeReads Favorite Crime Books of the Year * BOLO Books Top Reads of…

Book cover of Dead Girls

Sarah A. Denzil Author Of The Housemaid

From my list on for fans of Gone Girl.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve enjoyed dark fiction ever since I picked up Dracula for school. But I mostly avoided crime and thriller fiction. I couldn’t relate to a rogue detective with an alcohol problem or an FBI agent on the heels of the next Hannibal Lector. Police procedural books just aren’t my thing. But then Gone Girl came out and changed the genre. The domestic suspense subgenre has exploded over the last decade, and now there’s an abundance of books centered around the dangers within our family and friendship circle. And isn’t that the scariest part of life? Serial killers are rare, but domestic violence is, unfortunately, not rare. Where is more dangerous than in our own homes?

Sarah's book list on for fans of Gone Girl

Sarah A. Denzil Why did Sarah love this book?

This book is difficult to describe. One part crime, the other part literary fiction and narrated by a child, Dead Girls is unlike any other thriller I’ve read. I couldn’t put it down. When Thera’s best friend goes missing, despite being eleven years old, she decides the grown-ups are doing a bad job at finding Billie and begins investigating on her own. This is a super dark tearjerker about violence towards girls and women. But do check trigger warnings because this one is disturbing.

By Abigail Tarttelin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When her best friend Billie is found murdered, eleven-year-old Thera - fearless and forthright - considers it her duty to find the killer.

Aided by a Ouija board, Billie's ghost, and the spirits of four other dead girls, she's determined to succeed. The trouble with Thera, though, is that she doesn't always know when to stop - and sometimes there's a fine line between doing the right thing and doing something very, very bad indeed.

Tense, visceral and thought-provoking, Dead Girls is the new novel from Abigail Tarttelin, the critically acclaimed author of Golden Boy.

Book cover of Lena, the Sea, and Me

Laura Anne Bird Author Of Crossing the Pressure Line

From my list on for girls who love the outdoors.

Why am I passionate about this?

I live in Madison, Wisconsin, and when I’m not reading my way through a tall stack of library books, I love to exercise and explore the outdoors, particularly in the Northwoods and in the Driftless Area (Google it—it’s the coolest!). My debut novel, Crossing the Pressure Line, is about identifying the lifeboats that have the power to save us during turbulent times. One of my own personal lifeboats is nature. I spend time outdoors every single day, even when the temperature is below zero, because I find deep peace in breathing fresh air, using my muscles, and watching for signs of wildlife. 

Laura's book list on for girls who love the outdoors

Laura Anne Bird Why did Laura love this book?

Maria Parr’s timeless novel takes place in Norway’s fictional Mathildewick Cove. The story centers on Lena and her best friend Trille, who are dealing with typical 12-year-old matters, including family arguments, rapidly growing bodies, and drama-filled school days. The setting of Lena, the Sea, and Me is especially charming, featuring mountains, hills, farm animals, and of course the water, which plays a significant role in the book. I appreciate that Lena and Trille spend all their time outside. Lena in particular—with her strong limbs and ruddy cheeks—is formidable as she builds rafts and plays goalkeeper for her soccer team. Irascible and lively, she will delight and inspire readers everywhere.

By Maria Parr,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Lena, the Sea, and Me as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 7, 8, 9, and 10.

What is this book about?

A heartwarming and action-packed story of friendship from Norway's answer to Astrid Lindgren.
This classic in the making from award-winning author Maria Parr is packed full of laugh-out-loud adventures and paints an honest picture of the highs and lows of friendship and growing up.

Dark clouds are looming in Mathildewick Cove. The arrival of a new football coach is putting twelve-year-old Lena's goalkeeping career in doubt. And in the house next door, Trille is wondering how to impress the girl who has just joined his class.

The stage is set for a dramatic year ahead. What are Trille and Lena…

Book cover of Dust

Casey Wolfe Author Of A Mage's Power

From my list on LGBTQ fantasy and science fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

A member of the LGBTQ community, I set out to write books about people that looked like me, that were under-represented in the media. I’m disabled, living with multiple medical conditions and mental health issues, which also inform my writing. I self-identify as a “full-time geek” – I have a passion for history and science, as well as being an avid gamer. My reading (and writing) time is spent wandering through fantasy realms, traveling the outer reaches of space, or delving into historical time periods.

Casey's book list on LGBTQ fantasy and science fiction

Casey Wolfe Why did Casey love this book?

Fans of DONTNOD’s time-bending sci-fi video game will love this ongoing comic series, as will new readers. It’s like leaping straight back into the world of the game, following Max and Chloe’s relationship in the wake of the destruction of their hometown. The magic of the game is captured perfectly on the page. It’s a beautiful story, with equally beautiful art, that stays true to the lore of the source material.

By Emma Vieceli, Claudia Leonardi (illustrator), Andrea Izzo (illustrator)

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Titan Comics and SQUARE ENIX(R) are thrilled to announce an all-new graphic novel set in the world of the critically acclaimed, award-winning, highly successful video game series, LIFE IS STRANGE(TM). Titan Comics' LIFE IS STRANGE(TM) returns readers to the setting of Arcadia Bay, offering fans the opportunity to dive back into the story of its beloved characters.

The popular and celebrated video game, LIFE IS STRANGE(TM), is available on PC, Mac, Linux, PlayStation, XBOX and iOS. Achieving undeniable success, LIFE IS STRANGE(TM) has sold over 3 million units to date across all formats.

The first game in the series, LIFE…

Book cover of Ida, Always

Ellen Tarlow Author Of Looking for Smile

From my list on bringing on a tear.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been captivated by the emotional power of picture books since I was a child and have spent my adult life reading, sharing, and trying to write the kinds of books that connect to the youngest of readers on a deeper level. In Looking for Smile, I tried to write about the day when I was five years old and experienced real sadness for the first time. This became a story about Bear and his friend, Smile. My favorite kind of picture books are those that make me smile and tear up at the same time. I decided I would share some recent books that have had that effect on me…

Ellen's book list on bringing on a tear

Ellen Tarlow Why did Ellen love this book?

Based on a true story about two polar bears at the Central Park Zoo, this is a beautiful book about the death of a loved one. In a zoo, there may literally be only two-of-a-kind, so the loss of one is especially poignant. The realization that one of the pair would be “going away” at first seems almost unbearable. Their leave-taking (complete with days of denial and days of laying together comforting each other) really takes readers through the process and yet offers enough wisdom and hope to help them come out better on the other side.

By Caron Lewis, Charles Santoso (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Ida, Always as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

A beautiful, honest portrait of loss and deep friendship told through the story of two iconic polar bears.

Gus lives in a big park in the middle of an even bigger city, and he spends his days with Ida. Ida is right there. Always.

Then one sad day, Gus learns that Ida is very sick, and she isn’t going to get better. The friends help each other face the difficult news with whispers, sniffles, cuddles, and even laughs. Slowly Gus realizes that even after Ida is gone, she will still be with him—through the sounds of their city, and the…

Book cover of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

Kris Dinnison Author Of You And Me And Him

From my list on YA with fabulous plus-size heroines.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always felt like a bit of a misfit. I was taller, bigger, and clumsier than the other kids. I listened to the wrong music, wore the wrong clothes, and read the wrong books. I wasn’t cool. And when I became a high school teacher, I saw many kids, especially young women, who I could see felt the same. When Young Adult literature came into its own, I really loved all the wonderful ways YA stories were telling the stories of the kids who didn’t fit in, and it made me want to read them, and eventually write one of my own.

Kris' book list on YA with fabulous plus-size heroines

Kris Dinnison Why did Kris love this book?

I was teaching high school when this novel came out over twenty years ago, and it immediately struck a chord with me, and with my students. This story of a lifelong friendship and the pain that comes with growing up has so many great characters. But Carmen has always been my favorite. The relationship with her father, her emergence into the (literal) spotlight, and her willingness to speak her mind to her loved ones, make her, for me, the true heroine of this novel. One of my favorite moments is her surprise and wonder when the pants actually fit her, not just her skinny friends. The idea that she had access to all the things they did, regardless of her size, is a beautiful metaphor for living. 

By Ann Brashares,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 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?

Carmen, Tibby, Lena and Bridget have been best friends all their lives. They live in the same small American town and usually spend every moment of their long summer holidays together. The year they turn 16 is the first time they have separate plans for the summer but the girls are determined to keep in touch. Tibby buys a pair of jeans in a second-hand shop and the girls discover that the trousers magically fit each of them perfectly, despite their different figures and heights. They hit upon a wonderful plan of sharing the jeans throughout the vacation - sending…

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