100 books like What a Girl Wants (Ashley Stockingdale Series #1)

By Kristin Billerbeck,

Here are 100 books that What a Girl Wants (Ashley Stockingdale Series #1) fans have personally recommended if you like What a Girl Wants (Ashley Stockingdale Series #1). Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Mark Leiknes Author Of Quest Kids and the Dark Prophecy of Doug

From my list on middle grade to inspire you to draw comics.

Why am I passionate about this?

I started drawing comics in the first grade and have never stopped. My syndicated comic strip, Cow & Boy, ran for eight years, and now I write and draw the middle-grade fantasy series Quest Kids. I am so fortunate to have cobbled together my love of comics into a career and to have been inspired by so many talented people along the way. Below is a collection of some of the best.

Mark's book list on middle grade to inspire you to draw comics

Mark Leiknes Why did Mark love this book?

My newspaper comic strip had just finished its run, and I was looking for my next big thing. That’s when I came across Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

The drawings were simple and hilarious, and the clever writing didn’t seem to be just for kids. Greg Heffley has this flawed prickly everyman edge which makes him easy to identify with. But as good as this book and series are, I was more impressed with the new way Jeff Kinney had found to sneak comics into chapter books. 

By Jeff Kinney,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Diary of a Wimpy Kid 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?

Boys don't keep diaries-or do they?

The launch of an exciting and innovatively illustrated new series narrated by an unforgettable kid every family can relate to

It's a new school year, and Greg Heffley finds himself thrust into middle school, where undersized weaklings share the hallways with kids who are taller, meaner, and already shaving. The hazards of growing up before you're ready are uniquely revealed through words and drawings as Greg records them in his diary.

In book one of this debut series, Greg is happy to have Rowley, his sidekick, along for the ride. But when Rowley's star…


Book cover of Dad Is Fat

Craig Melvin Author Of Pops: Learning to Be a Son and a Father

From my list on for families dealing with addiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

My name is Craig Melvin and I’m an anchor on NBC’s Today show. I’m also a father to my two young kids, Delano and Sybil. Being a dad is so important to me because when you’re a parent, you’re charged with shaping and molding a solid human being whose empathetic, compassionate, and responsible. I don’t take the responsibility lightly. Of the many jobs I have, it’s the most important.  

Craig's book list on for families dealing with addiction

Craig Melvin Why did Craig love this book?

Jim Gaffigan is one of the funniest comedians out there, and he’s always one of our favorite in-studio guests. This book uses Gaffigan’s classic sense of humor to describe what it is like to be a dad to his five children. Beyond being extremely funny and a solid memoir, it reveals the underbelly of fatherhood, as only Jim Gaffigan can.

By Jim Gaffigan,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Dad Is Fat as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Jim Gaffigan never imagined he would have his own kids.

Though he grew up in a large Irish-Catholic family, Jim was satisfied with the nomadic, nocturnal life of a standup comedian, and was content to be "that weird uncle who lives in an apartment by himself in New York that everyone in the family speculates about." But all that changed when he married and found out his wife, Jeannie "is someone who gets pregnant looking at babies."

Five kids later, the comedian whose riffs on everything from Hot Pockets to Jesus have scored millions of hits on YouTube, started to…


Book cover of Hazardous Duty

Sharon Dunn Author Of Romance Rustlers & Thunderbird Thieves

From my list on that made me laugh out loud.

Why am I passionate about this?

While I love books that reflect strong family values, I don’t like sugary sweetness to the point of unrealism. I prefer to read about real people who can make fun of themselves and the world. That sarcastic and biting edge seems to tap into a deeper honesty about life while making me roll around on the floor and break all my furniture.  

Sharon's book list on that made me laugh out loud

Sharon Dunn Why did Sharon love this book?

Before Amy Adams made Sunshine Cleaning, a movie about a crime scene cleaner, Christy Barritt created Gabby St. Claire who took on the same job after dropping out of forensic science school. While cleaning a crime scene, Gabby finds a murder weapon the police missed. She realizes the wrong person was put in jail and that powerful people want to keep it that way. Like my book, Hazardous Duty is written in first person using humor and larger-than-life characters to drive the mystery forward. I love the deep connection with the character’s interior life (with all her insecurities) that I get when I read a first-person novel.    

By Christy Barritt,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Gabby St. Claire dropped out of school on her way to completing a degree in forensic science. Instead, she did the next best thing: she started her own crime scene cleaning business. When a routine cleaning job uncovers a murder weapon the police overlooked, she realizes that the wrong person is in jail. But the owner of the weapon is willing to do anything to keep Gabby quiet. With the help of her neighbor, Riley Thomas, Gabby plays detective. But can Riley help her before another murder occurs?


Book cover of Missing Susan

Sharon Dunn Author Of Romance Rustlers & Thunderbird Thieves

From my list on that made me laugh out loud.

Why am I passionate about this?

While I love books that reflect strong family values, I don’t like sugary sweetness to the point of unrealism. I prefer to read about real people who can make fun of themselves and the world. That sarcastic and biting edge seems to tap into a deeper honesty about life while making me roll around on the floor and break all my furniture.  

Sharon's book list on that made me laugh out loud

Sharon Dunn Why did Sharon love this book?

Imagine being in a tour group with the most annoying person in the world, Susan. Every tour group has that one person who talks non-stop about things that don’t matter. The difference here is that the tour guide Rowan Rover is an inept hitman who can’t seem to bump Susan off. An added element of fun is that the group is touring England’s most famous murder sites. When I was learning to write mysteries, I had two prominent influences, Sue Grafton and Sharyn McCrumb. Both taught me how to construct a solid mystery. Sue Grafton opened my eyes to the power of connection created by writing in first person. And Sharyn McCrumb showed me the importance of using humor even when talking about dark subjects like murder. 

By Sharyn McCrumb,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Edgar Award winner Sharyn McCrumb brings you her sixth Elizabeh MacPherson mystery novel.
The unsinkable Elizabeth is on tour of England's most famous murder sites, when Rowan Rover, the group leader, is quietly asked to commit murder. He does, of course, but not without misgivings--not the least of which is having Elizabeth MacPherson, canny observer and all-around murder spoiler, on his tail...
"Sharyn McCrunb is definitely a rising star in the New Golden Age of mystery fiction. I look forward to reading her for a long time to come."
Elizabeth Peters


Book cover of Over Easy

Laura Catherine Brown Author Of Made by Mary

From my list on smart, sarcastic, funny-sad-angry women.

Why am I passionate about this?

My favorite books are funny/sad. In my own writing, I aspire for balance between satire and sympathy, going to dark places and shining a light of hilarity on them. I’m compelled by the psychological complexities of desire, particularly in female characters—flawed, average women, struggling for empowerment. For me, desire is inextricably bound with loss. I’m inspired by loss both superficial and profound, from misplaced keys to dying fathers. Many voices clamor in my head, vying for my attention. I’m interested in ambitious misfits, enraged neurotics, pagans, shamans, healers, dealers, grifters, and spiritual seekers who are forced to adapt, construct, reinvent and contort themselves as reality shifts around them.

Laura's book list on smart, sarcastic, funny-sad-angry women

Laura Catherine Brown Why did Laura love this book?

Over Easy is the first part of Madge’s story, followed by The Customer is Always Wrong. They can be read separately as each stands on its own, but are best absorbed one after the other. These books are visually inventive and full of unforgettable characters who leap off the page and lodge in your imagination. The story follows Madge, an open-hearted artist who finds refuge and adventure in the wise-cracking, fast-talking, drug-taking world of the Imperial Café where she gets a job as a waitress after being denied financial aid to cover her last year in art school. Full of wit and pathos, Mimi Pond captures the perfect balance of hilarious and heartbreaking, all with fantastic drawings. She makes it look easy!

By Mimi Pond,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Over Easy is a brilliant portrayal of a familiar coming-of-age story. After being denied financial aid to cover her last year of art school, Margaret finds salvation from the straight-laced world of college and the earnestness of both hippies and punks in the wisecracking, fast-talking, drug-taking group she encounters at the Imperial Cafe, where she makes the transformation from Margaret to Madge. At first she mimics these new and exotic grown-up friends, trying on the guise of adulthood with some awkward but funny stumbles. Gradually she realizes that the adults she looks up to are a mess of contradictions, misplaced…


Book cover of The Age of Miracles

Laura Hurwitz Author Of Disappear Home

From my list on protagonists coming-of-age facing challenges.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was a teenager in the late sixties, born into a conservative household, with a huge rebellious streak. Starting with Woodstock, I was obsessed with hippie culture. Communes in particular held a special fascination for me, and later, as places of potential depravity. My sister-in-law lived in a commune in Oregon in the late 60s/early 70s. Many of the details in my novel are pulled from her life, and though she is no longer alive, her adult children shared stories from their childhoods. Her oldest daughter, whom I fictionalized as Shoshanna, became the character and voice I used to recount the family’s escape and eventual safe landing. The story still feels like uncovered family history.

Laura's book list on protagonists coming-of-age facing challenges

Laura Hurwitz Why did Laura love this book?

I love The Age of Miracles because I was so taken with Walker’s scientific premise, that by the “slowing” of rotation, the world would come to its inevitable end. This scientifically grounded plot point was something I found arresting; it fascinated me immediately. I also loved Walker’s eleven-year-old protagonist, Julia. Julia is genuine, believable, set in her strange but also eerily recognizable nearing-the-apocalypse world. Julia also has a rich, and I felt very authentic, inner life. Her emotions rang true, and the plot not only riveted me, it broke my heart. 

By Karen Thompson Walker,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'It is never what you worry over that comes to pass in the end. The real catastrophes are always different - unimagined, unprepared for, unknown...'

What if our 24-hour day grew longer, first in minutes, then in hours, until day becomes night and night becomes day? What effect would this slowing have on the world? On the birds in the sky, the whales in the sea, the astronauts in space, and on an eleven-year-old girl, grappling with emotional changes in her own life..?

One morning, Julia and her parents wake up in their suburban home in California to discover, along…


Book cover of Ask the Dust

Peter Alson Author Of The Only Way To Play It

From my list on characters who are down and out.

Why am I passionate about this?

All of the books on my list are about characters who—either due to their own failings and character flaws, or bad luck, or the body blows that life has thrown their way, or a combination of all those things—have hit rock bottom (though as it sometimes turns out, there’s a bottom below that bottom). I think because of my own struggles, and because I’ve often been my own worst enemy, I’ve found comfort in reading stories of this sort. Like many of the writers on my list, I’ve also found that, more often than not, the only way out was to start writing about what I was going through. 

Peter's book list on characters who are down and out

Peter Alson Why did Peter love this book?

This tale of Arturo Bandini, a young would-be writer living on the edge in 1930s Los Angeles, is the book that Charles Bukowski discovered in a local library and was purportedly his inspiration for becoming a writer himself. Like Henry Chinaski in Buk’s autobiographical works, Bandini is a stand-in for Fante, and his personal disasters are mined for their comic gold. He falls in love with a waitress named Camilla, only to watch her fall in love with another man and eventually suffer a nervous breakdown. In the end, Bandini realizes he can't help Camilla and must focus on his writing instead—a conclusion that I, as a young writer, totally identified with.

By John Fante,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Ask the Dust is a virtuoso performance by an influential master of the twentieth-century American novel. It is the story of Arturo Bandini, a young writer in 1930s Los Angeles who falls hard for the elusive, mocking, unstable Camilla Lopez, a Mexican waitress. Struggling to survive, he perseveres until, at last, his first novel is published. But the bright light of success is extinguished when Camilla has a nervous breakdown and disappears . . . and Bandini forever rejects the writer’s life he fought so hard to attain.


Book cover of Where the Heart Is

Margaret Meps Schulte Author Of Strangers Have the Best Candy

From my list on getting you talking to strangers.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was a youngster, my parents took me on 6-week journeys across the United States by car. We'd stop in a small town each night, and I would explore on foot and meet other kids at the swimming pool or ice cream shop. That slow mode of travel has become my default, and I've spent years exploring back roads, small towns, and bywaters by car, bicycle, and sailboat. I write about the strangers I've found and the "candy" I've gotten from them: strangers have lessons for all of us and are not as dangerous as we've been told.

Margaret's book list on getting you talking to strangers

Margaret Meps Schulte Why did Margaret love this book?

In this novel, a pregnant teenager gets abandoned in a small town where she doesn't know anyone. She begins connecting with strangers, one at a time, studying them and deciding which ones are safe to talk to. Eventually, the main character has built a complete support network for herself and her child. I love the way author Billie Letts describes the process of talking to strangers and connecting with them until they become some of our closest friends. It's the same way I get candy from strangers in real life.

By Billie Letts,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Where the Heart Is as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A 17-year-old pregnant girl heading for Califonia with her boyfriend finds herself stranded at a Wal-Mart in Oklahoma, with just $7.77 in change. But she's about to be helped by a group of down-to-earth, deeply caring people, including a bible-thumping nun and an eccentric librarian.


Book cover of The Last Book Party

Barbara Josselsohn Author Of Secrets of the Italian Island

From my list on set on an intriguing island or coastline.

Why am I passionate about this?

A native of New York’s Long Island, I’ve always been obsessed with the shoreline. My best early memories are of traveling with my family to the eastern edge of Long Island for our two-week summer vacation. My parents didn’t earn a lot of money, and we didn’t vacation often, so those two weeks in August were heavenly. As an adult, I gravitate to coastlines and islands. I’ve always been a fan of books with a strong sense of place, especially when that place is the shore. And I loved setting my current book on an island in the Mediterranean, delving into the qualities and characteristics that make a coastline so evocative and so appealing. 

Barbara's book list on set on an intriguing island or coastline

Barbara Josselsohn Why did Barbara love this book?

Who doesn’t love a good coming-of-age story—especially one set on the beautiful, summery, and storied beaches of Cape Cod?

It’s the type of location I find irresistible. Set in the 1980s, the book centers on a young, aspiring novelist named Eve who crosses path with a literary power couple at their Cape Cod home. She lands a job as a research assistant, falls in love with their intriguing son, and scores an invitation to their famous book party.

This novel made me nostalgic for the time I was Eve’s age, full of dreams and waiting for the world to open its arms to me! So atmospheric and evocative!

I was transported back to a time that I don’t often think about, a time that was magical while it lasted. I didn’t want the book to end!

By Karen Dukess,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

*A July 2019 Indie Next List Great Read*
*One of Parade's Most Anticipated Books of Summer 2019*
*An O Magazine Best Beach Read of 2019*
*A New York Post Best Beach Read of 2019*

“The Last Book Party is a delight. Reading this story of a young woman trying to find herself while surrounded by the bohemian literary scene during a summer on the Cape in the late '80s, I found myself nodding along in so many moments and dreading the last page. Karen Dukess has rendered a wonderful world to spend time in.”
―Taylor Jenkins Reid, New York Times…


Book cover of Last Bus to Wisdom

Cinda Gault Author Of A Small Compass

From my list on going on the road.

Why am I passionate about this?

Historical fiction meets the picaresque in many novels about going on the road. As a fiction writer, my narrative tools are not forged in a vacuum. I stand on the shoulders of centuries of writers who invented the novel form and developed it through its beginnings in romance and all its permutations since. In my new book, I am following innovations in two genres. In historical romance, romance “fell” into history. What was lost in the historical world could be made up in the romance of heroic characters. In the picaresque, characters belonging to the lower echelons of society “go on the road” for all sorts of reasons, mostly to survive.

Cinda's book list on going on the road

Cinda Gault Why did Cinda love this book?

This story has a Huck Finn flavour to it, recast on a 1950s road trip by bus.

Orphan Donal goes from the frying pan into the fire when his grandmother, his guardian, gets sick, and he is farmed out to a nasty-tempered relative he has never met.

After all the talk of Donal having no family, his salvation comes first from Herman, a non-relative who helps him escape back onto the bus that brought him there. The two light out for the West and cobble together what will feel like family in a ragtag bunch of misfits.

By Ivan Doig,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Last Bus to Wisdom as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Named a Best Book of the Year by the Seattle Times and Kirkus Review

The final novel from a great American storyteller.

Donal Cameron is being raised by his grandmother, the cook at the legendary Double W ranch in Ivan Doig’s beloved Two Medicine Country of the Montana Rockies, a landscape that gives full rein to an eleven-year-old’s imagination. But when Gram has to have surgery for “female trouble” in the summer of 1951, all she can think to do is to ship Donal off to her sister in faraway Manitowoc, Wisconsin. There Donal is in for a rude surprise:…


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