This Is Us is currently one of the most talked about TV shows on air. I, for one, am a huge fan—it’s the kind of show I feel like I could binge for days and days (if only there were that many episodes!). The show touches on all sorts of issues like adoption, family death, body image, racial identity, and more. And most of all, it always leaves us wanting more. To fill the void in between episodes, we recommend picking up one of the following books!
Commonwealth by Ann Patchett
Spanning five decades, Commonwealth explores how one chance encounter reverberates through the lives of the four parents and six children involved—how did one kiss affect so much? The children in Commonwealth form a lasting bond just like Kate, Kevin, and Randall do—despite what’s gone on in their parent’s lives. The family relations in this novel—told with equal measures of humor and heartbreak—will have you feeling the same way that This Is Us does, trust us. Read more or get your copy here!
Far from the Tree by Robin Benway
Far from the Tree is a beautiful interweaving story of three very different teenagers connected by blood. Grace is an only child who was adopted at birth, but then she discovers that she is a middle child. After putting her own baby up for adoption, she goes looking for her biological family including Maya, her loudmouthed younger bio sister, and Joaquin their stoic older bio brother. Remind you of anything? Like This Is Us, Far from the Tree addresses all kinds of important and sensitive issues like adoption, foster care, and teen pregnancy. Read more or get your copy here!
Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda
Secret Daughter explores what it means to belong. This deeply moving and timeless story is about an adopted daughter’s long distance search for cultural identity and acceptance both through her adoptive and biological mothers. This book will remind you of Randall’s search for his birth father and his continuous attempt as a child to find himself. Both This Is Us and Secret Daughter address love, loss, and identity through the experiences of two families. Read more or get your copy here!
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
The way 16-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds—the poor neighbourhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends—can relate back to Randall’s search for his own cultural identity growing up in a family much different than he would have had he not been left at the fire station. Just like Randall, Starr eventually comes to terms with her identity issues and learns to stand up for who she is. Read more or get your copy here!
The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney
The Nest is a warm, funny and perceptive novel about four adult siblings and the fate of their shared inheritance. Every family has its problems—definitely something the Plumbs and the Pearsons have in common. Kevin, Kate and Randall Pearson are often depending upon each other (or letting one another down—but of course always coming back around), and that’s much like Melody, Beatrice, Jack, and Leo in The Nest. Read more or get your copy here!
Perfect Little World by Kevin Wilson
In Perfect Little World, Isabelle Poole charts her own course. Pregnant with her art teacher’s baby, she joins the Infinite Family Project—a child psychologist’s research project that studies what happens when ten children are raised collectively, without knowing who their biological parents are. Written with compassion, grace, and humor, the underlying lesson of both Perfect Little World and This Is Us is that the best families are the ones we make for ourselves. Read more or get your copy here!
Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy
Body image issues are front and center in the hit TV show This Is Us, and the same goes for Julie Murphy’s Young Adult masterpiece, Dumplin’. Willowdean Dickson is the most fearless heroine and self-proclaimed fat girl that is guaranteed to steal your heart, much like Kate Pearson at all ages, whose problems with her own body image are examined throughout the show. Read more or get your copy here!
The First Phone Call From Heaven by Mitch Albom
One morning in small town Michigan, the phones start ringing. The voices say they are calling from heaven, but it’s unclear whether this is the greatest miracle ever or some cruel hoax. Just the synopsis of this book made me think of the Big Three and how much they could each benefit from one call from heaven (from Jack, of course!). Read more or get your copy here!
Leave Me by Gayle Forman
Life with three children, especially all being the same age and having their own set of problems, sounds a little hectic, right? It’s evident in This Is Us, that’s for sure! We wouldn’t blame Rebecca is she wanted to peace out for a little while, which is just what Maribeth Klein does in Gayle Forman’s Leave Me—after she’s had a heart attack that went unnoticed, that is. Read more or get your copy here!
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
*S1 SPOILER ALERT* Finding out that Randall’s birth father was in a relationship with another man has been one of my favourite parts of This Is Us so far. It was something that Randall had to work to come to terms with, which I think said a lot about his character. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda has similar connotations. When Simon Spier’s email falls into the wrong hands, his secret of being gay is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight, and he has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out. Read more or get your copy here!
So, what do you think Savvy Readers? Have you read any of our This Is Us comps? Let us know what books YOU would compare to This Is Us in the comments below or on Twitter @SavvyReader!