Anyone else here a fellow Marshmellow?!
Veronica Mars is one of my favorite shows- it has heart, snark, and some badass crime-solving…what more could a girl ask for?! I was so excited when they announced the reboot (PSA: I haven’t watched it yet because I’m not emotionally ready so NO SPOILERS PLEASE), and I’ve been chasing the feeling I get from watching the show through books in the meantime. While you make your way through Season 4, or wait for the (hopeful) next season, give these books a try!
The Diviners by Libba Bray
Now you might be thinking to yourself, “Quinn, are you literally just recommending The Diviners because it’s your fave and you think everyone should read it”?…and sure, you’d be partly right…but this is a great readalike for Veronica Mars! Evie has that patented VM snark and sass, with a not-so-secret heart of gold; like Veronica, she is inquisitive and relentless too. This cast of characters (which gets bigger as the series progresses) will definitely hearken you back to the supporting VM cast. More about The Diviners here:
Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City—and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult. Evie worries he’ll discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.
As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho hides a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened.
Spin by Lamar Giles
Lamar Giles is a mystery powerhouse in the YA Lit world, and Spin is his newest in addition to the genre. The book captures some of the hallmark aspects of Veronica Mars that makes it a fan-favorite television show to this day: inquisitive teen detectives working together to uncover the truth, biting humor, fully realized characters, and the changing dynamics of friendships and conflicts. Here is the plot of Spin:
Sixteen-year-old Paris Secord’s (aka DJ ParSec) career–and life–has come to an untimely end, and the local music scene is reeling. No one is feeling the pain more than her shunned pre-fame best friend, Kya, and Paris’s chief groupie, Fuse. But suspicion trumps grief, and since each suspects the other of Paris’s murder, they’re locked in a high-stakes game of public accusations and sabotage.
Everyone in the ParSec Nation (DJ ParSec’s local media base)–including the killer–is content to watch it play out, until Kya and Fuse discover a secret: Paris was on the verge of major deal that would’ve catapulted her to superstar status on a national level, leaving her old life (and old friends) behind. With the new info comes new motives. New suspects. And a fandom that shows its deadly side. As Kya and Fuse come closer to the twisted truth, the killer’s no longer amused. But murdering Paris was simple enough, so getting rid of her nobody-friends shouldn’t be an issue…
A is for Alibi by Sue Grafton
If you haven’t picked up Sue Grafton’s best-selling Kinsey Millhone series, this is a great time to do so! Kinsey is definitely a character like a grown-up Veronica or Keith Mars: a former cop turned PI with a hostile relationship with local authorities and a penchant for taking up the cause of the little guys. With 25 volumes total, this is a great pick for series lovers and will have you occupied for the weeks to come. For more about A is for Alibi, scroll below:
A IS FOR AVENGER
A tough-talking former cop, private investigator Kinsey Millhone has set up a modest detective agency in a quiet corner of Santa Teresa, California. A twice-divorced loner with few personal possessions and fewer personal attachments, she’s got a soft spot for underdogs and lost causes.
A IS FOR ACCUSED
That’s why she draws desperate clients like Nikki Fife. Eight years ago, she was convicted of killing her philandering husband. Now she’s out on parole and needs Kinsey’s help to find the real killer. But after all this time, clearing Nikki’s bad name won’t be easy.
A IS FOR ALIBI
If there’s one thing that makes Kinsey Millhone feel alive, it’s playing on the edge. When her investigation turns up a second corpse, more suspects, and a new reason to kill, Kinsey discovers that the edge is closer–and sharper–than she imagined.
Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead by Sara Gran
This is another great choice if you’d like to imagine Veronica as a grown-up PI. The titular character of this series, like VM, was a teen detective once, and the feel of the book (a dark noir adult mystery) rivals that of the deepest Veronica Mars episodes. This is also a series, so readers will be able to watch Claire grow and unfold similarly to Veronica. About Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead:
This knock-out start to a bracingly original new series features Claire DeWitt, the world’s greatest PI—at least, that’s what she calls herself. A one-time teen detective in Brooklyn, she is a follower of the esoteric French detective Jacques Silette, whose mysterious handbook Détection inspired Claire’s unusual practices. Claire also has deep roots in New Orleans, where she was mentored by Silette’s student the brilliant Constance Darling—until Darling was murdered. When a respected DA goes missing she returns to the hurricane-ravaged city to find out why.
Goldie Vance, Vol. 1 by Hope Larson & Brittney Williams
Looking for a little lighter, more humorous detective fare? The graphic novel series Goldie Vance is a perfect pick for you! Goldie, like Veronica, lives in a hotel and attempts to help adults solve various crimes. Goldie Vance gives the same fun feeling that the lighter moments of the original VM series gave, and for more about the first volume, scroll down:
Sixteen-year-old Marigold “Goldie” Vance has an insatiable curiosity. She lives at a Florida resort with her dad, who manages the place, and it’s her dream to one day be the hotel’s in-house detective. When Walter, the current detective, encounters a case he can’t crack, together they utilize her smarts, skills, and connections to solve the mystery…even if it means getting into a drag race, solving puzzles, or chasing a helicopter to do it!
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
It’s hard to read about the titular character of this book without imagining Veronica! Serious intelligence? Check. Sharp tongue? Check. Unrelenting curiosity? Double check! Frankie’s ingenious pranking also fondly reminds me of all the incredible pranks Veronica was able to pull off in her time. More about The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks:
Frankie Landau-Banks at age 14: Debate Club. Her father’s “bunny rabbit.” A mildly geeky girl attending a highly competitive boarding school.
Frankie Landau-Banks at age 15: A knockout figure. A sharp tongue. A chip on her shoulder. And a gorgeous new senior boyfriend: the supremely goofy, word-obsessed Matthew Livingston.
Frankie Landau-Banks, at age 16: No longer the kind of girl to take “no” for an answer and possibly a criminal mastermind. This is the story of how she got that way.
Frankie Landau-Banks. No longer the kind of girl to take “no” for an answer. Especially when “no” means she’s excluded from her boyfriend’s all-male secret society. Not when her ex-boyfriend shows up in the strangest of places. Not when she knows she’s smarter than any of them. When she knows Matthew’s lying to her. And when there are so many, many pranks to be done.
The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz
The Spellman Files provides a final look at the possible life of an adult PI Veronica Mars, and thankfully it is the first book in a series (for binge reading of course). Like VM, private investigating run in main character Izzy’s family, and she finds creative solutions and ways around the law, much like Veronica. And just when she thinks she’s out, a case pulls her back in….for more about The Spellman Files, look below:
Meet Isabel “Izzy” Spellman, private investigator. This 28 yearold may have a checkered past littered with romantic mistakes, excessive drinking, and creative vandalism; she may be addicted to Get Smart reruns and prefer entering homes through windows rather than doors — but the upshot is she’s good at her job as a licensed private investigator with her family’s firm, Spellman Investigations. Invading people’s privacy comes naturally to Izzy. In fact, it comes naturally to all the Spellmans. If only they could leave their work at the office. To be a Spellman is to snoop on a Spellman; tail a Spellman; dig up dirt on, blackmail, and wiretap a Spellman.
Part Nancy Drew, part Dirty Harry, Izzy walks an indistinguishable line between Spellman family member and Spellman employee. But when Izzy’s parents hire Izzy’s younger sister Rae to follow her (for the purpose of ascertaining the identity of Izzy’s new boyfriend), Izzy snaps and decides that the only way she will ever be normal is if she gets out of the family business. But there’s a hitch: she must take one last job before they’ll let her go — a fifteen-year-old, ice-cold missing person case. She accepts, only to experience a disappearance far closer to home, which becomes the most important case of her life.
Dare You to Lie by Amber Lynn Natusch
Ever since I read this book last winter, I’ve been waiting and wanting to include it in a Veronica Mars readalike list! The main character, like Veronica, has a disgraced father, a hazy memory of a terrifying event, an inquisitive nature, and a penchant for danger! This book kept me on the edge of my seat throughout, and good news: it’s a series, with the second book coming out next month! For the plot of Dare You to Lie, look below:
When her FBI agent father is framed for murder, Kylene is forced to move in with her grandfather, back to the small town that turned its back on her, and the boy who betrayed her.
All Ky cares about is clearing her father’s name, but someone won’t let her forget the photo scandal that drove her away two years ago. As the threats gain momentum, Ky finds an unlikely ally in the rookie FBI agent sent to keep an eye on her.
Determined to expose the town’s hidden skeletons, Ky unwittingly thrusts herself into a much bigger plot. They thought she’d forgive and forget. They’re about to learn they messed with the wrong girl.
Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehrig
If you think I’m going to do a readalike list without a Caleb Roehrig title on it, you are sorely mistaken. Not only is Caleb a gem on Twitter (seriously), his mystery/thriller titles are a great read for Veronica Mars fans! Last Seen Leaving most closely resembles the formula of VM that we know and love: a dark and twisted mystery, flawed characters (who grow throughout the book), and biting wit and sass. I hope to finally read this one this month, but until then this plot summary will hopefully do to whet your appetites:
Flynn’s girlfriend has disappeared. he cops are asking questions he can’t answer, and her friends are telling stories that don’t add up. All eyes are on Flynn—as January’s boyfriend, he must know something. But Flynn has a secret of his own. And as he struggles to uncover the truth about January’s disappearance, he must also face the truth about himself.
Trouble is a Friend of Mine by Stephanie Tromly
Looking for a similar hate-to-love-them relationship like Logan and Veronica? Trouble is a Friend of Mine is a PERFECT pick! Digby is annoying (but attractive), and Zoe is sassy and smart. Their crazy mystery solving adventure is full of hilarity and fun, and it will definitely remind VM fans of their favorite Veronica hijinks! For more about Trouble is a Friend of Mine:
The first time Philip Digby shows up on Zoe Webster’s doorstep, he’s rude and he treats her like a book he’s already read and knows the ending to.
But before she knows it, Zoe’s allowed Digby—annoying, brilliant, and somehow…attractive? Digby—to drag her into a series of hilarious, dangerous, and only vaguely legal schemes all related to the kidnapping of a local teenage girl. A kidnapping that might be connected to the tragic disappearance of his little sister eight years ago. When it comes to Digby, Zoe just can’t say no.
But is Digby a hero? Or is his manic quest an indication of a desperate attempt to repair his broken family and exorcize his own obsessive-compulsive tendencies? And does she really care anyway?
And of course….
The Thousand Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas & Jennifer Graham
If you haven’t read the series of books published soon after the release of the Veronica Mars movie, you’re missing out! Not only are these titles (The Thousand Dollar Tan Line & Mr. Kiss and Tell) well-written and enjoyable, there are also plot points from these books that are continued/addressed in Season 4! More about The Thousand Dollar Tan Line:
Ten years after graduating from high school in Neptune, California, Veronica Mars is back in the land of sun, sand, crime, and corruption. She’s traded in her law degree for her old private investigating license, struggling to keep Mars Investigations afloat on the scant cash earned by catching cheating spouses until she can score her first big case.
Now it’s spring break, and college students descend on Neptune, transforming the beaches and boardwalks into a frenzied, week-long rave. When a girl disappears from a party, Veronica is called in to investigate. But this is not a simple missing person’s case. The house the girl vanished from belongs to a man with serious criminal ties, and soon Veronica is plunged into a dangerous underworld of drugs and organized crime. And when a major break in the investigation has a shocking connection to Veronica’s past, the case hits closer to home than she ever imagined.
Like these readalike recommendations, or have some you’d like to add? Comment below!
Until next time…