So, we’ve spent the last few months, years, lifetimes maybe, falling head over heels in love with Freeform’s incredible show, The Bold Type. Haven’t seen it? You totally should. It focuses on three friends, Jane, Kat, and Sutton, who all work for the same magazine and are going through the typical dramas of trying to balance love, friendship, and their careers. If you have seen it, you definitely know what we’re talking about when we say it’s everything we need right now.
The girls go through a rough patch here and there, sure, but they always put each other first and do whatever they can to encourage and lift each other up. They’re growing into their skills and interests, and figuring out just where they belong in the adult world. It’s amazingly inspirational, even if it is a bit aspirational. And what’s wrong with that?
In honor of the Scarlet girls, we put together a list of books to pick up after you’re done with The Bold Type, inspired by girl gangs, living large, and young adults ready to take on the world—despite how messy it sometimes may be. Scroll down to check them out!
14 Books like The Bold Type
TO READ WHILE YOU’RE (RE)-WATCHING
1. Rules for Being a Girl by Katie Cotugno & Candace Bushnell
The Bold Type proves that there’s no right way to be a girl, and Marin would get along with the Scarlet girls amazingly. Plus, she’s the editor of the school paper! Meet your next Tiny Jane.
Marin has always been good at navigating these unspoken guidelines. A star student and editor of the school paper, she dreams of getting into Brown University. Marin’s future seems bright—and her young, charismatic English teacher, Mr. Beckett, is always quick to admire her writing and talk books with her.
But when “Bex” takes things too far and comes on to Marin, she’s shocked and horrified. Had she somehow led him on? Was it her fault?
When Marin works up the courage to tell the administration what happened, no one believes her. She’s forced to face Bex in class every day. Except now, he has an ax to grind.
But Marin isn’t about to back down. She uses the school newspaper to fight back and she starts a feminist book club at school. She finds allies in the most unexpected people, like “slutty” Gray Kendall, who she’d always dismissed as just another lacrosse bro. As things heat up at school and in her personal life, Marin must figure out how to take back the power and write her own rules.
2. Tweet Cute by Emma Lord
Love and social media go hand-in-hand in this insanely witty rom-com, and we promise it will give you the same butterflies you feel watching.
Meet Pepper, swim team captain, chronic overachiever, and all-around perfectionist. Her family may be falling apart, but their massive fast-food chain is booming ― mainly thanks to Pepper, who is barely managing to juggle real life while secretly running Big League Burger’s massive Twitter account.
Enter Jack, class clown and constant thorn in Pepper’s side. When he isn’t trying to duck out of his obscenely popular twin’s shadow, he’s busy working in his family’s deli. His relationship with the business that holds his future might be love/hate, but when Big League Burger steals his grandma’s iconic grilled cheese recipe, he’ll do whatever it takes to take them down, one tweet at a time.
All’s fair in love and cheese—that is, until Pepper and Jack’s spat turns into a viral Twitter war. Little do they know, while they’re publicly duking it out with snarky memes and retweet battles, they’re also falling for each other in real life—on an anonymous chat app Jack built.
3. Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli & Aisha Saeed
It’s not easy to tell a story that highlights both heartwarmingly charming romance and important social issues, but The Bold Type and Yes No Maybe So both manage to do just that.
Jamie Goldberg is cool with volunteering for his local state senate candidate—as long as he’s behind the scenes. When it comes to speaking to strangers (or, let’s face it, speaking at all to almost anyone) Jamie’s a choke artist. There’s no way he’d ever knock on doors to ask people for their votes…until he meets Maya.
Maya Rehman’s having the worst Ramadan ever. Her best friend is too busy to hang out, her summer trip is canceled, and now her parents are separating. Why her mother thinks the solution to her problems is political canvassing—with some awkward dude she hardly knows—is beyond her.
Going door to door isn’t exactly glamorous, but maybe it’s not the worst thing in the world. After all, the polls are getting closer—and so are Maya and Jamie. Mastering local activism is one thing. Navigating the cross-cultural crush of the century is another thing entirely.
4. With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo
We don’t just walk away from an episode of The Bold Type feeling entertained—we walk away feeling empowered. Which is the same way we felt reading about Emoni’s effort to follow her dreams, care for her family, and balance ambition, skill, and the love she carries for others.
Ever since she got pregnant freshman year, Emoni Santiago’s life has been about making the tough decisions—doing what has to be done for her daughter and her abuela. The one place she can let all that go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness.
Even though she dreams of working as a chef after she graduates, Emoni knows that it’s not worth her time to pursue the impossible. Yet despite the rules she thinks she has to play by, once Emoni starts cooking, her only choice is to let her talent break free.
5. The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven
With a confident, self-assured lead who gets shaken when life throws a curveball her way, reading through Izzy’s journey carried the same weight as the tougher topics that The Bold Type also handles—and it’s done with levity, nuance, and skill.
Eighteen-year-old Izzy O’Neill knows exactly who she is—a loyal friend, an aspiring comedian, and a person who believes that milk shakes and Reese’s peanut butter cups are major food groups. But after she’s caught in a compromising position with the son of a politician, it seems like everyone around her is eager to give her a new label: slut.
Izzy is certain that the whole thing will blow over and she can get back to worrying about how she doesn’t reciprocate her best friend Danny’s feelings for her and wondering how she is ever going to find a way out of their small town. Only it doesn’t. Izzy may be determined not to let anyone else define who she is, but that proves easier said than done when it seems like everyone has something to say about her.
6. 99 Days by Katie Cotugno
No one captures messy pre-adult life like Katie Cotugno, and 99 Days is the perfect read for anyone who wants to follow a protagonist as perfectly flawed as any of The Bold Type‘s three leading ladies. Plus, Molly’s tortured romance totally reminds us of Sutton and Richard’s early days.
Day 1: Julia Donnelly eggs my house my first night back in Star Lake, and that’s how I know everyone still remembers everything. She has every right to hate me, of course: I broke Patrick Donnelly’s heart the night everything happened with his brother, Gabe. Now I’m serving out my summer like a jail sentence: Just ninety-nine days till I can leave for college and be done.
Day 4: A nasty note on my windshield makes it clear Julia isn’t finished. I’m expecting a fight when someone taps me on the shoulder, but it’s just Gabe, home from college and actually happy to see me. “For what it’s worth, Molly Barlow,” he says, “I’m really glad you’re back.”
Day 12: Gabe wouldn’t quit till he got me to come to this party, and I’m surprised to find I’m actually having fun. I think he’s about to kiss me—and that’s when I see Patrick. My Patrick, who’s supposed to be clear across the country. My Patrick, who’s never going to forgive me.
7. Don’t Read the Comments by Eric Smith
The Scarlet girls—and Kat especially—are often at the forefront of public trolling. This book is as wonderfully geeky as it is relevant and we can’t recommend it enough!
Divya Sharma is a queen. Or she is when she’s playing Reclaim the Sun, the year’s hottest online game. Divya—better known as popular streaming gamer D1V—regularly leads her #AngstArmada on quests through the game’s vast and gorgeous virtual universe. But for Divya, this is more than just a game. Out in the real world, she’s trading her rising-star status for sponsorships to help her struggling single mom pay the rent.
Gaming is basically Aaron Jericho’s entire life. Much to his mother’s frustration, Aaron has zero interest in becoming a doctor like her, and spends his free time writing games for a local developer. At least he can escape into Reclaim the Sun—and with a trillion worlds to explore, disappearing should be easy. But to his surprise, he somehow ends up on the same remote planet as celebrity gamer D1V.
At home, Divya and Aaron grapple with their problems alone, but in the game, they have each other to face infinite new worlds… and the growing legion of trolls populating them. Soon the virtual harassment seeps into reality when a group called the Vox Populi begin launching real-world doxxing campaigns, threatening Aaron’s dreams and Divya’s actual life. The online trolls think they can drive her out of the game, but everything and everyone Divya cares about is on the line and she isn’t going down without a fight.
8. Unpregnant by Jenni Hendriks & Ted Caplan
Remember when Jane and Jacqueline called their entire board out on their treatment of women’s health and reproductive rights? Unpregnant, likewise, tackles a serious issue with humor and levity by anchoring it in a story of friendship. Plus, it’s being adapted for the screen itself!
Seventeen-year-old Veronica Clarke never thought she’d want to fail a test—that is, until she finds herself staring at a piece of plastic with two solid pink lines. With a college-bound future now disappearing before her eyes, Veronica considers a decision she never imagined she’d have to make: an abortion.
There’s just one catch—the closest place to get one is over nine hundred miles away. With conservative parents, a less-than-optimal boyfriend, and no car, Veronica turns to the only person who won’t judge her: Bailey Butler, a legendary misfit at Jefferson High—and Veronica’s ex-best friend.
What could go wrong? Not much, apart from three days of stolen cars, crazed ex-boyfriends, aliens, ferret napping, and the betrayal of a broken friendship that can’t be outrun. Under the starlit skies of the Southwest, Veronica and Bailey discover that sometimes the most important choice is who your friends are.
9. The Summer of Jordi Perez by Amy Spalding
Did you fall head over heels for Kat and Adena’s relationship? Because we sure heckin’ did, and even through their ups and downs, the chemistry between these two girls is undeniable. Enter: The Summer of Jordi Perez.
Seventeen, fashion-obsessed, and gay, Abby Ives has always been content playing the sidekick in other people’s lives. While her friends and sister have plunged headfirst into the world of dating and romances, Abby’s been happy to focus on her plus-size style blog and her dreams of taking the fashion industry by storm. When she lands a great internship at her favorite boutique, she’s thrilled to take the first step toward her dream career. Then she falls for her fellow intern, Jordi Perez. Hard. And now she’s competing against the girl she’s kissing to win the coveted paid job at the end of the internship.
But really, nothing this summer is going as planned.
She also unwittingly becomes friends with Jax, a lacrosse playing bro-type who wants her help finding the best burger in Los Angeles, and she’s struggling to prove to her mother—the city’s celebrity health nut—that she’s perfectly content with who she is. Then, when Jordi’s photography surprisingly puts her in the spotlight, can Abby find a way to reconcile her positive yet private sense of self with the image others have of her?
10. Don’t Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno
Episode after episode, we’re astounded by how well The Bold Type manages to balance the characters’ personal lives, romantic endeavors, and privilege in a constantly-changing world. These storylines are handled with intelligence and care, and there are few books that manage to juggle so much as well as this one.
Rosa Santos is cursed by the sea-at least, that’s what they say. Dating her is bad news, especially if you’re a boy with a boat.
But Rosa feels more caught than cursed. Caught between cultures and choices. Between her abuela, a beloved healer and pillar of their community, and her mother, an artist who crashes in and out of her life like a hurricane. Between Port Coral, the quirky South Florida town they call home, and Cuba, the island her abuela refuses to talk about.
As her college decision looms, Rosa collides – literally – with Alex Aquino, the mysterious boy with tattoos of the ocean whose family owns the marina. With her heart, her family, and her future on the line, can Rosa break a curse and find her place beyond the horizon?
11. This Tiny Perfect World by Lauren Gibaldi
One of the recurring themes in the show is the need, sometimes reluctantly, to move on from a smaller past in order to seize opportunities in the future. It’s something that everyone faces growing up, and something that YA books have mastered. This is one of our favorites, and we think you’ll love it, too.
Penny loves her small-town Florida life, and she has her future mapped out. She’s going to community college after graduation to stay close to home and her best friend, Faye. She’ll take over the family diner that her dad has been managing since her mother died. And one day, she’ll marry her high school sweetheart, Logan.
But when she unexpectedly lands a scholarship to a prestigious summer theater camp, she is thrust into a world of competition and self-doubt. And suddenly, her future gets a little hazy. As she meets new friends, including Chase, a talented young actor with big-city dreams, she begins to realize that maybe the life everyone (including her) expects her to lead is not the one she was meant to have.
12. Symptoms of a Heartbreak by Sona Charaipotra
Jane, Kat, and Sutton are good at what they do, and that’s not something the show tries to shy away from. We need more of this encouragement both in literature and in our daily lives, and what could be better for that than reading about an all-too-relatable teenage prodigy?
Fresh from med school, sixteen-year-old medical prodigy Saira arrives for her first day at her new job: treating children with cancer. She’s always had to balance family and friendships with her celebrity as the Girl Genius―but she’s never had to prove herself to skeptical adult co-workers while adjusting to real life-and-death stakes. And working in the same hospital as her mother certainly isn’t making things any easier.
But life gets complicated when Saira finds herself falling in love with a patient: a cute teen boy who’s been diagnosed with cancer. And when she risks her brand new career to try to improve his chances, it could cost her everything.
It turns out “heartbreak” is the one thing she still doesn’t know how to treat.
13. The Carrie Diaries by Candace Bushnell
The Carrie Diaries is our go-to for our dream NYC internship! We dare you to try not falling in love with Carrie as she navigates high school and the fashion behind the scenes of New York. With friendships that will make you cheer (and gasp) and romance that will make you swoon, this book basically has it all—and it’s an amazing throwback!
Before Sex and the City, Carrie Bradshaw was a small-town girl who knew she wanted more. She’s ready for real life to start, but first she must navigate her senior year of high school. Up until now, Carrie and her friends have been inseparable. Then Sebastian Kydd comes into the picture, and a friend’s betrayal makes her question everything.
With an unforgettable cast of characters, The Carrie Diaries is the story of how a regular girl learns to think for herself and evolves into a sharp, insightful writer. Readers will learn about her family background, how she found her writing voice, and the indelible impression her early friendships and relationships left on her.
14. Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett
Full Disclosure manages to break taboos while being an incredibly enjoyable read, and, well, isn’t that everything The Bold Type and Scarlet stand for?
Simone Garcia-Hampton is starting over at a new school, and this time things will be different. She’s making real friends, making a name for herself as student director of Rent, and making a play for Miles, the guy who makes her melt every time he walks into a room. The last thing she wants is for word to get out that she’s HIV-positive, because last time… well, last time things got ugly.
Keeping her viral load under control is easy, but keeping her diagnosis under wraps is not so simple. As Simone and Miles start going out for real–shy kisses escalating into much more–she feels an uneasiness that goes beyond butterflies. She knows she has to tell him that she’s positive, especially if sex is a possibility, but she’s terrified of how he’ll react! And then she finds an anonymous note in her locker: I know you have HIV. You have until Thanksgiving to stop hanging out with Miles. Or everyone else will know too.
Simone’s first instinct is to protect her secret at all costs, but as she gains a deeper understanding of the prejudice and fear in her community, she begins to wonder if the only way to rise above is to face the haters head-on…
What other books serve you the perfect balance of inspirational and aspirational? Let us know below!