Lists, Pop Culture

12 Books Like ‘The Good Place’ That Are Really Forking Good


12 Books Like ‘The Good Place’ That Are Really Forking Good

12 Books Like 'The Good Place' That Are Really Forking Good

Janet, help us prepare for your show’s final season because we are not ready.

We are already emotionally preparing ourselves for the inevitable end (*sob*) of one of TV’s most iconic comedy shows about death, the afterlife, demons we want to be friends with (or at the very least steal bad jokes from), and how at the end of the day, no matter where we are in life, we can always do a little better than the day before. We really don’t want to say goodbye to Eleanor, Tahani, Chidi, Jason, or our favorite overthinking demon-with-a-heart, Michael, but alas.

To fill that Good Place-shaped hole in your life, check out the books below. And we all know the real secret: with books, we’re in the Good Place already.

Or… that is what this is, right?


12 Books Like ‘The Good Place’



1. Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron

With demons galore and a plot that sets you on one path—and then completely twists you onto another (we promise we won’t tease anything more specific than that…) this is an unlikely yet very appropriate read-alike.

Born into a family of powerful witchdoctors, Arrah yearns for magic of her own. But each year she fails to call forth her ancestral powers, while her ambitious mother watches with growing disapproval.

There’s only one thing Arrah hasn’t tried, a deadly last resort: trading years of her own life for scraps of magic. Until the Kingdom’s children begin to disappear, and Arrah is desperate to find the culprit.

She uncovers something worse. The long-imprisoned Demon King is stirring. And if he rises, his hunger for souls will bring the world to its knees… unless Arrah pays the price for the magic to stop him.


2. Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds

Opposite of Always has time loops, yes, and moral conundrums tied into the consequences caused by each of one’s actions, but it’s a story that, at its heart, is anchored by the characters’ relationships, emotions, and growth.

When Jack and Kate meet at a party, bonding until sunrise over their mutual love of Froot Loops and their favorite flicks, Jack knows he’s falling—hard. Soon she’s meeting his best friends, Jillian and Franny, and Kate wins them over as easily as she did Jack.

But then Kate dies. And their story should end there.

Yet Kate’s death sends Jack back to the beginning, the moment they first meet, and Kate’s there again. Healthy, happy, and charming as ever. Jack isn’t sure if he’s losing his mind.

Still, if he has a chance to prevent Kate’s death, he’ll take it. Even if that means believing in time travel. However, Jack will learn that his actions are not without consequences. And when one choice turns deadly for someone else close to him, he has to figure out what he’s willing to do to save the people he loves.


3. They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera

Okay, so this book takes place a bit before The Good Place would set it, but Mateo and Rufus’s quest to live their last day on Earth in the best possible way is the essence of redemption and starting from where you are to become a better person that The Good Place so brilliantly captures.

On September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news:

They’re going to die today.

Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure—to live a lifetime in a single day.


4. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

A girl gets a second chance after death to learn to become a better person? Sounds like Eleanor and Samantha might get along… if they weren’t so stubborn about trusting people.

For popular high school senior Samantha Kingston, February 12—”Cupid Day”—should be one big party, a day of valentines and roses and the privileges that come with being at the top of the social pyramid.

And it is… until she dies in a terrible accident that night.

However, she still wakes up the next morning. In fact, Sam lives the last day of her life seven times, until she realizes that by making even the slightest changes, she may hold more power than she ever imagined.


5. Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl

If Opposite of Always has time loops, Neverworld Wake has time clusterf#&ks. This book’s take on afterlife redemption sets its characters on a wild, looping, trippy path, and each of them wins us over in their own way. And that ending? The twists along the way? They’ll get you.

Once upon a time, back at Darrow-Harker School, Beatrice Hartley and her five best friends were the cool kids, the beautiful ones. Then the shocking death of Jim – their creative genius and Beatrice’s boyfriend – changed everything.

One year after graduation, Beatrice is returning to Wincroft – the seaside estate where they spent so many nights sharing secrets, crushes, plans to change the world – hoping she’ll get to the bottom of the dark questions gnawing at her about Jim’s death. But as the night plays out in a haze of stilted jokes and unfathomable silence, Beatrice senses she’s never going to know what really happened.

Then a mysterious man knocks on the door. Blithely, he announces the impossible: time for them has become stuck, snagged on a splinter that can only be removed if the former friends make the harshest of decisions.

Now Beatrice has one last shot at answers… and at life. And so begins the Neverworld Wake.


6. Heaven Looks A Lot Like The Mall by Wendy Mass

If we could slide this book onto Eleanor’s bookshelf, we would.

When 16-year-old Tessa suffers a shocking accident in gym class, she finds herself in heaven (or what she thinks is heaven), which happens to bear a striking resemblance to her hometown mall.

In the tradition of It’s a Wonderful Life and The Christmas Carol, Tessa starts reliving her life up until that moment. She sees some things she’d rather forget, learns some things about herself she’d rather not know, and ultimately must find the answer to one burning question…

If only she knew what the question was.


7. If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Time seems to be a recurring theme here—and this iconic novel deals with choices that have true life or death stakes. Get your tissues ready, because this book takes the emotional gravity of The Good Place and multiplies it by a thousand.

On a day that started like any other…

Mia had everything: a loving family, a gorgeous, adoring boyfriend, and a bright future full of music and full of choices.

Then, in an instant, almost all of that is taken from her.

Caught between life and death, between a happy past and an unknowable future, Mia spends one critical day contemplating the one decision she has left—the most important decision she’ll ever make.


8. The Field Guide to the North American Teenager by Ben Philippe

Let’s be real: Norris is basically Eleanor. He doesn’t really care about anyone but himself, and knows that he won’t be surprised. People are exactly as they appear. But as he gets to know the classmates he’s now surrounded by, he realizes that they might actually have hidden depths. Character development for the win!

Norris Kaplan is clever, cynical, and quite possibly too smart for his own good. A Black French Canadian, he knows from watching American sitcoms that those three things don’t bode well when you are moving to Austin, Texas.

Plunked into a new high school and sweating a ridiculous amount from the oppressive Texas heat, Norris finds himself cataloging everyone he meets: the Cheerleaders, the Jocks, the Loners, and even the Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Making a ton of friends has never been a priority for him, and this way he can at least amuse himself until it’s time to go back to Canada, where he belongs.

Yet against all odds, those labels soon become actual people to Norris…like loner Liam, who makes it his mission to befriend Norris, or Madison the beta cheerleader, who is so nice that it has to be a trap. Not to mention Aarti the Manic Pixie Dream Girl, who might, in fact, be a real love interest in the making.

But the night of the prom, Norris screws everything up royally. As he tries to pick up the pieces, he realizes it might be time to stop hiding behind his snarky opinions and start living his life—along with the people who have found their way into his heart.


9. Heretics Anonymous by Katie Henry

This book of outcasts broaches the topic of morality by, all good-naturedly and somehow with a heavy dose of humor, questioning everything. Plus, there’s a character named Michael, and his ragtag group will slowly win you over.

When Michael walks through the doors of Catholic school, things can’t get much worse. His dad has just made the family move again, and Michael needs a friend. When a girl challenges their teacher in class, Michael thinks he might have found one, and a fellow atheist at that. Only this girl, Lucy, isn’t just Catholic . . . she wants to be a priest.

Lucy introduces Michael to other St. Clare’s outcasts, and he officially joins Heretics Anonymous, where he can be an atheist, Lucy can be an outspoken feminist, Avi can be Jewish and gay, Max can wear whatever he wants, and Eden can practice paganism.

Michael encourages the Heretics to go from secret society to rebels intent on exposing the school’s hypocrisies one stunt at a time. But when Michael takes one mission too far—putting the other Heretics at risk—he must decide whether to fight for his own freedom or rely on faith, whatever that means, in God, his friends, or himself.


10. All of This Is True by Lygia Day Peñaflor

If you find yourself laughing at even the most niche jokes on The Good Place and pulled in by the mysteries of what could possibly happen next, then this is a book you need to read. Full of incredible pop culture references and an underlying thread of tension, All of This Is True is the show’s perfectly dramatic companion.

Miri Tan loved the book Undertow like it was a living being. So when she and her friends went to a book signing to hear the author, Fatima Ro, they concocted a plan to get close to her.

Soleil Johnston wanted to be a writer herself one day. When she and her friends started hanging out with her favorite author, Fatima Ro, she couldn’t believe their luck—especially when Jonah Nicholls started hanging out with them, too.

Penny Panzarella was more than the materialist party girl everyone at the Graham School thought she was—and she was willing to share all her secrets with Fatima Ro to prove it.

Jonah Nicholls had more to hide than any of them. And now that Fatima’s next book is out in the world, he’s the one who is paying the price…


11. I Hope You Get This Message by Farah Naz Rishi

This book sank its teeth into our emotions from the very first page, because it deals with a diverse cast of characters who have to face the fact that the world is ending in a week. What can they do? What should they do? Get ready for a rollercoaster of feels.

News stations across the country are reporting mysterious messages that Earth has been receiving from a planet—Alma—claiming to be its creator. If they’re being interpreted correctly, in seven days Alma will hit the kill switch on their “colony” Earth.

True or not, for teenagers Jesse Hewitt, Cate Collins, and Adeem Khan, the prospect of this ticking time bomb will change their lives forever.

Jesse, who has been dealt one bad blow after another, wonders if it even matters what happens to the world. Cate, on the other hand, is desperate to use this time to find the father she never met. And Adeem, who hasn’t spoken to his estranged sister in years, must find out if he has it in him to forgive her for leaving.

With only a week to face their truths and right their wrongs, Jesse, Cate, and Adeem’s paths collide as their worlds are pulled apart.


12. The Chosen by Taran Matharu

If you let Shawn and his Bad Place demons create some twisted version of prehistoric Hunger Games, you would basically get this book. Read it for the action, the mystery, and the high stakes.

Throughout history, people have vanished with no explanation. A group of teenagers are about to discover why.

Cade is settling into a new boarding school, contemplating his future, when he finds himself transported to another realm. He soon discovers their new world is populated with lost remnants from the past: prehistoric creatures, ancient relics, and stranger still — people. Overwhelmed by his new surroundings, Cade has little time to adjust, for soon he and his fellow classmates are forced to become contenders in a brutal game, controlled by mysterious overlords.

But who are these beings and why did they choose these teens? Cade must prepare for battle… because hiding is not an option.


What books fill the Jason Mendoza-shaped hole for you? Tell us in the comments!


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