Last Updated on December 26, 2023 by BiblioLifestyle
If you just finished watching the new Hulu series Conversations With Friends, based on the novel of the same name by Sally Rooney, then you’re probably looking for some books to read that are similar. Well, you’re in luck! I’ve compiled a list of books like Conversations With Friends that have similar themes and will keep you turning the pages.
Conversations With Friends is a limited series about Frances (Alison Oliver), a 21-year-old college student, and her entanglements with Nick (played by Joe Alwyn) and Melissa (Jemima Kirke), and her best friend and ex (Sasha Lane). There is a wide range of themes in Conversations With Friends, but the main ones include the complexities of love, friendship, intimacy, family, and class. Here are some books that explore these themes and more.
But first, Sally Rooney Books in Order of Publication
After watching any adaptation of Sally Rooney’s books, I implore you to read her books afterward if you didn’t read them before watching. Because one of the things Rooney does well is writing about complex characters, but what she does brilliantly in her books that is hard to translate on screen is the internal monologues, musing, and reflections her characters have. Usually, her characters struggle to communicate with each other, but through texts and lengthy emails, we can understand what they are thinking and how they feel. So after watching, you need to read the book!
So here is the list of books by Sally Rooney in order of publication:
- Conversations With Friends
- Normal People
- Beautiful World, Where Are You?
Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney
Conversations With Friends is Sally Rooney’s debut novel. It follows the story of Frances, a college student in Dublin, as she navigates her relationships with Bobbi, Nick, and Melissa. This novel is a coming-of-age story that deals with sex, love, and friendship.
Normal People by Sally Rooney
Sally Rooney’s second novel, Normal People, is about Marianne and Connell, two students from very different backgrounds. Marianne is wealthy, and Connell is working class. The two start a secret relationship while in college, but things get complicated when they graduate, and their social worlds begin to collide. This novel explores themes of love, class, and family in a nuanced way.
Beautiful World, Where Are You? by Sally Rooney
Sally Rooney’s third novel, Beautiful World, Where Are You? is about a group of friends in their twenties who are struggling to find meaning in their lives. We meet Alice, Felix, Eileen, and Simon and see how their relationships, lives, and perspectives change and evolve. We also see how they navigate love, loss, and heartbreak while trying to figure out who they are and what they want from life.
Personally, I think Beautiful World, Where Are You? is Rooney’s best yet, and it’s also one of the books I recommended in The 2021 Fall Reading Guide.
Books Similiar To Conversations With Friends
The books on this list have similar themes and will keep you turning the pages.
Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan
An intimate, bracingly intelligent debut novel about a millennial Irish expat who becomes entangled in a love triangle with a male banker and a female lawyer.
Heartburn by Nora Ephron
Seven months into her pregnancy, Rachel Samstat discovers that her husband, Mark, is in love with another woman. The fact that the other woman has a neck as long as an arm and a nose as long as a thumb and you should see her legs is no consolation. Food sometimes is, though, since Rachel writes cookbooks for a living. And in between trying to win Mark back and loudly wishing him dead, Ephron’s irrepressible heroine offers some of her favorite recipes. Heartburn is a sinfully delicious novel, as soul-satisfying as mashed potatoes and as airy as a perfect soufflé.
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
Bernardine Evaristo is the winner of the 2019 Booker Prize and the first black woman to receive this highest literary honor in the English language. Girl, Woman, Other is a magnificent portrayal of the intersections of identity and a moving and hopeful story of an interconnected group of Black British women that paints a vivid portrait of the state of contemporary Britain and looks back to the legacy of Britain’s colonial history in Africa and the Caribbean.
Luster by Raven Leilani
Edie is stumbling her way through her twenties–sharing a subpar apartment in Bushwick, clocking in and out of her admin job, making a series of inappropriate sexual choices. She is also haltingly, fitfully giving heat and air to the art that simmers inside her. And then she meets Eric, a digital archivist with a family in New Jersey, including an autopsist wife who has agreed to an open marriage–with rules.
Cleopatra and Frankenstein by Coco Mellors
Twenty-four-year-old British painter Cleo has escaped from England to New York and is still finding her place in the sleepless city when, a few months before her student visa ends, she meets Frank. Twenty years older and a self-made success, Frank’s life is full of all the excesses Cleo’s lacks. He offers her the chance to be happy, the freedom to paint, and the opportunity to apply for a Green Card. But their impulsive marriage irreversibly changes both their lives, and the lives of those close to them, in ways they never could’ve predicted.
Tin Man by Sarah Winman
Ellis and Michael are twelve-year-old boys when they first become friends, and for a long time it is just the two of them, cycling the streets of Oxford, teaching themselves how to swim, discovering poetry, and dodging the fists of overbearing fathers. But then we fast-forward a decade or so, to find that Ellis is married to Annie, and Michael is nowhere in sight. Which leads to the question: What happened in the years between?
Swing Time by Zadie Smith
Two brown girls dream of being dancers–but only one, Tracey, has talent. The other has ideas: about rhythm and time, about black bodies and black music, what constitutes a tribe, or makes a person truly free. It’s a close but complicated childhood friendship that ends abruptly in their early twenties, never to be revisited, but never quite forgotten, either.
Ordinary People by Diana Evans
In a crooked house in South London, Melissa feels increasingly that she’s defined solely by motherhood, while Michael mourns the former thrill of their romance. In the suburbs, Stephanie’s aspirations for bliss on the commuter belt, coupled with her white middle-class upbringing, compound Damian’s itch for a bigger life catalyzed by the death of his activist father. Longtime friends from the years when passion seemed permanent, the couples have stayed in touch, gathering for births and anniversaries, bonding over discussions of politics, race, and art. But as bonds fray, the lines once clearly marked by wedding bands aren’t so simply defined.
Topics of Conversation by Miranda Popkey
Composed almost exclusively of conversations between women–the stories they tell each other, and the stories they tell themselves–Topics of Conversation careens through twenty years in the life of an unnamed narrator hungry for experience and bent on upending her life. In exchanges about shame and love, infidelity and self-sabotage, Popkey touches upon desire, disgust, motherhood, loneliness, art, pain, feminism, anger, envy, and guilt. Edgy, wry, and written in language that sizzles with intelligence and eroticism, this novel introduces an audacious and immensely gifted new novelist.
Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid
A striking and surprising debut novel from an exhilarating new voice, Such a Fun Age is a page-turning and big-hearted story about race and privilege, set around a young black babysitter, her well-intentioned employer, and a surprising connection that threatens to undo them both.
What do you think about these books similar to Conversations With Friends?
Have you read any of these books? Are any of them on your TBR? What books would you add to this list that are similar to Conversations With Friends? Let’s talk about all things Conversations With Friends in the comments below.