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End of an Era
Already missing Girls? Following Sunday night's series finale of the HBO show, we've put together a list of books with similar themes, storylines, and characters to ensure you still get your fix of Hannah, Marnie, Shoshanna, and Jessa in all their terrible, narcissistic glory.
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The Emperor’s Children by Claire Messud
New York setting? Check. Strained relationships between friends? Check. Career and identity struggles? Check. Lofty (and possibly unattainable goals)? Check. The Emperor’s Children shares enough similarities with Girls to see you through the withdrawals.
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Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler
If you're a fan of the Hannah-Adam-Jessa love triangle on Girls, this one's for you. Based partly on the author's own experience of waitressing in NYC, Sweetbitter follows Tess as she moves to the city with no goals other than to work in the service industry, and embarks on a relationship with a bartender and a waitress at the restaurant where she works. Messy sexy relations and food? Win-win.
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I Was Told There’d Be Cake by Sloane Crosley
If hearing about Hannah's forays into essay writing is your favorite part of Girls, you'll love I Was Told There’d Be Cake. The collection of essays by Sloane Crosley has the same wry humor and genuine nature that the HBO show really masters.
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The Fallback Plan by Lee Stein
The Fallback Plan has that "just graduated from college what the heck do I do next" vibe of the early seasons of Girls. After Esther graduates, she finds herself back at her parents' house while she figures out her next steps, but things take an unexpected turn when she lands a nannying job for a neighbor and finds herself drawn into their lives.
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How Should A Person Be? by Sheila Heti
"I think that I may be the voice of my generation, or at least a voice of a generation," says Hannah in the first ever episode of Girls. Sheila Heti could certainly make a similar claim. Her novel tackles friendship and sexuality in a truly original yet funny way — it really is unlike anything else you'll pluck from the shelf.
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The Best of Everything by Rona Jaffe
Jaffe's The Best of Everything may have been published in 1958, but it has the contemporary feel of any episode of Girls. Dealing with the daily professional and personal struggles of women that are just as relevant today at they were 60 years ago, the novel is both hilarious and touching in its portrayal of five women getting by in the city.
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Everybody Rise by Stephanie Clifford
This novel from Stephanie Clifford delves into the lives of the rich and influential on Manhattan's Upper East Side, but is reminiscent of Girls in its exploration of a young female's struggle to define her identity.
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Commencement by J. Courtney Sullivan
Girls has been criticized for its portrayal of white privileged women who simply haven't figured out what to do with their lives, but still get to live in New York City while they take their time to do so. Commencement shares a similar theme as it showcases another group of unlikely friends thrown together, but still really trying to make it work.
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The Group by Mary McCarthy
In Mary McCarthy's novel, a group of friends make a concerted effort to maintain their closeness after a death of one member, despite their varying personalities and life goals. The gals on Girls could have learned a thing or two from these characters.
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Friendship by Emily Gould
Friendship is the story of Bev and Amy's frayed relationship — two girls who have about as much in common as Hannah and Marnie, but make a go of it nonetheless. Throw in an unexpected pregnancy for Bev and we've got even more similarities with the HBO hit show.