How much did you love the first season of Riverdale on the CW? An admittedly darker and more dramatic version of the goofy and lovable Archie comics, the show combines teen melodrama, dramatic family dynamics, noir, and small-town utopia into an utterly irresistible show with far more diversity and intersectionality than the comics as they were originally conceived in the 1940s and ’50s.
Whichever of those elements you love most, here are some books to satisfy you while you wait for the launch of season two, coming up on October 11.
If you were drawn to the ongoing murder mystery, read Allegedly, by Tiffany D. Jackson
Mary was nine when she allegedly killed a baby left in her mother’s care, and she has been incarcerated—first in a juvenile prison, now in a group home—ever since. Life is not remotely good there, but she works in a nursing home as her job assignment, where she met a secret boyfriend. But now she’s pregnant, and the prospect of having a baby brings up her hazy, unreliable memories of the death that got her locked away. Truly unpredictable to the end, Allegedly is for all the viewers who loved having a new suspect in Jason Blossom’s death every week.
If you find Cheryl and Jason Blossom’s twin relationship compelling, read Identical, by Ellen Hopkins
Kaeleigh and Raeanne, like Cheryl and Jason, have high-achieving parents with high standards for the way they and their children live their lives. They also have deep, dark secrets they cope with in different ways–one twin withdraws into herself, and the other turns to drugs, alcohol, and sex. But can you guess where it’s all heading?
If you see something in Betty and Alice Cooper’s strained relationship, read The Secret of a Heart Note, by Stacey Lee
Mimosa lives with her overbearing mother, the two of them bound not only by family ties but by being the world’s only aromateurs: supernaturally gifted scent experts who craft potions based on people’s particular scent. Falling in love would kill Mim’s nose, according to her mother, but she’s starting to think that maybe Mom doesn’t know best all the time. Too bad she just got herself into huge trouble—both the romantic and professional kind—and has to untangle it before her mother gets back from a trip.
If the father-son relationships—whether Archie and Fred, Jughead and FP, or Kevin and Sheriff Keller (he should really have a first name, showrunners!)—tug at you, read Last Night I Sang to the Monster, by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
An intense and heart-wrenching story of a boy in treatment for alcoholism and anger, this book explores male relationships, from romantic to familial to mentor-mentee. Zach, being 18, is forced to go to an adult treatment center, where he learns a lot from adult men suffering from similar mental health issues.
If you, like Veronica, have a veneer that belies your inner family drama or personal turmoil, you’ll like The Secret Side of Empty, by Maria E. Andreu
MT is a high achieving student and member of the honor society, so no one can understand why she’s not applying for college. What they don’t know is that she’s an undocumented immigrant, with an abusive father who squanders the family’s money. This book is all about how appearances aren’t everything, but also how you can find ways to take care of yourself when your family won’t.
If it’s all about the ensemble cast for you, try Bronx Masquerade, by Nikki Grimes
One student reads a poem aloud in class, and all of a sudden, everyone is into poetry, and everyone begins to reveal—sometimes to each other, and sometimes just to themselves—their inner thoughts, fears, and feelings. There’s grief, there’s doubt, there’s anger. It’s high school.