With an extraordinary, smart, witty, feisty, fiery, and inspiring lead in Midge, more jokes per minute than most sitcoms, and a powerful emotional core, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel became an instant favorite show. But there’s trouble in paradise: it’s only eight episodes long! And you already watched all of it! Probably in about two days. (*starts practicing my stand-up act* So, uh, what’s up with TV seasons being so short?! *realizes stand-up is hard*) While we wait for season two, here are six YA novels with witty protagonists that are all about comedy, breakups, heartache, and those aching dreams of fame and glory to help you deal with that post-Maisel sugar crash.
Comedy Girl, by Ellen Schreiber
If you’re looking for an immediate post-Maisel standup comedy fix, Schreiber’s got you covered. Trixie is funny. Super funny. Maybe the funniest girl at her Chicago high school. But—super awkwardly—she’s also the shyest. So it’s pretty terrifying when she has to perform standup in front of HER ENTIRE SCHOOL. Though she bombs (hard), the comedy fire has been lit, and the novel follows her journey as she sets herself on a possible path to comedy stardom, overcoming her intense shyness and all. A very funny look at what it takes to really pursue a dream and find your place in the world.
Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
New York becomes a kaleidoscopic whirlwind in this all-in-one-night novel that tells the story of the dizzying first date between bass player Nick and Norah, daughter of a music exec who has decided to ditch college to follow her ex—who dumped her for not being Jewish enough—to a kibbutz. Nick is also hurting from a breakup, and these two intense souls find each other and set off on a night that could change everything. The book comes packed with f-bombs, good music, soul searching, creativity, and industrial amounts of whip-sharp back-and-forth banter, as well as the Jewish idea of tikkun olam, the responsibility to heal a broken world. It’s funny, beautiful, and deep.
Audrey, Wait!, by Robin Benway
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is a beautifully nuanced look at breakups and fame (plus lots of jokes), and so is Benway’s super-witty, banter-filled novel. Audrey never wanted to be famous. When she breaks up with songwriter boyfriend Evan, she figures the only thing she’ll have to deal with is being single again. But Evan writes a song about the breakup that becomes a mega-hit… and everyone wants to know about the girl behind radio staple “Audrey, Wait!” Her instafame is dizzying—paparazzi stalk her, girls want to be her, classmates sell details about her to the press—but Audrey has a bracingly f-bomb fueled, Maisel-like wit that serves her well as she deals with the insanity of it all. And when she’s finally reunited with Evan on TV, she has a chance to take control of her life and her story.
Take a Bow, by Elizabeth Eulberg
Midge Maisel starts the show in the shadows, thinking up jokes for her husband to perform, not yet realizing she belongs onstage herself. Eulberg’s novel centers on Emme, a student at a prestigious New York performing arts high school, who writes songs for her bestie Sophie to sing—but starts to wonder if Sophie’s just using her in her ruthless pursuit of fame. Sophie’s dating former child star Carter, who just wants a quiet life as a painter, while Emme’s bandmate Ethan starts to realize just how much he likes her. All four prepare for the senior recital while soul-searching to discover what, or who, they really want. While the book does a great job showing us the ups and downs of the creative process, it’s very much a story about underdogs fighting to work out whether they even want to be in the spotlight, and how to get there if they do.
Playing With Matches, by Suri Rosen
A fizzy, charming story about a girl going against the wishes of her tight-knit Jewish community, searching for redemption on her own terms while trying to make the world a happier place, this novel—in some ways—goes full Maisel. Raina has been expelled from her fancy NYC private school, she’s at odds with her sister, and her aunt, who she’s been sent to live with, is incredibly strict and disapproving. And no one at Raina’s new school likes her. In the midst of all this, Raina realizes how she can make everything right: via matchmaking! Her idea soon develops into a hidden double life as she spends more and more time anonymously matching up couples…as her grades start to nosedive. Can she use those new skills to save her relationship with her sister while avoiding getting expelled again? This heartwarming tale is thoughtful and entertainingly written.
The Carrie Diaries, by Candace Bushnell
If you’re searching for another effervescent story about following your dreams and trying to make it on your own in New York, look no further than the prequel to Sex and the City. We meet the young Carrie Bradshaw as she begins to discover who she is, what she wants, and what kind of life she might end up leading. And, of course, it’s all about New York, the city where dreams can come true…or get, like, totally crushed. And you can’t help but wonder, which one will it be for Carrie? Dive deep into this novel about the burgeoning creative journey of an artist who doesn’t know everything she’s fully capable of yet. Just like Midge!