Books to Read if You Love “This Is Us”

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Looking for books like This Is Us? If you love this popular television series about a complicated family, told over decades, then you’ll definitely want to try these read-alikes.

As we approach fall, there are many things those of us who love stories look forward to: new books, new television shows, and the return of old favorite shows.

One of those shows that quickly became a favorite for many viewers is the show This Is Us. If you’ve been following my book reviews, you know the type of storytelling on this show is right up my alley.

The show tells the story of the Pearson family over the decades. Flashing between past and present, the story of the family is slowly parceled out to viewers, who learn about the start of Jack and Rebecca’s relationship, the birth of their triplets, the death of one of them and adoption of another baby who was abandoned that same day, and the childhoods and dramas of the whole family over the subsequent years.

This Is Us continues to mine the depths of the Pearsons’ pasts, and how they affect their present lives. These are exactly the types of books I love reading.

If the stories told on this show are up your alley, you might want to check out some of the books below. While the stories are different and not all of them are told over the decades, they all cover themes that overlap with This Is Us.

Books to Read If You Love This Is Us

No matter what specific storylines on This Is Us resonate with you, you’ll find a book here to keep you entertained until the show returns (or between episodes).

Ask Again, Yes: A Novel

Ask Again, Yes: A Novel

Summary
The children of two neighbor families form a friendship in childhood, but a violent event rips the families apart and has repercussions long afterward. Time, distance, and adulthood sometimes brings new perspectives on past events–and sometimes they don’t and those events are dealt with in other ways.
Themes Common with This Is Us
  • Family
  • Parent/child relationships
  • Addiction.

More info →

Buy from Amazon
The Last Romantics: A Novel

The Last Romantics: A Novel

Author: Tara Conklin
Summary
Following their father’s early death, four siblings’ relationships are defined by their mother’s years-long retreat, cementing a lifelong closeness, sense of responsibility, and knowing of one another. Told over decades, The Last Romantics portrays complicated familial relationships, examining the nature of love, commitment, and the strength of those bonds even as what we know changes. Read my full review.
Themes Common with This Is Us
  • Death of a parent
  • Sibling relationships
  • The impact of the past decades later

More info →

Buy from Amazon
The Great Believers

The Great Believers

Summary
Set in two time periods, the first in 1980s Chicago and the second in 2015 Paris, The Great Believers throws readers into the thick of–and the aftermath of–the 1980s AIDS crisis. My top book of 2018, I covered this one in more detail in my story of the story series.
Themes Common with This Is Us
  • Flashbacks between 1980s and present day
  • LGBTQ community
  • Community organizing.

More info →

Buy from Amazon
Commonwealth

Commonwealth

Author: Ann Patchett
Summary
In Commonwealth, Ann Patchett brilliantly weaves together flawed families who fail one another over the decades but keep trying and trusting in spite of the failures. Where you would expect villains, she instead presents complicated characters struggling with their own hopes, inadequacies, and feelings about the past and how to move forward. Where you would expect broken, bitter relationships, she shows the enduring power of loyalty, love, and forgiveness.
Themes Common with This Is Us
  • Complicated family relationships
  • Stories told over decades
  • The impact of the past on the present.

More info →

Buy from Amazon
The Garden of Small Beginnings

The Garden of Small Beginnings

Author: Abbi Waxman
Summary
Lilian Girvan is still grieving her husband, who died in a car accident three years ago. Her life is full with her two young daughters, her job as an illustrator, and her sister, who helps keep everything on track.

When her job requires her to take a gardening class to illustrate a book, she thinks it will be a fun activity for all of them. She doesn’t count on a class full of quirky people who become unlikely friends–and an intriguing instructor who makes her wonder if she might be ready to date again.

Themes Common with This Is Us
  • Death of a spouse/parent
  • Sibling relationships
  • Relationships after losing spouse.

More info →

Buy from Amazon
The Almost Sisters: A Novel

The Almost Sisters: A Novel

Summary
Leia Birch Briggs is a successful comic book artist who is working on the origin story of her most famous characters when her life turns upside down: she is pregnant. And the father is a man who was dressed as Batman at a comic book convention. In the midst of this, her stepsister Rachel’s marriage is falling apart and her beloved grandmother, Birchie, is revealed to have dementia. Leia quickly travels to Birchie’s small Alabama town, with Rachel’s teenage daughter in two, to assess the situation and move Birchie out. She finds Birchie and her lifelong friend Wattie harboring more than just the secret of Birchie’s illness, forcing Leia to reconsider what she knows about family, race, loyalty, and commitment.
Themes Common with This Is Us
  • Race and family
  • Family and sibling relationships across generations
  • Past family secrets.

More info →

Buy from Amazon
Far from the Tree

Far from the Tree

Author: Robin Benway
Summary
Easily one of the best audiobooks I’ve ever listened to, this story of of three siblings who find each other as teens is a heartwarming, complicated, and realistic exploration of the many meanings of family. Grace was adopted by loving parents at birth and recently gave up her own daughter for adoption, which sends her on a search for her own birth family. Maya was also adopted, but when her adopted family begins to have trouble of its own, she starts to wonder about her origins and whether she truly has a place with the family that chose her. Joaquin, the oldest, remained in foster care and struggles to accept that he could still have a chance at a family.
Themes Common with This Is Us
  • Sibling relationships
  • Adoption
  • Families of origin and adoptive families.
More info →

Buy from Amazon
The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters: A Novel

The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters: A Novel

Summary
When their Punjabi mother dies, British-born sisters Rajni, Jezmeen, and Shirina agree to carry out her last wish: a pilgrimage, carefully planned by their mother, to India. They are to visit places that were meaningful to her and to deliver her ashes to their final resting place.

The three sisters have never been close, and couldn’t be more different. They grapple with their grief, their strained relationships, and the stresses of their regular lives, while attempting to carry out their mother’s wishes and perhaps come together in a way they never have.

Themes Common with This Is Us

More info →

Buy from Amazon Kindle

 More read-alikes:

What books would you recommend for fans of This Is Us?

Books to Read While You Wait for This Is Us to Return

Books to Read if You Love This Is Us

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One Comment

  1. Though I haven’t read every single one of these books, many are just the sort I love. The weird thing is that I don’t care for This Is Us. I liked it the first season, but then it just got a little too sappy for me.

    Fun list!

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