I came to Veronica Mars late in the game, but since I started watching the show about a year ago, I haven’t turned back.
I love this series, and not just because I’m a huge mystery buff. Veronica is all the things I loved about Nancy Drew, but with a darker edge and a razor-sharp tongue that I wish I’d had in high school.
So after binging all the original seasons, the movie, and the new series on Hulu, what could possibly tide us over until the next season? (I’m already assuming there has to be a season 5).
Here is my reading list for all you die-hard Marshmallows.
Disclaimer: There may be a few spoilers ahead. But if you’re reading this, I’m assuming you’ve watched and loved the show.
1. The Au Pair by Emma Rous
After her father’s accidental death, Seraphine Mayes seeks solace in old family albums. That’s when she discovers a photograph she’s never seen before—of her mother holding one, not two, babies on the day she and her twin brother were born. Hours after the photo is taken, her mother would throw herself from the cliffs behind their idyllic countryside estate.
This atmospheric mystery will appeal to Marshmallows because it centers on a heroine who is determined to follow her intuitions (despite naysayers and chilling warnings) to answer the questions of her birth that have plagued her from childhood.
Read my full review here.
2. Celine by Peter Heller
This was my first Peter Heller book, and I wanted it to be longer. Celine is a P.I. in her sixties, who reunites birth families and takes on other hopeless, pro bono cases. A woman with a aristocratic and mysterious past (who also happens to be sharp-tongued and handy with a firearm), Celine is not just a character—she’s partially based on Heller’s own mother. This story flashes between the past and the present, and is full of vivid descriptions of the natural beauty of the western United States.
I could totally see a Celine-type character mentoring Veronica or the two of them teaming up for a crack female-only P.I. case. Both Celine and Veronica have big hearts and find a greater sense of freedom working outside of law enforcement.
3. The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith
I love the entire Cormoran Strike series (written under J.K. Rowling’s pen name). This is one of those mystery series that, similar to Louise Penny’s Chief Inspector Gamache series, get better the farther you go along. The most recent release, Lethal White, is her best and lengthiest installment yet.
Even though the series is named after the main character Cormoran, I keep coming back for more because of Robin Ellacott, Cormoran’s temporary-assistant-turned-partner. Although each book in the series centers around one mystery, the narrative of Cormoran and Robin’s lives and relationships runs throughout. Similar to Veronica, Robin has had to overcome the trauma of a rape and the manipulations of an insecure and unfaithful boyfriend. She finds strength, purpose, and healing in working as a private investigator.
4. Sadie by Courtney Summers
I was the only person in my book club who liked Sadie. Told in alternating chapters between Sadie’s perspective in the past, and a podcast in the future, this book benefited greatly from listening to it on audiobook. The story begins with a podcast host investigating Sadie’s disappearance, which happened not long after Sadie decided to hunt down the man she believes murdered her younger sister.
I have so much respect for Sadie’s character. Despite a stutter that makes it challenging for her to communicate, she forges ahead. Her love for her younger sister was heartbreaking. Even though this story is deeply upsetting (be prepared for domestic and sexual abuse), I was moved in a way I didn’t expect from such a dark book. Fair warning, this one ends on a cliffhanger.
5. Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson
If you only read one Young Adult book this year, pick up Truly Devious. I can’t stop gushing about this title, and I’ve pressed it into the hands of every teenager I encounter at the library.
This book is nothing like Harry Potter, but I haven’t felt the same ravenous need to read a YA series like this since Harry Potter. It’s that good.
Stevie Bell is a crime podcast junkie who dreams of one day joining the FBI. Her favorite mystery is a cold case set in the founding days of Ellingham Academy, an exclusive private boarding school in the mountains of Vermont. Not long after the school opened, Albert Ellingham’s wife and daughter were kidnapped, and the only clue was an intriguing riddle, signed Truly, Devious. Not long after Stevie gets accepted to Ellingham and starts investigating, she finds herself caught up in a new mystery—and a new crime.
Truly Devious features a smart, analytical heroine who’s courageous and passionate about solving crime. Perfect for Marshmallows of all ages!
Are you even a true fan if you haven’t read the Veronica Mars original mystery books? (You really should have read them before watching season four. For shame.)
1. The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham
The Thousand Dollar Tan Line is book one in the Veronica Mars original mystery series and picks up right where the movie left off. It tells the story of a spring break in Neptune gone wrong. When two girls go missing, Veronica is hired to find them since Keith is still recovering from his injuries after almost dying in a car crash.
It’s clear that Keith is struggling to come to terms with Veronica’s decision to forgo a career as a New York City lawyer in favor of the more dangerous, underpaid life of a P.I. Veronica and Logan are also learning to have a relationship while Logan is stationed on the U.S.S. Truman. Although the mystery ended with a satisfying bang, I found this book to be a little bit more “filler” than intriguing addition to the Veronica Mars cannon.
2. Mr. Kiss and Tell by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham
Mr. Kiss and Tell takes us into familiar Veronica Mars territory, with Veronica investigating the rape and beating of a young woman left for dead outside Neptune. Even though the show has never shied away from the darker side of human nature, this story seems to be preparing us for an even edgier Veronica than we’ve encountered in the past. Obviously, rape is not a taboo topic for the show (season three’s overarching mystery focused on a serial rapist), but somehow this book felt different.
There’s more language than we’re used to, and it’s still a bit weird for me to picture Veronica and company old enough to be sharing beers together while working a case. I liked this book better than The Thousand Dollar Tan Line, and while I’m thrilled the shows are back, I wouldn’t mind more spinoff books.