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I remember reading The Great Gatsby one summer’s afternoon while taking the afternoon off from University.
I was so engrossed, that I didn’t realize the sun had gone down and I was alone in a park until I finished the book.
There have not been many books to keep me so engaged that I become oblivious to the outside world, but The Great Gatsby was one of them, and so I immediately started looking up books like The Great Gatsby to read after.
If like me you were completely spellbound by Mr. Gatsy and his story, and you’re looking for other similar books to The Great Gatsby that have themes of historical romance, poverty to wealth, and insane parties – then read on!
Because these are my absolute favorite similar reads…
Quick Answer: Top 3 Picks
Are you looking for a book fast but don’t have much time? Here are my top 3 picks!
#1 Most Iconic Book
Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
- Classic literature
- A tale of two lovers who are forbidden to marry by their families, only to end tragically
- A timeless classic and one of the world’s most iconic pieces of literature
#2 Best in Romance
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
- Classic piece of 19th-century literature
- A story of two lovers from different classes in society
- Also a motion picture movie starring Keira Knightly
Summary of The Great Gatsby
Before I get into the top books similar to The Great Gatsby, let’s quickly recap the story. Don’t worry, I won’t reveal any spoilers if you are still reading…
The story follows two former lovers, the dashing Mr. Gatsby and the beautiful Daisy Buchanan. The pair were lovers five years ago, but departed, possibly due to Gatsby’s poverty and her upper-class background.
Five years later and Daisy, now married, purchases a mansion near to Mr. Gatsby’s house, which had become famous for its riotous parties.
Daisy’s cousin, Nick, moves to town. He is invited to Mr. Gatsby’s parties, where it becomes clear that Mr. Gatsby is using him to reunite with his former love, Daisy.
The novel is about these two former lovers reuniting in secret, and portrays themes of power, greed, betrayal, the chasing the American dream.
It’s set during the Jazz Era of America and has strong elements of social stratification, particularly relating to class and background.
The Great Gatsby is an easy classic to read for first time readers of classics.
Books Like The Great Gatsby
Did the plot of The Great Gatsby keep you on the edge of your seat? If so, you’ll enjoy these similar books for what to read after The Great Gatsby…
1. Romeo and Juliet – William Shakespeare
By far the most obvious book similar to The Great Gatsby is Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare.
This is another story of two lovers who are separated from each other by class and social prejudice, only to have their love story end tragically.
It’s a classic forbidden romance novel about two people with a love so great, but they are forbidden to marry by their families.
As Romeo and Juliet meet in secret, waiting for stolen moments together, their love story takes on a dark note.
Unable to bear the thought of living without each other, they kill themselves rather than be parted.
The story is incredibly tragic, but also incredibly romantic and also heart-wrenching, just like The Great Gatsby. I didn’t find Romeo and Juliet as much of a page turner as The Great Gatsby but there can be no argument that it’s a timeless classic.
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2. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë
Jane Eyre is a novel that approaches similar themes to The Great Gatsby, such as themes of class, sexuality, religion, and feminism with nuance and complexity.
The story follows the experiences of its eponymous heroine, Jane Eyre, as she grows to adulthood and falls in love with Mr. Rochester, the master of Thornfield Hall.
The novel revolutionized prose fiction by being the first to focus on its protagonist’s emotional and spiritual development through an intimate first-person narrative, where actions and events are colored by psychological intensity.
Charlotte Brontë has been called the “forerunner of modern writers” like Proust and Joyce, for her emphasis on the private consciousness.
The book is a social criticism with a strong Christian moral core, and some consider it to be ahead of its time because of Jane’s individualistic character.
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3. Wuthering Heights – Emily Brontë
Wuthering Heights is Emily Brontë’s only novel and to be honest, I found it quite challenging to read. However, it does have the same themes of high social standards and loneliness that The Great Gatsby has.
It follows Lockwood, the new tenant of Thrushcross Grange, who was forced to seek shelter one night at Wuthering Heights.
Lockwood was not happy about this, as he did not enjoy being at Wuthering Heights.
Heathcliff discovers the history of the tempestuous events that took place years before.
What unfolds is the tale of Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw’s intense love.
Catherine, forced to choose between the passionate and tortured Heathcliff and the gentle, well-bred Edgar Linton, surrendered to the expectations of her class.
As Heathcliff’s bitterness and vengeance over his betrayal were visited upon the next generation, their innocent heirs must struggle to escape the legacy of the past.
If you love gothic literature with some themes of the supernatural, then you may enjoy this ghostly story.
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4. Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
A true classic, Little Women follows Jo, Meg, Beth, and Amy. As they navigate life in New England, their father is away at war, and they live in financial hardship.
Along with that, they become intrigued by the handsome young man next door.
Little Women is a coming-of-age story about the five sisters who grow up in 19th-century America.
The sisters are resourceful, determined, and moral people who learn important life lessons about courage, love, and self-sacrifice.
The book follows the four spirited sisters as they navigate through childhood and adolescence in the civil war era of America.
Little Women is a novel based on author Louisa May Alcott’s own life, and it became an immediate best-seller after its publication in 1868.
Three sequels were later published: Good Wives, Little Men, and Jo’s Boys.
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5. The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
The Alchemist is loosely similar to The Great Gatsby in that it also follows the story of a young man on a quest for love.
Like The Great Gatsby, the boy starts out poor and ends up a wealthy man, but unlike The Great Gatsby, this novel has more spiritual connotations with an emphasis on finding love with life, more so than a person.
The story follows a young shepherd who meets a king, who tells him to sell all his sheep in search of a great treasure near the Egyptian pyramids.
Along the way, the boy meets a merchant, an American, a woman whom he falls in love with, and an Alchemist. The Alchemist teaches him to channel the elements, and he soon learns some valuable lessons about the world and life within it.
There are some similarities but also some major differences between these two books. The Alchemist is much more spiritual and has less frivolity, but no doubt any fan of The Great Gatsby will enjoy reading The Alchemist next.
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6. The Outsiders – S.E. Hinton
Another modern-day story that readers who enjoyed The Great Gatsby might enjoy is The Outsiders, which follows Ponyboy Curtis, a 14-year-old boy, and his battles with right and wrong in a world where he feels he is an outsider.
According to Ponyboy, the world is divided into two types of people: greasers and socs. A soc (short for “social”) has money, and can get away with almost anything. A greaser, on the other hand, is always on the outside and must keep an eye on his back.
Ponyboy is a greaser, and he’s always been proud of it, even if it means going toe-to-toe with a gang of socs for the benefit of his fellow greasers.
Ponyboy and his gang’s hardships and friendships are explored throughout the novel as they live their lives as greasers.
Written through the eyes of a 14-year-old boy, it’s a novel that’s easy to digest no matter who the reader is. It’s a coming-of-age story, covering themes of friendship, hardships, and overcoming challenges.
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7. The Sun Also Rises – Ernest Hemingway
Ernest Hemingway is one of my favorite authors from the 20th century. His poetic prose and descriptive writing is somewhat iconic.
His 1926 novel, The Sun Also Rises is a classic piece of literature by Hemingway that perfectly illustrates this style.
It was actually his first novel and tells the story of American and British ex-pats who travel from Paris to the Festival of San Fermín in Pamplona, where they seek to watch the annual running of the bulls and the bullfights.
The novel is based on his life living in Paris in 1920 and the characters are based on people he met. It’s a personal novel that portrays themes of a “Lost Generation” a society that was damaged by the events of World War I.
While the storyline is different from The Great Gatsby, the portrayal of society during the Jazz Era of the 1920s and 30s is prevalent throughout.
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8. A Woman Of No Importance – Oscar Wilde
A Woman of No Importance is a play written by poet and playwright, Oscar Wilde, which satirizes high-class society.
The story revolves around the drama of a social scandal and the revelation of Mrs. Arbuthnot’s hidden secret.
Like The Great Gatsby, A Woman of No Importance has scenes of riotous house parties, which take place at Lady Hunstanton’s country home.
When Gerald Arbuthnot announces he has been appointed secretary to Lord Illingworth, his mother objects, but won’t tell him why.
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9. Down and Out in Paris and London – George Orwell
While George Orwell is most well known for his dystopian novels, Animal Farm and 1984, I don’t personally see a resemblance between these novels and The Great Gatsby, although many people recommend them.
I do see similarities between George Orwell and F. Scott Fitzgerald in their writing style, as both are from the same era if not from the same country.
Perhaps the most similar book to The Great Gatsby by Orwell is Down and Out in Paris and London. This is a 1933 memoir of the time he spent living in Paris (and London) and in poverty.
It tells a tale of how he survived taking on casual labor positions and living feebly in each city.
Unlike The Great Gatsby where we see a poor man turn rich, this novel is the opposite in which we see George Orwell, a man from a high-class society with a great education, live in what he considers to be poverty.
It’s an interesting perspective on class and society during the early 20th century and that’s what makes it similar to The Great Gatsby.
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10. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
Pride and Prejudice is a romantic novel published in 1813 under a pseudonym and was an immediate success. It sold out in its first print and has been continuing to do so ever since.
It follows the vivacious heroine, Elizabeth Bennet, and her romantic clash with the opinionated Mr. Darcy. Elizabeth is the daughter of a clergyman and inherits a sizeable fortune.
She is also intelligent and lively, and perfectly capable of handling herself in social situations.
Mr. Darcy is the son of an English gentleman and a wealthy Irishwoman. He is arrogant, judgmental, and unyielding in his opinions.
Despite their initial animosity, the two eventually fall in love with each other. They must overcome obstacles such as Elizabeth’s family disapproval, Mr. Darcy’s pride, and their own misunderstandings to make it work.
Jane Austen’s wit shines as her characters dance a delicate quadrille of flirtation and intrigue, making this book the most superb comedy of manners in Regency England.
I loved how Pride and Prejudice also has a complex relationship and tones of prejudice, which I also got from reading The Great Gatsby.
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11. Gone With the Wind – Margaret Mitchell
Gone with the Wind was published in 1936, and tells the story of life during the American Civil War and Reconstruction Era.
The story follows Scarlett O’Hara, the spoiled daughter of a plantation owner, who is trying to get out of poverty by following Sherman’s “March to the Sea,” a famous military campaign during the Civil War.
It’s a historical fiction novel with some coming-of-age elements.
This novel is much-loved by Americans and was even found to be the second most loved book by Americans after the Bible.
What I found similar about these books was the writing style. Both Margaret Mitchell and Scott F. Fitzgerald were from similar backgrounds and eras, and so their style is very similar.
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12. The Age of Innocence – Edith Wharton
Another 1920s novel like The Great Gatsby is The Age of Innocence. It won the 1921 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, making Edith Wharton the first woman to win the prize.
The story was set in 1870 during the Gilded Age and follows an upper-class society in New York City.
The story follows Newland Archer, an aristocratic lawyer who is due to wed May Welland.
When May’s disgraced cousin, Ellen, flees her marriage to a Polish Count and arrives from Europe, her otherworldly nature captures Newland’s interest and he soon falls in love with her.
The novel follows themes of class and the struggle between living as an individual and following what society expects of you.
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13. The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
The Grapes of Wrath is a story by John Steinbeck that won the National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize for best fiction.
It was also one of Steinbeck’s novels that earned him the Nobel Prize in 1962.
Like The Great Gatsby, it’s set during the Great Depression.
It follows a poor family known as the Joads, who were tenant farmers in Oklahoma who were forced to leave their homes because of drought, economic hardship, and changes to the agriculture industry.
It follows them through bank closures and into a hopeless situation, where they are forced out of work. It has themes of hardship, class, friendship, and community.
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14. Mrs. Dalloway – Virginia Woolf
Mrs. Dalloway was published in 1925 and follows the life of Clarissa Dalloway, an upper-class woman living in post-WWI England.
The story follows Clarissa’s preparations for a party she is hosting and the events of that party.
The story is unique in that it travels forwards and backward in time, constructing Clarissa’s life and her place in the social structure.
It’s similar to The Great Gatsby in that it has themes of society and class, isolation, suffering, and madness.
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15. This Side of Paradise – F. Scott Fitzgerald
If you enjoy the writing style of The Great Gatsby then you’re probably going to enjoy some other works by the same author.
This Side of Paradise was the first novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald and is what gave him the reputation of being one of the best writers of the Jazz Age.
Like The Great Gatsby, This Side of Paradise also analyzes the lives of the American youth at the dawn of the Jazz era.
It follows Amory Blaine, an attractive middle-class student at Princeton, who engages in several romances with flappers.
The novel covers themes of love, greed, status, and power. I enjoyed the coming-of-age elements of this story and loved learning about the evocation of the pre-Jazz Age.
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Final Words on Books Like The Great Gatsby
So there you have it, those are what I consider to be the best books similar to The Great Gatsby that I’ve read so far.
I hope that you found something that sparks your interest and gave you some inspiration for what to read next.
Do you think I missed one of your favorite novels like The Great Gatsby? Let me know about it in the comments below.
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Last Updated on March 23, 2023 by Louisa