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15 Spellbinding Books Like The Midnight Library

Last Updated on December 1, 2023 by Louisa

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig captivated readers around the world. After I finished this story, I immediately wanted to find something similar to read.

In The Midnight Library, we find our protagonist on a journey between life and death.

When Nora visits the library, known as The Midnight Library, she discovers a new life she could have led inside every book. Each book shows her what could have happened if she had made a different life decision. 

Throughout her time in the library, Nora discovers what life could have been if she had taken a different job, undid a breakup, or even if loved ones hadn’t passed.

Did you fall in love with this beloved story? If so, you might be eager to find more books like The Midnight Library. Keep reading for my top recommendations.

Affiliate Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase through any of these links. 

Quick Answer: Top 3 Picks!

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Our Favourites!

The Paper Palace (Reese's Book Club): A Novel

#1 Best Highly Acclaimed Novel

The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller

  • About finding love at the age of 50
  • The New York Times Number One Bestseller 
  • Longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction in 2022 

The Unsinkable Greta James: A Novel

#2 Best Young Adult Book

The Unsinkable Greta James by Jennifer E Smith

  • About a father and daughter who seek to rebuild their relationship after the death of her mother
  • Themes of self-discovery and finding acceptance in who you are
  • A sweet and tender story

Such a Fun Age: Reese's Book Club (A Novel)

#3 Best Eye-Opening Book

Such A Fun Age by Kiley Reid

  • A story about a woman accused of kidnapping due to her race.
  • A book about racial injustice and racial awareness
  • Winner of the Goodreads Choice Awards for Best Debut Novel

Summary of The Midnight Library

Before I get into the top similar books to The Midnight Library, here’s a quick overview of the story…

The Midnight Library is a multi-award-winning novel by Matt Haig about a woman who suffers from low mental health and gets the chance to see what life would be like had she made different choices in the past.

I loved this book so much and highly recommend it to anyone that might underestimate the importance of thinking on the bright side of life and appreciating what you have.

When the protagonist Nora decides to end her life, she is taken to a place called The Midnight Library where she can choose a book that will transport her to a different version of her life but with one thing different.

As she begins to read each book, she sees a different future each time. Each is beautiful and terrible in its own way…

She also meets some interesting characters, such as her former school librarian who helps her navigate this strange world, and another “slider” – a term used for someone who slides between realities.

This is a deeply meaningful book on a touchy subject, but Haig has written it with sincerity and deep emotion.

It won the Best Fiction Award at the Goodreads Choice Awards in 2020.

Related post: Book Club Questions for The Midnight Library

Books Like The Midnight Library

Now you’ve been brushed up on the storyline, it’s time I show you my favorite books similar to The Midnight Library!

1. Millard Salter’s Last Day – Jacob M Appel

If you’re looking for a book about self-discovery, then fans of The Midnight Library will love Millard Salter’s Last Day

Like The Midnight Library, Millard Salter’s Last Day also features a protagonist who decides to end his life. In this book, our MC Millard Salter, chooses to end it to avoid the isolation of old age.

He gives himself one more day to live so he can tie up loose ends and see people who were important to him one last time.

But what he never expected was all the challenges he would face in a single day.

His plan is further complicated when he develops feelings for a new friend and discovers some secrets about his family.

Not only will your heart melt reading about Millard’s day, but it also has some poignant messages about life and death and the life’s overall purpose.

2. The Library of the Unwritten – AJ Hackwith

Was your favorite aspect of The Midnight Library all the different stories that were contained in the books? If so, I recommend the fantasy book The Library of the Unwritten which has a similar plot-line.

Imagine: if a writer dies and goes to hell, their unfinished work will remain in the Unwritten Wing. This is where Claire, the head librarian works and keeps an eye on these books.

Only characters often come out of the books and try to escape. When the hero of a story escapes, Claire must team up with her assistant and a demon to track him down.

Tracking this hero down is just the beginning. Claire didn’t expect this escape to result in a power struggle between Heaven and Hell. 

This is a fast-paced, easy-reading fantasy book that you’ll struggle to put down. I loved the characters that came out of the book as it shows real imagination from the author.

If you’re looking for something a little bit different, then this is a great book to add to your TBR.

3. The Memory Collectors – Kim Neville

If you want to read another unique book like The Midnight Library that plays on your heartstrings, then I suggest you read The Memory Collectors next.

In this book, readers follow the story of Ev, who has a special gift where she can feel the emotions people leave behind on objects. She destroys the objects with bad emotions and sells those with good emotions. 

Harriet collects these items. She wants Ev to help her make something out of her collection of treasures. The women believe that a museum of memory could help people in the community deal with their emotions.

As the two women come to terms with the gift they have, they begin to uncover truths about each others’ pasts.

This book gave me The Giver vibes, but in a more fantasy way. It is a great example of how magical realism and imagination can be symbolic when done properly.

The story is sweet and riveting throughout, and I found the characters to be likable despite both having a dark past.

4. The Book Of Living Secrets – Madeleine Roux

Another fun story where characters are transported into the lives of a book is The Book Of Living Secrets.

The story follows Adelle and Connie who are friends because they have one thing in common, and that’s their love for the book Moira.

When a mysterious stranger offers them the chance to visit the world of their favorite book, the girls happily accept. However, once they arrive, the world is nothing as it seems. 

There’s something dark hiding inside the world where Adelle and Connie’s favorite characters live. In order to escape, the two must rewrite the story to turn this nightmare into a dream.

Fans of The Midnight Library will enjoy this exciting story because of how fast-paced it is. It’s darker than The Midnight Library and has a lot more fantasy elements to it, but the writing style is quite similar to that of Matt Haig’s.

5. Oona Out Of Order – Margarita Montimore

If you enjoyed The Midnight Library for the time-travel elements, then I think you’ll love Oona Out Of Order. This exciting novel is a great example of why we should live in the moment.

Like most 19-year-olds, Oona needs to decide what path she wants to follow in her life. At the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, she faints. Only, when she wakes up, it’s 52 years later.

Every year at midnight on New Year’s Eve, Oona will jump to another era of her life. The ages she experiences are random and out of order. 

This heart-warming book questions the burden of time while showing us the importance of enjoying the moment you have in front of you.

6. How To Stop Time – Matt Haig

Another great book like The Midnight Library that has elements of time travel and living in alternate realities is How To Stop Time.

This book is another book by Matt Haig, the same author of The Midnight Library, which makes it the ideal choice for what to read next.

Tom wants to settle down and lead an ordinary life as a history teacher. However, there’s one problem.

He’s lost in time, literally. Tom’s condition has kept him alive for centuries, and he’s lived through some of history’s defining moments. 

A secret group knows about people like Tom and keeps them protected. There is only one rule that Tom and the others must follow.

Never fall in love. This rule could be the one thing holding Tom back from living the life he wants.

I loved Matt Haig’s writing style in The Midnight Library and I was sucked into the thought-provoking messages.

When I read TML, I was always reflecting on my own life. If you want another book to move you in the same way, then you’ll find more thought-provoking and poignant themes in Matt Haig’s other works.

7. Before The Coffee Gets Cold – Toshikazu Kawaguchi

What I loved about The Midnight Library is that it showed us alternate versions of life and we got to see more of how Nora’s mindset changed as we followed her life journey.

If you love The Midnight Library for the character development, then Before The Coffee Gets Cold takes a similar path.

In this book, there’s a back-alley cafe in Tokyo where customers can order a coffee that will send them back in time.

Customers can return to a particular moment to achieve something they’ve always wanted. 

However, this journey does come with strings attached. Every person returning in time must return before their cup of coffee gets cold.

This is a short book of only 227 pages with a fast-paced storyline, so you could easily devour it quickly if you wanted to.

View it on:

8. Some Kind Of Happiness – Claire Legrand

Some Kind of Happiness is a heartfelt novel about a single character and their path to conquering depression. If that was what you loved about The Midnight Library, then this is another book you will love.

Things at home are tough for Finley. Things get even worse when he finds out she has to spend the summer at her grandparents’ house, who she’s never met.

The only place where Finely finds comfort is the Everwood forest, which she created in her notebook. 

However, when Finley arrives at her grandparents, she discovers the forest behind their house is identical to her notebook.

Inside this forest lays the wonders of her imagination. But it also takes her on an important journey of self-discovery.

What I love about this book is how the main character uses her imagination to deal with her depression. It’s a great way to adopt a new mindset and there are some key takeaways from this book that you can incorporate into your own life.

9. The Thing About Jellyfish – Ali Benjamin

For more books like The Midnight Library that explores the journey of life, I suggest The Thing About Jellyfish. This book became an instant New York Times Bestseller when it was released in 2017.

Suzy knows that everything happens for a reason. After her best friend drowns, she’s convinced that a jellyfish sting caused it.

The events cause Suzy to travel into an imaginary world to prove her theory mentally.

Suzy discovers more about the importance of life, love, and death throughout her journey.

Although this is meant to be a middle-grade book, I read it as an adult and loved it. It’s a painful story about death that has been written with sympathy and grace and is easy to read and follow.

It has a simple storyline, but it has some areas for discussion if you happen to choose it for a book club.

10. The Paper Palace – Miranda Cowley Heller

If you enjoyed The Midnight Library for the fantasy elements and want to read something romantic next, I suggest The Paper Palace.

This novel has the lead character asking what life would have been if she had followed a different romantic path.

Elle and Jonas are 50 years old and have been friends for ages. They are both happily married but always have one question on their mind.

One night, the two friends explore unknown territory and hook up with each other. 

Now Elle is faced with the question of what to do. She begins to explore all the experiences in her life that led to this moment and why she never got romantically involved with Jonas in the first place.

We have all questioned our lives decisions, and that was ultimately what attracted me to The Midnight Library in the first instance.

What I loved about The Paper Palace is that it allowed me to continue questioning life and it’s meaning, as well as and nurturing my mental capacity to grow and think more deeply and philosophically.

11. The Unsinkable Greta James – Jennifer E Smith

If you enjoyed The Midnight Library for the family elements, as we see Nora reconnect with her brother, I suggest you add The Unsinkable Greta James to your to-read list. 

Greta followed her heart and became a musician. Her mother has always been her #1 supporter, while her father disapproved of her lifestyle.

After her mother’s death, she agrees to cruise with her father. She views this as their last chance to repair their broken relationship.

Throughout this journey, Greta and her father go on a path of self-discovery. They begin to help each other make sense of the past and move into a brighter future. 

I loved how relatable this story was. It shows that families are complicated, and yet there is always love there. This was something I loved about The Midnight Library, so I was pleased to see it delved deeper into The Unsinkable Greta James.

12. Such A Fun Age – Kiley Reid

If you want to read more compelling books like The Midnight Library with coming-of-age elements, I suggest Such A Fun Age.

Alix has built a brand on building up women’s confidence. She trusts Emira to care for her toddler whenever she has an event at night. 

One night, a racist security guard accuses Emira of kidnapping, and videos of the event go viral. Alix wants to make things right, but this will be more challenging than she realized.

I think fans of The Midnight Library will enjoy this book because it focuses on the importance of empathy and has thought-provoking ideas about how complicated life can get.

Related Post: Such A Fun Age Book Club Discussion Questions

13. Night Theater – Vikram Paralkar

Night Theater is an exciting book that fans of The Midnight Library will definitely enjoy, though I admit the storyline is quite different from TML.

This book follows a surgeon who just escaped a major scandal. He’s known for shady practices. However, one event has him reconsidering how he practiced.

A teacher appears with his pregnant wife and young son. The only thing is, this family was murdered in a robbery earlier that evening.

The teacher presents the surgeon with a chance to make a miracle happen. If the surgeon can fix the family’s wounds by sunrise, the family will get another chance at life. 

This is a story of ghosts, second chances, and learning compassion. I loved the character development of the surgeon in this book, it reminded me a little bit of The Ghost of Christmas Past, which The Midnight Library also gave me similar vibes to.

14. Louis and Louise – Julie Cohen

The Midnight Library had readers thinking about how their decisions have affected their lives. If you’re thinking of another book that gets you thinking, then check out Louis and Louise.

Louis and Louise have us thinking about how a moment in time makes a big difference.

Louis and Louise are twins that were born moments apart. They both have the same interests and dreams.

However, being of two different genders, each faces a different experience throughout life. 

This book has readers looking at how the characters’ genders affect what has shaped their lives. 

View it on:

15. Reasons To Stay Alive – Matt Haig

To finalize this list of books like The Midnight Library, I end with another one of Matt Haig’s books. One that I highly recommend is Reasons To Stay Alive

One of the main subjects approached in The Midnight Library is depression.

Author Matt Haig has lived with this invisible condition his entire life.

Throughout his novel Reasons To Stay Alive, he gives readers more insight into how he has personally coped with going on a journey of self-discovery.

What I love about this book is how Matt shares his appreciation for the little things in life. The small joys are what can bring people the most happiness.

It’s essentially the book that inspired The Midnight Library and goes deeper into the topic of depression.

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books like the midnight library

Final Words on Books Like The Midnight Library

So there you go! Those are some of my favorite books to read after The Midnight Library which all have thought-provoking messages about life and death, or get you thinking about your own mental attitude.

I hope you found some interesting titles on my list and it gave you some inspiration for what to read next.

If you think I missed one of your favorite novels like The Midnight Library, let me know in the comments below.

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About Louisa Smith

Editor/Founder - Epic Book Society

Louisa is the Founder, Editor, and Head Honcho of Epic Book Society. She was born and raised in the United Kingdom and graduated from the University for the Creative Arts with a degree in Journalism. Louisa began her writing career at the age of 7 when her poetry was published in an anthology of poems to celebrate the Queen's Jubilee. Upon graduating university, she spent several years working as a journalist writing about books before transitioning to become a Primary School Teacher. Louisa loves all genres of books, but her favorites are Sci-Fi, Romance, Fantasy, and Young Adult Fiction. Read more Louisa's story here.

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