The Vampire Diaries is one of my favourite shows of all time. There’s something so special about the show that I always try to find the same kind of magic in the books I read. So, these are some books that I love because they give off the same vibes as The Vampire Diaries through their world-building and romance.
We have history together.Elena Gilbert
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is about Tana, who wakes up at a party where she is one of the few survivors after vampires have killed everyone. Although vampirism is treated more like an infection here, it definitely gives off a lot of early TVD feels in being part romance, part survival and part road trip adventure. Tana and Gavriel are very reminiscent of Stelena too — and yes, I do think Stefan is the better brother. Gavriel is every bit as brooding and self-loathing as Stefan because he sees himself as a monster, which parallels the human/vampire relationship of Stefan and Elena.
This actually one of my current reads, but so far, it’s reminding me a lot of The Vampire Diaries and The Originals — the latter mainly because it’s New Orleans location ensures a beautifully rich, eerie atmosphere. There are witches, vampires, flashbacks to the past and a love triangle every bit as divisive as the whole Stefan vs Damon saga. Honestly, such a beautiful world and backstory is weaved in The Casquette Girls and I think it’s a underrated gem.
More vampires! Not all these recommendations are vampire related, I promise. Anyway, The Beautiful is also set in New Orleans and utilises the setting to create an enticing world with vampires and murder. It’s definitely a little on the darker side and is set in the 1800s, so that’s why I could so easily see it as being perfect for someone who loved the Mikaelsons as much as I did. There is a love triangle if that part of TVD appealed to you, but there’s mystery, forbidden romance and a super swoony character that could rival Damon Salvatore himself too.
Instead of vampires, Fallen focuses on angels and features a love triangle similar to Stefan/Elena/Damon. Daniel is definitely as tortured as Stefan and Luce, our heroine, reminds me of Elena with how oblivious she can be, yet so willing to sacrifice herself when required. Albeit, I am on the Elena Gilbert defence squad and I think Luce is a tad more annoying. There’s the added fact that Daniel falls in love with Luce time after time, which makes me think of Stefan and his ensuing Katherine/Elena saga. Both relationships are very insta-love, but have a lot of history behind them. The romance and mystery is undeniably Vampire Diaries-esque.
Another book that instead of vampires, it’s angels — or a variation, to be technical. Cupid’s Match features cupids amongst a whole host of other mythological creatures in a story about Lila, a girl that has a love match with THE Cupid. This reminded me of The Vampire Diaries because it starts in a high school setting with an ordinary girl who is then dragged head first into paranormal drama. Whilst the mythology is possible richer than what can be found in Mystic Falls, Cupid’s Match has enough plot twists, family drama, parties, epic battles and romance to fit right in with any episode from the TVD universe.
Beautiful Creatures is a book that I read a few years back now, but I clearly remember the small town of Gatlin being every ounce as mysterious and atmospheric as Mystic Falls. If the small town setting was something that drew you in, Gatlin might fill the TVD shaped hole in your heart with its secrets and long history. Ethan and Lena are drawn to each other like Stefan and Elena were, but it’s actually Lena who throws Ethan’s small town life into a state of disarray — which feels like a nice trope reversal on the small town girl’s life being changed by the new supernatural boy. There’s a magic system like TVD too, but it’s quite different with Lena having to wait until she’s 16 to find out if she’s a ‘light’ or ‘dark’ caster.
The Devouring Gray came out in 2019 and — excuse the pun — I devoured it. This is another one that is great if the small town setting is something you like. In Four Paths, there’s an emphasis on ancestry and the founding families, which was one part of TVD I always found interesting. We follow four characters in this book — Violet, Harper, Isaac and Justin — who are all very different, but are brought together by the mystery of their rural town. I think there’s a character everyone can identify with and the larger cast is great if you liked Caroline’s and Bonnie’s and Tyler’s stories on the show as much as Elena’s.
Bonus Recommendation — The Awakening by L.J. Smith
This one is pretty self-explanatory as The Awakening is the first book in The Vampire Diaries book series. I will say the books are very different, so if you don’t mind that and can treat them as something separate to the TV show, they’re definitely a good read — if not painfully 90s in parts.
That concludes my recommendations based on The Vampire Diaries, but let me know what show I should suggest books on next. I’ve already done Gilmore Girls and you can find that here. I’d also be interested to here if you were Team Stefan or Damon in the comments.
read it and weep,
And English and French.