Showtime's Yellowjackets is the story of a girls’ soccer team dealing with darkness and danger while stranded in the Canadian wilderness for 19 months after a plane crash. The story alternates among (some of?) the survivors, now adults, trying to solve multiple mysteries connected to their time in the woods. It’s variously funny and dark and sweet—and very, very scary. Happily, there will be a season two eventually, but until that glorious day arrives, these books will help evoke everything you love about the show.
Stay Out of the Forest
In Adam Nevill’s The Ritual (2011), four friends on a hiking trip in northern Scandinavia stumble upon a remote house filled with artifacts of dark rituals and pagan sacrifices. Then they realize that there’s a presence in the wilderness and they’ve become its prey.
The Forest of Stolen Girls
June Hur’s historical YA, The Forest of Stolen Girls, is set in 1426 Korea. When they were younger, Hwani and her sister went missing and were later found unconscious in the forest near a gruesome crime scene. Years later, having learned that 13 other girls have disappeared under similar circumstances, their father, a detective, goes there to investigate and also vanishes. Hwani realizes that she holds the key to the disappearances in her buried memories.
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The Lamb Will Slaughter
In The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion by Margaret Killjoy (2017) a woman investigating her friend's death confronts a malevolent, three-antlered deer as members of a cult deal with their deity’s wrath.
Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors
The series’ creators were almost certainly inspired by the 1972 Andean rugby team plane crash chronicled in Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors (1974) by Piers Paul Read. Sixteen of the flight’s original 45 passengers survived ten weeks in one of the most inhospitable environments on Earth by eating the flesh of their deceased teammates.
Girls Will Be Girls
In Libba Bray’s Beauty Queens (2011), 13 contestants in the Miss Teen Dream Pageant survive a plane crash on a mysterious island and have to figure out how to survive. Much lighter in tone than the rest of the suggestions here, this one is for viewers who wanted more dancing to Montell Jordan and fewer maggots spilling out of deer carcasses.
No one writes about the intricacies and betrayals of teenage friendship like Megan Abbott. In Dare Me (2012), Addy and Beth’s long-established dynamic is upended by a new cheerleading coach and the investigation into a suspicious suicide.
Girls on Fire
Robin Wasserman’s Girls on Fire (2016) is set in the 90s during the Satanic Panic and explores the intense, obsessive friendship between bright, impressionable Dex and rebellious Lacey.
We Ride Upon Sticks
In Quan Berry’s We Ride Upon Sticks (2020), the Danvers High field hockey team discovers that the lessons of their Salem forebears may be the key to a winning season.
What to Read if Your Favorite Character Is…
Shauna, who understands how one’s choices can breed their own horror: We know from the pilot that Shauna is a Liz Phair fan. As an adult, she’s in a better position than most to absorb the message of Phair’s 2019 memoir, Horror Stories: that the pain, guilt, and despair resulting from our decisions, both small and large, makes us human.
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A Head Full of Ghosts
Lottie, whose apparent clairvoyance gives her a position of power in the wilderness: In A Head Full of Ghosts (2015), Paul Tremblay tells the story of teenage Marjorie and her family’s struggle to figure out if her unsettling behavior is caused by mental illness or demonic possession.
Nat, who responds to trauma with substance abuse, eyeliner, and sarcasm: Elizabeth Hand’s Cass Neary series starts with Generation Loss (2007) and features the self-destructive photographer solving mysteries.
Nights When Nothing Happened
Taissa, a hard-working lawyer who climbs trees in her sleep: In Simon Han’s Nights When Nothing Happened (2020), Chinese immigrants Patty and Liang Cheng find their fragile stability in America complicated by their daughter's sleepwalking activities, which expose complicated family secrets.
Misty: Stephen King’s Misery (1987). An equipment manager who’s more devoted to the team than the players themselves, a nurse who exploits her position of power over patients, a woman with a deeply skewed sense of right and wrong who is hurt and baffled that people somehow just don’t like her? Misty Quigley is basically Annie Wilkes with a parrot and access to Reddit.
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