October 5th marks the 21st anniversary of Gilmore Girls premiering on the WB. Over the years, the show has become a cozy classic to re-watch during the fall and winter seasons. For bookish people who relate to Rory Gilmore’s tenacity for reading, we have matched eight of our favorite episodes (one per season, including the Year in the Life Netflix special) with a new recommended read.
Season 1, Episode 1: The Pilot
If you enjoy ‘The Pilot’ episode of Gilmore Girls, we suggest reading The Ivies by Alexa Donne.
Everyone loves a good school uniform, and in ‘The Pilot’ episode of Gilmore Girls, Rory is officially accepted into Chilton Preparatory School. This recommendation brings together our favorite elements of Chilton: a core group of popular girls (hello…The Puffs, anyone?), Paris and Rory’s competition to get into Harvard, and an emphasis on class rankings. (Did you know Rory was in the top 3 percent of her class?) However, this book also includes a school murder that makes everyone a suspect. If you’re interested in a Chilton-gone-wrong story, this is the perfect read for you.
Season 2, Episode 13: A-Tisket, A-Tasket
If you love the episode where Dean and Jess fight for Rory’s love in ‘A-Tisket, A-Tasket,’ we recommend Hot British Boyfriend by Kristy Boyce.
There’s always something compelling about the person you can’t have. However, perhaps the person you already have isn’t necessarily what you need. Rory learns this the hard way when she slowly falls for Jess and all of his antics to pursue her. For Ellie Nichols, an attractive British boyfriend is exactly what she thinks she needs after her crush in America rejects her. But when her classmate Dev does everything he can to help her get a man with an accent, she wonders if who she wants is really who she needs.
Season 3, Episode 21: Here Comes the Son
If you were excited over Jess’s stand-alone episode (which was actually a secret pilot for his spin-off that went under), then you should read The Low Desert by Tod Goldberg.
For those of you who love the singular Gilmore Girls episode that takes place in California, we recommend a story that’s all about bad boys to celebrate our favorite bad boy of the series, Jess. When Jess goes to Venice Beach to track down his father, he learns so much about his family—and life in general—that teaches him about what it means to grow past your circumstances and become an adult. Similarly, Goldberg’s novel about gangsters and crime in Southern California blurs the line between what it means to be good or bad.
Season 4, Episode 7: The Festival of Living Art
If you love the recreation of famous works of art in ‘The Festival of Living Art’ episode, you will love Wendy Heard’s, She’s Too Pretty to Burn.
All you art lovers out there may have enjoyed the episode where the town of Stars Hollow dresses up to celebrate different visual masterpieces throughout history. What made the episode was that the audience and the judges don’t realize all the chaos behind the scenes—Sookie goes into labor while Lorelai is onstage, Nicole tells Luke she wants a divorce, and the men of The Last Supper hate each other. If you love some good drama mixed with passionate artists, you’ll love Heard’s story about tempting muses, dangerous love, and behind-the-scenes murders. Never mess with artists and their art.
Season 5, Episode 7: You Jump, I Jump Jack
If you love the secret society of The Life and Death Brigade and ‘You Jump, I Jump Jack’s reference to the Titanic, you will most certainly love reading Beasts of Prey by Ayana Gray.
What intrigues Rory about the ominous Life and Death brigade are the gorilla masks, ball gowns, and infamous tagline, In Omnia Paratus. New-to-the-series Logan brings her along to a getaway held by the secret society, and Rory realizes that this weekend is much more than what she bargained for. While Rory is hunting down the origin of this Yale society, Gray’s novel follows two Black teenagers into the jungle as they hunt down a monster attacking their home. This book has all the magic and mystery provided by the Life and Death Brigade, as well as the uneasiness that comes along with being a small fish in a big pond.
Season 6, Episode 19: I Get a Sidekick Out of You
For those who love the character of Lane Kim (and who feel she got duped by her ending in ‘I’ll Get a Sidekick Out of You’), we hope you love C.B. Lee’s A Clash of Steel.
Many Gilmore Girls fans over the years have expressed their disappointment in rock-and-roll loving, ambitions-yet-scared Lane Kim’s ending with her marriage at eighteen and pregnancy after one sexual encounter. The audience wanted so much more for Lane! We loved her growth in finding herself in a rock band that eventually goes on tour, and I can bet that many people wanted more adventures for her! If you find yourself imagining what Lane’s life could have been like, C.B. Lee’s remix of Treasure Island takes two young women on an adventure to uncover their family’s secrets while looking for a long-lost treasure. While the pursuit of gold may be dangerous, the journey will force women will learn more about themselves than they ever anticipated.
Season 7, Episode 22: Bon Voyage
We love a happy ending for Rory and Lorelai, and we hope you do, too. If you love the final episode of Gilmore Girls called ‘Bon Voyage,’ you will surely love Here’s to Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera.
The final season of Gilmore Girls is an interesting one, With the original showrunners off of the show, Rory and Lorelai’s initial endings didn’t get to happen in 2007. However, viewers of the show were blessed with an episode dedicated to the mother-daughter duo who changed a small town forever. With Lorelai finally ending up with Luke and Rory heading off to her first job as a journalist, hope is in the air that life will continue for the Gilmore girls we have gotten to know and love. Albertalli and Silvera’s similar story about hope and unknown futures tell the story about Ben and Arthur, ex-boyfriends who find themselves wondering if their paths are meant to cross in the present. Unfortunately, you’ll have to wait until December to find out if these two characters have a happy ending like Rory and Lorelai.
Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, Fall
If you love that after ten years, we finally got to hear the initial last four words meant to be spoken by Rory and Lorelai, we think you’ll love Sally Rooney’s Beautiful World, Where Are You.
Both original and new fans of Gilmore Girls were so excited for the Netflix Year in the Life reboot, and a fan-favorite episode was the series’s closing, ‘Fall.’ After years of waiting, fans finally got to hear the last four words that were meant to close the show in 2007. While some people were disappointed by the reboot’s ending (because it left viewers with more questions than answers), it provided the audience with the ability to speculate on what life would now look like for the Gilmore duo. Sally Rooney’s brand new—and highly-anticipated—novel follows the lives of four friends who have no idea what the future holds for them. And that is, unfortunately, how life goes. We cannot predict the future, and just like Rory and Lorelai, and Alice, Felix, Eileen, and Simon, we can only hope that life on the other side is just as beautiful as we’ve imagined.
We hope you found a new recommended read to pair with your favorite Gilmore Girls episode. BRB as we now binge-watch the whole series.
In case you missed it, we also released a list of recommended reads to pair with your morning coffee. You can check out that article here.
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