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So You Finished NEVER HAVE I EVER. What’s Next?

Like many people, I’ve been turning to TV for entertainment in these trying times. I have a “to watch” list almost as long as my TBR pile is high, and suddenly so much time to catch up on watching. Except... I’ve discovered that I’m having a really difficult time with anything new, and particularly with your standard 45-minute drama. I told myself I was finally going to watch through all of Friday Night Lights, and I got through three episodes before giving up. There’s already so much drama happening in the real world, I’ve found that I don’t really want to watch it on TV, and my attention span is shot, so halfway through a 45-minute show and I’ve basically given up on watching.

I thought I was doomed to rewatch Parks and Recreation forever (admittedly, not the worst fate), and then Never Have I Ever came into my life. Fun, funny, diverse, 20-30 minute episodes that are perfect for my newly shortened attention span—this show has it all, and it came along at exactly the right time. Is it perfect? No. There’s some Jewish stereotyping, some fat jokes that just don’t land. But I firmly believe that you can critique your favorite media while absolutely loving it to pieces. Now that I’m out of episodes of Never Have I Ever, I’ve found myself wanting to read things that make me feel the way the show made me feel, so here’s a roundup of books that do that, in case you’re in the same boat as me!

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When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandya Menon

I mean, obviously, right? A fun, voicy, hilarious contemporary romance starring an Indian American protagonist? This book and the show were basically made for each other. Dimple is a protagonist that you connect with immediately, and, just like Devi, you want to hug her and hold her while she cries.

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Don’t Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno

The family dynamics are definitely part of what makes Never Have I Ever such a delight, and Nina Moreno’s book has those in spades. I dare you not to fall in love with Rosa’s adorable grandmother, and the complex, multilayered relationship she has with her mother feels authentic and relatable.

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American Panda by Gloria Chao

Like both NHIE and Rosa Santos, American Panda is chock full of complicated family feelings—the good, the bad, and the ugly. It also features a protagonist that reminds me so much of Devi that I just know the two of them would be best friends. They have the same humor, the same heart, and the same penchant for getting themselves into embarrassing situations.

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Fake It Till You Break It by Jenn P. Nguyen

Adorable hate to love romance between two people who think they would absolutely never fall in love with each other? Check. Fans of the TV show will absolutely adore Jenn Nguyen’s charming and super swoony romance novel about two people who have known each other their whole lives...but might be starting to see each other in a new light.

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Hot Dog Girl by Jennifer Dugan

One of the characters in Never Have I Ever that I liked the most was Fabiola, one of Devi’s best friends. She’s struggling to come to terms with her sexuality while surrounded by a mother and friends who are incredibly boy-crazy and can’t wait for Fab to get a boyfriend. Readers who are touched by would definitely love Hot Dog Girl’s slow burn romance and nuanced understanding of sexuality.

Author spotlight

Rachel D.

Growing up in rural Oregon, books were my way out. Now, books are my way of reconnecting with my home. …

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