I'm so excited for Season 4 of Stranger Things! I can't wait for the last couple episodes to drop. While you wait, check out these books that are great for Stranger Things fans! This entry is divided into 3 categories - books that take place in the 80's, books I'd recommend to the characters, and related non-fiction. This lists spans a wide variety of genres with a little something for everyone, but has an emphasis on horror/thrillers, Cold War espionage, fantasy, and stories of friendship.
The Sacrifice Box by Martin Stewart
Summer, 1982. Five friends discover an ancient stone box hidden deep in the woods. They seal inside of it treasured objects from their childhoods, and they make a vow: Never come to the box alone. Never open it after dark. Never take back your sacrifice. Four years later, a series of strange and terrifying events begin to unfold: mirrors inexplicably shattering, inanimate beings coming to life, otherworldly crows thirsting for blood. Someone broke the rules of the box, and now everyone has to pay. But how much are they willing to sacrifice?
Dancer, Daughter, Traitor, Spy by Elizabeth Kiem
After a harrowing defection to the United States in 1982, Russian teenager Marya and her father settle in Brooklyn, where Marya is drawn into a web of intrigue involving her gift of foresight, her mother's disappearance, and a boy she cannot bring herself to trust.
None Shall Sleep by Ellie Marney
Eighteen-year-olds Emma Lewis and Travis Bell, recruited by the FBI to interview juvenile serial killers, must turn to a notorious teenage sociopath to help track down a new murderer.
The Left-handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix
A girl's quest to find her father leads her to an extended family of magical fighting booksellers who police the mythical Old World of England when it intrudes on the modern world. From the bestselling master of teen fantasy, Garth Nix.
Scowler by Daniel Kraus
In the midst of a 1981 meteor shower in Iowa, a homicidal maniac escapes from prison and returns to the farm where his nineteen-year-old son, Ry, must summon three childhood toys--Mr. Furrington, Jesus Christ, and Scowler--to protect himself, his eleven-year-old sister, Sarah, and their mother.
The Girl With the Red Balloon by Katherine Locke
When sixteen-year-old Ellie Baum accidentally time-travels via red balloon to 1988 East Berlin, she's caught up in a conspiracy of history and magic. She meets members of an underground guild in East Berlin who use balloons and magic to help people escape over the Wall--but even to the balloon makers, Ellie's time travel is a mystery. When it becomes clear that someone is using dark magic to change history, Ellie must risk everything--including her only way home--to stop the process.
Paper Covers Rock by Jenny Hubbard
In 1982 Buncombe County, North Carolina, sixteen-year-old Alex Stromm writes of the aftermath of the accidental drowning of a friend, as his English teacher reaches out to him while he and a fellow boarding school student try to cover things up.
Like a Love Story by Abdi Nazemian
It's 1989 in New York City, and for three teens, the world is changing. Reza is an Iranian boy who has just moved to the city with his mother to live with his stepfather and stepbrother. He's terrified that someone will guess the truth he can barely acknowledge about himself. Reza knows he's gay, but all he knows of gay life are the media's images of men dying of AIDS. Judy is an aspiring fashion designer who worships her uncle Stephen, a gay man with AIDS who devotes his time to activism as a member of ACT UP. Judy has never imagined finding romance... until she falls for Reza and they start dating. Art is Judy's best friend, their school's only out and proud teen. He'll never be who his conservative parents want him to be, so he rebels by documenting the AIDS crisis through his photographs. As Reza and Art grow closer, Reza struggles to find a way out of his deception that won't break Judy's heart -- and destroy the most meaningful friendship he's ever known. This is a bighearted, sprawling epic about friendship and love and the revolutionary act of living life to the fullest in the face of impossible odds
Books Recommended for the Characters
A Peculiar Peril by Jeremy Zerfoss
The first book in a two-volume fantasy about a teenaged boy who inherits his grandfather's mansion and discovers three strange doors, evidence his grandfather did not die of natural causes but spectacularly unnatural ones, and clues to the family's ties to an alternate Europe immersed in a war fought with strange tech and dark magic.
Wilder Girls by Rory Power
Friends Hetty, Byatt, and Reece go to extremes trying to uncover the dark truth about the mysterious disease that has had them quarantined at their boarding school on a Maine island.
The Project by Courtney Summers
After a tragic accident kills her parents and leaves her little sister on the brink of death, Bea Denham is desperate for a miracle. It arrives in the form of Lev Warren, the charismatic spiritual leader of The Unity Project. Years later, Lo Denham wants to expose the Unity Project as a cult and reconnect with her indoctrinated sister, but as she immerses herself in the group with no signs of Bea, Lo begins to question everything she thought was true.
Mercury Boys by Chandra Prasad
Sixteen-year-old Saskia Brown, an outsider at her new school, discovers that she can use liquid mercury to visit boys in daguerreotypes in her dreams, and soon classmates are doing the same, with terrible consequences.
The Final Six by Alexandra Monir
Surrounded by strangers all competing for one of the six slots to travel to Jupiter's moon, Europa, Naomi, an Iranian-American science genius, finds a friend in Leo, an Italian championship swimmer, as the training tests their limits.
League of Liars by Astrid Scholte
Ever since his mother was killed, seventeen-year-old Cayder Broduck has had one goal--to see illegal users of magic brought to justice. People who carelessly use extradimensional magic for their own self-interest, without a care to the damage it does to society or those around them, deserve the worst kind of punishment as far as Cayder is concerned. Because magic always has a price. So when Cayder lands a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to apprentice under a premier public defender, he takes it. If he can learn all the tricks of public defense, the better he'll be able to dismantle defense arguments when he's a prosecutor. Then he'll finally be able to punish the guilty without mercy. But when he meets the three criminals he's supposed to defend, it no longer seems so black and white. They're teenagers, like him, and their stories are... complicated, like his.
Melt WIth You by Jennifer Dugan
From the author of Some Girls Do and Hot Dog Girl comes a sweet and salty queer YA rom-com about two girls on a summer road trip in an ice cream truck. Fallon is Type A, looks before she leaps, and always has a plan (and a backup plan). Chloe is happy-go-lucky, flies by the seat of her pants, and always follows her bliss. The two girls used to be best friends, but last summer they hooked up right before Chloe left for college, and after a series of misunderstandings, they aren't even speaking to each other. A year later, Chloe's back home from school, and Fallon is doing everything in her power to avoid her. Which is especially difficult because their moms own a business together--a gourmet ice cream truck where both girls work. When a meeting with some promising potential investors calls their parents away at the last minute, it's up to Fallon to work a series of important food truck festivals across the country. But she can't do it alone, and Chloe is the only one available to help.
Realm Breaker by Victoria Aveyard
A strange darkness grows in Allward. Even Corayne an-Amarat can feel it, tucked away in her small town at the edge of the sea. She soon discovers the truth: She is the last of an ancient lineage, and the last hope to save the world from destruction. But she won't be alone. Even as darkness falls, she is joined by a band of unlikely companions: A squire, forced to choose between home and honor. An immortal, avenging a broken promise. An assassin, exiled and bloodthirsty. An ancient sorceress, whose riddles hide an eerie foresight. A forger with a secret past. A bounty hunter with a score to settle. Together they stand against a vicious opponent, invincible and determined to burn all kingdoms to ash, and an army unlike anything the realm has ever witnessed.
Spies: the Secret Showdown Between America and Russia by Marc Favreau
An account of the Cold War spies whose survival depended on carefully orchestrated deceptions as they fought in the shadows to help avert global nuclear war and, in so doing, changed the global landscape in ways that are still felt today.
Ultimate Guide to Stranger Things: All You Need to Know About the Upside Down and Beyond by Amy Wills
This is the ultimate unofficial guide to Stranger Things! If you love 80s references, scary monsters, playing dungeons and dragons, riding your bike, hanging with your friends and saving the world, then this show is for you, and this guide is all you need! Packed with fun facts about favourite episodes, character profiles, new series speculation, awesome pics and super secrets, this is the perfect gift for fans of Mike, Will, Dustin, Lucas and Eleven. The guide explores all those unanswered questions like 'what is an Eggo?', 'where is Barb?' and 'why is Steve's hair so great?
Dungeons and Dragons: Monster Manual by Christopher Perkins
The Monster Manual presents a horde of Dungeons & Dragons creatures, including dragons, giants, mind flayers, and beholders -- a monstrous feast for Dungeon Masters ready to challenge their players and populate their adventures. The monsters contained herein are culled from the D & D game's history, with game statistics and stories. This book details all manner of creatures that characters might encounter over the course of their adventures.
America in the 1980s by Marlene Targ Brill
Examines the social, economic, political, and technological changes of the 1980s, including nuclear arms protests, the space shuttle Challenger accident, the breakup of the Soviet Union, and the personal computer revolution.