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Drama Junkies, Rejoice: 4 Books Like Netflix’s Elite

by  | September 13

Check your moral compass at the door, because the trouble magnets of private school Las Encinas are back and wilder than ever in Elite Season 2. At once a thrilling murder mystery and an addictive teen soap, Netflix’s Spanish-language drama follows the complicated lives of a group of ritzy private school students who know much more than they let on about the violent death of their classmate at an end-of-the-year dance. While the killer was revealed to the audience in the Season 1 finale, the fallout spills into the next school year, not least because the wrong person is behind bars. Secrets, lies, and attempted murders abound in another 8 episodes in Season 2 of relentless partying, scandalous hookups, and some surprisingly tender moments.

Don’t know what to do with yourself after binge-watching the show? Join the club. Season 3 is currently in production (yay!), but probably won’t premiere until 2020 (boo!). That’s where books can save the day, as always, because there is no shortage of novels out there that’ll remind you of what you like best about Elite. Here are a few of my recommendations:

His Favorites

His Favorites

by Kate Walbert

How do you move on when you feel responsible for your friend’s death? From the actual murderer to those who regret their lack of support for their classmate, the characters of Elite are wracked with guilt. These unresolved issues inform every move they make and often send them spiraling into even worse behavior. Jo, the heroine of Kate Walbert’s novel His Favorites, knows all about guilt, having enrolled in a boarding school after a drunk-driving accident in a golf cart left her best friend dead. Jo hopes to begin again, but she finds her new world just as dangerous and harmful as the one she’s been desperate to leave behind….

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She Regrets Nothing

She Regrets Nothing

by Andrea Dunlop

Gossip Girl and The O.C.’s influence on Elite can be felt everywhere, from the themed party in each episode to the (usually poor) new guy at school who disrupts the “It” crowd’s status quo. (Looking at you, Dan, Ryan, and Samuel.) The resilience of these tropes makes sense—we love the idea of joining the ranks of the rich and powerful, even if that lifestyle is pure Hollywood fantasy. And that’s why you won’t want to miss Andrea Dunlop’s She Regrets Nothing. Laila has no idea her late father’s family is filthy rich until three cousins she’s never met show up at her mother’s funeral and welcome her into their opulent New York City scene. Of course, nothing is ever what it seems on the surface, and Laila’s starting to understand why her dad fled to Michigan so long ago...

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The Lying Game

The Lying Game

by Ruth Ware

You have to wonder whether the kids at Las Encinas will be able to live normal lives after what they’ve seen and done, or if they’ll always be haunted by the past. My guess is that their future could look much like that of the four women at the heart of Ruth Ware’s twisty thriller The Lying Game. Years ago at their boarding school near the cliffs of the English Channel, Fatima, Thea, Isa, and Kate were practically attached at the hip and known for playing what they called The Lying Game. But as it turned out, their childish game had adult consequences that they can’t outrun forever….

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Autoboyography

Autoboyography

by Christina Lauren

One of the easiest relationships to root for in Elite is the one between the principal’s son, Ander, and a local shopkeeper’s son, Omar, whose sister Nadia attends Las Encinas on a scholarship. Unfortunately, they face one big obstacle: Omar’s fear of coming out to his conservative parents, who expect him to take over their shop and marry a Muslim girl. Omar and Ander’s forbidden love story reminds me a lot of Christina Lauren’s Autoboyography, which also features two young men from different faiths falling in love. We don’t yet know how Omar and Ander’s story will end, but Tanner and Sebastian will give you the happy ending you crave.

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Photo Credit // Manuel Fernandez-Valdes/Netflix

Categories // TV

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Heather Waters is an Associate Director of Marketing at Simon & Schuster, where she runs the Get Literary and Tips on Life & Love blogs. She enjoys reading everything from romance to true crime to political memoirs, and in her free time you can often find her binge-watching Netflix, refreshing Twitter every 10 seconds, and listening to the latest episode of the podcast My Favorite Murder.