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12 Books to Read If You Loved This 90s Cartoon

by  | February 21
Arthur Episode 4 | Photo Credit: PBS | 12 Books to Read If You Loved This 90s Cartoon

The 90s were filled with some fascinating—and downright peculiar—cartoons, and if you’re anything like us, we love and miss them all. Now, you can choose your next read based on your favorite cartoon. From a love story that will remind you of Arnold and Helga to a grown-up Eliza Thornberry, these books will satisfy your need to relive your childhood favorites.

And if you’re looking for books to read based on your favorite adult shows, check out this list!

Lily and the Octopus

Lily and the Octopus

by Steven Rowley

Loved: CatDog

Read: Lily and the Octopus

Catdog was, no doubt, a bit bizarre, but it was also the show to watch if you loved animals. Lily and the Octopus will appeal to both the part of you that loves dogs and the part of you that wants something surreal. It’s the story of a man, his talking dog, and an octopus that’s destroying their lives. What more could you want?

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Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating

Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating

by Christina Lauren

Loved: Hey Arnold!

Read: Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating

First, I want to spill a little secret. In case you didn’t know, a Hey Arnold! movie aired in 2017, and in it, we learn exactly what happened to Arnold’s parents! Go watch that. Then read this book. Josh and Hazel’s relationship is pretty much exactly where you would expect Arnold and Helga to be in fifteen years. Hazel is a lot to handle, and while Josh has known her since college, he’s always viewed her as more of a spectacle than a peer. And Josh and Hazel don’t date, at least not each other. There’s absolutely nothing between them. Nothing at all…right?

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Jurassic Park

Jurassic Park

by Michael Crichton

Loved: Rugrats

Read: Jurassic Park

Did anyone else really want to go to Reptarland as a child? Tommy Pickles’ stuffed dinosaur was definitely the basis for many of the adventures in Rugrats, and I’m sure that love of adventure and dinosaurs has carried over for many Rugrats fans. Make sure to read Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park—don’t just see the movie!—and explore the newest theme park you’ll want to visit (until you don’t) where dinosaurs roam.

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The Journey Begins

The Journey Begins

by Stephen King

Loved: Doug

Read: The Journey Begins (Gunslinger graphic novels, book 1)

It’s not hard to imagine Doug Funnie growing up to be a graphic novel artist, and it’s easy to picture him loving the epic adventures of Roland Deschain in Stephen King’s iconic The Dark Tower series. Roland is a “gunslinger,” the last of his kind, tasked with protecting the bit of goodness and light that remains in his world. The graphic novel series explores the full story of Roland’s troubled past and is perfect for fans of Doug’s own comic series The Adventures of Quailman.

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Her Body and Other Parties

Her Body and Other Parties

by Carmen Maria Machado

Loved: KaBlam!

Read: Her Body and Other Parties

If you loved KaBlam! you’re probably still looking for your next fix of short, slightly bizarre stories. Her Body and Other Parties is the exact short story collection you need. From the tale of a wife who refuses her husband’s requests to remove the green ribbon around her neck, to horrifying secrets found in the seams of one store’s prom dresses, it’s easy to see these stories as possible KaBlam! sketches for a now grown-up millennial audience.

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Limetown

Limetown

by Cote Smith

Loved: Dexter’s Laboratory

Read: Limetown

Limetown is the book for the mad scientist in you. Based off the hit podcast of the same name, Limetown is a mysterious research facility where three-hundred people have disappeared. This novel—a prequel to the podcast—is the story of Lia Haddock, a teenager who launches an investigation to determine what happened to the people of Limetown, including her uncle.

BONUS: We’ll soon be getting a show set in the Limetown universe from Facebook Watch!

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Circling the Sun

Circling the Sun

by Paula McLain

Loved: The Wild Thornberrys

Read: Circling the Sun

Do you ever wonder what happened to Eliza Thornberry as she grew up? We all know from the movie that she wouldn’t make it in proper society, so…what became of her? Well, Paula McLain’s Circling the Sun might give us a bit of an idea. This is the fictionalized story of real-life Beryl Markham, a record-setting aviator who was raised by her father and the native Kipsigis tribe in Kenya. It includes the landscape of early-twentieth-century Africa, an adventurous woman ahead of her time, and several disastrous relationships.

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Us Against You

Us Against You

by Fredrik Backman

Loved: Rocket Power

Read: Us Against You

Sing it with me: “We are riders on a mission, action kids in play position, Rocket Power!” If you were into extreme sports as a child, I’m sure Rocket Power still holds a place in your heart (and is responsible for at least a few of your scars). For your calmer, adult self who still wants some sports action, we highly recommend Fredrik Backman’s Us Against You, a story about a small community, their obsession with ice hockey, a big game, and a struggle to keep the spirit of the team alive. Trade your Rollerblades for ice skates and get reading!

BONUS: Backman wrote a prequel to Us Against You called Beartown! You don’t need to read one to read the other, but we highly suggest you read both.

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The Impossible Fortress

The Impossible Fortress

by Jason Rekulak

Loved: Arthur

Read: The Impossible Fortress

If your family didn’t have cable, you probably spent a lot of time watching Arthur, and you’re probably still attached to all the friends you made in Elwood City. Your next read should be The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak. This coming-of-age story follows a group of friends much like Arthur and company—only a bit older—as they discover love amid videogame programming in the 1980s.

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American Gods

American Gods

by Neil Gaiman

Loved: Rocko’s Modern Life

Read: American Gods

Rocko’s Modern Life…how can one recommend a book to follow this wonderful, strange, surprisingly inappropriate show? The answer is obviously Neil Gaiman. American Gods crosses genres from romance to murder to mythology, all while introducing both the old gods brought by immigrants to America and the new gods created by Americans, such as Media, aka the Goddess of Television. Throw in some strange sex references and healing “sex magic,” and you’ve basically got the perfect read for grown-up Rocko’s Modern Life fans.

BONUS: You can also enjoy the epic Starz adaptation!

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Kill the Father

Kill the Father

by Sandrone Dazieri

Loved: Darkwing Duck

Read: Kill the Father

Three cheers for everyone’s favorite crime-fighting duck! If you’re a former fan of Darkwing Duck, you’re probably still looking for a bit of mystery, but maybe with a darker edge. Kill the Father is the perfect book to add to your list. This story involves two of Italy’s top analytical minds investigating the beheading of a woman and the kidnapping of her six-year-old son. The evidence points to The Father, a serial kidnapper and murderer. Definitely darker than the crimes committed by the Darkwing villain Megavolt, but you’re now old enough for a bit more horror with your crime stories, right?

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The Science of Monsters

The Science of Monsters

by Matt Kaplan

Loved: Aaahh!!! Real Monsters

Read: The Science of Monsters

We all know where monsters come from, correct? They train at Monster Academy under the city dump. If you want to learn more about the origins of Ickis, Oblina, and Krumm, though, read Matt Kaplan’s The Science of Monsters. This book answers some of the most intriguing questions about monsters, from the origins of the vampire myth to how close we are—or are not—to creating a dinosaur out of fossilized DNA. If you still love monsters, this should definitely be next on your TBR list.

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