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Read like a Hargreeves with These 8 Books for Umbrella Academy Fans

Umbrella Academy characters talking to each other

When Netflix premiered The Umbrella Academy, based on the comic series of the same name, it was hard to predict the emotional roller coaster we as viewers were about to go on. The show follows a family of adopted super-siblings after their heyday, reuniting only after their father dies. Family trauma, superpowers, abandonment and estrangement, the effects of grief, forbidden love, time travel, and, of course, the apocalypse. Each of the six living Hargreeves siblings has their own distinct personalities, desires, and styles. So, of course, their TBR lists are going to be radically different from one another’s.

Here are what books I think might be on your favorite character’s shelves that also might give you something to read before Season 2 comes out on Netflix on July 31!

Empire City

Empire City

by Matt Gallagher

Luther (Number One)

Luther sees himself as a hero with a sacred duty to protect the Earth. That mission nearly gets him killed, and does a serious number on his mental state when he finds out he wasn’t really doing much good. A dark deconstruction on what it means to be a hero might just be what the big guy needs in order to process those heavy emotions. Empire City presents a world full of superheroes—but saving the day isn’t as simple as it might seem. Shifting political balances, backroom deals, and state secrets all make it hard for the super-soldiers known as the Volunteers to really do much but wait for terrorist acts and war. But are they really doing good, or just playing into a larger agenda? Luther, already feeling like a pawn in his father’s game, would likely relate to this feeling of being stuck in-between.

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Mr. Mercedes

Mr. Mercedes

by Stephen King

Diego (Number Two)

Diego is a hard-fighting, knife-throwing badass loner…who also really loves his (robot) mom and can’t keep his life together. And if that’s not the foundation for a good literary detective, I don’t know what is. If Diego’s going to settle in with a book, he’d probably want to follow the tale of a hard-as-nails detective on a solo mission to take down someone truly evil. Stephen King’s Mr. Mercedes fits the bill to a tee. Bill Hodges is looking for a sadistic man who drove his Mercedes through a crowd of people waiting to get into a job fair—and killed eight of them. He’s also the same man who sent Hodges a taunting letter when the case ran cold, because he’s going to kill again, and he’s looking to rack up a much higher body count this next time. Hodges races against the clock to stop the mysterious murderer in a pulse-pounding thriller that gives us insight into the killer as he prepares to do the unthinkable. This is definitely the kind of book that would keep the expert vigilante Diego on his toes.

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She Regrets Nothing

She Regrets Nothing

by Andrea Dunlop

Allison (Number Three)

Allison often felt trapped by the strict rules and boundaries set by her adopted father. After all, the second she could, she left and used her powers of persuasion to become a famous actress, leaving behind the crime-fighting life. The glamour of wealth and fame is hard for anyone to pass up, which is why Allison would find a lot in common with Laila Lawrence in the novel She Regrets Nothing. Laila becomes an orphan at 23, reuniting her with three wealthy New York cousins she never knew she had. She leaves her quiet home in Michigan behind to claim the life that was meant to be hers, one of decadence and scandal. But as Laila vies for the love of her rediscovered family, is she prepared for all the darkness that comes with wealth and power? That’s something Allison has to come to terms with as she tries to reconnect with her siblings and save her own crumbling family. A must-read for those enthralled by tales of the well-to-do.

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Trainspotting

Trainspotting

by Irvine Welsh

Klaus (Number Four)

Klaus never sits still for a single minute…when he’s sober, anyways. Can’t blame him when he’s constantly being dogged by the dead. Still, if we’re going to everyone’s favorite tragic hot mess for a book recommendation, it’s got to be as amped as he is. That’s why Trainspotting is the perfect pick—it’s a non-stop, off-the-wall ride from start to finish. Irvine Welsh’s book is a collection of short stories that follows a group of young heroin users in the 1980s as they steal, party, do drugs, and get into other insane situations. Through ups and downs, these friends each examine their experiences in brief moments of clarity before inevitably being drawn right back into their old lifestyles, for better or worse. And you know Klaus would absolutely slay at reciting the “Choose life” monologue made famous by the movie version.

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The Light Brigade

The Light Brigade

by Kameron Hurley

The Boy (Number Five)

The Boy has, undoubtedly, seen some crazy stuff in his time as a time traveler. So, if he’s going to spend any of that precious time not trying to save the world, it’s got to be for a book that really speaks to him. The Light Brigade would definitely hit on a lot of familiar points for him. Time travel? Check. Working for a corporate-style bureaucracy as an agent? Check. A single person standing against said group’s methods and tactics to prevent people from dying? Big check on that one. Dietz, a fresh recruit in the war against Mars, finds she’s not experiencing the war the way others are. Whenever she is sent out on a mission, she ends up somewhere else in time, seeing both future and past conflicts. She soon discovers the war is not as cut-and-dried as her training made it out to be, finding that the corporations are just fighting for control and willing to sacrifice lives to do so. Politically poignant science fiction seems right up Number Five’s alley—and might even give him some ideas on how to fight back against the Temps Commission.

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Follow Me

Follow Me

by Kathleen Barber

Vanya (Number Seven)

Vanya never got the attention she wanted from her family. Her father told her she was unextraordinary, her siblings mostly ignored her, and her boyfriend is only interested in getting back at her family. Her accomplishments, like being a bestselling author and concert violinist, are totally overlooked, and that causes her to snap (but no spoilers!). She might find escape in the life of Audrey Miller in Follow Me. She’s got a great job at the Smithsonian, thousands of avid social media followers, a semi-glamorous lifestyle—and a stalker who will do anything to make Audrey his. This thriller will keep Vanya, and you, on the edge of your seat as the story switches from Audrey to the stalker HIM to Audrey’s best friend Cat. This twisting cautionary tale of how much we share of ourselves—and what we’re willing to do for validation—might just remind Vanya that being out of the spotlight is not such a bad thing after all.

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The Remains of the Day

The Remains of the Day

by Kazuo Ishiguro

Pogo

If there’s anyone in that house who is going to be reading, it’ll be the chimpanzee butler Pogo. Faithful servant to the Hargreeves family, he often has to deal with everyone’s mood swings and fickle temperaments. What’s a chimp to do after another exhausting day of looking after super-children but kick back with a nice cup of tea and read a heartbreaking story by a Nobel Prize winner? The Remains of the Day, one of author Kazuo Ishiguro’s finest works, follows Mr. Stevens, an English butler who faithfully serves at Darlington Hall. However, after the Lord of the house dies, Stevens goes on a road trip to visit Miss Kenton, an old friend and former housekeeper at the estate. The novel explores their relationship in flashbacks, as they fall in love, but never act on their feelings for the sake of propriety. In this beautiful, if tragic, tale about desire versus duty, and living with the choices we’ve made, Pogo would find a lot to relate to in Stevens journey through the past.

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Where'd You Go, Bernadette

Where'd You Go, Bernadette

by Maria Semple

Grace

Poor Grace. She tries so hard to be a good adoptive mother, never realizing that she’s a robot. Unfortunately, she’s got a glitch or two in her system, causing all the kids (except Diego) to ignore her while she’s trying to keep it all together. She would probably love to drop everything and disappear like Bernadette Fox. While Bernadette might seem to have her life in order, it becomes clear that things are slipping out of control, leading her to disappear without a word to anyone, including her family. Where'd You Go, Bernadette starts off as a puzzle to find a brilliant but stressed-out woman, and ends up being a meditation on the love between a parent and child. Funny, quirky, and heartwarming, it’s not hard to imagine Grace seeing herself in the title character—even if she’s more metal than mom.

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A reporter by trade, Sara Roncero-Menendez is a lover of horror, sci-fi, and all things pop culture. From indies to classics to even the strangest genre pieces, all movies, TV shows, and books are fair game for a binge-fest. Follow her on Twitter @sararomenen or at her website, www.sara-roncero-menendez.com