In the summer of 2000, my life got totally upended, and after a long chain of events, I ended up moving across the country and living in Chicago with some college friends. My roommates were awesome, but one of them insisted that I watch her favorite TV show with her: Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I didn’t want to watch it, because I had loved the movie and resented the popular opinion that the show was smarter and better.
Then I watched it, and…it’s not really an exaggeration to say that Buffy the Vampire Slayer became my entire personality for a while. (I’d had a tough year, and it’s a great show!) I joined a fan forum and made some of my closest lifelong friends there. I learned how to analyze and critique TV, and by extension sci-fi/fantasy in general, from talking with other fans about the show. I read my first fanfic.
In the years since, I’ve kept the friends (at least most of them) but moved on from the show. New exciting TV, movies, and — best of all — books like Buffy the Vampire Slayer come out every day, and I love all of them. These nine books for fans of Buffy are reminiscent of everything I liked about the show, while bringing new perspectives and building on the show’s legacy.
Chosen One Stories for Buffy Fans
Legendborn by Tracy Deonn
Buffy is, at its core, a chosen one story. In this series starter, 16-year-old Bree has just lost her mother in an accident and temporarily escapes her reality at a program for gifted teens at UNC–Chapel Hill. But then she witnesses a magical attack on her first night, and goes on to discover a secret society of monster hunters and encounter a mage who calls himself Merlin. When he tries to wipe her memory of what she saw, she discovers that there’s more to her mother’s death than she imagined, and has to figure out what her own role is.
The Fell of Dark by Caleb Roehrig
Fulton Heights is a vampire town — a Hellmouth by another name — and August hates living there. But then a cute vampire boy arrives with a warning for him, and August finds himself in the middle of a centuries old battle.
Now he has to stop the world from ending, and maybe kiss a cute boy while he’s at it.
Witchy Tales for Willow (and Amy!) Fans
This Poison Heart by Kalynn Bayron
Briseis has a magical power: she can grow plants from a seed with a single touch. When her aunt dies and leaves her a crumbling upstate New York estate, her parents hope she can learn to control her magic there, but when they arrive, they discover some instructions and a garden filled with deadly plants.
Our Crooked Hearts by Melissa Albert
This witchy book from the author of The Hazel Wood has the bonus of dual timelines, one of them in the 1990s (like the series) and one now. When Ivy nearly runs someone over in the present day suburbs, her story intersects with her mother’s supernatural experiments in the city years earlier.
The Ex Hex by Erin Sterling
Although she was technically a demon, not a witch, this book has big time Anya vibes for me! Years ago, heartbroken Vivian cursed her ex-boyfriend and he left town. When he returns, things start to go wrong and she realizes that curse might not have been as harmless as she thought. Forced to team up to fix things, she finds herself drawn back to her ex.
Vampire Books for Vampire Lovers
Vampires Never Get Old: Tales With Fresh Bite edited by Zoraida Córdova and Natalie C. Parker
This anthology features all kinds of vampire stories including “Fire Kill” by V.E. Schwab, the basis for the recent Netflix series, as well as stories by Book Riot favorites Rebecca Roanhorse, Julie Murphy, Heidi Heilig, Mark Oshiro, and more!
The Lost Girls by Sonia Hartl
Holly’s been a vampire since her boyfriend Elton turned her in 1987. But Elton dumped her, and she’s just met two more of his exes, Ida and Rose, who have similar stories. They team up to save his current girlfriend, Parker, from the same fate…and then Holly starts to fall for Parker.
The Coldest Touch by Isabel Starling
Elise is cursed to experience the way people will die when she touches them. Claire is already dead — she’s a vampire, and has been sent to help Elise learn to use her powers. (The watcher…is the vampire??) Elise has to figure out whether she can trust Claire, and as though things weren’t complicated enough, there’s a killer in town who they have to find.
A Rage-Filled Story for Fans of the First Slayer
Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao
The girls who co-pilot mecha Chrysalises end up dying in the fight against mecha aliens, but not because of the aliens — the mental strain of the psychic link to their male co-pilots kills them. When Zetian’s sister dies, she offers herself up as a concubine-pilot and kills her co-pilot. Then she goes on a mission to find out why the system is so misogynistic, and to save other girls from her sister’s fate.