Pushing Daisies may have met its untimely demise in 2009, but its candy-colored world where strange things are possible very much lives on in our hearts. Filled with zany characters, gruesome deaths, and impeccable costuming, Pushing Daisies was unlike any other crime procedural television show.
The quick run-down: Ned, the pie maker, has the ability to bring dead people (and plants and animals) back to life, but only for a minute or someone else dies. When his childhood sweetheart Chuck dies, he brings her back to life (and leaves her alive). After catching wind of Ned’s abilities, private investigator Emerson Cod offers Ned a deal to work on murder cases together, splitting reward money, with Ned acting as a psychic. Chuck joins them on their investigations, acting as the hand to hold. Oh yeah, and Ned and Chuck can’t touch or Chuck will die again, forever.
Pushing Daisies is the kind of show that makes you want two things: pie and a really good book. Chuck is an avid reader, filling her aunts’ home with books and books and books. There’s an episode with a bookstore that only sells popup books, and it inspires Emerson to write his own. The show’s fairytale tone is nostalgic and cheeky, with Jim Dale as the omniscient narrator. While Pushing Daisies was never made into a book series, these nine books invite you to step into a world where magic might be possible, even if there is a murderer on the loose or a potential romantic subplot happening.
Vanessa Yu’s Magical Paris Tea Shop by Roselle Lim
Vanessa can’t help it; when she sees the future in the dregs of a tea cup, she has to blurt it out. Her “gift” has ruined her life, but Vanessa’s aunt Evelyn thinks she knows how to help. Vanessa is whisked away to Paris, where she spends her days pouring tea, and trying to avoid disaster. Can Vanessa ever learn to control her fortune-telling ability?
Pies and Prejudice by Ellery Adams
The world of Pushing Daisies seems to exist within a cozy mystery. Everyone has a charming job like traveling magician and lives in a windmill or wallpapered apartment, but there are gruesome murders happening right and left. Pies and Prejudice is the first book in the Charmed Pie Shoppe Mysteries, where Ella bakes pies that do more than just satisfy the sweet tooth. When Ella’s fingerprints are found at the scene of a murder, Ella has to clear her name and keep her shop open. In addition to the pie shop and whimsical small-town feel that Pushing Daisies has, Pies and Prejudice also has a faithful dog companion and two loving, if a bit odd, aunties.
Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
The Waverly family is known for their flourishing garden, full of secrets. While Claire shares the garden’s magic through food, her cousin Evanelle is better at finding the exact herb or plant remedy for any ailment. When Sydney Waverly suddenly returns home after years away, the sisters must reconcile and reconnect with their family legacy.
A Taste of Sage by Yaffa S. Santos
Lumi is a hardworking chef, with a secret talent. When she is forced to close her own restaurant and take a sous chef job under Julien, a talented, but brusque chef, Lumi makes a promise to never share her secret with him. How long can Lumi keep her promise after she makes a discovery about Julien?
A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore
Mild mannered Charlie is pretty content with his life, until strangers around him start dropping like flies and suddenly Charlie’s life is upended. As a “death merchant,” or grim reaper, Charlie must collect the souls and protect the land of the living from dark forces.
Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson
When Lillian’s estranged school friend writes to her, begging for Lillian to take in a pair of twins with a temper problem, Lillian hesitantly agrees. Over the course of a summer, Lillian learns to love the destructive, traumatized, and explosive twins. Heartwarming and strange, Nothing to See Here fits right in with the world of Pushing Daisies.
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender
Just before her ninth birthday, Rose bites into a slice of homemade cake to discover it tastes of her mother’s sadness, baked into the lemony-chocolate layers. In trying to understand her gift, Rose learns more about her family and their connection to one another.
Abby Cooper, Psychic Eye by Victoria Laurie
Abby Cooper has spent her life running from her psychic abilities, but now, she’s using them as a PI, a psychic intuitive. When one of her past clients is murdered, Abby is overwhelmed. How could she have missed that? To clear her name, Abby sets about solving the case herself using her abilities.
Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi
Tucked into a back alley of Tokyo is an old café that lets customers travel back in time. Four visitors stop in for a cup of coffee and a chance to go back, but the café has strict rules. This charming short novel asks questions about time and how we choose to spend it.
Once you’ve read these books, find some more whimsy in the everyday with 7 Quirky Books Like Good Omens and 23 Fun and Delightful Light Fantasy Novels. Save a slice for later, because Pushing Daisies is always good for a rewatch.