Over the winter my partner introduced me to Stardew Valley, and it has been one of the few relaxing activities in my life this year. With quarantine disrupting stable routines, it has been soothing to replicate the feeling of a routine by caring for my virtual farm. I’ve been on the lookout for books like Stardew Valley that have a feel or aesthetic that mirrors the game and luckily have found more than a few options.
If you love Stardew Valley, these seven books have similar focuses like adjusting to rural life, building a farm into something beautiful, and finding love and friendship in unexpected places.
Silver Spoon (Volume 1) by Huromu Arakawa
Yuugo Hackichen is desperate for a change from the constant stress of city life in Sapporo. So when he enrolls in Oezo Agricultural High School, he believes it will be the perfect cure for his burnout. Rural life comes with its own unique joys and challenges, all of which shape Yuugo into a stronger person. And although he didn’t begin with the intention of staying past graduation, he bonds with this farming community in a way that makes him reevaluate what he wants out of his life.
Big Stone Gap by Adriana Trigiani
Ava Maria Mulligan is a “self-proclaimed spinster.” As the only pharmacist in Big Stone Gap, a small town in the mountains of Virginia, she keeps herself much too busy with work, friends, and hobbies to even think about dating. But when an unearthed family secret irreversibly changes her life, she finds love where she least expects it.
Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons
When 19-year-old socialite Flora Post is suddenly orphaned, she moves in with her relatives in the British countryside. Life at Cold Comfort Farm is bizarre to her, and her relatives seem resigned to bitterness and melodrama. But Flora has no interest in descending to their satirical levels of melancholy. She has a plan to turn the farm around, whether her relatives want it or not.
The Write Escape by Charish Reid
If your Stardew Valley love interest of choice is Elliott, this book might be right up your alley. Literary editor Antonia Harper is at a crossroads in her life, and she feels the best way to solve it is traveling somewhere she’s never been before. And while she never expected to find love in the sleepy Irish town of Tully Cross, she can’t ignore her growing attraction to academic Aiden Byrnes. But when Antonia’s vacation draws closer to an end, what is she willing to risk to stay close to Aiden?
Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune by Roselle Lim
Similar to Stardew Valley, this book deals with continuing a family legacy after the person who started it is gone. After her agoraphobic mother suddenly dies, Natalie Tan returns home to discover that she’s inherited her grandma’s restaurant. As she tries to revive the struggling business, she receives a fortune from a local seer: for her restaurant to succeed, she must cook three recipes for her neighbors when they need it most.
Love on the Hudson by K.D. Fisher
When art historian David’s father has a stroke, he returns to his childhood hometown to care for his family. Here he reunites with his old friend Nick, who recently started an organic farm and finally come to terms with his identity as a gay man. The more time David and Nick spend together, the more sparks reignite between them. But when his father’s health improves, how will Nick’s farming life fit with David’s budding art career?
Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver
This novel follows three people as they grapple with love, loss, and human connection on farms in rural Appalachia. Wildlife biologist Deanna’s solitary routine is interrupted when a hunter moves in near a coyote den she’s been studying. Newlywed Luisa struggles to adjust to life on a tobacco farm, especially while facing ridicule from her new in-laws. And elderly neighbors Garnett and Nannie’s personalities clash due to their distinct farming styles and beliefs.
Looking for more books with a similar feel to popular video games? Here are a few resources to get you started: