Books the New Girl Characters Would (Probably) Read from Our Pop Lit Collection

By Kaylan Williams

New Girl, the popular seven-season FOX sitcom following the lives of four roomates, is beloved amongst many people and for good reason. Here at Strozier Library, our Popular Literature Collection, located on the first floor near the Starbucks, holds everything from science fiction to fantasy, romance to true crime, and history to literary fiction. Without further ado, here are books the New Girl characters would (probably) read from FSU Libraries Pop Lit Collection.

1. Jessica Day

In terms of books, I imagine that Jess would definitely relate to a girl who wants to do her own thing, despite how many people around her conform to the rest of the crowd. So for Jess, I recommend The Good Byline by Jill Orr. This book is a delightful ride full of mystery, romance, and lots of witty humor. I imagine Jess would love a book that delivers just as much humor and heart as herself.

Description: The Good Byline follows Riley Ellison, a smart, quirky young heroine with Southern charm to boot. Riley feels adrift in her small hometown of Tuttle Corner, VA, newly single and bemoaning the decline of print journalism, which has dashed her long-held dream of succeeding her grandfather as an obituary writer at the local newspaper. When her childhood best friend commits suicide with no warning, Julie’s grieving family asks Riley to write her obituary. As she investigates why such an ambitious young woman might want to end her life, Riley begins to consider that Julie may have actually been murdered. In the meantime, her love life becomes complicated when her ex — Ryan — returns to town just as things are heating up with a hot newcomer–who may have had something to do with Julie’s death.

Find The Good Byline here.

2. Nick Miller

In the early seasons of New Girl, Nick Miller, the lovable-yet-cynical bartending law school drop-out, is writing a novel called Z is for Zombie. And everyone who reads it says it’s absolutely horrible. So of course, I figured that maybe a copy of The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks could do Miller some good.

Description: The Zombie Survival Guide is your key to survival against the hordes of undead who may be stalking you right now. Fully illustrated and exhaustively comprehensive, this book covers everything you need to know, including how to understand zombie physiology and behavior, the most effective defense tactics and weaponry, ways to outfit your home for a long siege, and how to survive and adapt in any territory or terrain.

Find The Zombie Survival Guide here.

3. Schmidt

For Schmidt, the most confident, driven, and uptight of the roommates, I choose Turtles All The Way Down by John Green. Since Schmidt is a character that deals with symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) throughout the series, I thought it would be fitting to choose a book that he might be able to relate to. Plus, Schmidt has never been one to back down from a challenge, and he would definitely love a good mystery novel that has a large grand prize at the finish line.

Description: Aza Holmes is a 16-year-old high school student who struggles with OCD. Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her best and most fearless friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.

Find Turtles All The Way Down here.

4. Winston Bishop

Winston Bishop is the goofy, lovable, and sweet yet often dopey one of the New Girl apartment. Since Winston loves a good prank, I figured an adventure book would be right up his alley, and The Memory of Running by Ron McLarty feels like the perfect recommendation. This book tells the story of a transformative adventure taken by a man named Smithy, who is completely and utterly down on his luck. I have a feeling Winston would be inspired by Smithy’s adventures in more ways than one.

Description: By all accounts, especially his own, Smithson “Smithy” Ide is a loser. An overweight, friendless, chain-smoking, forty-three-year-old drunk, Smithy’s life becomes completely unhinged when he loses his parents and long-lost sister within the span of one week. Rolling down the driveway of his parents’ house in Rhode Island on his old Raleigh bicycle to escape his grief, the emotionally bereft Smithy embarks on an epic, hilarious, luminous, and extraordinary journey of discovery and redemption.

Find The Memory of Running here.

5. Cece

Cece is Jess’s best friend and Schmidt’s love interest through the show, and is described as loving and confident, yet blunt when she needs to be. I think Cece would definitely prefer a book with a strong female character as the lead; so for her, I recommend A Girl Like That by Tanaz Bhathena. Taking place in Saudi Arabia, Zarin, the protagonist, exists in a sexist, racist, and judgmental world. This story is about young love, but also the terrible ways we box-in both our girls and boys with insecurities around sex and honor. Because Cece was a professional model for much of the series, I think she would have a deeper appreciation for this story. This thought-provoking feminist novel is perfect for her.

Description: Sixteen-year-old Zarin Wadia is many things: a bright and vivacious student, an orphan, a risk taker. She’s also the kind of girl that parents warn their kids to stay away from: a troublemaker whose many romances are the subject of endless gossip at school. You don’t want to get involved with a girl like that, they say. So how is it that eighteen-year-old Porus Dumasia has only ever had eyes for her? And how did Zarin and Porus end up dead in a car together, crashed on the side of a highway in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia? When the religious police arrive on the scene, everything everyone thought they knew about Zarin is questioned. And as her story is pieced together, told through multiple perspectives, it becomes clear that she was far more than just a girl like that.

Find A Girl Like That here.

6. Coach

For Coach, known for being a tad bit aggressive at times, I recommend Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher. I think Coach would take a particular liking to this book because of the glaring similarities between himself and the main protagonist, including a failing love life and tons of sarcasm.

Description: Jason Fitger is a beleaguered professor of creative writing and literature, at a small and not very distinguished liberal arts college in the Midwest. His department is facing large budget cuts and squalid quarters, while one floor above them the Economics Department is getting lavishly remodeled offices. His once-promising writing career is in the doldrums, as is his romantic life, in part as the result of his unwise use of his private affairs for his novels. In short, his life is a tale of woe, and this tale is told through a series of hilarious letters of recommendation that Fitger is endlessly called upon by his students and colleagues to produce, each one of which is a small masterpiece of high dudgeon, low spirits, and passive-aggressive strategies.

Find Dear Committee Members here.

7. Aly Nelson

Aly Nelson is a recurring character on New Girl, introduced in Season 4. I recommend The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins for her just because I can’t help but see so many similarities between Katniss Everdeen and Aly, including her hesitancy towards love and her no-nonsense, direct attitude. But I think it’s fair to say we all end up loving her, just as we do the The Hunger Games protagonist.

Description: In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. Each year, the districts are forced by the Capitol to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the Hunger Games, a brutal and terrifying fight to the death — televised for all of Panem to see. Survival is second nature for sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who struggles to feed her mother and younger sister by secretly hunting and gathering beyond the fences of District 12. When Katniss steps in to take the place of her sister in the Hunger Games, she knows it may be her death sentence. If she is to survive, she must weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

Find The Hunger Games here.

8. Reagan

Reagan is a recurring character in New Girl, introduced in Season 5 when she rents out Jess’s room while Jess is gone on jury duty. She’s not very adept at getting close to people and opening up emotionally, but her time in the loft inspires her to take risks in her relationships. For her, I recommend By Your Side by Kasie West. Both this novel and Regan explore the idea of getting out of your comfort zone when it comes to relationships that surprise you.

Description: When Autumn finds herself accidentally locked in the library all weekend with Dax, a loner with a bad reputation, she is surprised at the connection that develops between them. An irresistible story from Kasie West that explores the timeless question: What do you do when you fall for the person you least expect?

Find By Your Side here.

9. Tran

Tran, a man of few words (literally), is a friend of Nick Miller’s and a recurring character in New Girl from Season 2. The two are often seen in the park where Nick is asking Tran for advice. However, Tran does not talk, he just listens to Nick talk, and nods, laughs or simply looks at him. I don’t know about you, but personally, I would trust Tran with all my secrets. That’s why I choose Keep Quiet by Lisa Scottoline for Tran’s recommendation. It follows the story of a dad and son that are fighting against all odds to keep a secret.

Description: Jake Buckman’s relationship with his sixteen-year-old son Ryan is not an easy one. On the way home from a movie, Ryan asks his dad, Jake, to drive on a deserted road, and Jake sees it as a chance to make a connection. However, what starts as a father-son bonding opportunity instantly turns into a nightmare. Tragedy strikes, and with Ryan’s entire future hanging in the balance, Jake is forced to make a split-second decision that plunges them both into a world of guilt and lies. Without ever meaning to, Jake and Ryan find themselves living under the crushing weight of their secret, which threatens to tear their family to shreds and ruin them all. Will they be able to keep this secret?

Find Keep Quiet here.

ˆMake sure to swing by the Pop Lit section by Starbucks on the first floor of Strozier Library to find your next favorite New Girl inspired read!

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