So you read Veera Hiranandani’s book and loved it — now you’re on the hunt for books like The Night Diary? Welcome!
Recommending readalikes can be a tricky process, but as I said in the first post in this series, I enjoy the process of finding similar threads running through even books that appear different on the surface. Today’s pick is Veera Hiranandani’s The Night Diary, a moving book about the Indian partition and a girl dealing with the grief of her mother’s death when she was a baby. The story is told through Nisha’s letters to her mother.
Here’s my readalike criterion: Each book I recommend must have at least three strong similarities with the beloved title. For this post, seeing as there just aren’t many books about the Indian partition, I’ve chosen books rich with culture, with brave tween girls leaving home, grieving the loss of a parent, and/or finding their voice in their own home.
8 Books Like The Night Diary
Here are 8 books like The Night Diary
Set in 1880, this novel by Linda Sue Park follows a half-Chinese girl and her widowed father who move to a small town in America and the xenophobia and racism they encounter. Historical fiction, a determined heroine, and the struggle to belong — check, check, check.
Red, White, and Whole
I adored this verse novel about 13-year-old Reha who is straddling cultures in 1980’s America. Caught between the traditions of her immigrant Indian parents and the American lifestyle, Cindy Lauper, MTv, and school dances, Reha life comes to a standstill when her mother develops a life-threatening illness.
The Messy Life of Blue
11-year-old Blue is used to living in a house full of boys, with her dad and three brothers. She’s still grieving the death of her mother and trying to navigate life without her. But when discovers her mother’s death certificate in the attic, family secrets are revealed that just may change Blue’s life.
Center of Gravity
Tessa’s anxiety is triggered after her mom dies from breast cancer. It’s 1985 and not many people realize when Tessa starts collecting milk cartons with the faces of missing kids — not even her dad. Tessa bonds with a group of boys whose acceptance and support may be just what she needs to find her balance again.
Glitter Gets Everywhere
After Kitty’s mother dies from lung cancer, a change in her father’s work means that Kitty, her big sister Imogen, and her dad move from their home in London, England to New York City. Through making new friends, living in a new city and bonding with her family, Kitty realizes that although grief is like glitter that gets everywhere, there’s yet life to be lived.
The Warden’s Daughter
Cammie lives a unique life as the daughter of a prison warden, but she’s also missing the mother who died trying to save her. As her thirteenth birthday approaches, Cammie has never needed a mother more. Set in the 1950’s this is a fast-paced, moving middle grade book.
The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise
This gem of a book follows Coyote and her father who’ve been living in a school bus (by choice) for the last five years since her mother and sisters died in an accident. Coyote is making her dad return to a time capsule she buried with her sisters (except he doesn’t know that’s where they’re going) and they pick up some memorable passengers along the way. This one is a tearjerker, and so full of heart.
Reckless, Glorious Girl
I loved this novel-in-verse about a girl missing the father who died before she was born while bonding with her grandmother, mother, and band of girlfriends in Bardstown, Kentucky.
Your turn! Which books like The Night Diary would you recommend and why? I’d love to hear from you. Also, I would love your help with this series. Which middle-grade, chapter books, or picture books, or even YA books would you love readalikes for? Let me know!
Shari Sawyers says
Beginners Welcome by Cindy Baldwin is a fantastic readalike! Annie and her mother are grieving the sudden death of her boisterous father, and trying to find new ways to connect without him. Starting at a new school, Annie just wants to remain invisible until another new girl comes along and reminds Annie of the need for friendship. She is also hiding a secret from her mom: she has been sneaking away in the afternoons to learn piano from an elderly man, and as her world begin to collide, Annie has to make tough choices that will result in someone being hurt. This is a sweet, relatable story of grief, with touches of magic that keep it from feeling too heavy.
Afoma Umesi says
Awesome readalike rec! Thank you, Shari! 🙂
Anne O'Brien Carelli says
You always have such wonderful lists! I especially appreciated this one because I missed a couple of these books when promoting MG stories, so thank you!