If you’ve been following for a while, then you know that I read books set in New York City. The book then inspires a fun tour of New York City. I used to blog about dating but now I’ve binned the guys and take myself out on “dates.” Dates that are inspired by awesome books set in New York City. I call them literary dates.
Don’t worry, I haven’t totally stopped dating, but so far those dates haven’t inspired me. So instead of writing about that, I’ll tell you all about these 10 awesome books set in New York City that inspired some cool tours of the city. I read a variety of books, but especially rom-coms, women’s fiction, suspense, YA, and historical fiction.
In no particular order, I give you my favorite NYC books. I’ll also link to each book’s NYC tour.
I’ll start with You since everyone and their Uncle’s best friend has gone bonkers for this two season show on Netflix. I loved the first one and I’m sure I’ll like the second season as well. I plan on reading the second book in the series, Hidden Bodies before watching.
So Joe is just your average guy working in a bookstore when someone of the female variety piques his interest. In walks Beck and in an instant he falls for her. His interest quickly becomes an obsession as he tries desperately to be a part of her life.
The way Joe rationalizes his every move is so creepy but the thing that makes it most creepy is that you find yourself almost agreeing with his thoughts. Joe is funny and kind of endearing that you almost root for him until you want to puke for thinking that way just for a second. Or is that just me? I was just kidding. Joe is psycho!
Head over here to check out my tour of New York City inspired by You by Caroline Kepnes:
Sneak peek: Beck’s apartment
You’ll also get to see Joe’s Brooklyn neighborhood, some yummy treats from Levain Bakery that Peach probably visited in secret, a cool NYC street mural, and more! *Keep in mind that this tour is based on the book’s locations, not the television show, although I’m sure it’s similar.
While YOU was a cautionary tale about being careful about what you put up online, Reconstructing Amelia is a cautionary tale about what kids can get wrapped up in, unbeknownst to their parents. Reconstructing Amelia is the second book set in New York City that I read for my blog. This NYC book gripped my heart. It’s not a spoiler to know that the book starts with Amelia’s death. She’s a teen living in Park Slope, Brooklyn with her mother, Kate. Kate gets a call to come to the school about Amelia cheating on a paper, which Kate knows is not like her daughter. When Kate arrives, it’s even worse, she gets the devastating news that Amelia had fallen off the roof and died.
The book goes back and forth from the perspectives of Kate and Amelia. Kate is trying to figure out what happened. From Amelia’s perspective, we get taken back in time before it all happened and everything that leads up to that tragic event.
It’s so hard to read with the knowledge of how it will end while getting drawn into the characters and getting fully invested in them. We learn how Amelia navigates her life and how one event leads to the next and ultimately to that roof. How does she get up there? This is a beautiful and tragic book. Very well done.
I felt a little funny at first doing a tour of NYC based on this serious read, but I had the author’s approval so that was cool.
Check out my tour of Park Slope, Brooklyn based on this NYC book:
I went to many of the spots mentioned in the book including the yummy Dizzy’s Diner and another spot that had the best hot chocolate ever! I dream of that hot chocolate.
With this incredible book, you have to make sure you notice the tag line on the cover page, “This is a love story but not the love story you’re expecting.”
Dannie’s whole life is planned out, she knows what prestigious law firm she will work at, she knows when she will get engaged, and she knows exactly which exclusive Manhattan neighborhood she will live in.
On the night of her proposal, Dannie happily falls asleep in perfect bliss and then wait for it…she wakes up in five years in the arms of another man. Crazy!
Dannie wakes back up in her own timeline and is left to wonder what the heck just happened? Dannie tries to live her perfect life with her fiancé and her best friend Bella, who is always faithfully by her side, but she can’t shake what happened to her.
I read this book SO fast. Absolutely loved it and even though the love story wasn’t what I was expecting, I thought it was beautiful. Might need some tissues.
My In Five Years Literary Date brought me to Brooklyn and the West Village in Manhattan. I even walked across the Brooklyn Bridge. Also found some yummy cookies that the character Bella would love.
This NYC book has romance and dogs. If you know me at all then you know that is definitely a winning combo for me. The main character, Molly, has a dog that she regularly walks in Central Park. Daniel sees Molly in the park and to get her attention, he borrows a dog.
Not so honest that Daniel, but when he sees a woman he likes, he’ll stop at nothing to bag her. Yup, he’s a bit of a playboy. Trouble for Daniel is that Molly has sworn off men because she thinks she’s bad news for them. Will Daniel be able to sway her and does he have a heart?
I enjoyed this sweet NYC read. New York, romance, and dogs…I dig it!
My New York, Actually tour took me on a fun day to Central Park, yummy macarons, and to the top of the Met Museum. Great views of the city up on that rooftop!
Have you ever been ghosted? It’s the worst, am I right? Well, the main character, Wes, totally gets ghosted in an unimaginable way. Poor guy!
Wes is a film student at NYU helping out his buddy film a séance when he runs into a captivating girl who he’s desperate to find. One, because his buddy needs a signed photo consent form from her and two because well, he’s a young guy interested in this captivating girl. This girl, Annie, proves difficult to find.
Perhaps it’s because she’s from 1825? So yeah, their relationship defines, “It’s complicated.” Somehow though Annie finds herself in present-day New York City so she and Wes are able to connect. What could she be doing there? Unfinished business?
I thought this was such a cool, mysterious book. This is another book where we get to read from two characters’ perspectives. Wes and Annie both make for a compelling read. Shall I say I was spell-bounded? Yes, I shall. This YA book was another awesome read!
It inspired a cool tour in the East Village.
Check it out!
Here’s some inspirational street art I saw during my Annie Van tour
I went to Wes’ neighborhood, a Hare Krishna festival at Washington Square Park, and the home that was the inspiration for Annie Van’s house, The Merchant’s House.
Buy the Book: Amazon
Author duo Christina Lauren wrote this cute rom-com about the female protagonist, Holland, who has a long-running crush on an Irish subway busker named Calvin. His talent and good looks have her hooked. Her crush rises to new levels when she lands him a job on her uncle’s Broadway show, which is the hottest ticket in town. The only glitch is that he overstayed his visa while living in the U.S. so he can’t legally work. Holland finds an easy enough solution- she marries the guy! He lives his dream and she’s a lot closer to her crush. As over the top as that situation sounds, I think they navigated their unorthodox marriage in a very rational and level-headed way. Of course, we’re all dying for them to fall in love. Does this marriage of convenience lead to true love? I definitely recommend this fun, romantic read.
Roomies inspired such a fun tour of the city. Now I have my very own cute subway busker to stalk…I mean…to appreciate his beautiful talent. Also, I got to see an incredible Broadway show, starring Loki aka Tom Hiddleston. Then, I almost got robbed by Cookie Monster. A very terrifying situation. *Shudders*
I was totally jealous of the main character Angela in this one. She flees to New York City from London after finding her fiancé cheating on her (not jealous of that part) and within a week, she’s got two good looking guys after her (jealous!). I’ve been in NYC a long time and let me tell you, dating in NYC is hard! Angela, how did you do it? It’s got to be the British accent.
Angela finds her way through the city and finds herself again in the process as she heals from her heartbreak. It’s fun to follow along in her journey as she navigates her new life, dates two hotties, makes new friends, and finds career inspiration. Definitely a fun and romantic read. I totally had a book crush on Alex, the adorable musician she dated.
This tour was a blast. I got inspired on a visit to the MoMA, I ate some yummy chocolate at Max Brenner’s, and I took a ride on the SeaGlass Carousel at Battery Park.
Side note: This book and NYC tour is the inspiration for the rom-com book I’m writing.
Dash stumbles upon a red notebook at the Strand Book Store in New York City and as he reads it, this starts Dash and Lily’s “book of dares.” Dash and Lily leave the book for the other to retrieve in various locations throughout the city and send each other on different challenges. They also write to one another through the notebook and form a close bond. It reminds me of online dating when you build a rapport via texting and messages. The ultimate question is will this connection translate in real life? Will Dash and Lily meet in real life and what will their connection be?
This book is set in Christmas time in NYC and again, the story unfolds between Dash and Lily’s point of view. I really enjoyed this NYC read. I thought the characters were endearing and clever. They took us on fun ride through New York City. I also enjoyed the show on Netflix but it doesn’t top the book.
Dash & Lily inspired a Christmassy tour of New York City.
I went to the Strand Bookstore, ate some yummy vegan food at Peacefood Cafe, and saw Christmas lights galore!
Modern Lovers is about a close group of friends who had a band together during their college days. Most of the friends live in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn and have teenage kids of their own. The friends navigate their adult life and are left haunted by the one friend who broke out on her own, rose to fame, but fell hard. Part of the story centers on a film about her life. The friends have life struggles- aging, marriage troubles, raising teenagers, navigating their careers…it gives a realistic and honest portrayal of how hard adulting can be.
Prior to reading this book I had read some negative reviews, so I was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t share the same experience. I got invested in each of these characters and especially loved the teen daughter, Zoe’s badass personality.
The setting is as much of a character as the rest of the characters. Ditmas Park in Brooklyn is like no other area in the city. It is a sleepy town filled with Victorian homes and beautiful sweeping, tree-lined streets. The first time I stepped foot in this neighborhood, after the noisy, hectic vibe of Manhattan, I felt instant relaxation. Birds are chirping in this neighborhood, squirrels scurry past, and cute neighborhood cats sleep in the sun.
Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and The Dawn of the Modern Woman by Sam Wasson
I love Audrey Hepburn and this is such a fascinating book. Sam Wasson takes us behind the scenes of the making of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. We get to read about it from all the angles- Truman Capote, the producers, writers, actors, everything! We meet Audrey at the start of her career and see her path to her iconic role as Holly Golightly. Also get to learn about the women who inspired Truman Capote’s Holly and then we follow along his path as well. We learn fun little tidbits like what a diva George Peppard was, how Truman Capote wanted Marilyn Monroe for Holly Golightly, and Audrey’s insecurities about playing her.
This NYC tour will always be special to me because it was my first ever literary date in the city. This is the tour that gave me the idea to read books set in New York City and then use them to inspire a fun tour of the city. I’ve been exploring the city one book at a time. After living in NYC almost 15 years, it’s because of this blog that I’ve gotten a newfound appreciation of the city. I love that the NYC books have encouraged me to get out of my comfort zone and explore. Books inspire us in many ways. How have they inspired you?
I ate yummy pastries, had a rainy adventure in Central Park, and found this cute Audrey-inspired, little black dress.
Bonus: Practically Neighbors by Sarah Smith
This is not a book but a short story series written by Sarah Smith on her blog Sarah Writes Smut.
Practically Neighbors starts with Ava who decides to stop waiting around for a guy to get back to her and instead, starts swiping on a dating app. If you’re a single woman in today’s dating age, then you’ve been there for sure. I know I have! Well, Ava stumbles upon hunky Harker who sounds absolutely perfect. He bakes and he fosters dogs. They share a lovely back and forth where he continues to sound perfect and then soon enough the steam starts. It gets HOT. I love how relatable Sarah’s characters are and then all of a sudden they get into this fantasy world that makes you blush and beg for more!
This series is very special because Sarah wrote it so that I could go on a NYC tour with something she wrote. Sarah wrote it in the neighborhood of my choice so it’s set in Boerum HIll, Brooklyn. I lived there for 8 years and loved it.
Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought an author would write something for me. Amazing!
That’s all folks!
These books set in New York City have made for some amazing literary dates. I’m looking forward to reading many more NYC books! I have a long list that I have been tackling thanks to getting many reader suggestions. I’m always open for more. Please leave your NYC book recommendations in the comments.
I hope you all enjoyed my list of ten awesome books set in New York City. Let me know if you’ve read any or plan on it. Thank you for reading!
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