Best Books Set in New York City

Best Books Set in New York City

I recently wrote a post on the Best Books Set in London and I got a lot of requests to write a post on the best books set in other cities, so here we go!

First up: New York City.

Back in April I travelled to NYC for a week-long shopping trip, no-joke. I loved every second – and I’m still paying it all back as I’m now consistently broke. Top tip: don’t go on holiday, spend a ton of money and then change jobs one month later… my bank balance may never recover.

But I digress. Books! I went on a NYC book bender prior to my trip to get into the mood for my trip abroad. Here are some my favourite books set in New York City.

Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler

A literary, coming-of-age novel about a young 21 year old girl who moves to New York City on a whim and gets a job in a high-end restaurant in the city. A book where nothing much happens, yet truly encapsulates the feeling of being new in a big city and trying to fit in whilst also finding yourself. A 2019 favourite of mine.

Neon in Daylight by Hermione Hoby

Another coming-of-age novel – you’ll see a theme of these – about the city. Kate leaves her life in England for a 6-month flat-sitting job in New York City where she tries to make some large decisions. Should she dump her London boyfriend? Who is she really? What does she want from life. She meets Inez, a 20-something drug-dealer and eccentric New Yorker, who also happens to be the daughter of a washed-up novelist. This odd family have a huge impact on Kate’s life.

Places I Stopped on the Way by Meg Fee

A non-fiction book about finding your way in a rapturous city like New York City. From falling in love in the city to escaping disastrous roommates and living situations, for anyone trying to figure out how to survive in any city – New York or otherwise – this is a good book for you.

My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh

I love this book, and I don’t know why. The main character has recently lost her parents – neither of whom she liked – and inherited a large amount of money. But instead of getting on with life she decides to spend one year in bed, medicating herself to the extreme and surviving on the basics of food from the local bodega. But her friend – or frenemy – won’t leave her alone. A highly literary, visceral novel which has a surprisingly sad yet warm finish. It impacted me greatly for some reason. Just don’t ask me why.

All Grown Up by Jami Attenberg 

Another literary fiction set in Brooklyn. A struggling woman, recently moved to Brooklyn seeks something out of life but she doesn’t know what. Familial struggles, from her recently deceased drug addicted father to her newly-born disabled niece lead her to reflecting heavily on life from her Brooklyn flat.

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

A work of fictional art from Sylvia Plath. Set in New York City in 1953 this novel shows the vapidity of the city and the ambition that flows through the streets, even sixty years ago. A harrowing read that every person should read at least once in their life.

Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn

If you’re looking for a light-hearted, Christmas read set in the city then you can’t wrong with this book. Charming and fun, this makes a great read all year round and is perfect for getting to know the city – particularly from a book lovers perspective.

There we go. A list of some of the best books set in New York City. It’s a very literary city and a fantastic one to read about.

Which city should I do next? Let me know in the comments below and I’ll get reading!

Love Ellie x

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