If You Like NYC

If You Like… is a feature highlighting blogger recommendations for books, authors, TV shows, movies, and music based on the things you already know and love. In honor of BEA, this week’s recommendations are for stories set in NYC.

If you like NYC, you might like…


Recommended by Jen @ Goddess Librarian:

Recommended by Jennifer @ YA Book Nerd:

  • Airhead by Meg Cabot: Emerson Watts is forced to attended the grand opening of SoHo Stark Megastore where an unfortunate incident occurs and she wakes up as teen supermodel sensation Nikki Howard. Her life as she knew it is now over.
  • Blue Bloods by Melissa de la Cruz: The vampires have risen to the ranks of the most elite, however, a new vampire made her way onto the horizon. Schuyler Van Alen uncovers the truth about her identity and enters a world of dark secrets, a mysterious death, and a forbidden romance.
  • Bras and Broomstick by Sarah Mlynowskis: Rachel’s life could use a little help. It’s unfair that her sister inherited the magical gene in the family. Now Miri has the power to cast spells, but maybe Rachel can influence her sister to cast a dancing spell, a love spell, and a spell to stop their father’s wedding.
  • If I Have a Wicked Stepmother, Where’s My Prince? by Melissa Kantor: Lucy’s life resembles Cinderella’s life. She’s forced to move to Long Island where she gains popularity when the prince of high school notices her. He could be Lucy’s prince, but she’s not sure she connects with him.
  • Ripped at the Seams by Nancy Krulik: Sami’s so excited to be in New York. It’s so different from her home town in the Midwest. She can’t wait to show her boss her new designs. But when a rival steals her work and passes it off as his own, Sami’s forced to work in a lingerie store.
  • So Yesterday by Scott Westerfeld: Hunter’s a trend spotter – he’s paid to see what’s cool on the streets of New York City. He spots the ultimate pair of shoes that leads him on mysterious journey with kidnappings, an abandoned building, and trend setting fashions.
  • Violet on the Runway by Melissa Walker: Violet’s always thought of herself as a tall plain girl, until a woman from Tryst Models wants to make her a cover girl.
  • Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot: Mia discovers she’s more than a flat chested freshman girl when her father reveals that she’s a Princess. At first she freaks out, but allows her father to bribe her into attending Princess lessons with a donation to Green Peace. How can she live a normal life with her new-found knowledge?
  • Enchanted, INC by Shanna Swendson: Katie’s unique; she can see magic whenever one else sees – nothing. She’s fortunate to receive a job offer for MSI, a company that deals with magic. She’s vastly useful to them, especially in the upcoming fight against a rival who’s willing to sell dark magic to anyone.

Recommended by Kari @ A Good Addiction:

  • The Beautiful Between by Alyssa B. Sheinmel: From the high-rise apartments to the rich NYC families, this one does a great job with the setting, making it completely real. And the book is awesome. So there you go.
  • Where I Belong by Gwendolyn Heasley: This one starts in Manhattan, before it moves on to Texas, but NY is talked about enough, and compared to poor little Broken Spoke, TX enough to give you a good of what it’s like. But TX is totally better. *nods*
  • Where She Went by Gayle Forman: A chance meeting in New York is what gives Adam one more time with Mia after three years. They visit all kinds of places that aren’t really well known about, and the setting is as big a player in the story as everything else. And it’s Gayle Forman. So really, you need to just read this one now.
  • A Touch Mortal by Leah Clifford: Most of this book takes place in NYC, namely the Bronx and Manhattan. And as with the ladies above, Leah does just an amazing job blending that setting in, making it real for the reader, without it being overdone.
  • The Girl Next Door by Selene Castrovilla: Much of this one takes place inside Jesse’s NYC High-rise, considering he’s dying of cancer, but on his good days the pair ventures out and the setting is definitely vivid. Have a box of tissues ready, though, if you go for this one. It’s wrenching at times.
  • Bright Young Things by Anna Godberson: Totally set in NYC…. in the 1920s. So if you want the blinding lights of the city from the past, go for this one.

Recommended by Ginger @ G Reads:

  • The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare: I love this series for so many reasons, but the backdrop itself captured so much of the story for me.  Imagine a world full of vampires, warlocks, faeries, and shadowhunters, all trolling through the streets of modern day New York City.
  • Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by David Levithan and Rachel Cohen: The perfect holiday story set in NYC that I will probably re-read every season.
  • Jessica Darling Series by Megan McCafferty: Though these books did not take you to NYC until later in the series, it was a major catalyst in the turning point for Jessica and Marcus’s relationship.  
  • Where She Went by Gayle Forman: I could tell you where she went, but it may spoil the story. I promise you’ll want to read this book to find out though!

Recommended by Jacinda @ The Reading Housewives of Indiana:

  • Other Words for Love by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal: It’s set in NYC from 1985-1988. It’s really special to me because I was born in 1985 and my sister was born in 1988. I loved reading about what it was like in New York for the first years of my life and seeing everyone’s thoughts on AIDS. I wasn’t so sure I was going to like this just because it seemed like a book just about a character’s life over the course of a few years, but I was pleasantly surprised and proud of the protagonist at the end.
  • Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by David Levithan and Rachel Cohen: If you’re going to decide and pick this up, I suggest waiting until the winter or even right at Christmastime. I’ve never been to New York City myself, but I loved visiting landmarks with Dash and Lily. Also, if the winter blues is getting you down, this is a great happy book because the characters are hilarious!

Recommended by Annette @ Annette’s Book Spot:

  • Shopaholic Takes Manhattan by Sophie Kinsella: Becky Bloomwood, our favorite shopaholic, moves to New York – and brings her credit cards.
  • Love is the Higher Law by David Levithan: Story of three teens who live in New York and whose lives are changed by the September 11 attacks.
  • Ask Me No Questions by Marina Budhos: Another story of how 9/11 changed lives. Nadira and her family moved to New York from Bangladesh and were living on expired visas. Everything gets much more complicated after September 11.
  • Other Words for Love by Lorraine Zaga Rosenthal: Love story in a Manhattan boarding school.
  • Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson: Scarlett is in charge of a suite at her family’s hotel in the heart of NYC.
  • The King of Mulberry Street by Donna Jo Napoli: Homeless child in Manhattan in 1892.
  • Rooftop by Paul Volponi: Two cousins living in the projects trying to make something of their lives.
  • Blue Bloods (Series) by Melissa De La Cruz: Vampire legend about a family in New York.
  • Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Cohn and Levithan: A little romance about a notebook full of dares left in the Strand bookstore in NYC.
  • So Yesterday by Scott Westerfeld: It’s about consumerism and a NYC teen.

Recommended by Twan @ Artie Is My Muse:

  • The Gossip Girl Series by Cecily von Ziegesar: This is one of the series I love to read when I need an escape from everything or I’m sick and I want something that I don’t have to think too hard about. It is candy. . . but really juicy, fun candy.
  • The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot: If you’ve only seen the movie, you need to read the books–they are completely separate entities. The books take place in NYC and Mia is much less G-rated Disney princess and much more awkward, nerdy, but still kick-ass teenage girl.

All three of the next books take you on an adventure both emotionally and through the city. I could gush about David Levithan for days on end, but I won’t.  You should just trust me that you should read these books.

  • Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn
  • Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn
  • Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn
  • Love is the Higher Law by David Levithan: This might be my favorite Levithan book, it embodies the best of everything he does and I love his take on a subject matter that can get to be too much sometimes.
  • Love and Other Four-Letter Words by Carolyn Mackler: If you’ve read other Mackler books chances are this isn’t your favorite, but it is one of my favorites when it comes to concepts.
  • Born Confused by Tanuja Desai Hidier: Dimple LaLa is one of my all-time favorite characters. There is just something very real about her and the struggles she faces, and something incredibly relatable. I’m not Muslim, but i still felt like Dimple was telling my story and i knew hers.  (And I know this technically takes place in New Jersey but there are parts in New York.)
  • Without You: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and the Musical Rent by Anthony Rapp: I love that Anthony Rapp wrote this and let us into his mind and world as far as RENT and Jonthan Larson’s death. And he does it well.
  • The Usual Rules by Joyce Maynard: I read this when it first came out and really enjoyed it but I’ve been wanting to reread it for a long time now to see how I feel after some time has gone by.
  • From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg: How can you not love this book? Who hasn’t wanted to escape from life to go live in a museum?
  • Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing (and the rest of the series) by Judy Blume: These books still make me laugh. I’m an only child so I can only imagine how sympathetic someone with siblings must be to these stories.
  • The Eloise Series by Kay Thompson: Who wouldn’t want to grow up in a hotel and have amazing adventures? Let’s be honest.


Recommended by Ginger @ G Reads:

  • The Jazz Singer: The very first motion picture with sound. How much more epic can that be?
  • An Affair to Remember: One of the greatest love stories put on screen.
  • West Side Story: One of the most memorable musical films portraying gangs on the streets of NYC.
  • An American Tail: Only in America (NYC) are the streets paved with cheese!
  • P.S. I Love You: A woman learning to live again after the death of her husband. One of my favorite chick flicks set in NYC!

Recommended by Annette @ Annette’s Book Spot:

  • I am Legend: Will Smith surviving after the apocalypse in New York.

Recommended by Twan @ Artie Is My Muse:

  • Elf: I know this is a Christmas movie but it’s NYC too. . . and it’s awesome.
  • Fahrenheit 9/11: This is a controversial one, as are all of Michael Moore’s movies, but as a liberal liberal I find it fascinating. It’s one of those things that I don’t base my entire opinion or thoughts on but it’s nice to have the information.
  • Capitalism: A Love Story: Again controversial but fascinating. This features more than just NYC, but there is a lot there since there is a financial epicenter. I think this one might appeal a little more to both sides of the aisle but I could be wrong.
  • Finding Forrester: I love writing in general so when you give me a movie about writing, chances are I’m going to love it too. I love Sean Connery in this because it’s different than a lot of his other roles. I’m also drawn to stories like this that have introverts who find each other and draw each other out of their shells in their own unique ways.
  • Oliver and Company: An animated version of Oliver with animals as the characters. It’s fun and nostaligic and who can resist Billy Joel as Dodger?
  • New York Minute: This is one of my “guilty pleasure” movies, it’s ridiculous and silly and has pretty much no substance but i love it. And it’s nice to see Mary-Kate and Ashley playing something other than cutesy twins.
  • You’ve Got Mail: I don’t generally like romantic comedies but this is one of those movies that I own and will still stop and watch any time I see it on a tv. Tom Hanks is so charming, then you add that to an amazing bookstore, a chain bookstore, a dog, and Meg Ryan’s adorableness and you can’t really go wrong.
  • RENT and RENT: Filmed Live on Broadway: I beg of you if you are only going to watch one of these, watch the one that was filmed on Broadway. It is the original and part of the charm of RENT is the starkness of the stage and the innovative sets. Either way, this is one of the most powerful musicals I’ve ever seen, heart-wrenching, funny, intelligent, poignant, and vital.
  • The Muppets Take Manhattan: I’m not sure there is anything closer to perfection than something that combines the Muppets and Broadway (unless they added dinosaurs). This movie is so brilliantly hilarious and touching at the same time. I can’t get enough of Piggy’s imagining the Muppet Babies or Kermit as an ad executive, or any of the rest of it.
  • In America: I found this movie randomly at the library a few years after it came out and was so pleasantly surprised I immediately bought it for myself. It is the story of an Irish family illegally immigrating to New York and trying to make it. It’s one of those movies that is so simple and that’s exactly what makes it so complicated and beautiful.
  • Angels in America: This is the movie version of Tony Kushner’s play and it is epically awesome. The cast is incredible and the story is even more so. Sadly the AIDS epidemic is one we’re still fighting, making stories like this and RENT stay incredibly current despite the fact they were set and made years ago.
  • Breakfast at Tiffany’s: Classic. I think that’s all I really have to say.
  • A Chorus Line: The story of people trying out for a show on Broadway. . . .love.
  • Life After Tomorrow: A fascinating (for anyone who loves Broadway) documentary about life after starring in Annie.
  • The Wackness: This is a movie I’ve found people either love or hate–there is drug humor, but it’s about a lot more than that. . .  it basically boils down to something one of the characters says, “I just look at the dopeness. But you, it’s like you just look at the wackness, ya know?”
  • ShowBusiness: The Road to Broadway: Lovely documentary that follows four Broadway shows from before opening to the Tony Awards.
  • Every Little Step: Heart-wrenching documentary that follows the casting of the A Chorus Line revival on Broadway.
  • WTC View: This is such an emotional movie. If you’ve only seen Michael Urie in Ugly Betty, do yourself a favor and see this movie because he is incredible in it.
  • Company: Might be my all-time favorite musical. I am still livid that Raul Esparza did not win the Tony in 2007. This is beautiful.
  • Newsies: Young Christian Bale singing and dancing. . . yes please. This is one of my Top 10 All-Time favorite movies, the songs are so catchy and the story is awesome.
  • Adam: This is a story about a man with Aspergers and it is lovely. One of my favorite movies I’ve watched this year.
  • The Squid and the Whale: This is disturbing at times, but so honest and simple and compelling.
  • American Psycho: This is the most disturbing film I’ve ever seen, but I think it says important things about our society and the things we do to succeed. (And I’ve never looked at an ATM the same way again.)
  • Crooklyn: This is an interesting look at loss in lots of senses as well as a coming of age story.
  • Searching for Bobby Fischer: I don’t play chess. I don’t know anything about chess, but I adore this movie more than I have words for. They did themselves a huge favor when they decided to cast a kid who knew how to play chess and not how to act because he is amazing.

Recommended by Anna @ Anna Reads:

  • Serendipity: Winter in New York is a beautiful thing, as is John Cusack. And all the beautiful book stores he visits in this film.
  • Coyote Ugly: Say what you want about the movie — the soundtrack is crazy catchy.
  • Newsies: Little Christian Bale in a musical! Who wouldn’t like to see that? I could listen to the song “Seize the Day” from this movie all day long.

TV Shows

Recommended by Ginger @ G Reads:

  • Felicity: The BEST tv drama from the 90’s. I heart Felicity and her guts to move across the country for a boy who wrote something nice in her high school yearbook.
  • Law & Order SVU: The most compelling crime scene drama on tv that is still running after 10 years!
  • Sex and the City: Four best friends and their love affair with men and the city they live in.

Recommended by Jacinda @ The Reading Housewives of Indiana:

  • Law & Order SVU: This show has been around FOREVER! I don’t really watch it as much as I used to because of time, but it used to be one of my favorite shows! If you love cop/detective shows and you need a new one to try out, this is for you!
  • King of Queens: I love(d) this show! It was cancelled a couple of years back, but I still watch an occasional rerun on whichever station it airs. This show will having you laughing! My husband still complains about it being cancelled. It’s the perfect comedy!
  • Wizards of Waverly Place: I know…it’s a Disney show, but what girl at one point in time didn’t love Disney Channel programming? I watch this one on occasion and I’ve been trying to get my three year old to fall in love with it…she hasn’t taken the bait yet. She needs to understand that as a girl, it’s required to like the supernatural, like witches (I’m kidding, she can like whatever she wants, haha).

Recommended by Annette @ Annette’s Book Spot:

Recommended by Twan @ Artie Is My Muse:

  • Felicity: If you want to see late nineties fashion this is the place, but it also has a good coming into oneself story line (aside from the last half of the final season–anyone who has seen it can back me up here). Lots of drama and romance, but also some really nice simple moments and silliness that comes with college life.
  • Mad About You: Probably one of my favorite sitcoms that is basically just about being married and living life.
  • Friends: I’ll be honest, I’ve only seen a few episodes of this for a paper I wrote in college, but it was, for the most part, genuinely funny and original.
  • Seinfeld: Cannot say enough good things about this show.  Love.  (though it does seem to be one of those love or hate shows)
  • Ugly Betty: Love love love a strong female lead character who has a strong sense of self. Add that to some laugh out loud moments and you have a winner.
  • Law and Order SVU: And a bunch of the other Law and Orders, too but this is my favorite. . . definitely one of my addictions.
  • 30 Rock: I love Liz Lemon more than I have words for.

Recommended by Anna @ Anna Reads:

  • How I Met Your Mother: No one even cares anymore about who the mother is. This show, set in NYC, is about so much more — so hilarious.


Recommended by Ginger @ G Reads:

  • Marching Bands of Manhattan” by Death Cab for Cutie: I listened to this song on my iPod as I flew over NYC for the very first time. I was definitely having a moment! And so this song will forever remind me of that beautiful city 🙂
  • Fake Empire” by The National: When my sister used to live in Brooklyn she introduced this band to me. When I listen to them now, I will always think of NYC. Makes me want to sit on the rooftop of a brownstone, watch the sun set over the city, and just chill out to this song.
  • Empire State of Mind” by Jay Z & Alicia Keys: Not sure how ANYONE can listen to this song and NOT think of NYC!! Best song to jam out to in the car, btw 🙂

Recommended by Twan @ Artie Is My Muse:

  • The RENT Original Cast Recording
  • Tick, Tick. . .BOOM! Original Cast Recording
  • A Chorus Line Original Cast Recording
  • Company: I’m partial to the revival with Raul Esparza but the original is excellent as well.

Recommended by Anna @ Anna Reads:

  • New York I Love, But You’re Bringing Me Down” by LCD Soundsystem: Aka my anthem for returning to Chicago after living in New York. I feel like New York is my ex-boyfriend. It’ll always hold a tender place in my heart, but you will never go back. More than a few days. Not that I go back to my old boyfriends for a few days. This analogy went wrong.
  • The Only Living Boy in New York” by Simon & Garfunkel: I swear I love New York despite how melancholy these song picks are. But I love this line: “Hey, I’ve got nothing to do today but smile.”
  • New York” by Ryan Adams: “Hey, I still love you though, New York.”

Some other great lists of books set in NYC have been popping up online recently, including one from YA Librarian Tales. Please share your own recommendations in the comments!

If you would like to get involved in future weeks of “If You Like…” please contact me for more information. You can check out past weeks of If You Like posts here.


3 Responses to "If You Like NYC"

  • A few others:
    So Much Closer (book)
    The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things (book)
    Jumpstart the World (book)
    Taxi (TV show)
    What I Like About You (TV show)

    Looking forward to seeing what other recs people are able to come up with this week!

    1 Melanie said this (May 23, 2011 at 6:59 AM)

  • Great recs! I love reading these because I can never think of them when you send me the email, but I see the post and I’m like “Duh!”

    2 Jacinda @ The Reading Housewives said this (May 23, 2011 at 7:41 AM)

    • That is absolutely how it works, and one of the reasons I am thankful for the power of collective blogger recs 🙂

      3 Melanie said this (May 23, 2011 at 7:53 AM)