Kiersten White’s YA Recs for Your Favorite Buffy Characters

In every generation, there is a chosen one. Kiersten White’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer spin-off series follows Nina, the newest in a long line of Slayers. The second book, Chosen, is on shelves now and finds Nina facing down all new dangers. Don’t you ever wish your favorite characters could just catch a break and relax? After all, even heroes need a time-out for reading. To celebrate the release of Chosen, we asked White which books she’d recommend to the characters of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Check out her recs below and then sink your teeth into the latest Slayer novel.

The Scooby Gang is busy. They can’t have so much as a prom night without fighting demons. But sometimes they need a break, and what better way to relax than settling down with a personalized book recommendation? Though I’ve written a spin-off series about the newest Slayer, starting with Slayer and continuing with Chosen, you can branch out from the world of Buffy with other books about remarkable teens. I’ve tailored these book picks to my favorite characters, so feel free to choose your favorite Scooby, pull up a chair, and use the Sunnydale High School library to just read in, for once. Giles will die from shock. 


The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

Though Cordy is anything but ordinary—don’t you dare ever imply the nastiest girl in Sunnydale history is ordinary—she did spend her teen years as a decidedly non-supernatural girl in the middle of a swirling vortex of supernatural drama. I think she’d really relate to this tale of regular teens living in a town filled with supernatural chosen ones and their various battles.


We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

This quiet, deeply compassionate novel about a queer girl leaving behind devastating familial betrayal and trying to find herself in college is perfect for Tara, who was the tender, gentle heart of the Scooby gang from the day she and Willow first held hands.


The Beauty that Remains by Ashley Woodfolk

Oz is a tricky one: Tech genius. Quasi-philosopher. Werewolf. Guitarist. Maybe he’ll finally be inspired to learn more than three chords after reading this book about teens touched by loss who learn to find beauty in music.


Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

It was tempting to recommend Bunnicula by James Howe, but I can’t be that mean to poor Anya. I think she would dig Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy, a book about a woman reclaiming her identity from a society that told her she needed to be what everyone else wanted. Anya could use both Willowdean and Dolly Parton in her life as she decides who she is outside of vengeance and relationships.


A Blade So Black by L.L. McKinney

Across the centuries, Angel’s shown that he likes strong women, and this series, pitched as “if Buffy went down the rabbit hole instead of Alice to fight monsters,” will give him a new fictional crush. Bonus: Fictional crushes are much safer for our brooding “no moments of true happiness” hero.


When You Ask Me Where I’m Going by Jasmin Kaur

Spike fancied himself a poet, so for him I suggest a book of poetry and art centered around what it is to be a young woman in the world. If Spike is going to continue to grow his soul, he needs to develop empathy, and there is no better way to do so than by reading about experiences you haven’t lived, and no more beautiful way to do it than through Kaur’s groundbreaking work.


His Fair Assassin series by Robin LaFevers

This is a historical fantasy about assassin nuns. Assassin nuns! We all know Giles would take off his glasses and pinch the bridge of his nose at the suggestion that he should spend his time reading about young women gifted with supernatural assassin abilities because they were fathered by the god of death himself. And then we’d catch him at one in the morning, his tea cold, as he reads just one more page.


The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu

Look. Xander has a problem with slut-shaming. His closest (and only) friends are women, but he can’t seem to break out of toxic masculinity for much of the television series. This book, about a girl at the center of a sex rumor scandal, might open his eyes to how his words affect the women he uses them against.


The Lost Coast by Amy Rose Capetta

This dreamy, atmospheric novel about six queer teen witches discovering their abilities together is perfect for our favorite witch as she discovers her own queer witch identity.


The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza by Shaun David Hutchinson

It was between this and a swoony beach read, but our girl Buffy needs some breaks from romance, I think. Let her chill and read about another girl saving the world for a bit. Elena Mendoza mysteriously heals her crush from a gunshot wound, triggering what might be the apocalypse. But, for once, it’s an apocalypse Buffy has no need to deal with, and she can totally appreciate Elena’s snark and style.

So there you have it–our own Scooby Book Club. I call the seat closest to the library cage, just in case we get interrupted by vampires or hellhounds or the Order of Taraka. And when you’re finished with these recommendations, feel free to slip back into the Buffyverse with a double feature of Slayer and Chosen.


Kiersten White is the New York Times bestselling author of many books for teens and young readers, including And I Darken, Now I Rise, Bright We Burn, The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein, and Slayer. She lives with her family near the ocean in San Diego, where she perpetually lurks in the shadows. Visit Kiersten online at and follow @KierstenWhite on Twitter.

  1. It’s a pity that they don’t adapt some of these stories to do more shows about Buffy. There are many possibilities out there I think!

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