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Choose Your Next Read: Pairing Popular Books with Manga

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Silvana Reyes Lopez

Senior Contributor

Silvana Reyes is a Mexican book blogger. She enjoys all types of sub-genres, but loves a good love story. Romance fiction is her heart and joy and you might find her screaming about book releases on her Twitter account.

When choosing something to read, it’s easier if you’re familiar the genre, or format, already. Because then, you only have to go into your TBR shelf and choose something that calls to you. But when it comes to dipping your toes into a new genre or format, I can understand if it suddenly becomes too much for you. I can help you out with that!

It can be overwhelming when you want to read, or start reading, manga. The first question that can come to mind is “Where should I start reading?” You look at everything out there and so many options appear before you. Do you want to read shounen, shoujo, josei, or seinen? If you’re unfamiliar with these terms or you’re a beginner in the manga world, we highly recommend checking out this beginner’s guide to manga first. Now, after checking that out and showering yourself with all that new information, the next step is to pick a variety of manga you want to try. But we still have that little bump in the road: the question of where to start.

An excellent solution to try is to pick a manga that has similar aspects, vibes, and characters as your favorite book. “I wish I could read something like X…” Well, this is why I’m here! I’ve paired up some popular reads with manga recommendations that you can easily go into because they shares similarities with the other title. Of course, I can’t give thousands of recommendations pairing up each and every single one of all the books published to this day, you know? But I’ll choose books that you might have heard of, some that you might have seen on TikTok, and hopefully, you’ll find one or two books that happen to be among your all-time favorites.

If you like Only A Monster by Vanessa Len, read…

cover of jujutsu kaisen by gege akutami the best action manga

Jujutsu Kaisen by Gege Akutami

How the tables have turned… when you’re the monster yourself. I decided to pair up these two titles because they have one similarity and that is that the protagonist (in each of their stories) is a monster who has to fight to save their reality.

In the case of Jujutsu Kaisen, the story centers Yuji Itadori, a normal high schooler, who has a lot of strength but chooses to spend his time in the Occult Club. One night though, they find a sealed cursed object which happens to be a finger that belonged to the feared demon Ryoma Sukuna. If you swallow Sukuna’s body parts, the power you gain is unimaginable. To save his friends, he decides to eat Sukuna’s fingers, sealing his fate and future to a tragic ending.

If you like The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa, read…

Chainsaw Man Volume 1 Cover

Chainsaw Man by Tatsuki Fujimoto

Both of these titles feature main characters with nothing to live for who then suddenly get turned into dangerous beings who might be able to save the world. The Immortal Rules, a YA vampire book, tells the story of Allie Sekemoto, a young girl who gets turned into a vampire and now has to live in a dystopian world, doing her best to survive.

Chainsaw Man has a similar beginning, but definitely parts ways on the plot aspect a few chapters later. Denji is a young boy who will do anything for money, even hunting down devils. He has his devil-dog Pochita by his side to do it, of course. But one day, he is betrayed by someone he trusts, and Denji suddenly turns into a whole new man — Chainsaw Man!

If you like What’s Not to Love by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka, read…

Kaguya-sama: Love Is War by Aka Akasaka cover

Kaguya-sama: Love is War by Aka Akasaka

Who doesn’t love a good academic rivals-to-lovers romance, am I right? In these two titles, you’ll find two people, in each of their own stories, battling it out in an academic setting. They surely want to become the number one student in their school. But would that other person let them?

Though Kaguya-sama: Love is War does feature an academic rivals-to-lovers trope, I feel like Kaguya and Miyuki don’t really dislike each other like in other academic rivals-to-lovers romances. From the very beginning, you know that they both have feelings for each other, but they’re too prideful to let the other one know. Because of this, they come up with many plans to make the other one confess their love first.

If you like The Lights on Knockbridge Lane by Roan Parrish, read…

Cover of Our Dining Table manga

Our Dining Table by Mita Ori

The perfect manga to pick up during the fall and winter seasons. Our Dining Table is the manga you want to read if you enjoy heartwarming romances, and stories that hit you in the heart from the very beginning.

It follows one lonely man who loves cooking but is hesitant about eating around people. One day he meets two brothers who are many years apart, and his life basically changes completely.

If you like Only When It’s Us by Chloe Liese, read…

Cover of A Sign of Affection by Suu Morishita

A Sign of Affection by Suu Morishita

To be honest, if you enjoy and love Chloe Liese’s Bergman Brothers series, this manga is perfect for you. I feel like it delivers the same kind of vibes in a way; soft, cozy, and super romantic vibes.

A Sign of Affection is the story of Yuki, a deaf college student, whose life revolves around her friends and social media. A chance encounter in the subway leads her to meet upper classmate Itsuomi-san. This sweet love story will pull at your heartstrings instantly!

If You Like I Like You Like That by Kayla Grosse, read…

Ao Haru Ride volume 1 cover by Io Sakisaka

Ao Haru Ride by Io Sakisaka

These titles share a second-chance romance between two people who had a crush on each other years ago, and both are incredible. For all the readers who want a little bit of angst, Ao Haru Ride is a shoujo manga that introduces two high school students who once upon a time liked each other, back in middle school. Now, they reunite in high school, but for Futaba, it feels like Kou has changed.

If you like Hot Copy by Ruby Barrett, read…

Cover of Still Sick manga

Still Sick by Akashi

For the office romance fans, this one’s for you. Still Sick is a romance manga featuring two office workers. Makoto Shimizu is just trying to blend in with her colleagues, but everything changes when one of her coworkers, Akane Maekawa, discovers her secret: she draws and sells girls’ love comics! But instead of creating a barrier between them, it just draws them closer where they eventually start learning a little bit more about each other, and maybe… that might lead to falling in love.

If you like The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna, read…

attack on titan manga book cover

Attack on Titan by Hajime Isayama

Attack on Titan is one manga that is going down in history as one of the most popular pieces of work in the world. What made me choose this manga for The Gilded Ones is the resemblance of the main characters’ beginnings. Deka, the main character in Forna’s novel, bleeds gold instead of red. Because of this, she is then sentenced to death. An old woman saves her and takes her to be part of the emperor’s army of girls, all with cursed blood. They will fight against the Deathshrieks, these monsters that attack villages in the empire.

If you’re familiar with Attack on Titan, you can see that Deka and Eren, the protagonist in the manga, have similarities. Eren’s village is attacked by titans, these big, monstrous beings that destroy and eat everything in their path. After the death of his family, he enlists in the army to learn how to fight the titans. But as he starts to get used to this new world of his, he realizes that there are far too many secrets being whispered around him… and maybe, maybe, he’s holding the biggest one of them all.

If you like The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, read…

Cover of Kakegurui manga

Kakegurui by Homura Kawamoto and Toru Naomura

Games and deceit will welcome you in these two titles. If you like one, you’ll probably adore the other.

Kakegurui follows Yumeko Jabami, a student who has far too many secrets. She just entered Hyakkaou Private Academy, a magnificent institution housing children of the privileged. When you’re one of the wealthiest people in the world, you have to know the art of the deal, the art of gambling. And in this school, gambling is everything.

If you like Our Favorite Songs by Anita Kelly, read…

Cover of Puppy Love manga

Puppy Love by Tsuchida Haru

Puppy Love is a light, soft romance between an office worker who’s tired of his workplace and a cute pet shop clerk.

I decided to match these two up mainly because of the characters. I feel like they’re very relatable and have similar stories. In Our Favorite Songs, the main characters are lonely, overworked, and trying to get away from their daily life. And that’s how they meet each other. It’s similar in a way in Puppy Love as well; Inukai works for a company that definitely exploits him, so when he meets this fluffy pet shop clerk he decides to quit his job and change his life situation in order to finally get a dog for himself.

If you like Wicked Fox by Kat Cho, read…

Cover image for Dandadan manga

Dandadan by Yukinobu Tatsu

Perfect for the Halloween season, Dandadan is all about aliens and ghosts. It’s paired with Wicked Fox, because both of them have magical creatures that are hard to believe they exist. But what do you believe in?

In the manga, Momo Ayase is someone who believes in ghosts but never in aliens. While Okarun thinks the opposites. They want to prove each other wrong immediately! Now, the two of them must overcome a ghost’s curse and aliens set out on attacking the innocent. This is a spooky, comedic read you won’t be able to stop reading.

I love these types of lists so much, because it’s easier for me to find new things to read, watch, listen to, etc. If you’re looking to try your hand at something new for you, choosing options that you know you’re going to love based on what you’ve already experienced beforehand is a good way to do it. In this case, choosing to read manga based on a favorite book: it’s probable that you’ll love the manga because that book is one of your favorites.

If you’re already familiar with manga and its subgenres, Book Riot is the perfect place to find recommendations and topics of conversation. Be it the best of isekai manga or horror manga to make you stay awake at night, manga is really the way to go if you want inspiring, entertaining stories that will stay with you forever.