There are certain fandoms I’ve been apprehensive to take on due to their immense fanbases. I definitely breathed a sigh of relief when I completed the blog posts for Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly and realized that they turned out to be successful. I’m still debating when I’m going to dive in and take on Doctor Who. It’s probably my most frightening concept to date, but I promise it will happen. I just need a little more psyching up and then I will do it. Today, however, I will attempt to impart my recommendations for one of my favorite shows of all time: Supernatural.
The basic plot of Supernatural is a something that has been recently retold in a variety of YA books. It’s a basic story about two guys (in this case, brothers Dean and Sam Winchester) who travel around and take on a plethora of supernatural and paranormal creatures while dealing with their own personal demons which range from recovering from a trip to purgatory to actually being the human embodiment of Lucifer.
There are three books in particular that resonate as perfect readalikes for the series. First, Sarah Rees Brennan has a series that begins with The Demon’s Lexicon(Best Fiction for Young Adults Top Ten, 2010). In this book, two brothers, Alan and Nick, hunt demons avenging their dead father and taking care of their crazy mother. There are definitely similarities between Alan and Nick and Dean and Sam are very evident. Perhaps the Winchesters can take a break and read a bit about another duo who fight the evils lurking in the dark.
A second selection to seek out is Anna Dressed in Blood and its companion, Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake. The main character is a boy named Cas, who coincidentally shares his name with the Winchester’s angelic friend. Cas travels around with his witch mother and a cat that can sense ghosts. Dean and Sam will find comradery with Cas as he sets off to avenge his father’s death while wielding an athame with the the power to destroy ghosts. Like Sam Dean, Cas is challenged to overlook his predispositions to kill ghosts and determine whether or not this particular case involving the spirit called Anna Dressed in Blood is not quite like the others.
Finally, I would definitely hand over Kami Garcia’s new series called “The Legion.” Garcia’s series begins with Unbreakable. The story begins with a female protagonist named Kennedy who finds her mother murdered by something supernatural. She only survives due to twin brothers named Lukas and Jared who whisk her away from danger only to inform her that there will definitely be more danger down the road. In turns out that Kennedy, the twins, and two others are the descendants of members of a group called The Legion that fight against ancient evil spirits. Secret societies full of knowledge regarding the killing of all things evil? Sounds a bit like the Winchester’s new discovery, the Men of Letters, only with a lot less resources. Now that I covered a few titles that Sam and Dean can share and read together, here are a few titles specifically chosen for each of their personal tastes.
Dean Winchester – I figured I had to start with Dean. Sam is going to be a bit easier as he was actually picked up a book that was not part of the “Supernatural” series written by the prophet, Chuck Shurley. Dean is a simple guy with three main interests: girls, his Impala, and pie. If there was ever a book for Dean Winchester, it would definitely be Soul Enchilada by David Macinnis Gill. In this book, a girl called Bug discovers that her soul and her car are about to be impounded to Hell thanks to a deal her grandfather made with the devil. Bug is given a chance to get out of the deal so that both her soul and her ride remain topside. Now there is something Dean can get behind. A car and its owner together forever, even in Hell. I understand getting Dean to read one book might be a stretch, so I think that some manga would be a good decision as well. There are so many manga series that deal with supernatural elements, but this is one I believe Dean would find the most interesting. I would give him Fullmetal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa. In this series, brothers Edward and Alphonse attempt to cast a spell to bring their mother back from the dead. Instead, the results leave Ed missing appendages and Al stuck in a suit of armor.
Sam Winchester – Sam is a bit more well-read than Dean, to say the least. The first book that comes to mind is 2010 Printz Honor Monstrumologist, the first book in a series by Rick Yancey. This book and the rest of the series deal with monsters in a more academic sense than other monster-killing stories. Speaking of killing and death, I would also recommend the “Skinjacker” series by Neal Shusterman, which begins with Everlost. This book has an interesting interpretation about what happens when you die. Spirits that got left behind can only exist in places where death has occurred previously. Also, they can borrow a body from time to time, but it is frowned upon by other remaining spirits. Anyone who has seen at least one season of Supernatural knows that Dean and Sam has experienced a variety of afterlifes, but Shusterman’s is unlike any they’ve experienced so far. I’m sure Sam would just call it research.
Look next month for my follow-up post where I will discuss the supporting characters of Supernatural. Castiel, Crowley, Charlie, Kevin, and others will not be without books to read. I might have to limit myself as there are so many characters to discuss. Feel free to comment below on any supporting character you want me to include next month.
– Brandi Smits, currently reading Lamb: The Gospel According to Christ’s Childhood Pal, Biff by Christopher Moore