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I was looking for books like Mamma Mia! My whole life. I always joke that I saw Mamma Mia! Too often in my early years and that’s why I’m obsessed with Pierce Brosnan in white linen pants, ABBA, and literally every musical that has ever been made. My birthday after the film came out was Mamma Mia! – thought with plates and napkins plastered with the cast and all. I talked through the whole film. I don’t know how my friends remained friends afterwards.
I’m notorious at work for recommending Mamma Mia! to every person I come into contact with. It will be my enduring mark in this world forever and I can die happily knowing that. Everyone deserves to see the dad-like, weird nod dance that Pierce Brosnan does while Donna and the Dynamos sing “Super Trouper”. Everyone. And you’ve known no joy if you haven’t seen Meryl Streep (and Lily James) wandering around a Greek island, all in clothes and singing ABBA songs. It is the epitome of joy. I am firmly in the camp Pierce Brosnan’s singing wasn’t that bad, and I have a grudge against any reviewer who said it was because of the lack of singing in Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again was a travesty. Some people don’t know how to have fun.
For all Mamma Mia! Cinematic Universe (MMCU) lovers out there, here are a few books like Mamma Mia! to take a risk.
Here We Are Now by Jasmine Warga
Sam Carmichael. Harry Bright. Bill Anderson. When Sophie longs to find her father to the point of writing letters to him or … her at the beginning of Mamma Mia! is what you are looking for, try Here We Are Now. The main character Taliah is visited by her previously absent rock star father and drops everything to find out. In a mirror for Sophie, it will be too late when Tal’s mother finds out. She hopes, as her counterpart Mamma Mia hoped, that everything will come together. But meeting her father isn’t exactly what she was hoping for. Not everyone has three fathers willing to have a third when all is said and done.
Girls Like Us by Randi Pink
As I am often accused of, are you obsessed with the 70s? Are you attracted to young Donna coping with her surprise pregnancy in Mamma Mia? Here we go again? Try Girls Like Us by Randi Pink. It examines the experience of four young girls who had to deal with unplanned pregnancies in 1972. This is more youthful, more realistic, and certainly less overalls, but still worth reading if you want more of the realistic side of what young pregnancies looked like 50 years ago. Not everyone is lucky enough to be Donna Sheridan, who lives day after day in an old farmhouse and picks oranges from the tree.
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Nina LaCour’s disillusionment
If you have been fascinated by Donna and the Dynamos for One Night and One Night, try The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour. Colby and Bev headed out, playing with Bev’s band through rundown venues in the Pacific Northwest as college and its imminent end loomed. It’s bittersweet when the couple thinks about what’s next. However, as Donna says, life is short and the world is wide, and the girls will find out soon enough that making some memories is important.
Summer of Salt by Katrina Leno
If Kalokairi, Aphrodite’s rumored water-loving island, caught your attention but you want something stranger and even more magical, try Summer of Salt. Atmospheric weather, potions and centuries-old birds are just the beginning of a strange summer on By-The-Sea Island. It’s Kalokairi’s world-spanning atmosphere with magic. It’s emotional and tough and oh so very beautiful. When you see the wonder of a fairy tale, you will like this dream world.
Bridget Jones’ diary of Helen Fielding
If you want a taste of Donna’s diary without Sophie’s point-to-point editing, try the classic, always charming Bridget Jones diary. A young woman, Bridget, who tries and fails to fall in love while being downright funny and a little nervous and a lot relatable? Your relationships with two men are recorded in this diary-style novel along with a large number of friends and family members. If you haven’t already, why not take the opportunity to read this? You will be just as invested in someone else’s love life as Sophie’s friends are in Donna’s. Or maybe more. Sophie’s rendering left out a lot.
Only largely devastated by Sophie Gonzales
I was always part of Team Sam. For my Sam fans, or if you loved Donna’s Insta-Love summer fling who ultimately turned out not to be that lucky, Only Mostly Devastated is perfect for you. Spooky after a summer outing, an emergency in Ollie’s family forces him to move across the country. It’s a shame that his romantic ghoster Will is exactly at the school he is moving to. Dealing with someone who’s suddenly broken your heart, all the time in your room? Ollie (and Donna) know all about how awkward it is to deal with. At least there are no goat houses and bagpipes here. Just lunch break and music lessons and the decision not to let Will get under your skin. But then there are those angel eyes.
Kristy Boyce’s hot British friend
If you enjoyed Donna’s (and her mother’s) romances abroad, especially Harry Headbanger’s impromptu summer story, then get yourself on Hot British Boyfriend. In an effort to find a Harry-esque “hot British friend”, Ellie makes a deal with classmate Dev to learn how to win over her crush. Sightseeing through England, whirlwind romance and a journey to self-discovery and acceptance await you. Give me! Give me! Give me!
Carrie Firestone’s Loose Ends List
For all Young Bill fans obsessed with the little heel / foot dance he does while singing, “Why did it have to be me?” And his boat, The Loose Ends List, is a cruise-based family exploration, Friends and first love. Torn from her summer plans when her dying grandmother forces her family on a cruise, Maddie begins the journey with a vow to squeeze every drop out of life. It’s funny and sad, similar to Mamma Mia! Movies (I cry every time I watch the “Slipping Through My Fingers” and “My Love, My Life” scenes). How the heartache comes and goes for Maddie, but learns that she will dance again too.
Do you want more than just these books like Mamma Mia! All the dancing queens? Check out this list of YA books from the 1970s or these YA books on music!