For those of you not in the know, Chewing Gum is a Netflix series that ABSOLUTELY MUST BE ADDED to your “to watch” list. An import from England, it has two quirky, hilarious, all around amazing seasons that I just can’t get enough of. It follows Tracey, a twenty-three year old who desperately wants to lose her virginity and learn more about life outside Tower Hamlets. Along the way a lot of hijinks with her family and friends ensue, involving all matters of 21st century life. In my opinion this is one of the most “current” pieces of fiction out there, and as such I’m constantly searching for books in a similar vein. As a result there are several books on my TBR I added solely because of their reminiscence to Chewing Gum. These books are diverse, fun, and hopefully going to be read by me soon! So without further ado..let’s cut to the books.
This Is Really Happening by Erin Chack
Erin Chack is a writer for Buzzfeed and classic millennial. In her novel debut she decided to put both skills to good use, in writing a memoir compilation of personal essays. Typically this is something that would remind me of a Hannah Horvath “I’m the voice of my generation” kind of move, but I’m actually really excited for this. Chewing Gum is all about the twenty something experience and everything that comes with it, so I would imagine a lot of Chack’s anecdotes are similar. And from previous articles I’ve read by her she doesn’t take anything too seriously, much like the show itself. I’m hardly up on my memoir game, so I don’t have much to compare this one to, but I still have high hopes it will be chock full of hilarious, heartfelt, and serious moments. I can’t wait to read a whole book from a voice as dynamic as Tracey herself, so 10/10 would recommend putting this one on your TBR.
To All the Boy’s I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
The reason Jenny Han’s beloved series is on this list has less to do with the plot itself (though both are about the growing pains of being a young adult), and everything to do with the characters. If you can’t already tell by this point, I love, love, LOVE Chewing Gum’s protagonist Tracey. She’s so relatable and dynamic, an “every woman” if ever there is one. The show’s quick to establish a connection between the viewer and her, similar to the one I think Han formed with Lara Jean and her readers. Since this is on my TBR I can’t say for sure how compelling the similarities are, but every review I’ve read of TAtBILB gushes about this aspect. Another major selling point is Lara Jean’s family and friends, which I’ve always heard is full of characters fleshed out in their own right. Though I don’t think they can beat the likes of Cynthia and Ronald, I’m willing to give them a shot. And since I’m pretty much the only YA reader on the face of the earth who hasn’t read this trilogy, I’d love to hear if you guys agree with my assessment of things. Are Lara Jean and company truly to die for?
Kill the Boy Band by Goldy Modavsky
This YA book is all about a trio of fan girls who inadvertently kidnap a member of their favorite boy band. Full of black comedy and ridiculous moments, my reason for including this book won’t make sense unless you’ve watched Chewing Gum. Because something I definitely didn’t expect when I started watching the show was it’s bizarre sense of humor. The things showrunner Michaela Coel thinks up are as outlandish as they are hilarious. Even more unexpected is just how much I enjoy this very particular brand of humor. And the very premise of Kill the Boy Band demands that same kind of expectation, where anything can go and to expect the unexpected. I can only hope it’s done as well as in Chewing Gum, and delivers the same caliber of laughs. If you’ve read this one (or any other lol worthy book) I’d love to know and get it on my TBR.
Wrecked by Maria Padian
Wrecked is all about asking the hard questions involving rape and rape culture, a book that won’t be easy to read I presume. Though Chewing Gum always maintains a humorous light, it never shies away from tackling taboo subjects. It’s something I admire about the show, and what earns it the title of “most current” in my opinion. As the show grows I would love to see Coel address certain aspects of Tracey’s life in greater depth, and further its connection to real issues. And judging by just how much the show grew and matured from seasons 1 to two, I think it’s a very real possibility. I actually don’t know why it’s taken me this long to read Wrecked, as another book it’s being compared to- Exit, Pursued By a Bear– was my favorite read of 2016. If you’ve read this one I’d love to hear what you thought!
Enter Title Here by Rahul Kanakia
I’m kind of cheating a little bit here, because this is a book I read before I even discovered Chewing Gum. However if you love how original the show is, I think you’ll also appreciate the one of a kind storytelling Rahul Kanakia tells Enter Title Here with. Granted, Tracey and ETH protagonist Reshma could not be more different. Tracey is a sweet, albeit naive, character whose easy to root for from the get go. Reshma on the contrary is semi-toxic, generally unlikeable, and difficult to sympathize with. A tale of two completely different stories. In my opinion though, both represent a divergence from YA’s typical offerings, a fact that may be their greatest strength. Coel and Kanakia can certainly think outside of the box, and for that I recommend all their creative endeavors.
Have you watched Chewing Gum? Yay or nah? Any great shows I need to watch? Let me know in the comments!