If You Like X, Try Y

Elizabeth Bluemle -- December 19th, 2013

In 1997, we created our first Flying Pig XY Guide, a list of book recommendations in the format “If you liked X, try Y (and vice versa).” This was before search engines and online shopping and auto-generated suggestions. We’d never seen anything like it and thought it was a brilliant tool to help customers find books they might like. It was helpful to us (a handy guide across genres and age ranges) and customers loved it. The XY Guide has always been one of the most popular features of our annual book-recommendation catalog.

This year, we had to bump the guide from our 16-page Pig-Tales (viewable and/or downloadable copy here) to make room for more (166) actual book reviews. So we made a separate little XY sheet matching some of our favorite 2013 titles with popular past books our customers have liked. We thought we would share it here at ShelfTalker. The pretty copy is viewable here; the list is below. In years past, there were a lot more children’s book matches, but our customers were equally interested in XY ideas for their own reading, so now books for kids and adults share a page. If there’s interest, I’d be happy to post previous XY guides from years past. They are handy for gift ideas!

Now — I’d love to know, what XY matches would you add to this list?


X: Jack Plank Tells Tales by Natalie Babbitt
Y: The Show Must Go On! by Kate and M. Sarah Klise

X: Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz
Y: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud

X: Sisters Grimm series by Michael Buckley
Y: Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom series by Christopher Healy

X: Septimus Heap series by Angie Sage
Y: Jinx by Sage Blackwood

X: The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
Y: Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett
Y: Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein

X: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Y: Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke

X: Graceling by Kirsten Cashore
Y: Assassin’s Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke

X: The Lightning Thief  by Rick Riordan
Y: Loki’s Wolves by K.L. Armstrong & M.A. Marr

X: Matched by Ally Condie
Y: The Selection by Kiera Cass
Y: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

X: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Y: The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau

X: Divergent by Veronica Roth
Y: Legend by Marie Lu
Y: The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

X: Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz
Y: I.Q.  series by Roland Smith
Y: Cherub series by Robert Muchamore

X: Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
Y: Evil Genius by Catherine Jinks

X: Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
Y: The Roar by Emma Clayton
Y: The Carbon Diaries 2015 by Saci Lloyd

X: Grave Mercy by R.L. LaFevers
Y: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Y: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo


X: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
Y: Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick
Y: Coraline by Neil Gaiman

X: Orange Is the New Black by Piper Kerman
Y: Hear Me, See Me: Incarcerated Women Write (VT incarcerated women)

X: Oliver Sacks’s books
Y: The Examined Life: How We Lose and Find Ourselves by Stephen Grosz

X: Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
Y: Give and Take by Adam Grant

X: Shop Class as Soulcraft by Matthew Crawford
Y: Why We Make Things and Why It Matters by Peter Korn

X: Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl
Y: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

X: The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John LeCarre
Y: Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews

X: In the Woods by Tana French
Y: Christine Falls by Benjamin Black

X: The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
Y: Queen’s Gambit by Elizabeth Freemantle

X: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain
Y: Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

X: Unbroken by Lauren Hillenbrand
Y: Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

X: Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
Y: The Curiosity by Stephen Kiernan

X: A Trick of the Light by Louise Penny
Y: Wicked Autumn by G.M. Malliet
Y: A Murder in Tuscany by Christobel Kent

X: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by M.A. Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Y: These Is My Words by Nancy E. Turner

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