New Jersey, One Book at a Time

The Mob, "Jersey Girls," Springsteen, Bon Jovi, that smell and The Jersey Devil are many of the things that come to mind when people think of New Jersey. However, these books — all set in what is sometimes the butt of many jokes and also constantly mocked by tourists — show that New Jersey is one of the hardest places to grow up, but ultimately isn't such a bad place after all.


In Hoboken

by Christian Bauman

Bauman did an amazing job of capturing the feel of late '90s Hoboken and also the nitty-gritty feel of New Jersey. This book is not only about the "square mile city," but also about finding yourself through trail and error and discovering who your friends really are.


Goodbye, Columbus

by Philip Roth

Not just one story about New Jersey, but multiple. Roth touches on many different ideas in this one, including family and romance.



by David Morrell

Combining two loves of New Jersey youths (urban legends and urban exploring), Morrell creates an atmosphere like no other. Setting the book in Asbury Park (a city now abandoned and left for dead) makes the story even darker and also shows the urban legend side of New Jersey.


Second Helpings

by Megan Mccafferty

Growing up in New Jersey can be a hard thing, especially if you don't fit in. In the sequel to the book Sloppy First, the main character wonders if growing up in New Jersey is harder than anywhere else.


Swallowing Stones

by Joyce Mcdonald

Another coming-of-age story set in New Jersey. A teen must come to terms with himself after accidentally killing his best friend's father. It is a compelling story of trying to overcome guilt.


Home of the Braves

by David Klass

Another story that shows growing up in New Jersey is a sometimes harder than anywhere else. In between trying to find the courage to ask out a girl he likes and protecting his nerdy best friend, the main character has to find himself, too.


The Gypsy Storyteller

by Thomas William Simpson

The title of the book really doesn't do it the justice that it warrants. Best friends from birth are now drifting apart must find a way to work each other back into their lives, even if it means that one of them must die.


Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen

by Dyan Sheldon

The book that inspired the movie. Lola wants nothing more to be the center of attention, but yet can't seem to figure out how to do it. She compares living in suburban New Jersey with being dead, which most bored teenagers will agree with.


The Body of Christopher Creed

by Carol Plum-ucci

When Torey, the main character, starts to feel some guilt about the disappearance of Christopher Creed, a kid he used to beat up, he starts to looks into go out on his own and find the truth. Little does Torey know he is going to get deeper into a dark world than he wants to be.



by David Lubar

A perfect coming-age-story set on the Jersey Shore. The main character discovers that life isn't all fun and games anymore when he discovers one of his best friends comes down with a life-threatening illness and another steals the girl of his dreams. This book grabs your attention from the very start and never lets go.


The Sportswriter

by Richard Ford

Set in the New Jersey suburbs, a former novelist turned sportswriter must find himself after the death of his son and the divorce of his wife, and try to express what he is feeling to the ones around him.


One for the Money

by Janet Evanovich

The first of the Stephanie Plum Series. When Plum loses her job, her cousin offers her a job as a bond hunter for her cousin Vinnie. From this point on, everything goes downhill. We follow her through ups and downs. Her character breaks the mold of the typical "Jersey Girl."