October 12 marks the 40th anniversary of Douglas Adams’s The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Originally adapted from Adams’s radio comedic, science fiction series, this novel sold 250,000 copies in the first three months of its publication. It has been adapted into television, film, and was the first of the six books in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy “trilogy.”
Complete with entries from the fictional guidebook for galactic hitchhikers, the novel follows a man from Earth. Arthur Dent is perfectly normal and not at all the adventuring sort. When Ford Prefect, alien researcher and Arthur’s best friend, saves Arthur right before Earth is destroyed, life is forever changed. Arthur and Ford team up with Zaphod Beeblebrox (President of the Galaxy) and a human woman named Trillian to find the legendary planet Magrathea and the “Ultimate Question to Life, the Universe, and Everything.” Despite bureaucratic aliens and hyper-intelligent, brain-harvesting mice, Arthur must learn how to live literally worlds outside his comfort zone.
In honor of the 40th anniversary of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, here are some books with similar themes that we think you’ll love. Wild circumstances thrust these unlikely heroes out of their ordinary lives into new worlds. Just like Arthur, each of them have to learn that they were meant for greater things.
Echoes of War by Cheryl Campbell
Arthur has to confront the knowledge that humans are not alone in the universe. Dani in Echoes of War has already passed that point, though she too must confront life-altering trials. Though she’s knee-deep in aliens already after decades of war with them, when she finds out that she is part of an immortal alien race called Echoes, life gets complicated. Dani departs on a journey—not only of self-discovery, but one to unite the Commonwealth against the human-hunting Wardens. Though Dani thought she was just another blip in the universe, she has to take her stand in the war to save humankind.
Deepest Blue by Mindy Tarquini
In The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Arthur’s plans for his life take an insane turn when his planet was destroyed. Similarly in Deepest Blue, Matteo has to change course when his older brother steals Matteo’s destiny as Legendary Protector. With the enchanted city of Panduri in a tailspin, Matteo must overcome the grief of what could have been to chart his own fate. Based on Italian folklore, Deepest Blue is a powerful tale about rising above resentment.
Below the Moon by Alexis Marie Chute
Trapped in a parallel dimension, Ella Wellsley has to push through her initial limitations to adapt, just like Arthur Dent. Searching for a cure for her cancer, Ella faces battles of love, betrayal, and the pain of her own past. In the face of an evil Star that threatens to pull everything into chaos, the Wellsley family must learn to embrace love over fear.
The Equal Night Trilogy by Stacey L. Tucker
An ordinary girl trying to recover from her mother’s recent death, Skylar Southmartin isn’t looking for adventure. She’s just trying to get through each day while she finishes her veterinary degree. Just like Ford with Arthur, though, a stranger appears and turns Skylar’s life upside down. The mysterious Joshua drags Skylar further into a new world she never knew existed—one in which she has to discover her own power if she wants to survive. The thrilling conclusion to the trilogy, Sky of Water, comes out in May 2020.
The Goddess Twins* by Yodassa Williams
Just before their eighteenth birthday, Aurora and Arden find themselves with awesome powers of telekinesis and telepathy. Confronted with these new powers and their mysterious, British cousins, the twins don’t know who to trust. As they look for their missing mother, they have to search their souls along the way. The twins must learn to strengthen themselves—and their bond—before the truth of the past can destroy all that they love.
Eye of Zeus* by Alane Adams
Nothing says “life-altering” like finding out you’re the daughter of a Greek god. Twelve-year-old Phoebe Katz plunges into a world of magic and myth when Athena’s statue comes to life and tells Phoebe that she’s destined to destroy Olympus. Finding danger at every turn, Phoebe must battle monsters and vengeful gods to stop the prophecy from coming true. A foster kid who hasn’t ever had a place to call home, Phoebe must come into her own power with the help of her friends.
*Coming out in Spring 2020, but available for pre-order now