The cover for "Stranger Things" prequel book "Suspicious Minds.
The Globe and Mail
Brenner, left, is the clear villain in "Suspicious Minds. Stranger Things. Becky also appears in the books.
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Linnea Berthelsen is Kali, or Eight, on the show. Martin Brenner.
Stranger by David Bergen
As they delve into the whispers of conspiracy surrounding MKUltra and Hawkins National Lab, they uncover increasingly mind-boggling revelations… and horrors beyond their wildest LSD-fueled dreams. This second Stranger Things prequel follows 70s-era Hopper, fresh off a stint in Vietnam, as he attempts to settle back into civilian life. Little does he know that his troubles are far from over, as federal agents arrive in NYC, purportedly to investigate a series of cultish murders. Soon Hopper himself is embroiled in the case, determined to uncover the truth before the agents make it disappear.
Fans of crime thrillers and police procedurals will especially enjoy Darkness on the Edge of Town , which is just as exciting but more grittily realistic than the supernaturally focused Suspicious Minds. After her mother remarries and relocates their family from California to Indiana, thirteen-year-old Max Mayfield resolves to keep to herself.
However, this proves difficult when she attracts the attention of Lucas and Dustin at Hawkins Middle School.
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Reluctant to befriend them at first, Max is soon caught up in their incredible story — which this novel relays entirely from her perspective, digging into her home life and backstory before coming to Hawkins. But reader beware: when the focus shifts to her abusive stepfamily, things get dark in a very real way. Speaking of dark and real, these next few books come from the extensive oeuvre of Stephen King — perhaps the single most obvious influence on Stranger Things seriously, look no further than that title card.
Stranger Things lovers may already be familiar with It — the adaptation features none other than Finn Wolfhard, aka Mike from Stranger Things. The titular firestarter is actually very similar to Eleven: Charlie McGee, a girl born with pyrokinetic abilities after her parents participated in a government experiment involving —you guessed it — LSD.
Now Charlie and her father are on the run from the agency that created them — and wishes to eliminate them. The suspense in this one is particularly acute, with Charlie and her dad desperate to stay one step ahead of their foes, plus the additional concern that Charlie could lose control of her powers and destroy everything in her path. Naturally, they get way more than they bargained for, and are forced to confront their personal traumas in different ways.
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One boy mourns the loss of his older brother, who was killed in a car wreck; another strives to understand his abusive father, who has PTSD. This death-based mission culminates in a stand-off with some bullies who are very much alive, during which an unlikely hero takes charge… and a hidden weapon reveals itself.
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Books by King were particularly formative, with the brothers saying they could devour one book in a night when they were growing up. As fans gear up for Stranger Things Season 3 , dropping on Netflix on July 4, here are six books to read to get inside the minds of the creators and characters. Underground Kingdom , the 18th book in the series, came out in , the same year that Stranger Things begins. In classic King style, a group of kids band together against the common threat of a creepy clown.
The parallels with the Hawkins gang are clear. In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter , the Duffer brothers said the book was the single greatest source of inspiration for the Netflix show.