Escape Reality with 10 Books That Are Just Like The Umbrella Academy

Season three of The Umbrella Academy ended with a teaser.

With a doppelgänger of Ben Hargreeves on a train reading a Korean book somewhere in the world, fans are left wondering if he’s the actual Ben who died years ago or Ben from another timeline.

After all, the crew spent all of season three desperately fighting to get to their present timeline. So it is not insane to think another time snafu occurred.

But the show left viewers hanging without answering the Ben mystery and craving the next season to start as soon as possible.

If you're looking for something to hold you over until then, fans should check out ten similar books to help fill the void.

1. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Meet another rag-tag team of kids with incredible abilities who try to save the day. These kids live in an orphanage and are looked after by headmistress Miss Alma LeFay Peregrine. Olive Abroholos Elephanta can levitate, Enoch O’Connor can turn non-animated objects alive for a brief time, and buzzing bees live in Hugh Apiston’s stomach. When the enemy kidnaps Miss Peregrine, the orphans, led by newcomer Jacob Magellan Portman, try to rescue her.

Oh – and there’s a time twist too – just like in The Umbrella Academy. Miss Peregrine, who shape shifts into birds, can manipulate time. She’s kept the orphans reliving the same day of September 3, 1940, in a time loop since the beginning of World War II to keep an exploding bomb from ending them.

The time loop also protects the children from monstrous creatures called the hollowgasts who eat these peculiar children for fun. It’s not exactly like fighting giant, armored alien knights from another universe, as seen on The Umbrella Academy, but it gives the same thrills.

As a bonus, this book has five sequels – Hollow CityLibrary of SoulsA Map of Days, The Conference of the Birds, and The Desolations of Devil’s Acre. In addition, the author and illustrator Cassandra Jean released a graphic novel of the story in October of 2013. Sadly, we cannot recommend the 2016 movie adaptation, although we'll give director Tim Burton credit for actually filming Jacob's pre-orphanage life in Florida in the Sunshine State.

2. Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

Experience more paranormal magic in this novel, set on Yale University’s campus. Los Angeles native Alex arrives at the campus, wondering why she is there. She never graduated from high school. She doesn’t know how she’ll fit in or if she is good enough to be a Yale student.

Besides, the story behind her acceptance to the New Haven campus is a little strange. At 20, Alex becomes the sole survivor of a multiple homicide case. However, while in the hospital, she gets the ultimate offer – the opportunity to attend the prestigious Ivy League school.

The catch? She must join the Lethe – the watchdog student organization which oversees the eight secret societies on campus. As she tries to help with supervision, she quickly learns there is some kind of paranormal magic that surrounds these secret societies.

Meanwhile, Alex also has to deal with her issues too. Like Klaus in The Umbrella Academy, she sees ghosts or what the New Havens call “Grays.” First, she saw them in California, and now she sees them in Connecticut. But these Grays are not like Ben, Klaus’ ghostly companion for seasons 1 and 2. These ghosts are sinister, and somehow, they’re linked to the secret societies – the same secret societies she must supervise.

Then, Alex discovers that’s why they wanted her on campus. She thought she was the only one who knew her secret, but others knew she could see ghosts all along, and they wanted her to sniff out the ghosts lurking within these clandestine groups.

Hell Bent, the sequel, came out in January 2023, if Ninth House has you reeling for more.

3. Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughan

Another read for those who want a taste for more time traveling is Paper Girls. This suggestion is also a comic book, like The Umbrella Academy, which may make it more of an attractive alternative.

The series, set in 1988 in a Cleveland suburb, follows four 12-year-old female newspaper carriers – Erin, MacKenzie, KJ, and Tiffany. On Halloween morning, way early in the morning, the four are cruising on their bikes when an alien invasion starts. Remember, there were aliens in Umbrella Academy too.

Readers are supposed to think it’s an alien invasion at the beginning, or at least they’re supposed to be confused by what’s happening. However, in future issues, the preteens discover that time travelers from the future have arrived and are in a battle with another time-traveling sect. The girls are the ones stuck in the middle.

The icing on the cake is author Vaughan, a well-known writer in the sci-fi, and thriller genre, who has written for popular shows such as Lost and Under the Dome and created the comic behind Y the Last Man. This option is the next book to read for those craving a dangerous type of Baby-Sitters Club with four young heroines trying to save the world.

After reading it, there’s also the chance to watch the tv series adaptation of the comics, which feels very Stranger Things-y when it comes to Amazon Prime.

4. The House of Children by Heidi Daneile

For readers, who want to relive the orphan experience, The House of Children is a good substitute. Sir Reginald Hargreeves did adopt Luther, Allison, Klaus, Ben, Diego, Viktor, and Five. However, having a cruel and strict father and a robotic mother is not the same as being raised by loving parents.

The book’s protagonist Mary Margaret Joyce also knows what it’s like to be an orphan. Mary’s mom gave birth to her in 1937 at the Tuam Home, a home where unwed mothers have their babies. After giving birth, Mary’s mom left, but Mary stayed at home – abandoned.

She spent her early childhood years there. Then, at 5, a judge ordered her to attend an industrial school. There, officials changed her name to Peg because too many other children were named Mary. It’s almost as heartless as naming children after numbers. Throughout this time, Peg grows up without any caring parent, just like the Hargreeves children.

She also experiences embarrassment and shame for being born to an unwed mother – a little like the shame Viktor experienced when he thought he was not as good as his siblings.

Unlike Umbrella Academy, this story is based on true life – specifically inside the day-to-day experiences of Ireland’s industrial schools. This choice does not have the same magical attributes as the others on the list, but it gives another perspective to living as an orphan.

5. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

Viewers who want a book that’s etched its legacy in the world of classic reads may want to try reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. This novel also involves a group of children and teenagers that fight evil – specifically the White Queen of Narnia.

The book is the first of seven novels in the Narnia series and is the most popular. Published in 1950, the book is set in 1940 (another World War II book like the first recommendation) as Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie evacuate London.

Their parents send them to live with Professor Digory Kirke on his large estate. During a hide-and-seek game, Lucy stumbles upon the world of Narnia in the back of a wardrobe.

There, Narnia is always winter, and animals can talk. The Queen is a cruel woman and the one who has cursed Narnia, keeping the sun at bay and the snow flurries continuously layering the powdered ground. After Lucy discovers this new world, it’s not long before the others find out about it.

There, the group of siblings (as in Umbrella Academy) help lead an army to battle against magic, kill the White Witch, and return Aslan, a huge lion, and Narnia’s true ruler, to his throne. In doing this, they end the Witch’s curse.

This novel has had a few movie adaptations, including one released in 2005 and co-produced by Walt Disney Pictures and Walden Media. The following two books in the series, Prince Caspian and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, were also made into movies.

6. The Magicians: A Novel by Lev Grossman

For those who want to stay away from young adult books, there is Lev Grossman’s The Magicians trilogy, composed of The Magicians, The Magician King, and The Magician’s Land. Just as in Umbrella Academy, you have students learning how to make their powers – in this case, magic – more potent.

What many call “Harry Potter on Steroids,” the book stars Quentin Coldwater, a Brooklynite. He’s excited because college officials accepted him as one of only 20 students into New York’s Brakebills College for Magical Pedagogy – a secret, prestigious college for sorcerers. It’s also the only magical college in North America.

The novel focuses on Coldwater’s childhood love for a book series called Fillory and Further,” about a magical land, much like C.S. Lewis’ Narnia. Then, when Coldwater graduates from college, he learns from one of his friends and classmates his childhood dream place is real. So he sets out to go to this new world. There, his adventures start.

However, these adventures are dangerous, risky, and rated R compared to other novels about magical children completing conquests, such as Harry Potter. But, it does compare with the Umbrella Academy.

Syfy adapted the books into a series that premiered in 2015.

7. The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is not the only book suggestion that involves orphanages with magical orphans. The House in the Cerulean Sea, published in March 2020, features the Department in Charge of Magical Youth. Klune narrates the life of the main character Linus Baker, a case worker at the department. His job: he supervises the children and the conditions in this enchanted orphanage.

These kids do not only possess magic, but normal humans discriminate against these innocent children due to them having magical skills. Department officials teach the children how to live without their magical powers so that they can assimilate into society.

Due to his dedication to his work, officials choose Baker to oversee the Marsyas Island Orphanage. Not only is this orphanage magical too, but few know about it. Even more interesting, no one has seen the magical children who live in this house. So it’s up to Baker to deal with these orphans — six orphans known to cause problems.

The number of special orphans is not the seven seen in the Umbrella Academy. However, these characters are just as interesting and exciting. Imagine dealing with children like the devil’s son or a tentacled creature.

8. Disappearing Act: A Host of Other Characters in 16 Short Stories by Robert Sheehan

Once the show finished, many might be missing one character in particular. Klaus Hargreeves provides comic relief in the show. Show buffs can count on the tall, lanky, immortal Hargreeves for a joke, even in the most horrible situations.

People can get more of Klaus by reading Disappearing Act: A Host of Other Characters in 16 Short Stories by Robert Sheehan, the actor who plays Klaus. While Sheehan wrote the collection of original short stories, they are not as humorous as Klaus’ personality on the show. Instead, as the title implies, the short stories are character-driven.

Plot is an afterthought in these stories, but they still provide a lot of entertainment. Furthermore, they have more of a surreal mood, where many of the characters have Virginia-Woolf-stream-of-conscious thought.

Shaheen, surprisingly, wrote some horror and suspense into a few stories, such as “Skin” and “A House In the Country.” The text also shows readers Sheehan’s sharp wit. Reading this book gives Sheehan fans a glimpse of a different side of the actor.

9. Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson

Those familiar with the show had become used to watching Klaus talk to ghosts. However, those who enjoyed the supernatural aspect of the book will get a kick from reading Undead Girl Gang.

Anderson writes of teenage Mila Flores and her best friend, Riley. They’re always together and have many pastimes, including Wiccan activities. Then, tragedy occurs. Riley and two other girls die under suspicious circumstances.

Cross Creek town residents believe Riley participated in a suicide pact with two other girls, June and Dayton. But Mila knows her best friend would never kill herself. She wants to show others she’s right.

What does Mila do? She uses witchcraft to raise the girl from the dead. Brought back to life, the zombies do not remember how they died. Also, they only have a week before Mila’s spell wears off, and the girls die again.

In the show, Klaus and Ben had the same type of undead relationship that Mila has with Riley.

10. Sanctuary by Caryn Lix

The last recommendation is for those desiring to read more about supernatural teenagers and space. Remember where Luther was when the show started? On the moon?

In Sanctuary, published in 2018, Kenzie is a guard-in-training. Her dream is to be one of the elite guards on Sanctuary, an Omnistellar space prison that houses teens with superpowers that may be too destructive for Earth.

While on Earth, companies like Disney and Coca-Cola may be among the most powerful companies on this planet, Omnistellar is the most formidable company in the solar system, and it’s also Kenzie’s home.

So, it wouldn’t be good if Kenzie loses control of these inmates, and that’s exactly what happens. The adolescent inmates take her hostage.

As she tries to escape, she discovers these super-human, pre-pubescent adults are not her only threat. Something more sinister and ancient is lurking – waiting for her. Here’s a hint – aliens!

She, and her tormentors, must learn to fight together to survive. This story sounds a lot like The Umbrella Academy, where a group of siblings with superpowers have to set aside their many, many disagreements to save the universe. And the siblings have plenty of differences, from Viktor hiding how Harlan killed all of the siblings’ mothers from her brothers and sisters to Allison making a pact with this timeline’s version of Sir Hargreeves and betraying the rest.

This book is the first in a trilogy. The second is Containment (2019), and the third is Salvation (2020).

This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Rasha is a die-hard bookaholic, but when she's not reading, she watches TV shows with her husband. He's in charge of the remote because he certainly doesn't trust her with one. If he did, they would be watching “Law and Order” reruns all day. She is a former reporter who now works in the social work industry, connecting people with essential resources and agencies. Other than that, Rasha is currently using her superpower, writing, to deliver the news.