Every state has its hallmark writers. Mississippi has William Faulkner and his incomparable (fictional) Yoknapatawpha County and Missouri can lay claim to Mark Twain. The state of Maine is gifted with Pulitzer winner Richard Russo and horror icon Stephen King. Rural Pennsylvania is the playground of the much-heralded (and occasionally maligned) John Updike, and when many bibliophiles think of New Jersey, they also think of Richard Ford’s series of novels featuring recurring Everyman character Frank Bascombe. Illinois can lay claim to William Maxwell, Sandra Cisneros, and Adam Langer, among numerous others. And what reader can think of Washington State without contending with the sparkle-vampire yarns of Stephanie Meyer?

What makes authors like these inextricably associated with a particular state is not simply the matter of their having been born there or choosing to live there. The connection, from a writerly standpoint, is deeper than that—their work, nearly all of it, is set in “their” state.

Of course, there are certainly exceptions. Whether a writer sets a tale in the town where they went to college or spent part of their childhood—like Donna Tartt’s “The Secret History” and its New England arts school setting and the almost-factual small town of Jo Ann Beard’s “In Zanesville,” respectively—or crafts a story that follows a social or political theme to a location they know little about but lay narrative claim to anyway, the world is rife with books known, loved, and respected that also capture the essence of place—books where setting itself is one of the strongest characters.

Stacker compiled a list of books set in Massachusetts from Goodreads. Whether you’re looking for a good read set in the state you call home, or you’re looking to expand your curiosity with a writer you’re already familiar with, we’ve got you covered.

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Little Women

Little Women
Little Women (Goodreads via Stacker)

– Rating: 4.13 (2.0 million ratings)
– Author: Louisa May Alcott
– Published: January 1, 1868
– Genres: Classics, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Young Adult
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Make Way for Ducklings

Make Way for Ducklings
Make Way for Ducklings (Goodreads via Stacker)

– Rating: 4.23 (87,681 ratings)
– Author: Robert McCloskey
– Published: January 1, 1941
– Genres: Picture Books, Childrens, Classics, Fiction
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The Scarlet Letter

The Scarlet Letter
The Scarlet Letter (Goodreads via Stacker)

– Rating: 3.43 (797,429 ratings)
– Author: Nathaniel Hawthorne
– Published: March 16, 1850
– Genres: Classics, Fiction, Historical Fiction, School
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Walden

Walden
Walden (Goodreads via Stacker)

– Rating: 3.78 (177,583 ratings)
– Author: Henry David Thoreau
– Published: August 9, 1854
– Genres: Classics, Philosophy, Nonfiction, Nature
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Mystic River

Mystic River
Mystic River (Goodreads via Stacker)

– Rating: 4.15 (139,782 ratings)
– Author: Dennis Lehane
– Published: January 1, 2001
– Genres: Mystery, Fiction, Thriller, Crime
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The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry (Goodreads via Stacker)

– Rating: 4.00 (231,029 ratings)
– Author: Gabrielle Zevin
– Published: April 1, 2014
– Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Books About Books, Adult
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A Drink Before the War (Kenzie & Gennaro, #1)

A Drink Before the War (Kenzie & Gennaro, #1)
A Drink Before the War (Kenzie & Gennaro, #1) (Goodreads via Stacker)

– Rating: 3.94 (39,780 ratings)
– Author: Dennis Lehane
– Published: November 1, 1994
– Genres: Mystery, Fiction, Crime, Thriller
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The Bell Jar

The Bell Jar
The Bell Jar (Goodreads via Stacker)

– Rating: 4.04 (762,319 ratings)
– Author: Sylvia Plath
– Published: January 1, 1963
– Genres: Classics, Fiction, Feminism, Mental Health
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The Crucible

The Crucible
The Crucible (Goodreads via Stacker)

– Rating: 3.60 (370,664 ratings)
– Author: Arthur Miller
– Published: January 22, 1953
– Genres: Classics, Plays, Fiction, Historical Fiction
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The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane (The Physick Book, #1)

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane (The Physick Book, #1)
The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane (The Physick Book, #1) (Goodreads via Stacker)

– Rating: 3.72 (55,421 ratings)
– Author: Katherine Howe
– Published: June 9, 2009
– Genres: Historical Fiction, Fiction, Fantasy, Mystery
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Shutter Island

Shutter Island
Shutter Island (Goodreads via Stacker)

– Rating: 4.09 (182,960 ratings)
– Author: Dennis Lehane
– Published: January 1, 2003
– Genres: Mystery, Fiction, Thriller, Horror
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On Beauty

On Beauty
On Beauty (Goodreads via Stacker)

– Rating: 3.75 (77,738 ratings)
– Author: Zadie Smith
– Published: June 4, 2005
– Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Novels, Literary Fiction
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The Heretic’s Daughter

The Heretic's Daughter
The Heretic’s Daughter (Goodreads via Stacker)

– Rating: 3.78 (34,352 ratings)
– Author: Kathleen Kent
– Published: September 3, 2008
– Genres: Historical Fiction, Fiction, Historical, Witches
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Love Story (Love Story, #1)

Love Story (Love Story, #1)
Love Story (Love Story, #1) (Goodreads via Stacker)

– Rating: 3.64 (57,425 ratings)
– Author: Erich Segal
– Published: February 14, 1970
– Genres: Romance, Fiction, Classics, Contemporary
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Summer

Summer
Summer (Goodreads via Stacker)

– Rating: 3.67 (12,968 ratings)
– Author: Edith Wharton
– Published: January 1, 1917
– Genres: Classics, Fiction, Romance, American
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The Boston Girl

The Boston Girl
The Boston Girl (Goodreads via Stacker)

– Rating: 3.82 (82,296 ratings)
– Author: Anita Diamant
– Published: December 9, 2014
– Genres: Historical Fiction, Fiction, Audiobook, Historical
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The House of the Seven Gables

The House of the Seven Gables
The House of the Seven Gables (Goodreads via Stacker)

– Rating: 3.45 (37,141 ratings)
– Author: Nathaniel Hawthorne
– Published: March 1, 1851
– Genres: Classics, Fiction, Gothic, Literature
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Defending Jacob

Defending Jacob
Defending Jacob (Goodreads via Stacker)

– Rating: 3.99 (286,008 ratings)
– Author: William Landay
– Published: January 31, 2012
– Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Thriller, Crime
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Summer of ’69

Summer of '69
Summer of ’69 (Goodreads via Stacker)

– Rating: 3.96 (108,546 ratings)
– Author: Elin Hilderbrand
– Published: June 13, 2019
– Genres: Historical Fiction, Fiction, Audiobook, Chick Lit
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Johnny Tremain

Johnny Tremain
Johnny Tremain (Goodreads via Stacker)

– Rating: 3.67 (46,041 ratings)
– Author: Esther Forbes
– Published: January 1, 1943
– Genres: Historical Fiction, Fiction, Classics, Young Adult
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Illumination Night

Illumination Night
Illumination Night (Goodreads via Stacker)

– Rating: 3.74 (8,177 ratings)
– Author: Alice Hoffman
– Published: August 5, 1987
– Genres: Fiction, Magical Realism, Contemporary, Fantasy
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Run

Run
Run (Goodreads via Stacker)

– Rating: 3.62 (44,702 ratings)
– Author: Ann Patchett
– Published: January 1, 2007
– Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Literary Fiction, Adult Fiction
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Thoreau at Devil’s Perch (Henry David Thoreau Mystery #1)

Thoreau at Devil's Perch (Henry David Thoreau Mystery #1)
Thoreau at Devil’s Perch (Henry David Thoreau Mystery #1) (Goodreads via Stacker)

– Rating: 3.45 (127 ratings)
– Author: B.B. Oak
– Published: January 1, 2013
– Genres: Mystery, Historical Fiction, Historical Mystery, Fiction
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The Wedding

The Wedding
The Wedding (Goodreads via Stacker)

– Rating: 3.98 (5,514 ratings)
– Author: Dorothy West
– Published: January 1, 1995
– Genres: Fiction, Historical Fiction, African American, Classics
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The Chocolate War (Chocolate War, #1)

The Chocolate War (Chocolate War, #1)
The Chocolate War (Chocolate War, #1) (Goodreads via Stacker)

– Rating: 3.49 (44,151 ratings)
– Author: Robert Cormier
– Published: January 1, 1974
– Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Classics, Realistic Fiction
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The Giant’s House

The Giant's House
The Giant’s House (Goodreads via Stacker)

– Rating: 3.67 (7,204 ratings)
– Author: Elizabeth McCracken
– Published: June 1, 1996
– Genres: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Romance, Adult Fiction
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The Wolves of Andover

The Wolves of Andover
The Wolves of Andover (Goodreads via Stacker)

– Rating: 3.56 (4,170 ratings)
– Author: Kathleen Kent
– Published: January 1, 2010
– Genres: Historical Fiction, Fiction, Historical, Romance
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Ethan Frome

Ethan Frome
Ethan Frome (Goodreads via Stacker)

– Rating: 3.43 (118,845 ratings)
– Author: Edith Wharton
– Published: January 1, 1911
– Genres: Classics, Fiction, Literature, Romance
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Bowlaway

Bowlaway
Bowlaway (Goodreads via Stacker)

– Rating: 3.11 (6,039 ratings)
– Author: Elizabeth McCracken
– Published: February 5, 2019
– Genres: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Adult, Audiobook
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The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy (The Penderwicks #1)

The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy (The Penderwicks #1)
The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy (The Penderwicks #1) (Goodreads via Stacker)

– Rating: 4.16 (54,690 ratings)
– Author: Jeanne Birdsall
– Published: June 14, 2005
– Genres: Middle Grade, Fiction, Childrens, Realistic Fiction
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Gone, Baby, Gone (Kenzie & Gennaro, #4)

Gone, Baby, Gone (Kenzie & Gennaro, #4)
Gone, Baby, Gone (Kenzie & Gennaro, #4) (Goodreads via Stacker)

– Rating: 4.14 (36,682 ratings)
– Author: Dennis Lehane
– Published: July 22, 1998
– Genres: Mystery, Fiction, Thriller, Crime
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Wicked Appetite (Lizzy & Diesel, #1)

Wicked Appetite (Lizzy & Diesel, #1)
Wicked Appetite (Lizzy & Diesel, #1) (Goodreads via Stacker)

– Rating: 3.78 (54,869 ratings)
– Author: Janet Evanovich
– Published: September 14, 2009
– Genres: Mystery, Fiction, Fantasy, Paranormal
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Girl, Interrupted

Girl, Interrupted
Girl, Interrupted (Goodreads via Stacker)

– Rating: 3.92 (211,847 ratings)
– Author: Susanna Kaysen
– Published: January 1, 1993
– Genres: Nonfiction, Memoir, Psychology, Mental Health
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Townie

Townie
Townie (Goodreads via Stacker)

– Rating: 3.77 (7,569 ratings)
– Author: Andre Dubus III
– Published: January 1, 2011
– Genres: Memoir, Nonfiction, Biography, Autobiography
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Tuesdays with Morrie

Tuesdays with Morrie
Tuesdays with Morrie (Goodreads via Stacker)

– Rating: 4.14 (911,198 ratings)
– Author: Mitch Albom
– Published: August 18, 1997
– Genres: Nonfiction, Memoir, Biography, Inspirational
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I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem

I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem
I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem (Goodreads via Stacker)

– Rating: 4.04 (7,902 ratings)
– Author: Maryse Condé
– Published: January 1, 1986
– Genres: Historical Fiction, Fiction, Witches, Feminism
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Magic Lessons (Practical Magic, #0.1)

Magic Lessons (Practical Magic, #0.1)
Magic Lessons (Practical Magic, #0.1) (Goodreads via Stacker)

– Rating: 4.21 (40,957 ratings)
– Author: Alice Hoffman
– Published: October 6, 2020
– Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Magical Realism
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So Far From Home: the Diary of Mary Driscoll, an Irish Mill Girl, Lowell, Massachusetts, 1847

So Far From Home: the Diary of Mary Driscoll, an Irish Mill Girl, Lowell, Massachusetts, 1847
So Far From Home: the Diary of Mary Driscoll, an Irish Mill Girl, Lowell, Massachusetts, 1847 (Goodreads via Stacker)

– Rating: 3.75 (5,027 ratings)
– Author: Barry Denenberg
– Published: January 1, 2003
– Genres: Historical Fiction, Young Adult, Historical, Fiction
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See What I Have Done

See What I Have Done
See What I Have Done (Goodreads via Stacker)

– Rating: 3.18 (14,113 ratings)
– Author: Sarah Schmidt
– Published: May 2, 2017
– Genres: Historical Fiction, Fiction, Mystery, Historical
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A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers / Walden / The Maine Woods / Cape Cod

A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers / Walden / The Maine Woods / Cape Cod
A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers / Walden / The Maine Woods / Cape Cod (Goodreads via Stacker)

– Rating: 4.23 (2,150 ratings)
– Author: Henry David Thoreau
– Published: January 1, 1849
– Genres: Classics, Nonfiction, Philosophy, Nature
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The Art Forger

The Art Forger
The Art Forger (Goodreads via Stacker)

– Rating: 3.74 (83,948 ratings)
– Author: Barbara A. Shapiro
– Published: October 23, 2012
– Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Art, Historical Fiction
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Alice’s Restaurant

Alice's Restaurant
Alice’s Restaurant (Goodreads via Stacker)

– Rating: 4.10 (20 ratings)
– Author: Arlo Guthrie
– Published: January 1, 1968
– Genres: Memoir, Music
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Summer Sisters

Summer Sisters
Summer Sisters (Goodreads via Stacker)

– Rating: 3.85 (94,982 ratings)
– Author: Judy Blume
– Published: January 1, 1998
– Genres: Fiction, Chick Lit, Romance, Young Adult
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The Sinner (Rizzoli & Isles, #3)

The Sinner (Rizzoli & Isles, #3)
The Sinner (Rizzoli & Isles, #3) (Goodreads via Stacker)

– Rating: 4.13 (51,567 ratings)
– Author: Tess Gerritsen
– Published: August 19, 2003
– Genres: Mystery, Crime, Thriller, Fiction
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Being Henry David

Being Henry David
Being Henry David (Goodreads via Stacker)

– Rating: 3.65 (2,798 ratings)
– Author: Cal Armistead
– Published: January 1, 2013
– Genres: Young Adult, Mystery, Realistic Fiction, Contemporary
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High Strangeness

High Strangeness
High Strangeness (Goodreads via Stacker)

– Rating: 3.62 (131 ratings)
– Author: Eric Bickernicks
– Published: December 14, 2018
– Genres: Fiction, Science Fiction
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Emily Upham’s Revenge: A Massachusetts Adventure

Emily Upham's Revenge: A Massachusetts Adventure
Emily Upham’s Revenge: A Massachusetts Adventure (Goodreads via Stacker)

– Rating: 3.67 (119 ratings)
– Author: Avi
– Published: January 1, 1978
– Genres: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Childrens, Young Adult
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The Other Daughter

The Other Daughter
The Other Daughter (Goodreads via Stacker)

– Rating: 4.00 (21,382 ratings)
– Author: Lisa Gardner
– Published: July 1, 1999
– Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Fiction, Suspense
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The Bostonians

The Bostonians
The Bostonians (Goodreads via Stacker)

– Rating: 3.58 (6,953 ratings)
– Author: Henry James
– Published: January 1, 1886
– Genres: Classics, Fiction, 19th Century, Literature
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Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things (Alvin Ho, #1)

Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things (Alvin Ho, #1)
Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things (Alvin Ho, #1) (Goodreads via Stacker)

– Rating: 3.82 (6,735 ratings)
– Author: Lenore Look
– Published: January 1, 2008
– Genres: Realistic Fiction, Humor, Middle Grade, Childrens
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