CW’s newest show Riverdale is based on Archie Comics, a comic book series that started in the 40’s about teenagers in a town called Riverdale. Of course, CW upgraded its source material with very attractive people, mystery, and murder. I’m a sucker for all these things, so I’ve been thoroughly enjoying this new series. I did notice that every cast member of Riverdale came with a set of problems, problems I’m going to fix with the help of books.

These are some book recommendations that might help these characters learn a thing or two, all based on only Riverdale knowledge, so nothing that came before that. Also don’t think that you’d like these recommendations, just because you like Riverdale. They will not be similar in style at all. But if you do find yourself thinking that you’re an Archie or a Betty and you need some help dealing with similar issues, then you might want to pay attention. There will also be slight spoilers in case you haven’t seen the first five episodes yet.

Archie – Archie plays football, writes songs, and has red hair. He’s every girl’s dream and by girl, I mean his music teacher. Archie gets tangled up in a steamy affair and although I could recommend him many books that show this will only lead to pain, he does seem to know this by now. Instead, I figured Archie could use some help putting his musical career into perspective. He seemed pretty willing to blow off his football/college career, just for the promise of writing music. For now, his father has managed to convince him to try to get a football scholarship so he can go to college but I foresee a lot of trouble there in the future. To prevent this, I’d recommend The Love Song of Jonny Valentine, a book about an 11-year-old pop icon who has a hard-partying manager-mother who decides everything for him. Maybe after reading this, Archie wouldn’t be in such a rush to grow up and become famous.

Betty – Although she might seem like the lovely girl-next-door to Archie, there have been many hints about her having a dark side. Betty has already snapped a number of times during this short five episode run and I’m worried this is just going to get worse. She doesn’t mind hurting herself or others, so books that hold up a mirror to her psychopath self, seem to be in order here. I could see Betty go either way, so to prevent a suicide, I’d like her to read The Virgin Suicides. It has very relatable aspects – strict, controlling parents and crazy sisters – so that might put some things in perspective for her. Otherwise, I’d like to recommend The Library at Mount Char, which is about a girl who takes revenge on her entire family. It might contain some tips on how Betty could best approach this.

Veronica – Honestly, I love Veronica. Contrary to the comics, she seems to be a pretty good friend, she never backs down and has a killer fashion sense. Sure, there might be the occasional problems with her parents doing all kinds of dirty deals and whitewashing money, but I don’t think any of this will get Ronnie down. While watching Riverdale, I was also waiting for the final installment in the A Darker Shade of Magic series to come out and then it struck me: What Veronica is missing in her life are magic and Lila. For anyone who hasn’t read ADSOM, Lila is an amazing cross-dressing pirate who shouldn’t be able to do magic but teaches herself anyway. I saw a lot of similarities between the two girls: both have a wicked smile, a love for pretty clothes and a penchant for red-haired men. I just think that getting these two together would turn out to be pretty awesome and I need someone to write this fanfic for me.

Jughead – It’s no secret that Jughead loves true crime and that he’s planning on writing Riverdale’s In Cold Blood. He’s been working on the murder case of Jason Blossom, but I have a hunch that his partnership with Betty is going to get him into a lot of trouble. This is why I’d recommend The Journalist and the Murderer, a non-fiction book about journalists covering murder cases and how it can be hard not to get too involved. Let’s hope Jughead will be able to retain some of his journalistic integrity with this one.

Cheryl – Cheryl is the most cartoonish villain in the show who’s also mourning the death of her brother Jason. She’s bitchy, the head cheerleader and also batshit insane. The book I think Cheryl should read is H is for Hawk, a book about mourning the death of a loved one because working through some of her grief might stop her from doing more crazy shit. However, she’s never going to read a sappy book like that so instead, I’ll recommend her Madame Bovary. She will either identify with Emma as the hopeless romantic who gets dealt a shitty hand in life, or she might see that acting like a drama queen and just taking whatever you want, will end up with death by arsenic.

Josie – Growing up, I loved watching Josie and the Pussycats. They had amazing leopard leotards and awesome cat ears and were the first instance of an all-girl band I’d ever heard of. I was a little sad to see that Josie doesn’t feature all that much in the show and that whenever she does, she gets trot out to perform a song and then has to leave the stage again. I think Josie deserves better than that, so I’d recommend she read The Ghost Network and get herself an adventure worth her time. No more waiting around for Cheryl to ask her to perform at another pep rally for her dead brother, Josie’s off to solve some kind of insane pop star mystery involving mysterious subway maps and secret societies.

Kevin – Another character that is having trouble with representation. Kevin has been relegated to the trope of being the gay best friend and since we’re living in 2017 this is getting a little old. He deserves to be a well-rounded character with a life of his own. I’m recommending that Kevin reads Boys, an anthology where gay, queer and trans men share their stories to show that there isn’t one type of boy in the world, but many, all with their own backgrounds, personalities, and futures. I’d suggest that Kevin read it and then pass it on to the writers of this show to demand an actual storyline that isn’t just comedic relief.

These are my recommendations for the cast of Riverdale. Let me know if you watch the show and leave your own book recommendations for the characters in the comments!


Esmée de Heer is head honcho over at the Bored to Death book club website, writing the daily content and making sure the site stays up and running. She's one of the founding sisters of the book club and enjoys reading and giving unsolicited love advice.

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