BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) – What famous books make you think of West Virginia?

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 West Virginia 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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1 / 50Goodreads

The Glass Castle

– Rating: 4.30 (1.1 million ratings)
– Author: Jeannette Walls
– Published: March 1, 2005
– Genres: Nonfiction, Memoir, Biography, Biography Memoir
– Read more on Goodreads

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Shiloh (Shiloh, #1)

– Rating: 3.95 (81,854 ratings)
– Author: Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
– Published: September 30, 1991
– Genres: Fiction, Childrens, Animals, Classics
– Read more on Goodreads

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The Good Lord Bird

– Rating: 3.90 (29,338 ratings)
– Author: James McBride
– Published: August 20, 2013
– Genres: Historical Fiction, Fiction, Historical, African American
– Read more on Goodreads

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Storming Heaven

– Rating: 4.12 (1,811 ratings)
– Author: Denise Giardina
– Published: August 17, 1987
– Genres: Historical Fiction, Fiction, Historical, Labor
– Read more on Goodreads

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No Filter (Barks & Beans Cafe Cozy Mystery #1)

– Rating: 4.35 (475 ratings)
– Author: Heather Day Gilbert
– Published: May 26, 2020
– Genres: Cozy Mystery, Mystery, Contemporary, Fiction
– Read more on Goodreads

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My Name Is River

– Rating: 4.33 (135 ratings)
– Author: Wendy Dunham
– Published: October 1, 2015
– Genres: Christian, Middle Grade, Contemporary, Fiction
– Read more on Goodreads

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The Boys Start the War (Boy/Girl Battle, #1)

– Rating: 4.03 (1,755 ratings)
– Author: Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
– Published: March 1, 1993
– Genres: Fiction, Childrens, Realistic Fiction, Middle Grade
– Read more on Goodreads

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Rocket Boys (Coalwood #1)

– Rating: 4.16 (20,611 ratings)
– Author: Homer Hickam
– Published: January 1, 1998
– Genres: Nonfiction, Memoir, Biography, Science
– Read more on Goodreads

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Moon Signs (Moon Mystery #1)

– Rating: 3.65 (2,074 ratings)
– Author: Helen Haught Fanick
– Published: October 6, 2011
– Genres: Mystery, Cozy Mystery, Fiction, Mystery Thriller
– Read more on Goodreads

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The Ballad of Trenchmouth Taggart: A Novel

– Rating: 3.97 (1,129 ratings)
– Author: M. Glenn Taylor
– Published: January 1, 2008
– Genres: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical, Novels
– Read more on Goodreads

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Missing May

– Rating: 3.80 (12,737 ratings)
– Author: Cynthia Rylant
– Published: March 1, 1992
– Genres: Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Young Adult, Childrens
– Read more on Goodreads

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Obsidian (Lux, #1)

– Rating: 4.15 (267,873 ratings)
– Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
– Published: November 29, 2011
– Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Paranormal
– Read more on Goodreads

13 / 50Goodreads

The Finder of Forgotten Things

– Rating: 4.13 (479 ratings)
– Author: Sarah Loudin Thomas
– Published: December 1, 2021
– Genres: Historical Fiction, Fiction, Romance, Christian
– Read more on Goodreads

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Child of the Mountains

– Rating: 4.03 (665 ratings)
– Author: Marilyn Sue Shank
– Published: April 10, 2012
– Genres: Historical Fiction, Young Adult, Middle Grade, Fiction
– Read more on Goodreads

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The Unquiet Grave (Ballad #12)

– Rating: 3.74 (2,496 ratings)
– Author: Sharyn McCrumb
– Published: September 12, 2017
– Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Fiction, Historical
– Read more on Goodreads

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16 / 50Goodreads

Send No Blessings

– Rating: 3.82 (80 ratings)
– Author: Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
– Published: January 1, 1990
– Genres: Young Adult
– Read more on Goodreads

17 / 50Goodreads

What Lies in the Hills: A West Virginia Adventure Novel (A Josh Baker and Eddie Debord Series Book 2)

– Rating: 4.54 (118 ratings)
– Author: Steve Kittner
– Published: January 15, 2016
– Genres: Mystery
– Read more on Goodreads

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River Rocks: A West Virginia Adventure Novel (A Josh Baker and Eddie Debord Series Book 1)

– Rating: 4.31 (209 ratings)
– Author: Steve Kittner
– Published: December 28, 2014
– Genres: Mystery, Amazon, Adventure
– Read more on Goodreads

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A Killing in the Hills (Bell Elkins #1)

– Rating: 3.63 (4,935 ratings)
– Author: Julia Keller
– Published: January 1, 2012
– Genres: Mystery, Fiction, Crime, Mystery Thriller
– Read more on Goodreads

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Minna’s Patchwork Coat

– Rating: 4.26 (62 ratings)
– Author: Lauren A. Mills
– Published: January 1, 2015
– Genres: Historical Fiction, Middle Grade, Picture Books
– Read more on Goodreads

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June Bug

– Rating: 4.14 (4,247 ratings)
– Author: Chris Fabry
– Published: July 23, 2009
– Genres: Christian Fiction, Fiction, Christian, Mystery
– Read more on Goodreads

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Snow in Summer

– Rating: 3.50 (1,951 ratings)
– Author: Jane Yolen
– Published: November 10, 2011
– Genres: Fantasy, Fairy Tales, Young Adult, Historical Fiction
– Read more on Goodreads

23 / 50Goodreads

A Blue-Eyed Daisy

– Rating: 3.65 (181 ratings)
– Author: Cynthia Rylant
– Published: January 1, 1985
– Genres: Fiction, Juvenile, Young Adult, Childrens
– Read more on Goodreads

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The Promise of Jesse Woods

– Rating: 4.22 (1,587 ratings)
– Author: Chris Fabry
– Published: July 1, 2016
– Genres: Christian Fiction, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Christian
– Read more on Goodreads

25 / 50Goodreads

Dirt: Growing Strong Roots in What Makes the Broken Beautiful

– Rating: 4.23 (1,232 ratings)
– Author: Mary Marantz
– Published: September 15, 2020
– Genres: Memoir, Nonfiction, Biography Memoir, Biography
– Read more on Goodreads

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Finding Family

– Rating: 3.62 (143 ratings)
– Author: Tonya Bolden
– Published: August 31, 2010
– Genres: Historical Fiction, African American, Historical, Middle Grade
– Read more on Goodreads

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Free Verse

– Rating: 4.12 (763 ratings)
– Author: Sarah Dooley
– Published: March 15, 2016
– Genres: Realistic Fiction, Poetry, Middle Grade, Young Adult
– Read more on Goodreads

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Under a Cloudless Sky

– Rating: 4.48 (920 ratings)
– Author: Chris Fabry
– Published: January 1, 2017
– Genres: Christian Fiction, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Christian
– Read more on Goodreads

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Sarah

– Rating: 3.47 (4,138 ratings)
– Author: J.T. LeRoy
– Published: August 1, 2000
– Genres: Fiction, LGBT, Queer, Contemporary
– Read more on Goodreads

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The Dog Days of Charlotte Hayes

– Rating: 3.84 (394 ratings)
– Author: Marlane Kennedy
– Published: March 1, 2009
– Genres: Realistic Fiction, Animals, Fiction, Dogs
– Read more on Goodreads

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The Miner’s Daughter

– Rating: 3.79 (272 ratings)
– Author: Gretchen Moran Laskas
– Published: February 6, 2007
– Genres: Historical Fiction, Young Adult, Historical, Fiction
– Read more on Goodreads

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Close to Famous

– Rating: 4.03 (9,055 ratings)
– Author: Joan Bauer
– Published: February 1, 2011
– Genres: Realistic Fiction, Young Adult, Middle Grade, Fiction
– Read more on Goodreads

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McKendree

– Rating: 3.45 (11 ratings)
– Author: Sandra Belton
– Published: May 31, 2000
– Genres: Young Adult
– Read more on Goodreads

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Hound Heaven

– Rating: 4.06 (31 ratings)
– Author: Linda Oatman High
– Published: October 1, 1995
– Genres: Middle Grade
– Read more on Goodreads

35 / 50Goodreads

The Evening Hour

– Rating: 3.92 (410 ratings)
– Author: Carter Sickels
– Published: January 17, 2012
– Genres: Fiction, Literary Fiction, Adult Fiction, Class
– Read more on Goodreads

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The Brightest Light

– Rating: 3.98 (58 ratings)
– Author: Colleen O’Shaughnessy McKenna
– Published: January 1, 1992
– Genres: Young Adult
– Read more on Goodreads

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All That’s Missing

– Rating: 3.70 (212 ratings)
– Author: Sarah Sullivan
– Published: October 8, 2013
– Genres: Middle Grade, Realistic Fiction, Family, Childrens
– Read more on Goodreads

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Coal Camp Girl

– Rating: 4.09 (126 ratings)
– Author: Lois Lenski
– Published: January 1, 1959
– Genres: Historical Fiction, Childrens, Fiction, Classics
– Read more on Goodreads

39 / 50Goodreads

When the Whistle Blows

– Rating: 3.77 (443 ratings)
– Author: Fran Cannon Slayton
– Published: June 11, 2009
– Genres: Historical Fiction, Young Adult, Fiction, Historical
– Read more on Goodreads

40 / 50Goodreads

Into the Hollow

– Rating: 4.22 (55 ratings)
– Author: Lynn Vroman
– Published: November 6, 2018
– Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult, Romance, Fiction
– Read more on Goodreads

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Wolf’s Bane (Otherworld: Kate and Logan, #1)

– Rating: 4.13 (1,928 ratings)
– Author: Kelley Armstrong
– Published: December 10, 2018
– Genres: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Fantasy, Paranormal
– Read more on Goodreads

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Dogs of God

– Rating: 3.71 (256 ratings)
– Author: Pinckney Benedict
– Published: December 1, 1993
– Genres: Fiction, Novels, Mystery, Southern Gothic
– Read more on Goodreads

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Melting the Ice

– Rating: 4.07 (99 ratings)
– Author: Amy Leigh Napier
– Published: December 31, 2013
– Genres: Contemporary Romance
– Read more on Goodreads

44 / 50Goodreads

Tumult on the Mountains: Lumbering in West Virginia 1770-1920

– Rating: 4.37 (19 ratings)
– Author: Roy B. Clarkson
– Published: January 1, 1964
– Genres: History, Nature
– Read more on Goodreads

45 / 50Goodreads

Julianna’s Choice (The Stone Wolves Book 1)

– Rating: 3.72 (18 ratings)
– Author: Davina Guy
– Published: January 14, 2018
– Genres: Amazon, Paranormal
– Read more on Goodreads

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46 / 50Goodreads

A Cold Dark Place (Cold Justice, #1)

– Rating: 4.20 (10,897 ratings)
– Author: Toni Anderson
– Published: March 25, 2014
– Genres: Romantic Suspense, Romance, Mystery, Suspense
– Read more on Goodreads

47 / 50Goodreads

Whiskey Chaser (Bootleg Springs, #1)

– Rating: 4.31 (12,458 ratings)
– Author: Lucy Score
– Published: April 13, 2018
– Genres: Romance, Contemporary Romance, Contemporary, Humor
– Read more on Goodreads

48 / 50Goodreads

Funny How Things Change

– Rating: 3.56 (342 ratings)
– Author: Melissa Wyatt
– Published: April 27, 2009
– Genres: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Teen
– Read more on Goodreads

49 / 50Goodreads

Backcountry: Contemporary Writing in West Virginia

– Rating: 4.32 (25 ratings)
– Author: Irene McKinney
– Published: August 19, 2002
– Genres: Poetry, Short Stories
– Read more on Goodreads

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The Truth According to Us

– Rating: 3.75 (18,094 ratings)
– Author: Annie Barrows
– Published: June 9, 2015
– Genres: Historical Fiction, Fiction, Historical, Adult
– Read more on Goodreads

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