I remember the first time I ever watched Doctor Who. I started watching a few years ago and began with the “New Who” series starring Christopher Eccleston as the Ninth Doctor. What followed were several late nights where I stayed up until 4 am watching every single episode until I was finally caught up and officially obsessed. I will admit that the Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) is my favorite, which I know could be argued and debated for days on end (feel free to do so in the comment section!), but one of the major reasons why Doctor Who struck such a chord with me was because of the enduring goodness of the Doctor. Not only is he cunning, witty, and mysterious, but the Doctor protects those who can’t do so themselves; He hates oppression and fights for justice with everything he has. Plus, who doesn’t love the general craziness that comes with time traveling in a retro police box that’s bigger on the inside?
Filming for series 8, featuring the “new” Twelfth Doctor portrayed by Peter Capaldi, started last month. As we wait impatiently for the new season to be released later this year, I wanted to share a few YA books that remind me of Doctor Who! Maybe a few of these titles will tide you over for now!
London Calling by Edward Bloor
London Calling is an exciting, time-travel-esque novel that follows Martin Conway, a boy whose dreams lead him to the London Blitz during World War II with a mysterious companion, Jimmy. His travels with Jimmy lead him through a meaningful discover of family, friendship, and integrity.
This book is reminiscent of “The Empty Child” and “The Doctor Dances,” the two part episode that also took place during the London Blitz. Martin’s new friendship with Jimmy is similar to the Doctor and Rose, who are still getting to know each other in the early episodes of series 1. Similarly, each pair of companions is on a mission to help those in need. In the Doctor and Rose’s case, they have to save the city of London from an airborne disease that alters your skeletal structure and turns your face into a gas mask! For Martin and Jimmy, their quest is more internal and reflective.
The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
Everyone loves a good alien-invasion story. Cassie finds herself alone after an alien invasion changes the world and separates her from her brother. She knows she can trust no one, since the aliens look exactly like humans. However, to save her brother, she must choose to get up and not give up.
The episode that came to mind was “The Aliens of London” that features the Slitheen who take over several government official’s lives after invading London. They encapsulate themselves inside the person’s skin and are able to use the human’s identity as a disguise. You don’t quite know they’re Slitheen unless they “reveal” themselves, and we all know how that turns out.
The Diviners by Libba Bray
Libba Bray has a talent for taking you “back in time” through her novels, and this time we head to Manhattan in the roaring 20’s. The Diviners has a distinct spooky, retro New York City feel that is similar to the Doctor Who episode “The Angels Take Manhattan.” Evie O’Neil has escaped her boring life in Nowheresville, Ohio, only to find herself knee-deep in a paranormal murder investigation. Meanwhile, a young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds.
Any Doctor Who fan laments this episode. By the end of this season, we can’t even count on two hands how many times he’s “killed off” Rory, only to bring him back. Why, Steven Moffat, why?? Well, this time, the weeping angels got The Ponds for good. Rory, again, finds himself caught between two worlds and Amy follows soon after.
Every Day by David Levithan
Imagine waking up every day in a different person’s body, having to live their life for one day exactly. Then the next day you wake up in a different person’s body. That’s how life has been for “A.” “It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.”- Goodreads.
Every Day reminds me of two episodes, both revolving around Amy and Rory. In the episode, “The Girl Who Waits,” Amy is separated from the Doctor and Rory, and is forced to live apart from them for 36 years. Rory struggles each day to return to Amy and reunite themselves again. The second episode that I’m reminded of is “The Pandorica Opens.” As the Doctor and Amy try to save the TARDIS from its impending doom, Rory has been straggling two worlds yet again. When he resurfaces as a Roman centurion, Amy does not recognize him. Rory struggles to retain his identity in this episode, but ultimately helps Amy regain her memory of him. Both Every Day and these two episodes are about holding on to the one you love.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Ok, so Douglas Adams’ novel isn’t quite YA lit, but it’s an obvious choice in finding Doctor Who-esque novels. Mere moments before the Earth is forever destroyed, Arthur Dent is saved by his friend Ford Prefect. The two embark on a journey through space, meeting a galaxy full of fellow travelers. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy has all of the witty, slightly campy energy that you’ve come to love and expect in each Doctor Who episode. It’s very reminiscent of Matt Smith’s Doctor.
Nobody by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Goodreads.com uses the following phrase to describe Nobody: “There are people in this world who are Nobody. No one sees them. No one notices them. They live their lives under the radar, forgotten as soon as you turn away.”
Uh, The Silence, anyone?? These villains rival the weeping angels in terms of overall creepiness. Their existence is the best kept secret of all time, because anyone who sees them immediately forgets about them after looking away. This allows them to have a distinct influence on anyone they encounter while being difficult to locate or resist. In other words, they, too, are the perfect assassins.
If you want more Doctor Who-inspired reading, check out our Time Travel Reading List here.