21 Best Authors Like Sally Rooney You Won’t Be Able to Put Down!

Check out our list of the top authors like Sally Rooney. If you appreciate Rooney’s direct, approachable writing style, you’ll love the books by these authors.

Sally Rooney is an Irish author who has published several internationally acclaimed bestsellers. Rooney was born in Castlebar and spent a short time in Dublin and New York City before returning to the city where she grew up. As a young woman, she studied at Trinity College Dublin before focusing on developing her writing style and becoming a successful writer.

Rooney started writing as a teenager and submitted two poems to The Stinging Fly, which were accepted for publication. Writing nearly constantly, she completed Conversations with Friends, her first novel, in grad school. The book was published in 2017. This was followed by Normal People in 2018, winning several awards, including the Irish Novel of the Year from the Irish Book Award.

Her most recent book, Beautiful World, Where Are You, was published in 2021. Rooney’s books are known for their deadpan approach to studying everyday life in a relatable way. If you like this writing style, check out these top authors like Sally Rooney for your next read. If you’re interested in this topic, you might also enjoy some of the best dark romance books!

Best Authors like Sally Rooney Ranked

1. Elif Batuman, 1977 –

Elif Batuman
Elif Batuman

Elif Batuman was born in New York City and grew up in New Jersey. She started writing novels after graduating from Harvard and getting her doctorate from Stanford. Batuman published The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them, her first book in 2010. The Idiot, her first novel, came to print in 2017 and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. The novel was a coming-of-age story about Selin, a character whose life modeled Elif’s quite a bit. Either/Or the sequel to that novel was published in 2022.

“It was the golden time of year. Every day the leaves grew brighter, the air sharper, the grass more brilliant. The sunsets seemed to expand and melt and stretch for hours, and the brick façades glowed pink, and everything got bluer. How many perfect autumns did a person get?”

Elif Batuman, Either/Or
  • Hardcover Book
  • Batuman, Elif (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 368 Pages - 05/24/2022 (Publication Date) - Penguin Press (Publisher)

2. Belinda McKeon, 1979 –

Belinda McKeon is an Irish author who has two novels to her name. Before she started her writing career, Belinda attended Trinity College and University College in Dublin, and in 2005, she moved to New York City to get her graduate degree from Columbia. In her debut novel, Solace, which she published in 2011, she tells a story of the relationship between a father and son who must face tragedy and loss together while building their relationship. This book won the 2011 Faber Prize and was voted Irish Book of the Year. In 2016, she published Tender, her second novel.

“He was the friend of my life. You know, you only have one friend like that; there can’t be two.”

Belinda McKeon, Tender
  • Belinda McKeon (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 432 Pages - 05/19/2016 (Publication Date) - Picador (Publisher)

3. Alexandra Chang

A UC Berkeley and Syracuse University graduate, Alexandra Chang grew up in California before moving to New York with her husband. As a young woman, she started writing as a tech reporter for Wired, and she used her experiences as the source for her novel Days of Distraction. The book, published in 2020, follows a young staff writer for a tech company who digs into her Asian American heritage as she tries to discover who she is and how to find justice in society.

“It is difficult to parse which parts of me come from my family, from being Chinese, from being Asian American, from being American, from being a woman, from being of a super generation, and from, simply, being.”

Alexandra Ghang, Days of Distraction
Days of Distraction: A Novel
  • Hardcover Book
  • Chang, Alexandra (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 320 Pages - 03/31/2020 (Publication Date) - Ecco (Publisher)

4. Miranda Popkey, 1987 –

Born in Santa Cruz, Miranda Popkey has extensive experience writing for newspapers. After graduating from Yale, she attended Washington University for her master’s degree. As a reporter, she worked for The New Republic, Paris Review, and The New Yorker. In her debut novel, Topics of Conversation, she dips into fiction writing. The book explores 20 years of the life of an unnamed narrator who looks at themes of self-sabotage, feminism, envy, and anger.

“What I’m saying is that my life, like the lives of most people, lacks an origin story. I mean one with any explanatory power. Which means that my son could turn out any way and for any reason or for no reason at all.”

Miranda Popkey, Topics of Conversation
Topics of Conversation: A novel
  • Popkey, Miranda (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 224 Pages - 03/09/2021 (Publication Date) - Vintage (Publisher)

5. Emily Austin

Emily Austin is another new-to-the-scene author with a style similar to Sally Rooney. In her debut novel, Everyone in this Room Will Someday Be Dead, she explores what happens when a closeted lesbian becomes a church secretary. Austin was born in Canada and attended King’s University College and Western University. In 2022, she was given a grant to write a second novel, which will be published soon.

“Of course, I’m a fraud. The fact that I’m able to carry myself through life without being crushed beneath the psychological weight of being alive proves that I’m a con artist. Aren’t we all con artists?”

Emily Austin, Everyone in this Room Will Someday Be Dead
Everyone in This Room Will Someday Be Dead: A Novel
  • Hardcover Book
  • Austin, Emily (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 256 Pages - 07/06/2021 (Publication Date) - Atria Books (Publisher)

6. Naoise Dolan

Born in Dublin, Naoise Dolan is an Irish novelist who gained nearly instant fame when she published her first novel in 2020. After experiencing bullying in high school, she attended Trinity College and Oxford University. When she graduated, she moved to Singapore to take on work as an English language teacher, then moved to Hong Kong and spent some time in Italy and London. Exciting Times is her first novel, which she wrote in just five months. It tells the story of Ava, someone who moved to Hong Kong from Ireland just like Dolan, and her romance with a lawyer named Edith. 

“I thought that if I let anyone in, they’d find out what was broken about me. And then not only would they know, I’d know too.”

Naoise Dolan, Exciting Times
Exciting Times: A Novel
  • Hardcover Book
  • Dolan, Naoise (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 256 Pages - 06/02/2020 (Publication Date) - Ecco (Publisher)

7. Melissa Broder, 1979 –

Melissa Broder
Melissa Broder

Essayist and poet Melissa Broder also dip her hands into the world of novel writing. She was born and raised in Pennsylvania before attending Tufts University and then worked as an editor for a literary magazine throughout college. After graduation, she relocated to San Francisco and New York City, where she worked as a publicist. In 2016, she published So Sad Today, a collection of her essays that she pulled from her Twitter account. Next, she published The Pisces in 2018, followed by Milk Fed in 2021.

“Did anyone genuinely like anything? So much art was bad. I preferred the work of dead people. At least the dead weren’t on Twitter”

Melissa Broder, Milk Fed
Milk Fed: A Novel
  • Broder, Melissa (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 320 Pages - 08/03/2021 (Publication Date) - Scribner (Publisher)

8. Eliza Clark, 1994 –

A graduate of Chelsae College of Art, Eliza Clark is a new author from London, England. As a social media marketer, she has experience writing for Mslexia, a women’s creative writing magazine. In 2018, she earned a grant from the New Writing North’s Young Writers’ Talent Fund to publish a book. In 2020 she published Boy Parts, her first novel, followed by Penance in 2023. Clark’s podcast, You Just Don’t Get It, Do You?, pokes fun at the world of film and television.

“You want to think you’re not like other women, but you are, you know. You’re still… that’s still how the rest of the world, how men are going to see you. Like, I know you hate labels, but you like… You live in a woman’s body. You’re vulnerable. No matter what you think, you’re vulnerable…”

Eliza Clark, Boy Parts
Boy Parts (International Edition)
  • Eliza Clark (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 297 Pages - 07/02/2020 (Publication Date) - Influx Press (Publisher)

9. Lily King, 1963 –

Award-winning author Lily King is an American novelist known for her independent female characters. King has five novels to her name, with the most recent, Writers & Lovers, hitting bookshelves in 2020. Five Tuesdays in Winter, her short story collection, was released in 2021. It was her 2014 book Euphoria that gained her acclaim, winning the Kirkus and New England Book Awards. The book was listed in TIME Magazine’s Top 10 Fiction Books of 2014 and the Best Book of 2014 on Amazon.

“You don’t realize how language actually interferes with communication until you don’t have it, how it gets in the way like an overdominant sense.”

Lily King, Euphoria
  • King, Lily (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 288 Pages - 04/14/2015 (Publication Date) - Grove Press (Publisher)

10. Coco Mellors

As a Londoner who moved to New York in her teens, Coco Mellors attended New York University, where she studied fiction, before moving to Los Angeles. Cleopatra and Frankenstein was her debut novel, which she published in 2022. Even though it is a newer work, it has been translated into 13 languages and was the Goodreads Choice award nominee for Best Fiction and Best Debut Novel that year. Mellors plans to release a second book, Blue Sisters, in 2023

“Fondness was the best word she could think of to describe what they felt for each other. Fondness was warm but not tepid, the color of amber, more affectionate than friendship but less complicated than love.”

Coco Mellors, Cleopatra and Frankenstein
Cleopatra and Frankenstein
  • Hardcover Book
  • Mellors, Coco (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 384 Pages - 02/08/2022 (Publication Date) - Bloomsbury Publishing (Publisher)

11. Mona Awad, 1978 –

Canadian novelist Mona Award grew up in Montreal and attended York University and Brown University. After graduation, she started writing short fiction and non-fiction works to publish in magazines, then took the pen name Veronica Hartley to write a column for Maisonneuve. In 2016, she published her first novel, 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl, which challenged body image concerns. Bunny, her second novel in 2019, won The Ladies of Horror Fiction Best Novel award and is in consideration for a motion picture.

“The universe is against us, which makes sense. So we get another McFlurry and talk about how fat we are for a while.”

Mona Award, 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl
13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl
  • Awad, Mona (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 224 Pages - 02/23/2016 (Publication Date) - Penguin Canada (Publisher)

12. Mary Adkins

Mary Adkins graduated from Duke University and Yale Law School. Though she has a law degree, this Nashville native has found a niche in writing. With articles and stories published in the New York Times and the Atlantic, she teaches other authors how to write good stories. Adkins has three novels: Palm Beach, Privilege, and When You Read This.

“Everyone has regret, but that doesn’t mean the choices we made were mistakes, or that we even could have acted differently. It just means we look back and feel like we could have.”

Mary Adkins, When You Read This
When You Read This: A Novel
  • Adkins, Mary (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 400 Pages - 02/18/2020 (Publication Date) - Harper Paperbacks (Publisher)

13. Kiley Reid, 1987 –

American author Kiley Reid started her writing career in 2019 by publishing Such a Fun Age. The book was quite popular and was longlisted for the Booker Prize. Born in Los Angeles, Reid was raised in Tucson and studied writing at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. In her first book, she looks at the interactions of a black babysitter and a white employer, touching on the challenges of racial tension. The book is a New York Times bestseller.

“I don’t need you to be mad that it happened. I need you to be mad that it just like… happens.”

Kiley Reid, Such a Fun Age
Such a Fun Age: Reese's Book Club (A Novel)
  • Reid, Kiley (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 368 Pages - 04/20/2021 (Publication Date) - G.P. Putnam's Sons (Publisher)

14. Sylvia Plath, 1932 – 1963

Sylvia Plath
Sylvia Plath

American author Sylvia Plath is known for her confessional poetry and novels. Born in Boston, Plath was educated at Smith College, where she suffered a mental health breakdown that required professional therapy. After getting out of the hospital for depression treatment, she obtained a Fulbright Scholarship to Newnham College in England and continued writing there. Much of her writing deeply examines her struggles with mental health. The Bell Jarher best-known fiction work, is a semi-autobiographical novel she published in 1963, the month before her death.

“I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am, I am, I am.”

Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
The Bell Jar (Modern Classics)
  • Great product!
  • Plath, Sylvia (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 244 Pages - 08/02/2005 (Publication Date) - Harper Perennial Modern Classics (Publisher)

15. Kazuo Ishiguro, 1954 –

Kazuo Ishiguro
Kazuo Ishiguro

Japanese-British novelist Kazuo Ishiguro writes novels set in the past and sometimes weaves science fiction into them. Never Let Me Go is one of his most famous works, and he also earned accolades for When We Were Orphans, his 2000 novel. In 2017, he won the Nobel Prize in Literature for his contributions. Ishiguro was also named an Order of the Rising Sun, 2nd Class, Gold, and Silver Star by the government of Japan

“Memories, even your most precious ones, fade surprisingly quickly. But I don’t go along with that. The memories I value most, I don’t ever see them fading.”

Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go
Never Let Me Go
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Ishiguro, Kazuo (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 288 Pages - 03/14/2006 (Publication Date) - Vintage (Publisher)

16. Dolly Alderton, 1988 –

Dolly Alderton is The Sunday Times columnist who earned the 2018 National Book Award for her memoir Everything I Know About Love. Born in London, this British author was named Hannah but changed her name to Dolly as a teenager. Alderton studied drama and English at the University of Exeter, then went to City University for a master’s degree.

From 2015 to 2017, she was a columnist for The Sunday Times before publishing her book in 2018. After that, she started working on the Dear Dolly agony aunt column while publishing her first novel, Ghosts. The most recent book on her list is Dear Dolly, a collection of her essays for the newspaper column of the same name.

“Nearly everything I know about love, I’ve learnt from my long-term friendships with women.”

Dolly Alderton, Everything I Know About Love
Everything I Know About Love: A Memoir
  • Alderton, Dolly (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 368 Pages - 02/09/2021 (Publication Date) - Harper Perennial (Publisher)

17. Ottessa Moshfegh, 1981 –

Ottessa Moshfegh
Ottessa Moshfegh

Best known for her book Eileen, Ottessa Moshfegh won the Hemingway Foundation PEN Award for this first novel. Born in Massachusetts to a Croatian mother and an Iranian Jewish father, Moshfegh attended Brown University and Barnard College before moving to China to teach English for a few years. After China, she moved to New York to work for a publisher.

Her novella McGlue was her first published work, launching her literary career. In 2015, she published Eileen; in 2017, she published Homesick for Another World, a short story collection. My Year of Rest and Relaxation, her 2018 book, is a unique story about a young woman who decided to use medication to sleep for an entire year.

“People truly engaged in life have messy houses.”

Ottessa Moshfegh, Eileen
Eileen: A Novel
  • Moshfegh, Ottessa (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 272 Pages - 08/16/2016 (Publication Date) - Penguin Books (Publisher)

18. David Nicholls, 1966 –

David Nicholls
David Nicholls

David Nicholls is an English actor who transformed his acting career into a literary one. Nicholls took science, literature, and drama classes at Barton Peveril College. After acting in college plays, he pursued an acting career in the theater. This led to writing screenplays and scripts, and then in 2003, he published his first novel, Starter for Ten. In his 2011 book One Day, Nicholls tells a compelling love story. The book became an international bestseller and was made into a motion picture. In all, Nicholls has published five novels.

“This is where it all begins. Everything starts here, today.”

David Nicholls, One Day
One Day (Movie Tie-in Edition) (Vintage Contemporaries)
  • Nicholls, David (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 448 Pages - 05/24/2011 (Publication Date) - Vintage (Publisher)

19. Kathleen Glasgow

With books published in over 30 languages, Kathleen Glasgow has succeeded as an author. Girl in Pieces, her 2016 novel, was a number one New York Times Bestseller. She also wrote You’d Be Home Now and How to Make Friends with the Dark and co-authored several books with Liz Lawson. Glasgow keeps much of her personal life private but lives in Tuscon.

“I’m tired and angry at me. For letting myself get smaller and smaller in the hopes that he would notice me more. But how can someone notice you if you keep getting smaller?”

Kathleen Glasgow, Girl in Pieces
Girl in Pieces
  • Hardcover Book
  • Glasgow, Kathleen (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 416 Pages - 08/30/2016 (Publication Date) - Delacorte Press (Publisher)

20. Miranda Cowley Heller, 1961 –

As a graduate of Harvard, Miranda Cowley Heller spent most of her career as a TV developer. However, throughout her life, she dabbled in writing, and her debut novel, The Paper Palace, came to market in 2021 to much critical acclaim. It was a New York Times bestseller. Cowley Heller also worked on several television shows, including Big Love and Six Feet Under.

“Does letting go mean losing everything you have, or does it mean gaining everything you never had?”

Miranda Cowley Heller, The Paper Palace
The Paper Palace (Reese's Book Club): A Novel
  • Cowley Heller, Miranda (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 400 Pages - 04/19/2022 (Publication Date) - Riverhead Books (Publisher)

21. Jennifer Egan, 1962 –

Jennifer Egan
Jennifer Egan

The president of the PEN America Center, Jennifer Egan, has a passion for writing. After graduating from Cambridge University with her master’s degree, she took odd jobs while honing her writing skills. Before launching her work as a novelist, she published several short stories in well-known magazines like The New Yorker. Her most notable works include A Visit from the Goon Squad, a short story collection published in 2010, and Manhattan Beach, her 2017 book, which won the Andrew Carnegie Medal. You can also check out authors like Thrity Umrigar.

“I don’t want to fade away, I want to flame away – I want my death to be an attraction, a spectacle, a mystery. A work of art.”

Jennifer Egan, A Visit from the Goon Squad
A Visit from the Goon Squad: Pulitzer Prize Winner
  • Egan, Jennifer (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 368 Pages - 03/22/2011 (Publication Date) - Anchor (Publisher)

Looking for more? Check out our round-up of authors like Catherine Bybee!


  • Nicole Harms has been writing professionally since 2006. She specializes in education content and real estate writing but enjoys a wide gamut of topics. Her goal is to connect with the reader in an engaging, but informative way. Her work has been featured on USA Today, and she ghostwrites for many high-profile companies. As a former teacher, she is passionate about both research and grammar, giving her clients the quality they demand in today's online marketing world.