‘Groundhog Day’ Book Tropes: Try these Books with Time Loops

The 1993 classic film ‘Groundhog Day’ popularized the trope of time loops in modern media. Here are 4 books that feature time loops of adventure!

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The 1993 cult classic Groundhog Day starring Bill Murray arguably popularized time loops. Specifically, living the same day over and over and over again without a visible end. Though a ridiculous notion, this infamous movie garnered a massive fanbase that remains to this day.

Annoyed when he’s assigned to cover Punxsutawney’s annual Groundhog festivities for the fourth year in a row, cynical meteorologist, Phil Connors (Bill Murray), intends to perfunctorily complete the miserable segment. The true nightmare begins when Phil awakes to find he’s forced to relive Groundhog Day over again indefinitely. Desperate to escape his situation, Phil initially struggles to break the time loop before accepting his fate and uses the opportunity to live the day “right.”

Time loops are a classic trope in modern media. From the 1967 film Journey to the Center of Time to 2014’s The Edge of Tomorrow to the more recent 2020 film Palm Springs directors have brought the trope to life in dozens of ways. Each set of characters addresses the ordeal differently, making time loops as entertaining as they are endless.

If you’re looking for book recommendations similar to Groundhog Day, check out these four books with time loops that are as frustratingly enjoyable as the classic.

1. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver. The book cover features a girl's face sideways on a grassy floor.-- Groundhog Day

Published in 2010, featuring over a quarter million reviews on Goodreads, and adapted into a motion picture in 2017, Lauren Oliver’s Before I Fall took the YA world by storm. Forced to relive February 12th (coined ‘Cupid Day’ by her high school), mean-girl protagonist Samantha Kingston attempts to fix her mistakes and make the day right.

2. Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds

Opposite of Always by [Justin A. Reynolds]. The book cover features a boy and a girl sitting in various positions up a staircase.

Jack and Kate meet at a party and form an instant connection that turns into love. When Kate unexpectedly dies, Jack is sent back to the moment they met. He relives the party sunrise after sunset with no visible end. Determined to prevent Kate’s death, Jack’s journey forces him to face what he’s willing to do to save the woman he loves.

3. The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton. The cover features black and gold detailing.

In a thriller of fantastic creativity, Aiden Bishop must solve the murder of Evelyn Hardcastle to break the time loop that envelops Blackheath Manor. Each night, Evelyn dies. Each morning, Aiden wakes up in the body of a different suspect with no memory of the day before. Racing to uncover the killer’s identity, Aiden realizes he isn’t the only one stuck in the time loop—and Evelyn is not the only person the killer wants dead.

4. The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig. The cover is midnight blue, with plane windows depicting small decals of people, pets, and places.

Winner of 2020’s Best Fiction Novel by the GoodReads community with over a million ratings on the app, The Midnight Library takes a fresh twist on the time loop trope: rather than reliving a single day, Nora Seed continuously relives her life in all the ways it could have been. Only accessible on the precipice of death, the Midnight Library contains an infinite number of books telling the story of a different reality for Nora. Faced with the ability to change her reality for a different one—a different career, a different partner, a different home—or to leave life behind all together, Nora must decide what makes life worth living.

These four fresh takes on the time loop trope are sure to make great additions to your TBR. To find more movie-to-book recommendations, click here.