Stranger Things prequel book series: authors, release date, plots and everything we know so far

Hawkins is heading to a bookshop near you

The past two series of Stranger Things have been a runaway success. Since the episodes dropped onto Netflix the show won an army of fans, and the young cast became instant A-listers. And now the beloved town of Hawkins is going to move from your laptop screens to your bookshelf, with a string of Stranger Things books being planned for release. Here’s what we know about them so far:

Lastest updates:

  • New book detailing Max Mayfield’s past will be released in June – see its ’80s-inspired cover and more details below.
  • First chapter from Eleven’s origin story released

Who’ll be publishing them?

Deadline have confirmed that Penguin Random House Books UK have partnered with Netflix to publish the books in the UK.

There’s quite a few books set to be released, aren’t there?


Yes! First up we have a behind the scenes companion book and a hard-cover gift book for younger readers. The companion book will be called Stranger Things: World Turned Upside Down: The Official Behind-The-Scenes Companion, and the gift book currently doesn’t have a name, but according to Deadline it’ll offer “advice, wisdom, and warnings from the Stranger Things world”. These two are set to be released in Autumn of this year.

What about this Stranger Things prequel I’ve heard about?

These two books will be followed by a currently unnamed prequel for older readers, set for release in spring 2019.

So who’s going to be writing the prequel?

Gwenda Bond (known for previous works Girl on a Wire and Girl in the Shadows) has been confirmed as author.

What story will the Stranger Things prequel book tell?

It’ll be about Eleven’s mother, Terri, and it’ll explore her involvement in the MKUltra program (which was the program in which Eleven got her powers). Very little has currently been revealed about the prequel, other than it’ll be graded as a ‘adult fiction‘ (as opposed to young adult or children’s fiction), and that Bond hasn’t yet finished writing it.


On March 11, it was revealed that a second novel will delve into the backstory of Max Mayfield (played by Sadie Sink). The upcoming prequel is said to reveal how the character – who joined the show in season 2 – ended up in the supernatural town of Hawkins.

‘Runaway Max’ was written by Brenna Yovanoff and will arrive on June 4.

Can we read anything from the Stranger Things prequel books yet?

Yes, on September 27, Bond shared the first chapter from Suspicious Minds – the first official Stranger Things novel. The book follows Eleven’s mother and her time as a test subject in the MKUltra program. You can read a snippet below. Head to Entertainment Weekly for the full chapter.

“All the test subjects I met this morning can be dismissed.” He waved a hand. “Pay them whatever they were promised and ensure they remember their nondisclosure agreements.”

The room absorbed this. One of the conversationalists from before raised his hand. “Doctor?”


“My name is Chad and I’m new to this, but… why? How will we do our experiments?”

“Why is always a question that moves science forward,” Dr. Brenner said. Chad the newbie nodded, and Brenner added, “Although one should be careful about asking it of your superiors. But I will tell you why. It’s important we all understand what we’re here to do. Does anyone have a guess?”

His treatment of Chad kept them quiet. He thought for a moment the woman might speak up, but she simply folded her hands in front of her.

“Good,” he said. “I don’t like guesswork. We’re here to advance the frontiers of human capability. I don’t want the common Mus musculus of humans. They are not going to give us extraordinary results.” He swept a gaze around the room. Everyone was intent. “I’m sure you’ve heard of some of the foibles elsewhere and your own lack of results are why I’m here. There have been embarrassments, and a great many of them can be sourced to inadequate subjects. Whoever thought prisoners and the asylum-bound would tell us anything we need to know were fooling themselves. Draft dodgers and potheads aren’t any better. I have a few more young patients transferring here for a related program, but I’d like a range of ages. There is every reason to believe that a combination of chemical psychedelics, people with high potential, and the right inducements can unlock the secrets we need. Think of the intelligence advantages alone if we can persuade our enemies to talk, if we can make them suggestible and exert control… But we can’t get the results we want without the right people, period. We need those with potential.”

You can see the Suspicious Minds cover below.

Suspicious Minds will be released on February 5, 2019, and is currently available for pre-order.