This post contains affiliate links. Read the full disclosure here.
When you think of Maine, you likely think of rocky coastline, lobsters, and lighthouses. And these books about Maine definitely include all of those aspects!
Maine has become a vacation haven, and in these books you’ll see how the everyday lives of characters can transform in Maine, whether they live there or are just vacationing. We’ve got prize-winning literary fiction, women’s fiction about new beginnings, examinations of some of Maine’s overlooked mill towns, and children’s books that are perfect for kids before your Maine vacation.
Want more New England books? Check out these books set in Massachusetts!
Novels Set in Maine
Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
Olive Kitteridge, who lives in a small Maine town, is a somewhat harsh woman, and she doesn’t like the changes that are happening around her. But coming to terms with her surroundings means also coming to terms with herself. This is a wildly popular novel told in interlinking stories and it won the Pulitzer Prize. For fans of literary fiction.
Lucy by the Sea by Elizabeth Strout
In the early days of the pandemic, Lucy and her ex-husband William escape from Manhattan to a small town in Maine. This is a character-driven book about relationships, the past, and the isolation of the pandemic. And while this is a continuation of the Lucy Barton novels, you don’t have to have read the other Lucy Barton books to read this one. For fans of literary fiction.
Landslide by Susan Conley
After her husband is injured in a fishing accident, Jill is left alone in Maine to raise her two teenage boys. She is desperate to hold onto her family, and this novel gives a poignant look at a family trying to survive and still love each other when times are tough. For fans of family stories.
The Guest Book by Sarah Blake
This historical novel follows three generations of a wealthy family at their vacation home in Maine. It’s a book about family and inheritance and what it means to live with your family’s past and the mistakes that past generations have made. For fans of quiet, family stories and historical novels.
Empire Falls by Richard Russo
Miles Roby has worked at the Empire Grill in the small Maine town of Empire Falls for 20 years. It’s an old mill town, where everyone is connected, and it’s a town Miles once almost escaped. But now he’s stuck, and he is dealing with drama with his teenage daughter and ex-wife. For fans of literary fiction, family stories, and slice of life stories. (Note there are some surprising content warnings in this one, so look it up if you’re concerned.)
The Road to Dalton by Shannon Bowring
The is a book about a small town in Maine in the 1990s. It focuses mainly on a handful of characters, and how their lives are intertwined in unexpected ways. It would make a great companion read with Empire Falls and is for fans of quiet, literary novels.
Night of the Living Rez by Morgan Talty
This book of short stories is set in the Penobscot Native community in Maine and tackles the theme of what it means to live in the modern world while also tied to the past. There are stories about families, illness, curses, friendship, and more. For fans of literary fiction and short stories.
Pete and Alice in Maine by Caitlin Shetterly
Alice is struggling in her life and marriage when the Covid pandemic hits. She decides to escape NYC to her family cabin in Maine, but there she discovers that simply escaping might not solve all her problems. For fans of literary fiction and family stories.
The Frozen River by Ariel Lawhon
This historical novel is based on the real-life Martha Ballard. She was a midwife in Maine in the late 1700s. And when a local man is murdered, she gets wrapped up in the investigation. Her story is fascinating, and this is for fans of historical fiction and mysteries.
This Other Eden by Paul Harding
This novel is inspired by the true story of Malaga Island, an island off the coast of Maine that became home to a small Black community. In the novel, much like in reality, when a missionary teacher arrives, the state suddenly becomes concerned about this community and declares them wards of the state and orders them to evacuate. For fans of historical and literary fiction.
The Stars Are Fire by Anita Shreve
Set in 1940s Maine, this book is about the strength of Grace, who survives a wildfire with her young children by jumping into the ocean and then must find a new life in the wake of total destruction. For fans of literary fiction and women’s fiction.
Haven Point by Virginia Hume
The Demarests spend their summers at Haven Point, Maine, and three women from the family all have different views of it. Maren, the matriarch loves it. Annie, the daughter, swears never to return to Haven Point again after a tragic accident. And Skye, Annie’s daughter, needs to develop her own relationship with Haven Point as secrets come to light. For fans of family stories, historical fiction, and contemporary fiction.
Fellowship Point by Alice Elliott Dark
Agnes and Polly have been friends their entire lives, growing up summering on the Maine coast at Fellowship Point, an area their families have owned for generations. But now a developer is knocking at their door, and Agnes is determined to convince Polly and the other shareholders to donate the land to a trust instead. But she’s also keeping her own decades long secret. For fans of contemporary fiction and female friendship stories.
Flying Solo by Linda Holmes
When Laurie returns to her Maine hometown to take care of her great-aunt’s estate, she becomes attached to a wooden duck she finds at the bottom of the box and she realizes it had some sentimental value to her great-aunt. But then the duck disappears, and she goes on a quest to find it, starting to build her own future in the process. For fans of contemporary fiction and women’s fiction.
Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes
In a small seaside town, Evvie Drake is still dealing with the death of her husband a year ago. In the middle of this, her childhood best friend and professional baseball player, Dean, moves into the apartment at the back of Evvie’s house. They both have stuff they don’t want to talk about, but this is a romance, so you know what’s going to happen. For fans of rom-coms and romances.
Happy Place by Emily Henry
Harriet and Wyn join their friend group for one last vacation in Maine before the cabin of a friend sells. The only problem — they haven’t told their friends that they broke off their engagement months ago. For fans of rom-coms and romances and stories about friend groups.
Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan
On the coast of Maine, the Kelleher family gathers every summer. This novel focuses on four women of the family, all hiding different things, from a to-be-revealed pregnancy to a decades old secret. For fans of family novels and contemporary fiction.
The From-Aways by CJ Hauser
When two women move to Maine “from-away” they become friends working for the local paper. And they both find themselves in crisis when a story creates town-wide drama that particularly affects the people they both love. For fans of women’s fiction.
Vacationland by Meg Mitchell Moore
Louisa has come to her parents home in Maine to escape the stress of her life, only to find more stress at her parents’ house. Meanwhile, Kristie has also come to Maine hoping to heal from the past and find a new life. But both women have family drama and secrets to deal with. For fans of women’s fiction and family stories.
The Berry Pickers by Amanda Peters
In the 1960s, a Mi’kmaq family comes to Maine from Nova Scotia to pick berries for the summer. But young Ruthie, four years old at the time, goes missing. In another family, Norma is growing up feeling like her family is keeping something from her. For fans of literary, character-driven fiction with a smidge of suspense.
The Midcoast by Adam White
In a small Maine town, Andrew is getting to know his old friends Ed and Steph again, whose lives have transformed from blue-collar workers to incredibly wealthy. But at a reception Andrew discovers something he isn’t supposed to see. And when police arrive later, he questions who Ed and Steph really are. For fans of psychological suspense.
The Poacher’s Son by Paul Doiron
Mike Bowditch is a game warden in Maine who gets a call from the police one morning. They are looking for Mike’s father, who they think might have killed a police officer the night before. Now Mike is caught up in the search for his own father while wondering if his father really could have committed such a crime. For fans of mysteries and thrillers.
The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda
In a small town in Maine, Sadie, a rich summer guest, and Avery, a year-round resident, become unlikely friends. But when Sadie is found dead, Avery wants to uncover what really happened and clear any suspicion people might have about her role in her friend’s death. For fans of mysteries and thrillers.
The Only One Left by Riley Sager
In 1929, a family murder shocked a small Maine community. Lenora, 17 at the time, was the only one who survived and was suspected of being the murderer (although it could never be proven). Years later, in 1983, Lenora is frail, and a new home health aide arrives to take care of her. And this is the person Lenora decides she wants to tell her story to. For fans of thrillers and suspense.
Carrie by Stephen King
Listen. You will never catch me reading horror thrillers. But Stephen King is one of the most famous writers to come out of Maine, so we had to include him here. Carrie is his classic story about an outcast girl in high school who uses her telekinetic powers to exact revenge on her classmates. For fans of horror and paranormal thrillers.
The Cider House Rules by John Irving
This Maine classic is about Dr. Wilbur Larch in rural Maine. He’s an obstetrician who also provides abortions and he is the director of an orphanage. Also at it’s center is Homer Wells, who lives at the orphanage and is never adopted, and readers follow him as he grows up. For fans of modern classics and long books.
Non-Fiction Books About Maine
Vacationland – True Stories from Painful Beaches by John Hodgman
This book combines reflections on Hodgman’s growing up in Massachusetts with his time he has spent in Maine with what it means to be middle-age. You might know Hodgman from The Daily Show with John Stewart or his own comedy special on Netflix, so this is perfect for fans of humor writing.
Downeast—Five Maine Girls and the Unseen Story of Rural America by Gigi Georges
This non-fiction book is based on four years of reporting in rural Maine. It focuses on five girls who live in a small community. Some of them are determined to leave, some struggle with family relationships, some question their future. But all of them are coming of age in a rural and often overlooked Maine town. For fans of narrative non-fiction and books about the everyday yet meaningful lives of regular people.
Mill Town: Reckoning With What Remains by Kerri Arsenault
Kerri Arsenault grew up in a small Maine mill town and never questioned the life she lived. But when she moves away, she sees her hometown in a new light and understands how the mill wasn’t necessary good for her town. For fans of environmental non-fiction.
The Folded Clock: A Diary by Heidi Julavits
I’ll be honest from the start here: This is one of my favorite books of all time. It’s an unusual diary, with the entries told in non-chronological order as Julivits reflects on parenting, marriage, youth, and more. The setting alternates between NYC and their home in Maine. It’s perfect for readers who love quiet slice-of-life books and reading diaries. (And the hardcover might be the most beautiful book I own.)
In 1986, Christopher Knight disappeared into the Maine woods where he lived as a hermit for almost 30 years until he was arrested for stealing food. This non-fiction book about his time in the woods dives into his survival strategies, his motivation, and what it is like to live such a secluded life. For fans of narrative non-fiction.
The Maine Woods by Henry David Thoreau
In this memoir, Thoreau writes about his time exploring the wilderness of Maine. At the time, it was largely untouched (at least by Europeans), and he writes about the rivers, woods, and wildlife of Maine, as well as his encounters with the Abnaki Indians. For fans of classics and nature writing.
Children’s Books Set in Maine
Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey
This classic picture book set in Maine features Sal and her mother who go picking blueberries and unexpectedly run into a mother bear and her own cub. Recommended ages: 2 and up.
Counting Our Way to Maine by Maggie Smith
Count along with this colorful family as they pack up in the city and make their way to the Maine seaside for a vacation. Recommended ages: 2 and up.
The Circus Ship by Chris Van Dusen
On an island off the coast of Maine, a circus ship runs aground and the animals find themselves in a village. Eventually, the townspeople come to love the animals, and when the circus owner shows up trying to get them back, the community comes together to protect them. Recommended ages: 3 and up.
Big Truck Little Island by Chris Van Dusen
In a small Maine town, a truck gets stuck. The residents can’t get to where they need to go, but they come together to help each other out. Recommended ages: 3-8 years.
Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney
Based on a real Miss Rumphius who spread lupine seeds across Maine, this children’s book tells the story of a woman who wanted to add beauty to the world. Recommended ages 3-8 years.
One Morning in Maine by Robert McCloskey
Sal is so excited for a day in Buck’s Harbour, Maine with her father. But when she discovers she has a loose tooth, she’s worried it will ruin the whole day. This is a quiet, old-fashioned story. Recommended ages: 4 and up.
Time of Wonder by Robert McCloskey
Follow a family as they live their summer in Maine and find wonder in the nature that surrounds them. Recommended ages: 5 and up.
L is for Lobster: A Maine Alphabet by Cynthia Furlong Reynolds, Illustrated by Jeannie Brett
Learn about Maine culture, landmarks, and nature with this fun alphabet book. This is a great book for all ages because each page has a simple rhyme for younger kids along with a sidebar with more detailed information for older kids. Recommended ages: 5 and up.
Island Boy by Barbara Cooney
This is a quiet story about a boy who grows up on an island in Maine. it shows the old-fashioned life his family leads and the way things change while the family remains connected throughout the years. Recommended ages: 5 and up.
Middle Grade and YA Books Set in Maine
Piper Green and the Fairy Tree by Ellen Potter, Illustrated Qin Leng
Piper Green lives on an island in Maine and rides a lobster boat to school and it’s all very lovely. But when she gets a new teachers, things are rough. Until she discovers a fairy tree in her yard. Recommended ages: 5-9 years.
Mystery on Pine Lake: Cooper & Packrat by Tamra Wight, Illustrated by Carl DiRocoo
Cooper’s family has recently bought a campground in Maine, and now his days are filled with helping out with the family business and watching his little sister. To make matters worse, his former best friends has become a bully. But then he finds a new friend in Packrat. Recommended ages: 8-10 years.
Some Writer! The Story of E.B. White by Melissa Sweet
This creative biography is made up of photos, quotes, letters and more telling the story of E.B. White’s life in New York and Maine and how he fell in love with writing. Recommended ages: 8-12 years.
Ruptured by Joanne Rossmassler Fritz
When her family goes on vacation in Maine, Claire’s mom tells her a secret and then almost immediately has a brain aneurysm. She survives, but everything changes after that and Claire’s mom seems like a different person. Plus, there is the weight of that confessions. This is a novel told in verse. Recommended ages: 8-12 years.
Moo by Sharon Creech
When Reena’s family moves from the city to rural Maine, it’s a big adjustment. But Reena forms an unexpected bond with her neighbor’s cow named Zora. Recommended ages: 10-12 years.
The Next Great Jane by K.L. Going
Jane dreams of being a famous author and can’t wait to meet a real life bestselling author at the local library and start her path to literary stardom. But instead she’s up against all kinds of obstacles: a hurricane arrives, she gets stuck with the author’s son, and her own mother shows up from California planning to file for custody. Recommended ages: 10-14 years.
Wild Blue Wonder by Carlie Sorosiak
Quinn loves the summer camp her family owns in Maine. But then an accident happens and she faces a terrible loss and feels like it’s her fault. Can she open back up, let go of her guilt, and find closure? Recommended ages: 13 and up.
Three Things I Know Are True by Betty Culley
After her brother accidentally shoots himself with his friend’s father’s gun, Liv’s community faces new tensions. Her brother survived, but needs constant care. And her family is suing her friend’s family, and she is torn between the two sides. Recommended ages: 14 and up.
Delirium by Lauren Oliver
This first book in a YA fantasy/romance series is set in Portland, Maine, where Lena lives with her aunt and uncle. In the world of this book, love is forbidden and Lena is just fine with that after watching her mother’s life be destroyed by love. But will things go according to her plan? Recommended ages: 14 and up.
Wilder Girls by Rory Power
At the Raxter School in Maine, a strange sickness has overtaken the school, killing the teachers and starting to infect the girls. The school is placed under quarantine, but Hetty is determined to find one of her friends that goes missing and ends up discovering the truth about what is going on. Recommended ages: 14 and up.
More Book Lists For You
- 30 Books Set in + About Massachusetts
- 23 Books Set in + About Wyoming
- 40 Books Set in + About California
Like this post? Save it for later!