Books set in New Jersey


When you’re a Jersey Girl like me, you like to read a book that’s set in your home state. Nothing wrong with that! More than a few have made their way to my shelf.

But before I share my list, you may be surprised to learn these lesser-known facts about the nation’s most densely populated state:

New Jersey has the most diners in the world.

Arlington Diner – Source:

These famous people and groups are all New Jersey natives: Jack Nicholson, Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, Redman, Das EFX, Naughty by Nature, Sugar Hill Gang, Lords of the Underground, Jason Alexander, Queen Latifa, Shaq, Judy Blume, Arron Burr, Whitney Houston, Eddie Money, Frank Sinatra, Grover Cleveland.


New Jersey has the tallest water tower in the world, the Union Watersphere, near Newark Liberty International Airport. It holds 250,000 gallons of well water.

Union Watersphere – source:

The state seashell is the knobbed whelk and is found on all the 130 miles of Atlantic beaches and in all the bays of New Jersey.

Knobbed Whelk – Source:


Now take a look at these New Jersey books. Have you read any of them?


Casey of Cranberry Cove by Susan Kotch – Sweet YA love story set “down the shore.”

Caught by Harlan Coben – fast-moving crime suspense about entrapment, vigilantism, destructive viral marketing and secrets

In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume – historical fiction about three plane crashes in Elizabeth in the 1950s

Onion John by Joseph Krumgold – 1961 Newbery Award winner and coming-of-age story in a small NJ town


Seized by the Sun by James W. Ure – true story of World War II WASP pilot Gertrude Thompkins

The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace by Jeff Hobbs – truly tragic story about a super smart guy from East Orange

Tell No One by Harlan Coben – fast-moving, highly entertaining crime thriller set in the suburbs with a wild chase scene in New York

Their Fifteen Minutes: Biographical Sketches of the Lindbergh Case by Mark W. Falzini – detailed look at the key figures in the Lindbergh baby kidnapping

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

19 thoughts on “Books set in New Jersey

  1. As always some great suggestions. I just recently downloaded “In the Unlikely Event” and I am looking forward to the read. In keeping with your theme, I thought of Philip Roth’s great novella “Goodbye Columbus” where the main characters live in Newark & Short Hills, New Jersey.

  2. Hey! I’m from Union with the tallest water sphere in the world!! That was one of our landmarks. It’s funny but when I’m in Italy and I’m asked where I’m from, even though I don’t live in New Jersey now, I was born and raised there, and that’s what they want to know. So when I say NJ, the response is always “Bello!” Everyone has a relative or friend in the Garden State.

  3. Wow, New Jersey has quite the list of famous folks! It’s always fun reading books set in places you live or have visited and you get to picture characters in familiar settings. (And how funny you included an author from my home state–Oregon–in your New Jersey line-up.)

  4. Having lived most of my life on the Left Coast except for stints in Chicago and Idaho, I am as unfamiliar with New Jersey as if it were an English-speaking foreign country. So I appreciate the education, and the reading list! 🙂

  5. A jersey girl!! I knew there was a reason I liked you..:)
    That sign is local. We’re probably neighbors and don’t even know it..:)
    Great list of all things Jersey including the list of books. I will definitely take a look. Thanks, Barbara…:)

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