10 Books for Fans of the Movie Smile

Hitting number 1 at the box office two weeks in a row, Smile has been terrifying audiences worldwide. In this 2022 psychological horror film, Rose is a therapist who witnesses her patient's suicide. Under any circumstance, this would be upsetting and disturbing, but the patient also had a broad smile as she cut her throat. This imagery haunts Rose, and she quickly discovers that these images are not just in her mind. While everyone around her thinks she's crazy, Rose uncovers a string of related suicides. With the help of her detective ex-boyfriend, she is determined to get to the bottom of this mystery before she suffers the same fate.

Mixing supernatural and psychological horror, Smile is a captivating watch that will leave you on the edge of your seat. If you're looking for more gory thrills that will mess with your mind and reality, check out these recommended books to read and some bonus films to watch!


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The Bell Chime by Mona Kabbani

Sleep is an escape for many, but those with night terrors can't relate. The protagonist in The Bell Chime has horrifying nightmares. If that wasn't bad enough, she finds a missing poster of herself with a malevolent smile. This unsettles her to her core while she tries to figure out if she's losing her mind or if 

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she needs to dig deeper to save herself. Fans of Smile will love the similar theme where reality becomes blurred. The reader doesn't know what's real and what isn't anymore. The creepy smile detail is just a bonus detail for fans. Read here.

Suicide Forest by Jeremy Bates

Curses and urban legends are easy to brush off when you're not experiencing them yourself. Aogikahara is a real place in Japan known as the Suicide Forest due to the high number of suicides. In Bate's fictional horror, friends camping out in Aogikahara make a horrific discovery; someone in their group is found 

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hanging when they wake up. Are they facing the consequences of a curse that haunts the forest? The eerie and foreboding tone of Suicide Forest will resonate with anyone who enjoyed the mysterious curse in Smile. Read here.

Motherthing by Ainslie Hogarth

If you're into dark comedies, Motherthing may be the book for you. When Abby's conniving and vindictive mother-in-law, Laura, commits suicide and then consequently haunts her, Abby must find a way to save herself and her husband from Laura's clutches. You'll feel a kinship for Abby as she races against time to 

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protect her loved ones. This protagonist is similar to Rose in Smile with her determination to end the evil that is thrown her way unexpectedly. Read here.

Gone to See the River Man by Kristopher Triana

In Gone to See the River Man, Lori's disturbing fascination with the serial killer, Edmund Cox, results in a nightmare that she is desperate to escape. Lori makes the terrible mistake of doing a favor for Edmund, retrieving a key from the River Man. She faces the consequences of her actions when past traumas and 

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supernatural horrors arise from this mysterious River Man encounter. Fans of Smile will be gripped by this novel's morbid details and gory scares, unsure if the protagonist will have a happy ending. Read here.

Never Lie by Freida McFadden

Trisha and Ethan are newlyweds who become trapped in an old house due to a blizzard. As they stay there, they uncover terrible secrets regarding the disappearance of a psychiatrist who used to reside there. Never Lie is full of surprises that will excite and disturb the reader. If you enjoyed the movie Smile, 

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you'll love the sinister truths that will shock you and perhaps ruin the lives of Trisha and Ethan, who never asked for any of this to happen. They might end up as innocent victims, just like Rose. Read here.

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Crossroads by Laurel Hightower

Trauma can be indescribable. So when Chris loses her young son to a car accident, it's easy to understand that she will do anything to get him back. After she accidentally cuts herself and bleeds onto her son's memorial, everything changes. This is the catalyst for her son to return as a ghost if it really is her

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son. You see, the problem is that Chris isn't sure if there is something evil haunting her instead. Crossroads has similar emotional and familial themes as the movie Smile. It explores complex family dynamics while being haunting, emotional, and suspenseful. Read here.

The Black Farm by Elias Witherow

Nick and Jessica lose their only son in The Black Farm. They can't bare the thought of living without him, so they commit suicide. However, suicide is not as final as Nick plans. He finds himself in a living hell known as the Black Farm in this supposed afterlife. Fans of Smile will not be disappointed by the violence 

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and gore in this novel as we root for the protagonist to find a way to escape his fate. Read here.

Tender is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica

Tender is the Flesh twists reality into a horrible and surreal dystopia. In Marcos' world, people are now eating other humans since animal meat is poisonous. When he receives live meat—aka a woman—he treats her like the person she is instead of being detached. This causes complications. Like in Smile, the reader 

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doesn't always know what is really going on. If you enjoy unexpected moments that will take your breath away and disturb you because they hit a little too close to home, Tender is the Flesh is a great choice. Read here.

Stolen Tongues by Felix Blackwell

Some people find being in the middle of nowhere to be peaceful. While others are terrified of the unknown. In Stolen Tongues, Faye and Felix are happily in love as they escape from their busy lives to a romantic cabin. Everything is going great until horrific sounds emerge from the forest. Felix notices Faye whispering

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not to herself but to the darkness outside the cabin. Like in Smile, this novel has supernatural elements in a very real environment. The reader will be unsure if Faye is cursed, haunted, or having a mental breakdown, just like Rose. Read here.

Penpal by Dathan Auerbach

Revisiting troubling childhood memories can be traumatizing, but it's usually necessary to move on and let go of the past. In Penpal, a young man unveils the horrible truths he endured wishing he never remembered them again. Rose's childhood trauma is also essential to Smile. This novel is highly recommended if 

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you enjoyed Smile's strong character development and how it became a puzzle piece for a larger picture. Rose's memories and experiences are a massive part of the movie's plot, so if that resonates with you, Penpal will take you on another frightening rollercoaster. Read here.

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Bonus Picks! Movies Similar to Smile

It Follows

If you love the idea of a curse that can't be broken, It Follows is the movie for you. Like Rose in Smile, Jay finds herself stuck with a curse - only this curse is passed along through sex. Fans of Smile will be hooked on this similarly hopeless and scary venture Jay takes to rid herself of this horrific curse. You'll 

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enjoy the eerie vibe and the possibility that our protagonist may lose and end up dead. Watch here.

Shutter Island

Fighting your own sanity can be an impossible battle to win. In Shutter Island, based on the 2003 novel of the same name by Dennis Lehane, Teddy is investigating a missing person at a psychiatric facility. The so-called missing patient drowned her three children. As the story unfolds, we learn that reality is 

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skewed, and figments of Teddy's memory are seeping into reality. Teddy isn't who we think he is, and to be fair, Teddy isn't who he thinks he is either. Smile has you guessing until the very end, keeping you shocked, spooked, and unsure of what to believe. If you enjoyed these elements, you'll definitely like Shutter Island too. Watch here.

There you have it! If you enjoyed Smile, then you're in for a treat with these horror, mystery books, and movies. From spine-tingling thrillers to time-twisting psychological dramas, there's something on this list for everyone. So curl up with your favorite blanket and get ready to be shocked, surprised, and entertained by your next favorite mystery.

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An old-fashioned camera fires into the distance, creating an ominous effect reminiscent of X.
An illustration of a woman screaming her lungs out depicting Laurie Strode’s and Sidney Prescott’s role in the Scream franchise
Unrecognizable blurred faces in the darkness portraying blurred realities just like in the horror book, Annihilation