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15 Best Matt Haig Books Adults and Children Will Love

This collection of the best Matt Haig Books will let you know about the body of work the famous author has compiled.

Matt Haig is an English author who has written a lot of books. He’s most famous for his novels, such as The Midnight Library which is a brilliant read about the possibility of living out alternate lives.

Haig has also written non-fiction books that focus on mental health and relate to his struggles with anxiety and depression.

I feel he’s an underrated writer and, from personal experience, I’ve enjoyed all of the Matt Haig books I’ve read, in particular Reasons to Stay Alive and The Humans.

Keep scrolling to discover the best books by Matt Haig you have to add to your reading list!

Best Matt Haig Books

four of the books by Matt Haig I've read
Some of the books by Matt Haig I’ve read

Fiction

When you think of Matt Haig’s books, the ones that come to mind are his fiction books. He’s written a lot with differing themes. They’re all collected below in the order they were published.

The Labrador Pact

The Labrador Pact: A Novel
  • Hardcover Book
  • Haig, Matt (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 352 Pages – 02/28/2008 (Publication Date) – Viking (Publisher)

The Labrador Pact (known as The Last Family in England in the UK) is a book full of dark humour about the Hunter family.

The book is told from the perspective of the family’s labrador, Prince. He feels a strong responsibility to protect his family and this forms the plot of the novel, as the family starts to fall apart.

There is a lot of humour in this book, but there are also lots of serious events too, as the family breaks down and Prince does his best to protect them.

One thing to note is that The Last Family in England gets a lot more serious toward the end. If you’re an animal lover, it will be a tough read, but the story is entertaining and will keep you gripped.

Why you should read it: Apart from the narrator being a dog, it’s a fascinating read about what happens when family dynamics break down.

The Dead Fathers Club

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The Dead Fathers Club: A Novel
  • Haig, Matt (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 328 Pages – 12/18/2007 (Publication Date) – Penguin Books (Publisher)

The Dead Fathers Club follows the story of Philip who’s visited by the ghost of his dead father Brian, swearing he avenge his death.

Brian alleges that Alan killed him and is out to marry his widow and take over the family pub. We follow Philip as he tries to carry out this instruction to prevent his father from suffering the fate of ‘the terrors’.

The story has a lot of similarities to Hamlet and can be considered a playful modern version of Shakespeare’s famous play.

Perhaps the best way to describe The Dead Fathers Club is fun but sad. It’s an enjoyable and poignant read but if you’ve read Hamlet, you’ll know there are difficult parts too.

Why you should read it: A playful and funny story that’s a modern version of Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

The Possession of Mr Cave

The Possession of Mr Cave by Matt Haig
  • Matt Haig (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 01/01/2010 (Publication Date) – Penguin Books (Publisher)

The Possession of Mr Cave is one of the darkest books on this list.

It follows the story of Terence Cave, who after experiencing the tragedy of losing his mother to suicide and wife to murder, loses his son when he’s killed in a horrible accident.

Mr Cave still has a remaining child, Bryony, whom he considers to be the golden child. The plot follows Mr Cave as he enforces harsh rules to try and protect Bryony from the dangers of the outside world.

However, these rules backfire and lead to him becoming more possessive over Bryony with terrible consequences.

The Possession of Mr Cave is a compelling book, and as the plot unfolds, will have you turning page after page in anticipation.

Why you should read it: A reminder that love does not mean smothering someone else no matter how good our intentions might be.

The Radleys

The Radleys: A Novel
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Haig, Matt (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 350 Pages – 12/28/2010 (Publication Date) – Free Press (Publisher)

The Radleys is a fun story about a seemingly normal family in a small town in England.

On the surface, the family appears like every other family, but what the parents, Peter and Helen, know that their children don’t is that they’re vampires.

It’s when one of their children, Clara, decides to become a vegan and starts feeling bloodthirsty that the secret starts to unravel.

The Radleys is a fun story that will keep you gripped from the first few pages. It’s a great read and a timely reminder of the perils of trying to fit in against your better nature.

Why you should read it: A book about the pitfalls of repressing your personality in order to fit in with the people around you. If you’ve experienced this, you’ll relate.

The Humans

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The Humans: A Novel
  • Haig, Matt (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 320 Pages – 08/12/2014 (Publication Date) – Simon & Schuster (Publisher)

The Humans is one of Matt Haig’s best novels and one that people of most ages will enjoy.

The story follows an alien, who finds himself inhabiting the body of Professor Andrew Mitchell, a famous physicist who is on the verge of an important scientific breakthrough.

The mission of the alien is to destroy any evidence of Mitchell making the breakthrough, even if it includes those whom he’s told about his discovery.

The Humans is a fun book that’s a joy to read. I enjoyed the premise of observing humans from the perspective of an alien, which creates some funny moments.

It’s an uplifting story and one I finished in a matter of days!

Why you should read it: A fun story that pokes fun at humanity and makes you realise what makes us special as a species.

How to Stop Time

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How to Stop Time: A Novel
  • Haig, Matt (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 352 Pages – 06/11/2019 (Publication Date) – Penguin Books (Publisher)

How to Stop Time is a fun historical novel about a man who appears to be 41 but has been alive since 1581!

The protagonist, Tom Hazard, is a history teacher in London by all appearances. But a rare condition means he’s been alive for over 400 years and met numerous historical figures.

Tom lives under the supervision of the Albatross Society, a secretive society that protects people with the same condition, so they claim.

How to Stop Time is a fun story that will keep you gripped, especially as you make your to the end to see whether Tom decides to live to risk living in the present or not.

Why you should read it: A playful story of a man who’s lived for over 400 years that reminds us of our mortality.

The Midnight Library

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The Midnight Library: A GMA Book Club Pick (A Novel)
  • Haig, Matt (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 304 Pages – 05/09/2023 (Publication Date) – Penguin Books (Publisher)

The Midnight Library is arguably the most well-known of Matt Haig’s books.

It follows the story of Nora Seed, a young woman who’s unhappy with her life. She tries to kill herself at night but wakes up to find herself in a library managed by her old school librarian Mrs Elm.

The library sits between life and death, with each book showing how Nora’s life would have played out had she made different decisions

The Midnight Library is a moving and thought-provoking book that plays on something we’ve felt; what would happen if we’d done something differently?

The great thing about this book is that we see how our expectations don’t always play out as imagined. It’s also an important reminder that as bad as we think things are, they’re never that bad.

Nora gets to live multiple lives throughout the book, but she does find any of them any more fulfilling than the one she’s currently living?

Why you should read it: A beautiful book that reminds life is never as bad as we think and that we can make it what we will.

Non-fiction

Matt Haig’s non-fiction books tend to focus on the theme of mental health, something he has openly struggled with during his life.

If you’ve struggled with your mental health, as I have, whether past or present, these books are a brilliant read and will help you get through your struggles.

Reasons to Stay Alive

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Reasons to Stay Alive
  • Haig, Matt (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 272 Pages – 02/23/2016 (Publication Date) – Penguin Life (Publisher)

Reasons to Stay Alive is the first non-fiction book Matt Haig wrote.

Haig takes us back to his early twenties when he was suffering from depression, and what the experience was like for him.

This is interspersed with commentary on depression, the various forms it takes, and statistics on how prevalent it is.

As someone who suffered from panic disorder for six months during 2017 and 2018, I emphasised this with the book a lot. While my issues weren’t as severe as Haig’s, I related to how he described his depression.

I wish I’d come across Reasons to Stay Alive during my panic disorder as it would have helped me put things in perspective. I would have likely recovered quicker and been able to use it as a guide as I was getting back on my feet.

If you’ve suffered from mental health issues, I recommend reading this book. It won’t be a magic bullet, but it will make you realise you’re not alone and that there is a way out of the pain.

Why you should read it: A fantastic memoir of a troubled time in Matt Haig’s life that you’ll be able to learn from if you struggle with your mental health.

Notes on a Nervous Planet

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Notes on a Nervous Planet
  • Haig, Matt (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 304 Pages – 01/29/2019 (Publication Date) – Penguin Life (Publisher)

Notes on a Nervous Planet is the second of Matt Haig’s non-fiction books and again focuses on the topic of anxiety.

Following on from Reasons to Stay Alive, Haig looks at how we can cope in a world that seems to be designed to make us anxious and distracted.

As with his previous non-fiction book, there are numerous references to Haig’s own life and strategies to cope with living on a nervous planet.

It’s easy to ‘doomscroll’ through Twitter, or browse Instagram and feel inadequate to all of your peers. We’ve all been there and done it.

Notes on a Nervous Planet is a good book to read if you struggle with your mental health and need to spend less time on your phone. You’ll find lots of great advice and anecdotes to learn from.

Why you should read it: An honest foray into how modern life is making us more and more anxious and how we can learn to cope with living on a nervous planet.

The Comfort Book

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The Comfort Book: Matt Haig
  • Haig, Matt (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 260 Pages – 03/17/2022 (Publication Date) – Canongate Books (Publisher)

The Comfort Book is similar to the two previous non-fiction books on this list.

It focuses on mental health and acts as a guidebook you can pick up and refer to whenever you’re feeling down or lost.

The book is part memoir, part maxims, and part a collection of the work of others. There’s. a lot of advice on how to get the better of days.

The Comfort Book aims to act as a literary hug in times of need. If you’re feeling down, pick it up, flick through the pages, and realise things are never as bad as you think.

Why you should read it: A nice and easy-to-read book that will help you to feel better if you’re struggling on a bad day.

Children’s Books

As well as the above books, Matt Haig has also written several children’s books. Here are a selection of some of the best your children will love!

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Samuel Blink and the Forbidden Forest
  • Haig, Matt (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 352 Pages – 06/12/2008 (Publication Date) – Puffin Books (Publisher)

Samuel Blink (known as Shadow Forest in the UK) is a novel that’s set in Norway in a fantasy forest which gives the book its name.

It’s a fun book that sees Samuel venture into the forest to rescue his sister Martha, who hasn’t spoken since the recent death of their parents.

Samuel Blink is a great book for children and they will love the storyline and all the interesting creatures Smaule encounters along the way.

Why you should read it: An entertaining book that will keep children entertained for hours

To Be a Cat

To Be a Cat
  • Haig, Matt (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 304 Pages – 06/10/2014 (Publication Date) – Atheneum Books for Young Readers (Publisher)

To Be a Cat is an interesting book about a boy who wishes he could become a cat, and then becomes one!

Barney has a difficult life living with his mother after his parents divorced. This is made worse when his father goes missing for a year and he’s blamed for several incidents at school.

His wish to become a cat comes true and the storyline that unfolds is a funny and heartfelt one that will keep your children entertained until the end!

Why you should read it: The storyline of becoming a cat is one that will pique children’s imaginations!

Echo Boy

Echo Boy
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 06/14/1860 (Publication Date) – Corgi Childrens (Publisher)

Echo Boy is a young adult novel that’s set in a sci-fi future.

The story follows Audrey, a human girl, and Daniel, an Echo, an emotionless machine built to resemble humans. However, Daniel finds that he’s not so emotionless after all.

Echo Boy is a gripping read that teenagers will love due to the romantic and futuristic elements of the book.

Why you should read it: A gripping book with many twists and turns which is perfect to read if you like romance or sci-fi.

The Girl Who Saved Christmas

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The Girl Who Saved Christmas (Boy Called Christmas)
  • Haig, Matt (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 320 Pages – 10/16/2018 (Publication Date) – Yearling (Publisher)

The Girl Who Saved Christmas is a book that kids will love, especially if they read it during the festive season.

The story follows Amelia, who makes a wish to Father Christmas to save her dying parent. However, he is dealing with problems of his own and many more wishes.

We follow Amelia and Father Christmas as the plot unfolds in spectacular fashion. It’s a great book that children of most ages will love!

Why you should read it: A fun book that is perfect to read during the weeks leading up to Christmas.

Evie and the Animals

Evie and the Animals
  • Haig, Matt (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 256 Pages – 03/31/2020 (Publication Date) – Canongate Books (Publisher)

Evie and the Animals is a fun book about a girl who has a superpower most of us would love to have.

The ability to talk to animals and hear their thoughts.

The plot follows Evie, as she uses her talent to try and save animals from a villain who has his own special talent that he uses to dark ends.

Evie and the Animals is a great book that I think all children will love because it features animals and lets them imagine what it would be like if they could interact and understand them.

Why you should read it: Imagining what’s like to talk to animals and understand their thoughts is more than enough reason for children to like this book.

Looking For More Books?

Best Kazuo Ishiguro Books – Ishiguro’s novels are more intense than Haig’s but you’ll find plenty to enjoy if you like Haig’s books.

Best Albert Camus Books – Camus focused on existential struggles, which are a topic of Haig’s books. Camus’ work is darker but a nice counterpoint to what you’ll find here.