Book Lists

16 Books on Barbie’s TBR Pile: What She’s Reading

With its massive advertising budget and a weird response from incels, Greta Gerwig’s Barbie has taken our popular culture by storm.

As many of us are entering or revisiting our Barbie pink era, the bookish ones among us are wondering what Barbiecore books to add to our TBR piles. Have no fear because we’ve got you covered.

If you’ve spent any time wondering what aesthetic book cover Barbie would display on her Dreamhouse bookshelf or what new feminist manifesto she’s got in her tote bag, keep reading.

Here are just a few of the books that are 100% in Barbie’s TBR pile.

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Happy Place by Emily Henry

audiobook narrated julia whelan happy place

Happy Place by Emily Henry seems like a pretty obvious choice for Barbie’s TBR pile. The cover and title are reminiscent of Barbie’s matriarchial utopia at the beginning of the film, so we obviously had to include it.

Emily Henry’s books are extremely popular at the moment and for good reason. Her stories are emotional, funny, and romantic. Happy Place and Henry’s other books touch on many intangible feelings most millennials feel on some level or another.

Oh, and it doesn’t hurt that the audiobook version is narrated by the woman, the myth, the legend Julia Whelan.

Buy Happy Place on Bookshop.org


Woman, Eating by Claire Kohda

barbie's TBR pile

Barbie is all smiles and sunshine on the surface, but she contains multitudes. She would absolutely love this feminist vampire story by Claire Kohda.

The book is short and disturbing, with the simple tagline, “Lydia is hungry.” Lydia, who is a vampire, can only digest blood. She wants to feast on human food but finds herself unable to. Aren’t we all hungry like Lydia, in one way or another?

Buy Woman, Eating on Bookshop.org

Yellowface by R.F. Kuang

yellowface r.f. kuang cover

Yellowface is an incredible, brutal takedown of white privilege in the world of publishing and beyond. It’s an incredible and propulsive read about a white writer who steals the manuscript of one of her more-famous friends and passes it off as her own after she tragically dies.

After her awakening, Stereotypical Barbie would absolutely be down to examine her role in white supremacy through the lens of this book. Plus, it’s a page-turner, so how could she not stay up late to finish it?

Buy Yellowface on Bookshop.org


The Honeys by Ryan La Sala

barbie's TBR pile

Barbie has always had a certain magnetism and appeal to her. Considering that Margot Robbie stars as Barbie alongside Issa Rae, Alexandra Shipp, and Dua Lipa, that hasn’t changed.

The Honeys follows Mars, who is genderfluid, as he digs into his twin sister’s mysterious death at summer camp. He gets to know his sister’s friends, who are collectively referred to as The Honeys. The Honeys are beautiful, alluring, and slightly off-putting. Mars can’t look away.

Buy The Honeys on Bookshop.org

Bunny by Mona Awad

bunny mona awad cover

If you love the concept of turning the “group of girl besties” trope on its head, reach for Bunny by Mona Awad. It’s way creepier and much more unhinged than The Honeys, so it’s perfect for readers who want a bit more oomph.

Samantha is a graduate student who is strangely repelled and drawn to the other girls in her cohort. They seem to coexist in a hive mind, exuding girlishness and sickly sweet demeanors that feed off each other. As Samantha gets drawn closer into their group, weird shit starts to happen.

Buy Bunny on Bookshop.org


The Friendship Code (Girls Who Code #1) by Stacia Deutsch

girls who code book cover

Barbie’s TBR pile isn’t all doom and gloom. After all, she’s Barbie! She goes back to her child’s toy roots with The Friendship Code, a sweet middle-grade book about a student named Lucy who joins her school’s coding club and makes new friends along the way.

The whole Girls Who Code series is amazing, featuring powerful female characters who stand up for themselves, show kindness, and embrace tenacity while learning about science, math, and coding.

Oh, and the series was banned by a school district in Pennsylvania in 2022. Barbie reads banned books!

Check out the Girls Who Code series on Bookshop.org

American Royals by Katharine McGee

books for sheltering in place

Besides Meghan Markle, Barbie is the closest thing we have to American royalty. We stand by this thesis, and we will not elaborate.

To unwind from a stressful day of simultaneously being a surgeon and president, Barbie would definitely pick up American Royals by Katharine McGee. This book is a fun rom-com that speculates what the world would be like if the United States did, in fact, have a monarchy.

The other books in the series are also in Barbie’s TBR pile.

Buy American Royals (and the whole series!) on Bookshop.org


Love That Story: Observations from a Gorgeously Queer Life by JVN

JVN love that story barbie TBR

Barbie has been a means of escape for little kids and tweens for decades. Playing with Barbies is a way for kids of all genders and identities to escape from the confines of the real world, if only for a little bit.

Jonathan Van Ness has said in interviews that their interest in hair was sparked by playing with Barbies as a kid, so it seems fitting that Barbie would add their memoir to her TBR pile.  Love That Story is a funny, personable memoir told with JVN’s signature wit and style. It’s a must-read if you’re a Queer Eye fan.

Buy Love That Story on Bookshop.org

My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh

rest and relaxation barbie

When Barbie (aka Margot Robbie) starts to have an existential crisis, My Year of Rest and Relaxation immediately comes to mind.

This book follows an unnamed narrator as she navigates what should be a “perfect” and “happy” life. Moshfegh explores alienation and ennui in this darkly hilarious and cutting novel.

Buy My Year of Rest and Relaxation on Bookshop.org

Somebody’s Daughter by Ashley C. Ford

Barbies often elicit childhood memories, but some of those memories can be complicated and hard to remember.

Somebody’s Daughter is Ashley C. Ford’s memoir about her complicated relationship with her father. It’s an emotionally touching must-read, which is why it’s high on Barbie’s TBR pile.

Buy Somebody’s Daughter on Bookshop.org


Down the Rabbit Hole by Holly Madison

down the rabbit hole holly madison

The rise of Barbie is also, in a way, connected to the recent bimbofication trend that embraces hyper-femininity through a socially aware lens. The movement has also prompted many of us to re-examine how and why we loved to hate so many female celebrities from the early 2000s, like Britney, Paris, and Holly Madison of Girls Next Door fame.

Down the Rabbit Hole is Madison’s memoir that revisits her time as Hugh Heffner’s girlfriend and her rise to fame as a star of E!’s The Girls Next Door. If you were a fan of the show, you’ll enjoy this walk down memory lane with a bit of hindsight and reflection.

Buy Down the Rabbit Hole on Bookshop.org

Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism by Amanda Montell

barbie's books cultish

We’re not saying that Barbie is a cult leader, but we wouldn’t be surprised if that was the case.

Cultish examines the language of cults and why we humans fall for them time and time again. The book is a fascinating dive into linguistics, culture, and the fact that most of us are already members of a cult, in a way.

Buy Cultish on Bookshop.org

Know My Name by Chanel Miller

know my name chanel miller cover

Barbie’s TBR pile contains some fun hit novels, but she also reads books that tackle difficult topics like sexual assault and patriarchy. Chanel Miller’s Know My Name is a powerful memoir that reflects on her traumatic experience that led to her becoming the famous “Emily Doe” that so many of us connected with back when the story and subsequent trial took place.

The book is a tough read with plenty of content/trigger warning, but it is worthwhile if you feel up to it.

Buy Know My Name on Bookshop.org


The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

bell jar sylvia plath

If you’ve ever been a sad emo girl, you’ve undoubtedly read The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. Barbie is known for always looking put-together and elegant, much like women in the 50s, 60s, and even today.

The Bell Jar explores what happens underneath the glossy veneer of keeping it all together. Many readers accept that The Bell Jar was dressed up as fiction but accurately depicted Plath’s personal experiences with mental illness.

This book is the only novel written by Plath and wasn’t published in the US until 1971, almost ten years after her death.

Buy The Bell Jar on Bookshop.org

The Awakening by Kate Chopin

kate chopin awakening barbie

“Do you guys ever think about dying?”

Who’s to say that Barbie’s existential dread wasn’t sparked by reading The Awakening, a classic piece of feminist lit? Okay, we know it was really America Ferrera’s connection to Stereotypical Barbie, but still. If you read The Awakening in high school or college, you know it’s the same vibe.

Buy The Awakening on Bookshop.org.

Barbie and Ruth: The Story of the World’s Most Famous Doll and the Woman Who Created Her by Robin Gerber

barbie and ruth TBR pile

This part-business, part-biography book tells the story of the woman who invented Barbie: Ruth Handler. Fans of the famous doll were delighted when Rhea Perlman played a nuanced ghost version of Ruth in the movie.

If Ruth’s inclusion in the movie sparked your interest, grab this book to learn more about the invention of Barbie as well as Ruth’s own complicated story. We know this book is in Barbie’s TBR pile so she can learn more about her metaphorical mother.

Buy Barbie and Ruth on Bookshop.org



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