Get More Teen Drama—and Laughter—with These "Saved by the Bell" Read-Alikes

Students enjoying the antics of a new generation at Bayside High should check out these YA titles.

Saved by the Bell

Peacock/NBCUniversal. Streaming now on Peacock.

It’s back-to-school read-alikes with this campy remake of the 1990s sitcom Saved by the Bell about students bused to the ritzy Bayside High after their city school closes. The ensemble cast features a diverse group of high school characters, including some cameos from the original show.


Jackpot by Nic Stone. Crown. 2019.
Gr 8 Up
—Multiracial (Latinx, white, and Black) 17-year-old Rico sells a winning lottery ticket during her shift at the gas station and teams up with wealthy biracial (Latinx and white) heartthrob Zan to track down the winner in this engaging rom-com. This lighthearted take on the complex relationships of teens dating across socioeconomic classes will appeal to fans of the relationships on the show.

She Drives Me Crazy by Kelly Quindlen. Holt. April 2021.
Gr 8 Up
—When white basketball player Scottie’s ex-girlfriend transfers to a prestigious rival school and returns to beat her old team, Scottie gets revenge by starting a fake relationship with Indian American cheerleader Irene in this witty queer rom-com. Readers looking to laugh and drawn to well-developed characters exploring culture clashes should give this one a try.

The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed. Simon. 2020.
Gr 9 Up
—More serious in tone than the show, this historical novel follows Ashley, the lone Black girl among her affluent neighborhood white friends, in 1992 Los Angeles during the Rodney King riots. The experiences of Black and Latinx students at mostly white and wealthy Bayside High feature heavily in the show, and readers who want to explore that theme may like this book.

You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson. Scholastic. 2020.
Gr 9 Up
—Black, queer high schooler Liz Lighty would never be caught dead competing in her rural high school’s intense run for prom queen. But when a scholarship she was counting on falls through, she finds herself entering the contest in this funny story, perfect for readers looking for high school stories about kids of color navigating mostly white schools.

Abby Johnson is the collection development leader at Floyd County (IN) Library.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing