GREENVILLE, N.C. (Stacker.com) — Every state has its hallmark writers.

Mississippi has William Faulkner and his incomparable (fictional) Yoknapatawpha County and Missouri can lay claim to Mark Twain. The state of Maine is gifted with Pulitzer winner Richard Russo and horror icon Stephen King. Rural Pennsylvania is the playground of the much-heralded (and occasionally maligned) John Updike, and when many bibliophiles think of New Jersey, they also think of Richard Ford’s series of novels featuring recurring Everyman character Frank Bascombe. Illinois can lay claim to William Maxwell, Sandra Cisneros, and Adam Langer, among numerous others. And what reader can think of Washington State without contending with the sparkle-vampire yarns of Stephanie Meyer?

What makes authors like these inextricably associated with a particular state is not simply the matter of their having been born there or choosing to live there. The connection, from a writerly standpoint, is deeper than that—their work, nearly all of it, is set in “their” state.

Of course, there are certainly exceptions. Whether a writer sets a tale in the town where they went to college or spent part of their childhood—like Donna Tartt’s “The Secret History” and its New England arts school setting and the almost-factual small town of Jo Ann Beard’s “In Zanesville,” respectively—or crafts a story that follows a social or political theme to a location they know little about but lay narrative claim to anyway, the world is rife with books known, loved, and respected that also capture the essence of place—books where setting itself is one of the strongest characters.

Stacker compiled a list of books set in North Carolina from Goodreads. Whether you’re looking for a good read set in the state you call home, or you’re looking to expand your curiosity with a writer you’re already familiar with, we’ve got you covered.

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1 / 47Goodreads

Where the Crawdads Sing

– Rating: 4.44 (2.1 million ratings)
– Author: Delia Owens
– Published: August 14, 2018
– Genres: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Audiobook
– Read more on Goodreads

2 / 47Goodreads

Cold Mountain

– Rating: 3.88 (234,705 ratings)
– Author: Charles Frazier
– Published: January 1, 1997
– Genres: Historical Fiction, Fiction, Historical, Romance
– Read more on Goodreads

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Nights in Rodanthe

– Rating: 3.84 (164,524 ratings)
– Author: Nicholas Sparks
– Published: January 1, 2002
– Genres: Romance, Fiction, Chick Lit, Contemporary
– Read more on Goodreads

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Just Listen

– Rating: 4.05 (244,006 ratings)
– Author: Sarah Dessen
– Published: April 6, 2006
– Genres: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Fiction
– Read more on Goodreads

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Garden Spells (Waverley Family, #1)

– Rating: 4.05 (94,949 ratings)
– Author: Sarah Addison Allen
– Published: August 28, 2007
– Genres: Fiction, Magical Realism, Fantasy, Romance
– Read more on Goodreads

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The Truth About Forever

– Rating: 4.12 (219,023 ratings)
– Author: Sarah Dessen
– Published: May 11, 2004
– Genres: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Fiction
– Read more on Goodreads

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Raney

– Rating: 3.94 (3,719 ratings)
– Author: Clyde Edgerton
– Published: January 2, 1985
– Genres: Fiction, Humor, Southern, Novels
– Read more on Goodreads

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Ellen Foster

– Rating: 3.78 (29,787 ratings)
– Author: Kaye Gibbons
– Published: January 21, 1987
– Genres: Fiction, Southern, Coming Of Age, Young Adult
– Read more on Goodreads

9 / 47Goodreads

The Wish

– Rating: 4.41 (74,211 ratings)
– Author: Nicholas Sparks
– Published: September 28, 2021
– Genres: Romance, Fiction, Audiobook, Contemporary
– Read more on Goodreads

10 / 47Goodreads

The Fiery Cross (Outlander, #5)

– Rating: 4.24 (196,396 ratings)
– Author: Diana Gabaldon
– Published: November 6, 2001
– Genres: Historical Fiction, Romance, Fantasy, Fiction
– Read more on Goodreads

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All the Missing Girls

– Rating: 3.77 (166,909 ratings)
– Author: Megan Miranda
– Published: June 28, 2016
– Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Fiction, Mystery Thriller
– Read more on Goodreads

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What Happened to Goodbye

– Rating: 3.95 (86,657 ratings)
– Author: Sarah Dessen
– Published: May 10, 2011
– Genres: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Fiction
– Read more on Goodreads

13 / 47Goodreads

Big Lies in a Small Town

– Rating: 4.12 (77,805 ratings)
– Author: Diane Chamberlain
– Published: January 14, 2020
– Genres: Historical Fiction, Fiction, Mystery, Audiobook
– Read more on Goodreads

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First Frost (Waverley Family, #2)

– Rating: 3.97 (33,561 ratings)
– Author: Sarah Addison Allen
– Published: January 20, 2015
– Genres: Magical Realism, Fiction, Fantasy, Romance
– Read more on Goodreads

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Where the Lilies Bloom

– Rating: 3.84 (2,532 ratings)
– Author: Vera Cleaver
– Published: January 1, 1969
– Genres: Historical Fiction, Young Adult, Fiction, Classics
– Read more on Goodreads

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At Home in Mitford (Mitford Years, #1)

– Rating: 4.12 (62,585 ratings)
– Author: Jan Karon
– Published: October 28, 1994
– Genres: Fiction, Christian Fiction, Christian, Adult Fiction
– Read more on Goodreads

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The Sugar Queen

– Rating: 3.98 (52,134 ratings)
– Author: Sarah Addison Allen
– Published: May 20, 2008
– Genres: Fiction, Magical Realism, Romance, Fantasy
– Read more on Goodreads

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One Second After

– Rating: 3.95 (56,400 ratings)
– Author: William R. Forstchen
– Published: March 17, 2009
– Genres: Fiction, Post Apocalyptic, Science Fiction, Apocalyptic
– Read more on Goodreads

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The Rest of the Story

– Rating: 4.06 (28,916 ratings)
– Author: Sarah Dessen
– Published: June 4, 2019
– Genres: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Fiction
– Read more on Goodreads

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Bootlegger’s Daughter (Deborah Knott Mysteries, #1)

– Rating: 3.97 (7,071 ratings)
– Author: Margaret Maron
– Published: May 1, 1992
– Genres: Mystery, Fiction, Mystery Thriller, Southern
– Read more on Goodreads

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Keeping the Moon

– Rating: 3.85 (66,475 ratings)
– Author: Sarah Dessen
– Published: September 1, 1999
– Genres: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Fiction
– Read more on Goodreads

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This Lullaby

– Rating: 4.02 (177,076 ratings)
– Author: Sarah Dessen
– Published: May 27, 2002
– Genres: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Fiction
– Read more on Goodreads

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Along for the Ride

– Rating: 4.04 (200,833 ratings)
– Author: Sarah Dessen
– Published: June 16, 2009
– Genres: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Fiction
– Read more on Goodreads

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Serena

– Rating: 3.54 (34,840 ratings)
– Author: Ron Rash
– Published: October 7, 2008
– Genres: Historical Fiction, Fiction, Historical, Southern
– Read more on Goodreads

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Lock and Key

– Rating: 4.00 (147,541 ratings)
– Author: Sarah Dessen
– Published: April 22, 2008
– Genres: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Fiction
– Read more on Goodreads

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Look Homeward, Angel

– Rating: 3.92 (13,960 ratings)
– Author: Thomas Wolfe
– Published: January 1, 1929
– Genres: Fiction, Classics, Literature, Novels
– Read more on Goodreads

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The Moon and More

– Rating: 3.63 (38,879 ratings)
– Author: Sarah Dessen
– Published: June 4, 2013
– Genres: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
– Read more on Goodreads

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Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War

– Rating: 4.09 (22,886 ratings)
– Author: Tony Horwitz
– Published: March 3, 1998
– Genres: Civil War, History, Nonfiction, American History
– Read more on Goodreads

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Someone Like You

– Rating: 3.92 (101,707 ratings)
– Author: Sarah Dessen
– Published: May 1, 1998
– Genres: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Fiction
– Read more on Goodreads

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That Summer

– Rating: 3.47 (54,755 ratings)
– Author: Sarah Dessen
– Published: January 1, 1996
– Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Fiction
– Read more on Goodreads

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Cataloochee

– Rating: 3.81 (1,285 ratings)
– Author: Wayne Caldwell
– Published: January 1, 2007
– Genres: Historical Fiction, Fiction, Southern, Historical
– Read more on Goodreads

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Safe Haven

– Rating: 4.21 (363,721 ratings)
– Author: Nicholas Sparks
– Published: January 1, 2010
– Genres: Romance, Fiction, Chick Lit, Contemporary
– Read more on Goodreads

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Book Lovers

– Rating: 4.29 (377,004 ratings)
– Author: Emily Henry
– Published: May 3, 2022
– Genres: Romance, Contemporary, Fiction, Contemporary Romance
– Read more on Goodreads

34 / 47Goodreads

The Last Road Home

– Rating: 4.17 (492 ratings)
– Author: Danny Johnson
– Published: July 1, 2016
– Genres: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Adult Fiction, Literary Fiction
– Read more on Goodreads

35 / 47Goodreads

Smoky Mountain Tracks (Raine Stockton Dog Mysteries, #1)

– Rating: 4.02 (1,702 ratings)
– Author: Donna Ball
– Published: January 1, 2006
– Genres: Mystery, Dogs, Fiction, Cozy Mystery
– Read more on Goodreads

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Tell Me No Lies (An Ava Logan Mystery #1)

– Rating: 4.22 (130 ratings)
– Author: Lynn Chandler Willis
– Published: February 7, 2017
– Genres: Mystery, Fiction, Cozy Mystery, Adult Fiction
– Read more on Goodreads

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Christmas in Fair Bend

– Rating: 4.07 (85 ratings)
– Author: Angie Ellington
– Published: February 22, 2017
– Genres: Christmas, Romance, Audiobook, Contemporary Romance
– Read more on Goodreads

38 / 47Goodreads

Personal (Jack Reacher, #19)

– Rating: 3.97 (67,600 ratings)
– Author: Lee Child
– Published: September 2, 2014
– Genres: Thriller, Fiction, Mystery, Crime
– Read more on Goodreads

39 / 47Goodreads

Lunch at the Piccadilly

– Rating: 3.37 (1,328 ratings)
– Author: Clyde Edgerton
– Published: January 1, 2003
– Genres: Fiction, Humor, Southern, Adult Fiction
– Read more on Goodreads

40 / 47Goodreads

A Timely Vision (A Missing Pieces Mystery, #1)

– Rating: 3.95 (1,407 ratings)
– Author: Joyce Lavene
– Published: May 4, 2010
– Genres: Mystery, Cozy Mystery, Fiction, Paranormal
– Read more on Goodreads

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41 / 47Goodreads

Lookaway, Lookaway

– Rating: 3.18 (3,180 ratings)
– Author: Wilton Barnhardt
– Published: May 7, 2013
– Genres: Fiction, Southern, Family, Contemporary
– Read more on Goodreads

42 / 47Goodreads

Carolina Harmony

– Rating: 3.49 (84 ratings)
– Author: Marilyn Taylor McDowell
– Published: January 1, 2009
– Genres: Historical Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Juvenile, Historical
– Read more on Goodreads

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Joyland

– Rating: 3.93 (142,305 ratings)
– Author: Stephen King
– Published: January 1, 2013
– Genres: Horror, Mystery, Fiction, Thriller
– Read more on Goodreads

44 / 47Goodreads

Road to Tater Hill

– Rating: 3.96 (364 ratings)
– Author: Edith M. Hemingway
– Published: January 1, 2009
– Genres: Middle Grade, Historical Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Young Adult
– Read more on Goodreads

45 / 47Goodreads

Jessie’s Mountain

– Rating: 4.08 (93 ratings)
– Author: Kerry Madden
– Published: February 1, 2008
– Genres: Historical Fiction, Childrens
– Read more on Goodreads

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So Many Beginnings: A Little Women Remix

– Rating: 3.97 (2,109 ratings)
– Author: Bethany C. Morrow
– Published: September 7, 2021
– Genres: Historical Fiction, Young Adult, Retellings, Fiction
– Read more on Goodreads

47 / 47Goodreads

The Notebook (The Notebook, #1)

– Rating: 4.13 (1.5 million ratings)
– Author: Nicholas Sparks
– Published: October 1, 1996
– Genres: Romance, Fiction, Chick Lit, Contemporary
– Read more on Goodreads