“Maine,” by J. Courtney Sullivan Photo courtesy of the publishers

1. Cape Neddick: ‘Maine,’ by J. Courtney Sullivan
The Kellehers are true Maine tourists: Every year, they drive up from Massachusetts to their waterfront home in Cape Neddick and spend most of their time at the beach. The twist? Most tourists don’t arrive to their vacation with major secrets. The story follows four women over three generations at their Maine beach house.

“When We Were The Kennedys,” by Monica Wood

2. Mexico: ‘When We Were The Kennedys,’ by Monica Wood
The Wood family is a traditional Maine family from the ’60s: four girls, a stay-at-home mom and a father who works in the Oxford Paper Mill. Until one day, the Wood’s father dies on his way to work, leaving the whole family to watch after one another. An unexpected twist brings the family down to to Washington, D.C., at the same time President John F. Kennedy is assassinated, and The Woods start to see parallels between themselves and the first family.

“Olive Kitteridge,” by Elizabeth Strout

3. Brunswick: ‘Olive Kitteridge,’ by Elizabeth Strout
You may have seen Oscar winner Frances McDormand as the spunky, middle-aged Olive Kitteridge in the 2014 HBO mini-series. The novel it’s based on takes place in the fictional Maine town of Crosby, following townsfolks’ lives and their interactions with Ms. Kitteridge. In one story within the book, “A Different Road,” Olive takes a trip to the “shopping mall at Cook’s Corner,” indicating that Crosby is based on Brunswick, where there’s a shopping area of the same name. Strout is from Portland.

4. Waterville: ‘Empire Falls,’ by Richard Russo
Miles Roby runs Empire Grill, the classic small-town Maine diner, where residents come and go, interacting with Miles and each other. A former pizza place in Skowhegan was transformed into the diner when the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel was made into an HBO mini-series in 2005 starring Ed Harris and Helen Hunt. But the fact the fictional Empire Falls was home to a shirt factory makes nearby Waterville, where Hathaway shirts were made until 2002, the most obvious inspiration, though Russo has said it’s a combination of several places.

“Miss Rumphius,” by Barbara Cooney

5. Damariscotta: ‘Miss Rumphius,’ by Barbara Cooney
According to New England Historical Society, Miss Rumphius was a real person named Hilda Edwards who every year would scatter lupine flower seeds around Christmas Cove and Damariscotta, just like the storybook character. Cooney got the inspiration to write the book after seeing the hundreds of lupine flowers that were planted outside her home in Damariscotta. In 1996, when Angus King was governor, he designated Dec. 12 Barbara Cooney Day in honor of the author.

“Carrie,” by Steven King

6. Chamberlain: ‘Carrie,’ by Stephen King
What type of list would this be if Stephen King wasn’t on it? King has written a bunch of books based in Maine, but we chose his first one, “Carrie,” about a young girl who develops powers and uses them against everyone who bullied her. Most of King’s stories take place in fictional towns, but this one is based in the town of Chamberlain, near Boothbay Harbor. The story uses newspaper and magazine clippings from the town to show how Carrie has destroyed it with her powers.


“Evvie Drake Starts Over,” by Linda Holmes

7. Rockland: ‘Evvie Drake Starts Over,’ by Linda Holmes
A Yankees player in a coastal Maine town? Doesn’t sound right, but newly widowed, 30-something Evvie Drake doesn’t seem to mind when the struggling pitcher hides out from the media, renting an apartment in her house in the fictional town of Calcasset, which Holmes based off of Rockland.

“Blueberries for Sal,” by Robert McCloskey

8. Brooksville: ‘Blueberries for Sal,’ by Robert McCloskey
Are you really a Mainer if you can’t recognize the cover of “Blueberries for Sal” by the age of 2? The classic children’s book takes place on the island of Brooksville, near Deer Isle, where McCloskey spent time with his family who also inspired the characters in his book; Sal is named after his daughter, Sally. The sequel to the story, “Good Morning in Maine,” is on the same island, and the family takes on a new adventure with a younger sister.

“Charlotte’s Web,” by E.B. White

9. Brooklin: ‘Charlotte’s Web,’ by E.B. White
The famous story is about a runt pig named Wilbur, and his spider friend, Charlotte, who saves him from being slaughtered by writing messages in her web. White wrote the story after seeing a spider in his very own barn, located in Brooklin, where he later died 30 years after “Charlottes Web” was published in 1952. He wrote some of his most notable work in Maine, including his other classic, “Stuart Little.”

“Orphan Train,” by Christina Baker Kline

10. Mount Desert Island: ‘Orphan Train,’ by Christina Baker Kline
A New York Times bestseller and historical fiction book loosely based on its titular movement in which orphaned children were transported to foster homes, “Orphan Train” follows a young Irish orphan, Vivian, who moves from New York City to Maine to start a new life. Once there, she meets a teenage girl of Penobscot Indian decent and suddenly feels at home in the fictional town of Spruce Harbor. When asked if Spruce Harbor is a play on Southwest Harbor, Kline said it is her “mythical little sliver of a place between the actual places,” after admitting that Spruce Harbor is located on Mount Desert Island.

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