10 Books to Read if You Loved Nine Perfect Strangers
I’m a little late to the party but I finally watched Nine Perfect Strangers on Hulu. I read the book a couple years ago so I’m not sure how true the show was to it (it felt very different from the book) but it was a wild ride to watch.
So whether you liked NPS show or novel, here are some twisty books you’ll be sure to enjoy as well!
The Last Flight by Julie Clark
While this is shelved as a thriller, that isn’t quite the right label for it. It’s a super suspenseful mystery, weaving together the stories of two very different women. Claire and Eva meeting in an airport bar. Both desperate to escape their lives, they swap plane tickets. But when one of the planes crashes, things become even more complicated. The writing is sharp, the alternating timelines transition smoothly, revealing backstory while continuously building the suspense. The story touches on heavy subjects, domestic violence, drug abuse, sexism, and grief. Both women are strong protagonists, which I appreciated. Neither is a villain, as it seems is so common in thrillers. This is a compulsive read that proves things are not always as they appear on the surface.
Eliza Starts a Rumor by Jane L. Rosen
This juicy drama definitely reminds me of a Liane Moriarty novel. The story follows a group of women in a suburban community, all of who are adjusting to motherhood and other changes in life in different ways. Their lives revolve around an online bulletin board (Facebook page) for women. When drama is stirred up there online, it has ramifications in the real world. I loved the relationships between the women, some are easier than others, which felt realistic. I listened to the audiobook, and it was fully engaging.
All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood
This is the story of Wavy, the daughter of a meth dealer who has no reliable adults in her life, and the young man who stepped in to take care of her. I loved this book, even when it was rough. This novel is gorgeous and brutal. I don’t think I’ve ever read a story line even remotely close to this. It’s incredibly interesting and compelling, while at the same time addresses some seriously disturbing subject matter. What makes it work is that it’s never gratuitously disturbing. Even what was happening wasn’t “right,” it was understandable. I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted for them but I wanted them to turn out okay. This story is very fascinating look at the meanings of love, family, and protection.
The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave
This is a suspenseful mystery with the concept of family at its core. Just before Owen Michaels disappears, he smuggles a note to Hannah, his wife of one year. All the note says is, Protect her. Hannah knows this refers to Owen’s teenaged daughter but doesn’t know what it means. The two women eventually come together to figure out what happened to Owen. This story made me consider the age old question of whether or not we ever really know the people we’re close to. It also make me think a lot about what decisions I might make if in the characters’ shoes. It makes the reader wonder what are we willing to do to keep our loved ones safe?
Anxious People by Fredrik Backman
This is a story about an attempted bank robbery that turns into an unintentional hostage situation. 90+% of the book takes place in a single day, over the course of several hours. That timing gave the story even more urgency. Backman is a master at writing characters that are fully human, with flaws and positive attributes all on display at once. Ultimately this story is about connection, and the way we interact (or choose not to) with strangers on a daily basis. It’s about how finding something in common with a stranger forges connection and understanding.
That Summer by Jennifer Weiner
This a timely work of contemporary fiction focused on the #MeToo movement. It’s a compelling, intricately woven story. I’m impressed with Weiner’s ability to structure the story as she did. We follow two different women with the same name, through separate timelines as their lives begin to intertwine, because of something that happened in the past. This is a novel about trauma and recovery. It explores different paths for healing and closure, and the long term consequences of rape as both the victim and the perpetrator.
Luster by Raven Lellani
This novel knocked my socks off! It’s the story of a young woman in her twenties who has been floating through life making one bad decision after another. She becomes involved with a man in an open marriage whose wife has strict rules that must be followed. It’s a darkly funny book with stellar writing, it’s shocking and crude at times. It’s also a fascinating exploration of human nature and relationships.
November 9 by Colleen Hoover
This isn’t a typical love story. The two characters are on their own journey separate from each other, which gets more and more intertwined as the years go on. Fallon and Ben meet and decide to go their own ways, then meet up again on the same date each year. It’s an honest representation of young love and coming into adulthood.
The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth
This is a mystery/thrillers with a complex emotional story focused on the relationship between twin sisters Rose and Fern. We get alternating versions of of their life story, one from the diary Rose keeps and one directly from Fern. There are all sorts of complicated dynamics between them and their mother, lots of secrets and twists throughout the years. It’s a unique storyline that kept me interested from start to finish. Ultimately this is a story about learning who we can trust in our lives. Sometimes the people we think are protecting us are self-serving and it takes the perspective of outsiders to tune us in. It’s a wonderful emotional roller coaster of a read.
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