Just on the outskirts of the city, there’s a quieter place filled with people who crave a slower pace: the suburbs. But, suburbia is home to much more than white picket fences and happy housewives. From infidelity and custody battles to deceitful neighbors and the very real perils of high school, here are 7 reads that will take you behind closed doors and reveal the secrets of the suburbs—where nothing is quite what it seems.
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of two families.
In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.
Enter Mia Warren, who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.
When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town–and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs.
The Best Kind of People by Zoe Whittall
The Woodburys cherish life in the affluent, bucolic suburb of Avalon Hills, Connecticut. George is a beloved science teacher at the local prep school and his wife, Joan, is a hardworking ER nurse.
Then one night a police car pulls up to the Woodbury home and George is charged with sexual misconduct with students from his daughter’s school. As he sits in prison awaiting trial and claiming innocence, Joan vaults between denial and rage as friends and neighbors turn cold.
Their daughter, seventeen-year-old Sadie, finds refuge in an unexpected place and her brother, Andrew, a lawyer in New York, returns home to support the family. Meanwhile, a writer tries to exploit their story, while an unlikely men’s rights activist group attempts to recruit Sadie for their cause.
Provocative and unforgettable, The Best Kind of People reveals the cracks along the seams of even the most perfect lives and the unraveling of an American family.
The Night the Lights Went Out by Karen White
From the New York Times bestselling author of the Tradd Street series comes a stunning novel about a young single mother who discovers that the nature of friendship is never what it seems.
Recently divorced, Merilee Talbot Dunlap moves with her two children to the Atlanta suburb of Sweet Apple, Georgia to start over. Merilee finds some measure of peace in the cottage she is renting from town matriarch Sugar Prescott who soon begins to open up to Merilee about her own colorful past.
Sugar’s stories give Merilee a different perspective on the town and its wealthy school moms in their tennis whites and shiny SUVs, and even on her new friendship with Heather Blackford.
In a town like Sweet Apple, where sins and secrets are likely to be found behind the walls of gated mansions as in the dark woods surrounding Merilee’s house, appearance is everything. But just how dangerous that deception can be will shock everyone.
The Most Dangerous Place on Earth by Lindsey Lee Johnson
The wealthy enclaves north of San Francisco are not the paradise they appear to be, and nobody knows this better than the students of a local high school. Despite being raised with all the opportunities money can buy, these vulnerable kids are navigating a treacherous adolescence in which every action, every rumor, every feeling, is potentially postable, shareable, viral.
Abigail Cress is ticking off the boxes toward the Ivy League when she makes the first impulsive decision of her life: entering into an inappropriate relationship with a teacher. Dave Chu, who knows himself at heart to be a typical B student, takes desperate measures to live up to his parents’ crushing expectations. Emma Fleed, a gifted dancer, balances rigorous rehearsals with wild weekends. Damon Flintov returns from a stint at rehab looking to prove that he’s not an irredeemable screwup. And Calista Broderick, once part of the popular crowd, chooses, for reasons of her own, to become a hippie outcast.
Written with the rare talent capable of turning teenage drama into urgent, adult fiction, The Most Dangerous Place on Earth makes vivid a modern adolescence lived in the gleam of the virtual, but rich with sorrow, passion, and humanity.
The Mothers by Brit Bennett
A dazzling debut novel, The Mothers is a surprising story set within a contemporary black community in Southern California about young love and a big secret in a small community.
Nadia Turner, a rebellious, grief-stricken, seventeen-year-old mourning her own mother’s recent suicide, takes up with Luke Sheppard, the local pastor’s son. They are young; it’s not serious. But the pregnancy that results from this teen romance—and the subsequent cover-up—will have an impact that goes far beyond their youth. As Nadia hides her secret from everyone, including Aubrey, her God-fearing best friend, the years move quickly.
Soon, Nadia, Luke, and Aubrey are full-fledged adults and still living in debt to the choices they made that one seaside summer, caught in a love triangle they must carefully maneuver, and dogged by the constant, nagging question: What if they had chosen differently? The possibilities of the road not taken are a relentless haunt.
The Misfortune of Marion Palm by Emily Culliton
A wildly entertaining debut about a Brooklyn Heights wife and mother who has embezzled a small fortune from her children’s private school and makes a run for it, leaving behind her trust fund poet husband, his maybe-secret lover, her two daughters, and a school board who will do anything to find her.
Marion Palm prefers not to think of herself as a thief but rather “a woman who embezzles.” Over the years she has managed to steal $180,000 from her daughters’ private school, money that has paid for European vacations, a Sub-Zero refrigerator, and perpetually unused state-of-the-art exercise equipment. But, now, when the school faces an audit, Marion pulls piles of rubber-banded cash from their basement hiding places and flees, leaving her family to grapple with the baffled detectives, the irate school board, and the mother-shaped hole in their house.
Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates
Hailed as a masterpiece of realistic fiction and as the most evocative portrayal of the opulent desolation of the American suburbs since its publication in 1961, Revolutionary Road is the story of Frank and April Wheeler, a bright, beautiful, and talented couple who have lived on the assumption that greatness is only just around the corner. With heartbreaking compassion and remorseless clarity, Richard Yates shows how Frank and April mortgage their spiritual birthright, betraying not only each other, but their best selves.