Everything I Never Told You
Ng’s debut novel opens with the death of Lydia, the golden child of a Chinese-American family in 1970s small-town Ohio. But the factors leading to Lydia’s shocking end can all be traced back to the secrets and motivations of her parents, James and Marilyn. The best (and worst) part is, if they’d only talked about their hang-ups, weaknesses, and insecurities, they could have changed their family’s tragic legacy.
Saints for All Occasions
J. Courtney Sullivan
Saints for All Occasions follows Nora and Theresa Flynn, two sisters who leave Ireland for the US and live very different lives. Theresa ends up pregnant, and Nora hatches a plan to help her sister without realizing that it will change the shape of their lives. Five decades later, the two estranged sisters—one a nun, the other a grandmother—reunite to confront their choices and their repercussions.
The Book of Essie
Meghan MacLean Weir
In a reality TV–obsessed world, it’s pretty hard to keep secrets, but Esther Ann Hicks, known as Essie to the fans of the reality show her family has been on for years, has managed it. She’s pregnant, which in this strictly religious family seems impossible. As her mother confers with the show’s producers to try to figure how to either get Essie out of this bind or use it for better ratings, Essie herself is making different plans. With her new ally, she spins her own love story for the media, but all the while she’s considering how to come clean about the dark underbelly of her family’s life—the parts no one ever gets to see.
My Sister, the Serial Killer
Koreda loves her sister Ayoola, even if Ayoola was always the prettier and preferred one of the two. The trouble is that Ayoola has begun to develop a nasty habit of killing off her boyfriends… and then asking Koreda to clean up her mess. It’s true that guys can be total jerks, of course, and Koreda knows this, but she still really hopes that Tade, the doctor she has a crush on at the hospital where she works as a nurse, won’t try to go out with Ayoola. If, or maybe when, he does, will Koreda stick with her monstrous sis?
The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls
Fifteen-year-old Thea Atwell is sent away from home for a reason we spend most of the novel dying to learn: a reason, as you might imagine, that’s wrapped up in family secrets. While this story is set in the midst of the Great Depression in 1930, its themes are modern—especially when it comes to Thea’s summer romance and exploration of her burgeoning sexuality. While she settles into life at her new equestrian school, she reflects on the scandal that led her there.
Nobody creates a secret like a family—with their shared history and contentious psychodramas—and no one protects a secret like a family, either. If you find yourself tempted to snoop through others’ medicine cabinets or creepy attics, these family dramas will make for ideal reading entertainment… and might even make you wonder what secrets your own clan could be hiding.
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