Our friends can bring out the best in us, and also the worst. Subtle comments, misinterpreted actions, and arguments can lead to dangerous, even fatal interactions. Everyone has a tipping point. The question is, when will they fall? And who will be dragged down with them?
Within every group of people lies the hierarchy. The two people who get along better than the rest, or the one friend who feels left out all the time. This can lead to a constant simmer of emotions, someone always on edge. Everyone handles stress differently, and if it takes hold of an entire group, it can break everything apart.
The following thrillers follow various characters all part of one central group of friends. Having multiple characters helps drive the plot forward, while also providing varying viewpoints and reactions, allowing the reader to better understand each individual’s motivation. Secrets are shared and withheld. Rumors are started and spread. Personal boundaries are defined and tested. Crimes are committed and covered up. There is a constant push and pull of information. Who knows what, who said what, who did what? People are fascinated by each other, whether its from afar, or in this case, a group of best friends.
We Were Liars, by E. Lockhart
I read this in one day and I have a toddler, so I feel like that says a lot. I flew through the pages, desperate to learn more about this group of cousins whose wealthy family owns a small private island off the coast of Massachusetts. (Why is this not a movie yet??!!) We know something happened to Cadence during her 15th summer on the island, something terrible involving her close group of cousins and friends, but due to a traumatic head injury she lost her memories of the events. As the novel unfolds, we find out what transpired that summer, and why Cadence has been pushing away everything dear to her. The twist is truly devastating, and you wont be able to stop reading until you reach it.
The Perfect Mother, by Aimee Molloy
Oh no, oh no, wow wow wow oh no wow = my thoughts reading this kidnapping novel, which I strangely chose to do with a sleeping infant in my arms. This book follows a group of new mothers, dubbed the May Mothers, who meet weekly in the idyllic Prospect Park of Brooklyn. When the mothers go out for a night on the town—which they never do—one of the babies gets taken from his crib—of course. What ensues is a race to find baby Midas as we follow the mothers turned close friends. Secrets are revealed and friendships are ruined. Will they find baby Midas in time? If you’re a new mom, stress read until you find out!
The Secret Place, by Tana French
An all girls boarding school. A hidden wall where students anonymously post their darkest thoughts and grievances. Secrets. Lies. Gossip. Rumors. And a sixteen-year-old boy who is brutally murdered, the case unsolved. A year later that all changes when one of the students, Holly Mackey, gives Detective Stephen Moran a photograph of the murdered boy with the words I know who killed him written on it. The story follows Holly and her close group of friends as they navigate the nasty rumor mill of private school, and their individual relationships with the victim. More than that, this book reveals the dangerous world of teenage girls and the cruel things they are capable of when succumbed to the pressure of adolescence.
The Last Time I Lied, by Riley Sager
Isolated summer camp? Check. Three missing girls? Check. The hunt to find out what really happened to them, fifteen years later? Two truths and a lie? Check, check. Riley Sager’s books always manage to scare me under the covers and this one is no exception. The story follows Emma Davis, the only surviving camper from her cabin. When she returns to camp Nightingale as an adult, to teach a painting class, she begins to uncover the terrifying truth about what really happened to her friends fifteen years ago.
The Dinner, by Herman Koch
This one involves two sets of friendships—the one between the parents, and the one between the children. The book subtly examines the power dynamic at work between families and friends, and the elusive pull of power in a social setting. Set at an elegant restaurant in Amsterdam, the story takes place over the course of a dinner between two couples who have met to discuss what to do about their fifteen-year-old sons and the horrifying scandal the boys are involved in. Everything starts off very civilized but ends with the devastating truth of what really happened, and will leave you questioning how far you’d go to protect your child.