If You Like...Big Little Lies

Perhaps you discovered Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies through the HBO miniseries that ran earlier this year. Perhaps you have always loved Liane Moriarty’s books. Or perhaps a friend recommended it when it came out three years ago, or you read it for a book club, or you just happened to pick it up off one of your local library shelves, intrigued by the oxymoronic title or the exploding lollipop on the cover. The reasons you may have read the book in the first place are, perhaps, almost as numerous as the reasons you may have enjoyed it. Whatever those reasons are, try giving the titles below a chance too, if you haven’t already!                                                                                           

Where’d You Go Bernadette – Maria Semple
A little less dark than Big Little Lies, this story also prominently features parent-school politics and a mother who doesn’t quite fit in. Bee’s mother has disappeared shortly after promising her daughter the vacation of her choice as a reward for excellent work in school. It shares a similar investigative style and tone to Big Little Lies, as Bee collects documents to piece together what has become of her mother and uncovers the things she has been hiding.

The Slap – Christos Tsiolkas
This book is driven less by mystery, but has a similar drama: a violent act and its repercussions are examined from multiple points of view. At a backyard barbeque, full of close friends and family, a frustrated adult slaps a misbehaving child who is not his own, causing a series of divisive emotions and opinions to ripple through each individual there – from the fury of the child’s parents to controversial justifications of the act by others in attendance. This book was also adapted into a TV series two years ago on NBC.

You Will Know Me – Megan Abbott

Devon Knox is a gymnastics prodigy – headed straight for the Olympics, if everything goes according to plan, in spite of a few hiccups. Her parents have sacrificed much to get her there. But they and the rest of their small gymnastics community will have to face what lies they are willing to tell – and what truths they are willing to bury - to protect their dreams and their families, when faced with the tragic and unexpected death of one of their own.

The Perfect Neighbors – Sarah Pekkanen
Secrets abound in Newport Cove, one of the 20 safest neighborhoods in the country and the neighborhood to which Kellie and her family have moved to escape a traumatic event from their recent past. This story encompasses snapshots from the lives of multiple women, including Kellie’s, and the secrets they keep to protect those they love as well as themselves. Similar to the community commentary at the end of each chapter in Big Little Lies, The Perfect Neighbors offers a taste of life and relations in Newport Cove in the form of responses on the community listserv at the beginning of each chapter.

You Should Have Known – Jean Hanff Korelitz
 As in Big Little Lies, the death of a parent in a school community is the driving force for the plot of this novel. Instead of being told from multiple points of view, however, Korelitz relates all that has occurred and is occurring through a single narrator – Grace Reinhart Sachs. Grace is a therapist with a book on relationship advice weeks away from coming out, a mother who happens to be on the same committee as the parent who dies and a devoted wife to a hard-working pediatric oncologist who has unexpectedly disappeared.
Do you have other recommendations for readers who enjoyed Big Little Lies? Leave them, along with any suggestions for future “If You Like…” posts, in the comments!

-Denise Dolan, George Mason Regional Library

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