Domestic Thrillers, Stories Of Female Friendship, And More Books Like 'Big Little Lies'

by Kerri Jarema

The Big Little Lies season 2 finale airs on July 21st, and Big Little Lies season 3 probably won't happen, which means it might be time to say goodbye to the mothers of Monterey for good. Based on the bestselling novel by Liane Moriarty, Big Little Lies has been a crowd and critical favorite since it premiered in February of 2017 — not only because its cast includes Hollywood heavyweights Reese Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley, Zoe Kravitz, Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, and Laura Dern, but also for its unflinching portrayal of abusive relationships in the era of #MeToo, and the complexities of female friendships, marriage, and motherhood.

After you've watched the finale, make sure to check out the 11 books like Big Little Lies, below. All share similar themes to the show: There are murder mysteries and eerie thrillers; there are small towns with dark secrets and suburban dramas; there are heart-wrenching books that deal with abuse; there are high-stakes courtroom spectacles; and there are explorations of motherhood and intense female friendships in all of their many iterations. At least three of these books are already in the process of being adapted for the screen (including the upcoming Reese Witherspoon-led Little Fires Everywhere adaptation on Hulu) so you can get ahead of your next TV favorite:

'Just Between Us' by Rebecca Drake

Alison, Julie, Sarah, and Heather are four friends living the suburban ideal. But everything starts to unravel when Alison spots a nasty bruise on Heather’s wrist. An investigation into what looks like an increasingly violent marriage leads to a moment the women regret, and now they must decide how far they will go to help a friend.

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'Queenie' by Candice Carty-Williams

Like Big Little Lies, Candice Carty-Williams's Queenie deals with abusive relationships, post-abuse mental illness, and the way sex plays into both. The story centers on a 25-year-old Jamaican British woman who seeks comfort in all the wrong places — including several hazardous men — after breaking up with her long-term white boyfriend.

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'The Rumor' by Lesley Kara

Single mom Joanna has just moved to a seaside town with her son. In the hopes of making friends with the other moms, she shares a rumor she heard ⁠— a notorious killer has been released from prison and is living under a new identity in their town ⁠— and the gossip takes on a dangerous life of its own.

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'Miracle Creek' by Angie Kim

In a small town in Virginia, there is a special treatment center with a hyperbaric chamber that its owners claim can cure a range of conditions. But when the chamber explodes and two people die, investigators discover that it wasn't an accident. A powerful courtroom showdown unfolds, and it turns out that all the main characters — the mother of a patient, the center's owners, and a protester — are keeping devastating secrets.

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'Little Fires Everywhere' by Celeste Ng

In Shaker Heights, everything is meticulously planned, and no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson. Enter Mia Warren, an artist and single mother with a disregard for the rules. But when Mrs. Richardson becomes determined to uncover the secrets in Mia's past, her obsession will come at devastating costs to both families.

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'The Twilight Wife' by A.J. Banner

Kyra Winthrop remembers nothing about the diving accident that left her with complex memory loss. Her world has narrowed to the island where she lives with her husband, Jacob. But Kyra begins to have visions of a rocky marriage and of cryptic relationships with the island residents. As she races to uncover her past, she discovers terrifying truths about her accident and marriage.

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'Where'd You Go, Bernadette' by Maria Semple

Mystery abounds in Where'd You Go, Bernadette, which follows Bee as she searches for her mother, Bernadette, who has gone missing after a disastrous school fundraiser. Though lighter than Big Little Lies, both books deal with the unrealistic expectations faced by many mothers and the experiences of women who feel trapped in the lives they're expected to lead.

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'I Thought I Knew You' by Penny Hancock

Jules and Holly have been best friends since university. They tell each other everything, and share both the big moments and the small details of their lives. So when Jules’s daughter, Saffie, makes a serious allegation against Holly’s son, Saul, neither woman is prepared for the devastating impact it will have on their friendship or their families.

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'The Fifth Letter' by Nicola Moriarty

Joni, Deb, Eden, and Trina have been best friends since high school. One night, the women dare one another to write anonymous letters and spill all their secrets — but the game exposes truths far more devastating than they expected. When a fifth letter — a hate-filled rant revealing a vicious grudge — is discovered, things will never be the same.

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'The Silent Wife' by A.S.A Harrison

Jodi and Todd are in a bad place in their marriage. Much is at stake, including the affluent life they lead in their beautiful waterfront condo in Chicago — a home that keeps Jodi in denial about her husband's constant infidelity. But Jodi can only turn her cheek so much, and when she decides she has nothing left to lose, things get ugly.

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'Nine Perfect Strangers' by Liane Moriarty

In Liane Moriarty's latest, Frances Welty arrives at Tranquillum House to nurse a bad back (and a broken heart) and is immediately entranced by the eight other guests and the strange and charismatic owner. But she will soon have to decide if she should immerse herself in everything Tranquillum House has to offer ⁠— or run while she still can.

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