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It’s that time of year, and even in the best of circumstances, giant holiday family gatherings can stir up a lot of emotion. Many people travel all over the place for all kinds of vacations, and it is bound to be stressful no matter your situation. What better way to take a break from your family event (you can tell everyone Book Riot ordered book breaks!) than to read about families with bad luck, terrible coping skills, or just terrible people. There’s something about reading about the upsides of a fictional family that helps you feel better about whatever stressful family situation you’re in right now.
From families covering up an accidental murder to families storing horrific secrets to chaotic families trying to manage an entire (very old) dilapidated estate, these eight books focused on family drama (whether funny, serious, or mob-style) will help you put your mind at ease. Far from the current drama at hand, whether it’s a fight between family members or disoriented pets you can’t tell where they are. And who knows, when you’re done, maybe you can pass the book on to another family member and have a great conversation about what you’d do if your family was in this situation.
Nurturing and Feeding Hungry, Insatiable Girls by Anissa Gray
Beginning with a family drama focused on mystery, this book is about the highly respected Butler family. But when the head of the household, Althea, and her husband, Proctor, are arrested, the family finds themselves writhing as they try to determine exactly what happened, why Althea and Proctor aren’t speaking, what he will tell the community, and who to turn prying eyes and eliminate them. This is a literary story with some mystery and discussion about what it means to be a family and what we owe others. It’s a very exciting story that you will find yourself drawn to.
Trelawney House by Hannah Rothschild
Trelawney Castle in Cornwall, England, was once the proud home of a distinguished line of aristocrats, but by the early 2000s it had unfortunately become a sight to behold. It is literally falling apart thanks to time, poor estate maintenance, and poor management of family finances. Ketu is the heir to the dynasty at the moment, if it can be called that, and he and his family are doing their best to keep it going. When Anastasia, a despised and exiled woman from the family, announces that her daughter will be sent to stay at the estate, Kitto in her arms is confused, as he is already floundering to keep everything in line. This is a true comedy of wrongdoing as Kitto realizes he has zero power, and the women in the family are the real heroes, stepping up to do what needs to be done and showing others what it means to be a family, even when everything else seems to go horribly awry.
The Comedown by Rebecca Frumkin
This family drama is a dark and comedic look at a drug deal that goes wrong and two families who meet each other in the worst of ways. Reggie Marshall and Leland Bloom-Mittwoch are the two characters involved, when a bag containing a lot of cash goes missing, they find themselves holding their families and embarking on a strange, funny, bizarre and horrific adventure they’ve never wanted before. be on.
Order A for Aunts by Jesse Q. Sutanto
If you haven’t picked up this wild romcom yet, consider this sign to do so now. What could be more fun to escape to during stressful family events than a story about a stressful family event that went horribly wrong, and ended up with your aunts’ dead body at the scene to help you hide it? That’s exactly what happens to Meddy, who, after a terrible date set by her mother, accidentally kills (oops!) her date, then has to call her mom and aunts to help her hide and dispose of the body. On top of that, the Midi family is planning the biggest wedding their business has ever seen, so now isn’t a great time to avoid a murder charge! It truly is the perfect blend of romcom, mystery, murder and mayhem.
Nothing to see here by Kevin Wilson
What starts with a friend asking for a simple favor from another friend – are you coming to watch the kids? Turns into something more than Lillian bargained for. Her old friend Madison asked her to come take care of her kids, and Lillian doesn’t have a lot of things she wants in life right now. So I agreed, even though the two hadn’t spoken since they were in school together and that scandal happened. When Lillian arrives, she meets the twins, and Madison tells them that they will all be living in the guesthouse, away from Madison and her new husband and new child. After all, her husband should stand on the front of the family man, and these twins are his stepchildren. Oh, and it also spontaneously caught fire when agitated.
Good Family by AH Kim
The Min-Lindstroms is the perfect picture for the all-American family who made it and their dreams come true. Until Pete, the star model, the president of a drug company, lands in prison. Someone blew the whistle, and everyone had something to hide. He let Sam raise his two daughters and Peten on his own. Liz, the icy husband, was blamed on the spot; Hana and Eva, the two sisters, love their family very much; And Martin, Beth’s brother, is the heir to the fortune and does not speak up. There’s a lot to decipher in this white-collar employee crime novel that features characters with more secrets than they know what to do with them, and it’s the perfect mystery to get lost in.
Devotions by Delphine de Vegan
Originally published in French, this novel is based on a true story that follows a family working on as many wrong fronts as possible in the hope that no one will ever find out who it really is. Théo and Mathis are school friends, who often keep secrets like little children, but Hélène, their teacher, quickly becomes obsessed with them, to the point of no return. Meanwhile, Matisse’s parents fall into a scandal of their own when Cecile discovers something about her husband that will change their relationship forever. This book discusses maintaining appearances to look good and “normal” when we’re faced with something disastrous, and how we may not be as good at hiding as we think.
Started by Samantha Downing
Lots of people who have grown up with siblings they’re used to hearing come out as this action-packed, action-packed movie features a family that stops at nothing to get what they want. The siblings in this novel haven’t spoken in years, but when their grandfather dies and leaves a strange clue, they must band together to find out his last wishes – but most importantly, make sure they get the inheritance money. But nothing is simple, and even what seems like a straight road trip turns into something else entirely as secrets between family members explode one by one.
Whatever you need a break from during this season—a big gathering, a grueling meal, and one specific person who won’t leave you alone—these books will give you the escape you need. And if you’re looking for more, you can take a quiz to find the perfect family drama to read or check out these books about dysfunctional families for more recommendations.