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SARAH PEKKANEN

SARAH PEKKANEN has been published in People, The Washington Post, USA Today, The New Republic, The Baltimore Sun, Reader’s Digest, and Washingtonian, among others. She writes a monthly Erma Bombeck-style column for Bethesda Magazine, and has extensive radio and TV experience, including NPR’s “All Things Considered” and E! Entertainment’s “Gossip Show.” She is the winner of a Dateline award and the Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellowship.

www.sarahpekkanen.com

Listen to Sarah on NPR, talking about the three books that helped her get a book deal.

THE PERFECT NEIGHBORS

Washington Square Press – July 5, 2016

How well do you ever really know the family next door?

Bucolic Newport Cove, where spontaneous block parties occur on balmy nights and all of the streets are named for flowers, is proud of its distinction of being named one the top twenty safest neighborhoods in the US. It’s also one of the most secret-filled.

Kellie Scott has just returned to work after a decade of being a stay-at-home mom. She’s adjusting to high heels, scrambling to cook dinner for her family after a day at the office—and soaking in the dangerous attention of a very handsome, very married male colleague. Kellie’s neighbor Susan Barrett begins every day with fresh resolutions: she won’t eat any carbs, she’ll go to bed at a reasonable hour, and she’ll stop stalking her ex-husband and his new girlfriend. Gigi Kennedy seems to have it all together—except her teenage daughter has turned into a hostile stranger and her husband is running for Congress, which means her old skeletons are in danger of being brought into the light.

Then a new family moves to this quiet, tree-lined cul-de-sac. Tessa Campbell seems friendly enough to the other mothers, if a bit reserved. Then the neighbors notice that no one is ever invited to Tessa’s house. And soon, it becomes clear that Tessa is hiding the biggest secret of all.


Praise for THE PERFECT NEIGHBORS

One of Glamour’s Best Books of Summer

“Pekkanen deftly intertwines four stories into a tapestry depicting the frayed seams underlying small-town American domesticity. A mistress of women’s fiction, Pekkanen transforms clichéd suburban troubles—from adolescent drama to infidelity—into a compelling, suspenseful tale.”—Kirkus

“A gossipy page-turner.”—Glamour

“Pekkanen uncovers the hopes, heartbreaks, and indiscretions that lurk behind a community’s carefully maintained façade in this engrossing novel reminiscent of Liane Moriarty’s suburban-set mysteries. Women’s fiction star Pekkanen’s latest novel will be energetically promoted as the perfect summer read.”—Booklist

“Relatable characters round out a fun, fast read.”—Good Housekeeping

 

THINGS YOU WON'T SAY
A Novel

Washington Square Press – May 26, 2015

In this timely and provocative novel, internationally bestselling author Sarah Pekkanen takes us inside a family in crisis and a marriage on the brink after a tragic shooting.

How far would you go to save your family?

Every morning, as her husband Mike straps on his SIG Sauer and pulls on his heavy Magnum boots, Jamie Anderson tenses up. Then comes the call she has always dreaded: There’s been a shooting at police headquarters. Mike isn’t hurt, but his long-time partner is grievously injured. As weeks pass and her husband’s insomnia and disconnectedness mount, Jamie realizes he is an invisible casualty of the attack. Then the phone rings again. Another shooting—but this time Mike has pulled the trigger.

But the shooting does more than just alter Jamie’s world. It’s about to change everything for two other women. Christie Simmons, Mike’s flamboyant ex, sees the tragedy as an opportunity for a second chance with Mike. And Jamie’s younger sister, Lou, must face her own losses to help the big sister who raised her. As the press descends and public cries of police brutality swell, Jamie tries desperately to hold together her family, no matter what it takes.

In her characteristic exploration of true-to-life relationships, Sarah Pekkanen has written a complex, compelling, and openhearted novel—her best yet.

Praise for THINGS YOU WON’T SAY

“Gripping reading.“—People

“A standout among standouts.“—Glamour

A gripping story of racial profiling, PTSD, and the threads that hold people together. You’ll forget it’s fiction.“—Marie Claire

“Fantastic and realistic.“—Examiner.com

“Pekkanen tackles a timely topic.“—Booklist

Pekkanen reliably builds strong, interesting characters.” —Kirkus

 

CATCHING AIR
A Novel

Atria – May 6, 2014

From the internationally bestselling author of four books, including The Opposite of Me, a vibrant, compulsively readable novel about two married couples who pursue a dream to open a bed-and-breakfast in small-town Vermont.

In her previous works including The Best of Us, “rising star” (Library Journal) Sarah Pekkanen captivated readers by penning “refreshingly introspective, sharply realistic, and tenderly humorous” novels (Booklist) that had readers “flying through the pages” (Hoda Kotb, Today show). Now, in Catching Air, Pekkanen turns an unflinching eye on the tangled relationships of two pairs of thirty-somethings.

A chance to run a B&B in snowy, remote Vermont—it’s an offer Kira Danner can’t resist after six soul-crushing years of working as a lawyer in Florida. As Kira and her husband, Peter, step into a brand new life, she quells her fears about living with the B&B’s co-owners: Peter’s sexy, irresponsible brother Rand, and Rand’s wife, Alyssa…who is essentially a stranger.

For her part, Alyssa sees taking over the B&B as the latest in a string of adventures. Plus, a quiet place might help her recover from the news that she can’t bear children. But the idyllic town proves to be anything but serene: Within weeks, the sisters-in-law are scrambling to prepare for their first big booking—a winter wedding—and soon a shy, mysterious woman comes to work for them. Dawn Zukoski is hiding something; that much is clear. But what the sisters-in-law don’t realize is that Dawn is also hiding from someone…

Relatable and dynamic, Catching Air delves deeply into the vital relationships that give shape to women’s lives.


Praise for CATCHING AIR

“Sarah Pekkanen is one of my favorite authors of women’s fiction, and I was engrossed in Catching Air from start to finish.“—Lisa Scottoline, New York Times bestselling author

“Once again, Pekkanen delivers relatable characters and story lines, showcasing the strength and perseverance required to make relationships work. This is an entertaining and emotional read for fans of contemporary women’s fiction.”—Library Journal

“Internationally best-selling Pekkanen writes novels that offer thoughtful examinations of how the past shapes adult relationships and the differences between men and women. Many of the interwoven story lines are finely wrought, and the book as a whole is compelling.”—Booklist

“Ultimately, Pekkanen shows that relationships of any kind take work, expression of love, and the willingness to take risks in order to save them.”—New York Journal of Books

“Pekkanen is deft at finding each woman’s voice, displaying all sides of eventual conflicts. Her strong narrative pulls the reader steadily through the book, with tension mounting as the weather worsens…a solid entry in the ‘women’s fiction’ genre.“—Library Journal

“Within a few pages, you’ll find yourself emotionally invested.“—Entertainment Weekly

 

THE BEST OF US
A Novel

Atria Books – April 9, 2013

An all-expense-paid week at a luxury villa in Jamaica—it’s the invitation of a lifetime for a group of old college friends. All four women are desperate not just for a reunion, but for an escape: Tina is drowning under the demands of mothering four young children. Allie is shattered by the news that a genetic illness runs in her family. Savannah is carrying the secret of her husband’s infidelity. And, finally, there’s Pauline, who spares no expense to throw her wealthy husband an unforgettable thirty-fifth birthday celebration, hoping it will gloss over the cracks already splitting apart their new marriage.

Languid hours on a private beach, gourmet dinners, and late nights of drinking kick off an idyllic week for the women and their husbands. But as a powerful hurricane bears down on the island, turmoil swirls inside the villa, forcing each of the women to reevaluate everything she knows about her friends—and herself.


Praise for THE BEST OF US

“Pekkanen sparkles with her latest, a touching tale of college friends whose happily ever afters aren’t as perfect as they might have once expected. Lovably flawed, realistic characters and a fast-paced story make this a deeply enjoyable page-turner.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Fans of Jennifer Weiner and Emily Giffin will strongly appreciate this rising star in women’s fiction.“—Library Journal

“Sarah Pekkanen writes with wit and warmth and a deep understanding of the way women—mothers, daughters, sisters, friends—make a place for themselves in the world.“—Jennifer Weiner, #1 New York Times bestselling author

“Sarah Pekkanen’s latest celebrates the healing power of female friendship for three very different young women sharing a New York City apartment. At turns bittersweet, laugh-out-loud funny, and painfully real, you’ll wish you could move in with these girls.“—Jodi Picoult, #1 New York Times bestselling author

“Pekkanen offers a conversational writing style and a knack for making readers care about her characters… a refreshing look at the importance of female friendship.”—Washington Post

“Just the book to banish the last of your winter blues.“—People

“Chick lit with grit.“—Ladies Home Journal

“Smart and soulful, Pekkanen explores the place where self and sisterhood intersect.“—Redbook

“A page-turner…a perfect book to cozy up with on a rainy day.“—Marie Claire

“Fresh, appealing…the story is at turns funny and poignant.“—Booklist

“A compelling and satisfying read…highly recommended.” —Library Journal (starred review)

“A perfect beach read, it’s also a perfect weekend book. Get out a few chocolates and a glass of wine and prepare to make some new friends.“—Examiner.com

“Reading this BFF-getaway-gone-wrong novel is like vacay without leaving the couch.“—Glamour

 

THESE GIRLS
A Novel

Atria – April 10, 2012

Family secrets may shape us all, but it’s the rich, complicated layers of friendship that can save us.

Cate, Renee, and Abby have come to New York for very different reasons, and in a bustling city of millions, they are linked together through circumstance and chance.

Cate has just been named the features editor of Gloss, a high-end lifestyle magazine. It’s a professional coup, but her new job comes with more complications than Cate ever anticipated.

Her roommate Renee will do anything to nab the plum job of beauty editor at Gloss. But snide comments about Renee’s weight send her into an emotional tailspin. Soon she is taking black market diet pills—despite the racing heartbeat and trembling hands that signal she’s heading for real danger.

Then there’s Abby, whom they take in as a third roommate. Once a joyful graduate student working as a nanny part time, she abruptly fled a seemingly happy life in the D.C. suburbs. No one knows what shattered Abby—or why she left everything she once loved behind.

Pekkanen’s most compelling, true-to-life novel yet tells the story of three very different women as they navigate the complications of careers and love—and find the lifeline they need in each other.


Praise for THESE GIRLS

“Because Pekkanen’s characters are sympathetic and familiar, readers are likely to identify with aspects of each protagonist. Fans of Jennifer Weiner, Sarah Dessen, Liza Palmer, and Emily Giffin will strongly appreciate this smart novel by a rising star in women’s fiction.“—Library Journal

“Sarah Pekkanen’s latest celebrates the healing power of female friendship for three very different young women sharing a New York City apartment. At turns bittersweet, laugh-out-loud funny, and painfully real, you’ll wish you could move in with these girls.“—Jodi Picoult, New York Times bestselling author of Lone Wolf and Sing You Home

“A pleasure.“—People

“Sarah Pekkanen deftly weaves together the lives of roommates and friends…and within a few pages you’ll find yourself emotionally invested in all of them. The surprisingly good news is that this author knows ‘happily ever after’ doesn’t necessarily involve a cute guy.“—Entertainment Weekly

“The honesty and complexity that Sarah Pekkanen brings to her three main characters in These Girls is impressive and rare. You can’t help but root for each one of them as they struggle to strike that elusive balance between professional success and personal happiness. The bonds among Pekkamen’s female heroines will have you reaching for the phone to hold your own best girlfriends a little closer.”—Nicolle Wallace, New York Times bestselling author of Eighteen Acres

“In These Girls, Sarah Pekkanen again proves her innate understanding of women’s relationships. With a style that’s both wry and heartfelt, readers will absolutely recognize themselves and their friendships on the pages. These Girls is lively and engaging and ultimately satisfying, so get comfortable because you won’t be able to put it down!“—Jen Lancaster, author of Bitter Is the New Black

 

SKIPPING A BEAT

Atria – February 22, 2011

In Sarah Pekkanen’s second novel, Skipping a Beat, Julia Dunhill wakes up one morning to discover that her husband Michael has been transformed into a completely different man. Together since they met in high school in their tiny, poor hometown in West Virginia, Michael and Julia are now in their early 30s—and living a privileged, rarified life in their nine-million-dollar, Washington D.C. home. But one day Michael stands up at the head of the table in his company’s boardroom—then silently crashes to the floor. More than four minutes later, a portable defibrillator jump-starts his heart. But what happened to Michael during those lost minutes forever changes him. Money is now meaningless to him—and he wants to give it all away to charity. A pre-nup agreement that Julia insisted upon back when Michael’s company was still struggling means she has no claim to his fortune, and now she must decide: Should she walk away from the man she once adored, but who truthfully became a stranger to her long before his near-death experience—or should she give her husband a second chance? Told in the same funny, poignant voice as The Opposite of Me, this book reveals the story of a marriage and lifestyle that seem enviable from the outside, but are anything but within.


Praise for SKIPPING A BEAT

O Magazine “Pick it up Now” book

Harper’s-Bazaar Hot List Pick

Target, Sam’s Club, & Doubleday Selection

“Original, engaging, and soulful, Skipping a Beat explores the complexity of marriage and what it really means to share a life. I fell in love with Julia, a funny, flawed and utterly real heroine—and felt the weight of her dilemma with every page, all the way through to the surprising, satisfying finish.“—Emily Giffin, New York Times bestselling author of Something Borrowed and Heart of the Matter

“The impossible choice between true love and the trappings of success is explored in Skipping a Beat. Sarah Pekkanen proves masterful at creating nuanced, complex characters deadlocked with emotional conflict, and the story culminates in an ending that will leave readers breathless. Evocative and compelling, it couldn’t be more satisfying.”—Jen Lancaster, author of Bitter is the New Black

“A provocative, poignant look at marriage, money and the things that matter most.“—Beth Kendrick, author of The Pre-Nup

“Tender and funny in turn, Sarah Pekkanen has made modern marriage exciting in this imaginative and heartfelt tale of love and healing.“—Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus, #1 New York Times bestselling authors of The Nanny Diaries

“Wonderfully compelling, compassionate, and complicated…Pekkanen offers relatable characters that move you and an ending that surprises and pleases. Highly recommended.“—Library Journal, Starred Review

“A two-hanky weepy in which a 30-something woman must choose between her vast wealth and a husband she hasn’t really loved in years. A tragic turn of events redirects what could have been a predictable romance into a drama on the fragility of love and marriage.“—Kirkus Reviews

“In her previous novel, The Opposite of Me (2010), Pekkanen delved into the complex relationship between sisters, and she now uses the same insightful tone in this examination of a marriage. The moving story and bittersweet ending will draw in readers.“—Booklist

“With wit and heart, Pekkanen gives new meaning to the term ‘marital boundaries.’“—Harper’s Bazaar

“This portrait of a couple forced to take responsibility for the breakdown of their relationship is at once heartbreaking and familiar.“—People

 

THE OPPOSITE OF ME

Atria – March 9, 2010

Lindsey Rose has, for as long as she can remember, played second fiddle to her devastatingly beautiful fraternal twin sister, Alex, who has effortlessly glided through life with irritating flawlessness. Exhausted from competing but determined to play catch-up, Lindsey is finally on the cusp of having arrived and having it all. At 29, she is about to be named Creative Vice President of an elite New York advertising agency, after years of 80 plus hour weeks, ulcers, migraines, and profound loneliness. But during the course of one devastating and fateful night, Lindsey’s carefully-constructed dreams and life implode.

Humiliated and desperate, she flees the glitter of Manhattan and retreats to the time warp of her parent’s Maryland home, where Alex, the great thorn in her side, lives minutes away. Struggling to maintain her identity as the smart, responsible sister while she secretly tries to piece her life back together, Lindsey finds her ducks out of their usually well-placed rows. When Alex, who is engaged to Mr. Wonderful, makes a play for the one guy who has always been her sister’s safety net, all of Lindsey’s long-held resentments and jealousies explode—unleashing a family secret that unexpectedly flips Lindsey into the one place she never dreamed she would land.

Though painful and provocative, The Opposite of Me is a drop-dead funny, tongue-in-cheek exploration of low self-esteem, the hunger to succeed and have it all, and the sometimes grueling and crazy-making, but oftentimes supremely rewarding bond of sisterhood.


Praise for THE OPPOSITE OF ME

Redbook Book Pick

USA Today Notable Pick

Sam’s, BJ’s, Costco, and Walmart Book Club Pick

“Fresh and funny and satisfying. A terrific book about sisters that actually made me laugh out loud. I was completely drawn into Lindsey’s world and rooted for her from beginning to end.”—Jennifer Weiner, New York Times bestselling author of In Her Shoes and Best Friends Forever

“With her smart, soulful novel, author Pekkanen explores the place where self and sisterhood intersect.“—Redbook

“Pekkanen’s wry voice and engaging characters—the sisters’ bumbling parents are especially lovable—keep things fresh. 3.5 out of 4 stars.“—People

“Sharp-tongued… a spot-on portrayal of the existential dilemmas of young adulthood.”—Washington Post

“[Pekkanen’s] fresh, appealing approach is a welcome addition to the chick-lit canon.“—Booklist

“Pekkanen’s involving debut…[is] an honest examination of the limits we place on ourselves, with well-drawn female characters.“—Kirkus Reviews

“If a book makes you think and be introspective, well that’s magic and The Opposite of Me has done just that. Pekkanen has hit the nail on the head…an absolute must read that will make every woman think and every sister make a phone call.“—New York Journal of Books

“Pekkanen’s debut novel is heartfelt and richly drawn. With a delicate touch, she had me believing and sharing every laugh and every tear—it was a completely satisfying read. I look forward to more from this talented writer.”—Beth Harbison, bestselling author of Hope in a Jar

“With warmth and charm, Sarah Pekkanen brings us an endearing portrait of a young woman struggling to define herself in the looming shadow of a dazzling twin. Move over, Anna Maxted and Sophie Kinsella: With this energetic debut, America now has its own bright, comic voice.”—Susan Coll, author of Acceptance

“Simultaneously both light and satisfying, Sarah Pekkanen’s debut, The Opposite of Me, hits the delicious sweet spot in the portrait of a woman who needs to lose everything to find herself.”—Allison Winn Scotch, New York Times bestselling author of Time of My Life

“It’s warm, it’s whimsical and it’s a winner…“—Courier Mail (Australia)

“An enticing and enjoyable piece of fiction…Hats off to Sarah Pekkanen for painting such intimate portraits.“—blogcritics.org

 
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