A wealth of options
Once you’ve seen Crazy Rich Asians (in theaters now) and read the book by Kevin Kwan (as well as its two sequels), you’re probably going to be left with some hunger for more crazy/rich/family drama. You can’t go wrong with these 15 books.
Everything I Never Told You, by Celeste Ng
The Little Fires Everywhere novelist’s debut is set in the 1970s and follows a Chinese-American family in small-town Ohio. As the family mourns the tragic death of a daughter, the story opens up a larger conversation about race and the weight of familial expectations.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, by Jenny Han
This YA novel follows 16-year-old Lara Jean Song, who writes passionate confessional letters to every boy she’s ever loved but keeps them for herself, storing the letters in a hatbox in her room. Everything changes, though, when the letters get mailed to the boys she’s written them to. The film adaptation of the movie hits Netflix today.
The Kiss Quotient, by Helen Hoang
Protagonist Stella Lane is a math whiz who makes algorithms that predict customer purchases. She also has Asperger’s and is behind in the dating department as a result, so she hires an escort to teach her everything from kissing to sex, but soon starts to develop real feelings for the man she’s employing. Roxane Gay counts herself a fan of the romantic tale, a fun spin on Pretty Woman.
The Turner House, by Angela Flournoy
Flournoy’s debut novel follows the Turner clan as they’re forced to sell their family home on Detroit’s declining East Side after residing there for more than 50 years. The family’s ailing matriarch, Viola, calls her 13 children back to Detroit to decide what to do after discovering the house is only worth a tenth of its mortgage, and they reckon with the past while deciding the house’s fate.
The Darlings, by Cristina Alger
Alger used her background as a former Goldman Sachs analyst to craft the story of the Darling family, fabulously wealthy Park Avenue financiers. The novel’s protagonist, attorney Paul Ross, marries the daughter of billionaire Carter Darling and becomes accustomed to their luxurious lifestyle, when suddenly the family is thrown into a scandalous financial investigation and Paul must decide where his loyalties lie.
The Wedding, by Dorothy West
West’s novel takes place among the black bourgeoisie of Martha’s Vineyard in the 1950s, where a prominent family comes together for the wedding of a daughter who has shockingly chosen to marry outside their circle, to a white jazz musician. Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Productions adapted the complicated tale of race and class as a 1998 TV movie.
The Vacationers, by Emma Straub
This juicy beach read follows an American family’s two-week vacation in Mallorca, where a relaxing escape from Manhattan turns tense as secrets are revealed and past rivalries resurface among the extended family.
Negroland: A Memoir, by Margo Jefferson
Pulitzer Prize-winning cultural critic Margo Jefferson writes about her experience coming of age in upper-crust black society in Chicago, where sororities, fraternities, networks, and clubs ruled. As she explores the hierarchies of her world growing up, where skin color and hair texture were evaluated alongside scholarly and professional achievements, she exposes a complicated realm of both privilege and discrimination that’s anything but post-racial.
The Rocks, by Peter Nichols
The Mediterranean Sea is the backdrop for this story that weaves between two generations. The Rocks tracks the history of two honeymooners driven apart suddenly in 1948, never to speak again despite living on the same island ever since, and how their history shaped the Montague-and-Capulet-like romance between their children decades later.
The Nest, by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney
This family drama centers on four adult siblings who are months away from cashing in on their family trust fund. Complicating matters is the fact that Leo, the eldest sibling, was just released from rehab after being involved in a drunk driving accident that may have jeopardized their joint inheritance. The Big Sick screenwriter Emily V. Gordon was recently tapped to pen the screen adaptation of this best-selling novel.
The Heiresses, by Sara Shepard
This novel from Pretty Little Liars author Sara Shepard follows the Saybrooks, a diamond family whose 34-year-old heiress, Poppy, jumps from a window in her office. The remaining siblings soon receive a mysterious note that leads them to question whether her death was a suicide or part of a larger murder plot.
Where’d You Go, Bernadette, by Maria Semple
Semple’s witty page-turner centers on Bernadette Fox, a famous architect, wife, and mother who mysteriously disappears, leaving her 15-year-old daughter to search through her emails and documents to try to uncover where she’s gone.
Five Star Billionaire, by Tash Aw
Following several characters in Shanghai with overlapping narratives — including a factory girl promised a job that doesn’t exist, a country boy turned pop star, and a left-wing activist who has reinvented herself as a successful businesswoman — this novel paints a stunning portrait of a booming Chinese city.
The Namesake, by Jhumpa Lahiri
This nuanced immigrant story, an international best-seller, follows the Ganguli family over the years as they move from Calcutta to America. Generational conflicts emerge as son Gogol, named after a Russian writer, struggles with his name and the burdens of family and heritage.
The Golden House, by Salman Rushdie
Rushdie’s latest novel takes place in an insular Greenwich Village community on the day of Barack Obama’s inauguration. The neighborhood is upended when eccentric billionaire Nero Golden and his family move in. Their filmmaker neighbor, René, gets involved with the family when researching a movie about them, and becomes implicated as their infidelities and crimes come to light. The current political climate is a fitting backdrop for this story about an eccentric wealthy family.