Thorndike Press

Friends and Strangers

  • J. Courtney Sullivan
  • Offered By:
  • ISBN-10: 0593214749
  • ISBN-13: 9780593214749
  • DDC: Fic
  • Shipping Weight: 1.35 lbs ( .61 kgs)
  • Paperback
  • Published/Released August 2020

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Distribution - Large Print Standing Order Plan

Option Number: [8]

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Today Show ReadwithJenna Book Club Pick
Washington Post "Book to Read this Summer"
Real Simple "Best Book of 2020" and “Top Pick for Summer”
Entertainment Weekly "Book to Read this June"
Parade “Best Book of the Summer” and “Best Beach Read of 2020”
TheSkimm “Hottest Book of the Summer”
Vogue “Book to Read this June”
People magazine “Best Book to Read this Summer”
Good Housekeeping “Best Beach Read”
Marie Claire “Best New Book to Read this Summer”
Bustle “Most Anticipated Book of 2020”
SheReads “Most Anticipated Book of 2020”
Travel and Leisure “Most Anticipated Book of the Summer”
Good Morning America “Book to Read This Summer”
Town and Country “Must-Read Book of the Summer”
New York Times “Book to Watch For”
CNN “Perfect Summer Read”

An insightful, hilarious, and compulsively readable novel about a complicated friendship between two women who are at two very different stages in life, from the best-selling author of Maine and Saints for All Occasions (named one of the Washington Post’s Ten Best Books of the Year and a New York Times Critics’ Pick).
Elisabeth, an accomplished journalist and new mother, is struggling to adjust to life in a small town after nearly 20 years in New York City. Alone in the house with her infant son all day (and awake with him much of the night), she feels uneasy, adrift. She neglects her work, losing hours to her Brooklyn moms’ FB group, her “influencer” sister’s IG feed, and text messages with the best friend she never sees. Enter Sam, a senior at the local women’s college, whom Elisabeth hires to babysit. Sam is struggling to decide between the path she’s always planned on and a romantic entanglement that threatens her ambition. She’s worried about student loan debt and what the future holds. In short order, they grow close. But when Sam finds an unlikely kindred spirit in Elisabeth’s father-in-law, the true differences between their lives become starkly revealed and a betrayal has consequences.

A masterful exploration of motherhood, power dynamics, and privilege in its many forms, Friends and Strangers reveals how a single year can shape the course of a life.


Customer Reviews

“Sullivan . . . writes with empathy for her characters even as she reveals their flaws and shortcomings. And while the story she tells focuses primarily on two women from different backgrounds and at different stages of life, it also illuminates broader issues about money, privilege, and class; marriage, family, and friendship; and the dueling demands of career and domesticity with which many women struggle. This perceptive novel about a complex friendship between two women resonates as broadly as it does deeply.”

— Kirkus Reviews (starred)

“Sullivan . . . once again displays her keen observation skills with this insightful examination of two women at very different places in their lives. With well-developed, very real-feeling characters the story moves seamlessly from one perspective to the other. Friends and Strangers is a deeply personal yet profound exploration of motherhood, friendships, and the role of privilege in determining how we shape our lives.”

— Booklist

“Sullivan’s intimate, incisive latest explores the evolving friendship between a new mother and her babysitter . . . Readers will be captivated by Sullivan’s authentic portrait of modern motherhood.”

— Publishers Weekly

“J. Courtney Sullivan’s fifth novel, which examines the intricate relationship between a babysitter and her employer, begins in the middle of the night, in the middle of the suburbs ‘Nobody up at this hour besides mothers and insomniacs’ from which promising vantage point we’re given delightful permission to sit back and spy . . . Drawn by Sullivan’s deft hand, the relationship feels authentic and richly textured . . . Friends and Strangers is a big novel with big ideas . . . An honest rendering of what happens behind closed doors.”

— The New York Times Book Review