The best books about wasted women

Paige Harbison Author Of Anything to Have You
By Paige Harbison

The Books I Picked & Why

Gone Girl

By Gillian Flynn

Book cover of Gone Girl

Why this book?

If you haven’t read Gone Girl by now, then stop everything and pick it up. What fascinates me about this book is the main character, Amy, and what drives her. She is a wasted woman—that is to say, she is a brilliant woman living a life too small, and this is a book about the consequences of that. 

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By Kathleen E. Woodiwiss

Book cover of Shanna

Why this book?

A classic that probably hasn’t made its way onto many modern lists. But this book, in its nearly seven hundred pages, will absolutely carry any reader away. Shanna is a feisty, rambunctious, often bitchy, often wrong, character. She’s so clever that she gets in her own way. You never know what she’s going to do, but you know she’s too big for the life she is being threatened with and that she’ll do anything to make sure she doesn’t fall victim to a life that will bore her. She refuses to be a wasted woman. Also? This book is jampacked with very, very hot sexual tension.

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Gods in Alabama

By Joshilyn Jackson

Book cover of Gods in Alabama

Why this book?

This book. I can hear the cicadas now. I love this book because our main character is guided by self-imposed rules for herself that she desperately wants to abide. At first glance, she seems like she might be just anyone—but she has a wild past you can hardly believe she moved beyond. The women in this book are more powerful than the world they are in.

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The Midnight Library

By Matt Haig

Book cover of The Midnight Library

Why this book?

This is a book that’s landed on a million lists in the last few years. I ignored it for a long time, and when I ultimately read it, I fell completely under its spell. It’s rare that without venturing into the genre of fantasy, we get to be so swept away into the magic of a world like this. Despite being set, mostly, in our everyday world, it feels enchanting the whole way through. The main character doesn’t know how big she is. (Sub-plug, it’s very in the world of the excellent new film Everything Everywhere All at Once.)

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How to Murder Your Life: A Memoir

By Cat Marnell

Book cover of How to Murder Your Life: A Memoir

Why this book?

This one is literally about a wasted woman. It’s a fascinating non-fictional journey to be taken on by the author, who has led a fascinating, glittering New York life working for Conde Naste and other high-profile jobs. A life that she is consistently self-sabotaging through the abuse of drugs—particularly the ones prescribed to her by her father when she was a child. She is smart, sharp, interesting, interested in the world around her, and yet she continues to burn everything down time and time again.

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