74 books like The Guest

By Emma Cline,

Here are 74 books that The Guest fans have personally recommended if you like The Guest. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Edinburgh

Alina Grabowski Author Of Women and Children First

From my list on exploring how place shapes community.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a writer who grew up in Massachusetts and now lives in Austin, Texas. Though I haven’t lived in Massachusetts for over a decade now, I find myself drawn back to the state’s coast in my fiction. My novel, Women and Children First, takes place in a fictional town south of Boston called Nashquitten. I’m obsessed with how where we’re from shapes who we become and the ways we use narrative to try and exert control over our lives. 

Alina's book list on exploring how place shapes community

Alina Grabowski Why did Alina love this book?

This is a book about many things—guilt, artmaking, and love among them—but when I think of it, I think of a novel that depicts the complexities of making and sustaining a life more deftly than anything else I’ve read. How things like cruelty and beauty, innocence and evil, truth and lies all coexist. How we move forward despite this uneasy balance.

The novel follows Fee, a boy who grows up in Maine and sings in an all-boys choir. The choir director turns out to be an abuser, and his actions haunt Fee and the other boys in the choir into adulthood.

On a prose level alone, Chee’s writing is unparalleled, his sentences sharp enough to cut glass. I don’t see how anyone could read this book and come away unchanged. 

By Alexander Chee,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Edinburgh as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A poignant work of mature, haunting artistry, Edinburgh heralds the arrival of a remarkable young writer. Fee, a Korean-American child growing up in Maine, is gifted with a beautiful soprano voice and sings in a professional boys' choir. When the choir director acts out his paedophilic urges on the boys in the choir, Fee is unable to save himself, his first love, Peter, or his friends.


Book cover of Bath Haus: A Thriller

Michael Kiggins Author Of And the Train Kept Moving

From my list on unreliable and morally compromised characters.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since I was introduced to many authors published by Grove Press, I have been intrigued by transgressive literary fiction, especially stories and novels that feature narrators and protagonists whose unreliability and moral culpability fuel plots to surprising yet inevitable climaxes. Lesser writers of such works use the shocking and revolting as crutches for vapid prose, failing to lead readers to revelations that can be found in the darkest places and in the unlikeliest of people. What better accomplishment can any writer ask for except getting readers, in some way, to identify with characters whom they would avoid in real life?

Michael's book list on unreliable and morally compromised characters

Michael Kiggins Why did Michael love this book?

This thriller is a compulsively readable novel.

In dueling POVs of a gay couple, Vernon explores their relationship, with its power imbalances and manipulations, in all its messiness. Neither narrator is being honest with the other, and the novel is set in motion when Oliver decides to visit a bathhouse where a would-be trick attacks him, making him fear for his life.

The rest of the novel ping-pongs between the narrators, both of whom are concealing so much from each other for very different reasons. 

By P. J. Vernon,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Bath Haus as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Nominated for a 34th annual Lambda Literary Award • A scintillating thriller with an emotional punch: “The tension builds to unbearably claustrophobic levels. To say more would rob readers of the 'no, he didn’t' suspense that makes Bath Haus an unexpectedly twisted, heart-pounding cat-versus-mouse thriller" (Los Angeles Times).

Oliver Park, a recovering addict from Indiana, finally has everything he ever wanted: sobriety and a loving, wealthy partner in Nathan, a prominent DC trauma surgeon. Despite their difference in age and disparate backgrounds, they've made a perfect life together. With everything to lose, Oliver shouldn't be visiting Haus, a gay bathhouse.…


Book cover of Guide

Michael Kiggins Author Of And the Train Kept Moving

From my list on unreliable and morally compromised characters.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since I was introduced to many authors published by Grove Press, I have been intrigued by transgressive literary fiction, especially stories and novels that feature narrators and protagonists whose unreliability and moral culpability fuel plots to surprising yet inevitable climaxes. Lesser writers of such works use the shocking and revolting as crutches for vapid prose, failing to lead readers to revelations that can be found in the darkest places and in the unlikeliest of people. What better accomplishment can any writer ask for except getting readers, in some way, to identify with characters whom they would avoid in real life?

Michael's book list on unreliable and morally compromised characters

Michael Kiggins Why did Michael love this book?

Guide is the fourth book in Cooper’s George Miles Cycle. This short novel is packed with so much to think about, even if what that includes will make your skin crawl.

If you are unfamiliar with Cooper’s work, this isn’t the book I’d recommend you start with, but his language is so precise that it’s hard to imagine the sentences being written in any other way. The shifting POV chapters take readers on a tour of the seedier parts of L.A., forcing us to examine and interrogate not only how we all tell our own stories, but also how some people then use those to erase or justify their complicity. 

By Dennis Cooper,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Guide as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Presents a disturbing and provocative exploration of four young men who want more than anything to be altered by drugs, the power of love, or the violently erotic experiences they share with each other.


Book cover of Hawk Mountain

Michael Kiggins Author Of And the Train Kept Moving

From my list on unreliable and morally compromised characters.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since I was introduced to many authors published by Grove Press, I have been intrigued by transgressive literary fiction, especially stories and novels that feature narrators and protagonists whose unreliability and moral culpability fuel plots to surprising yet inevitable climaxes. Lesser writers of such works use the shocking and revolting as crutches for vapid prose, failing to lead readers to revelations that can be found in the darkest places and in the unlikeliest of people. What better accomplishment can any writer ask for except getting readers, in some way, to identify with characters whom they would avoid in real life?

Michael's book list on unreliable and morally compromised characters

Michael Kiggins Why did Michael love this book?

Habib’s novel is an interesting and disturbing debut following a single father who unexpectedly reconnects with a former bully who has ulterior motives.

The first part of the novel jumps back and forth between their high school days and the present, leading to a moment of shocking violence. It’s the aftermath of that violence and how the protagonist deals (or fails to deal) with it that stands out the most, leading to a gut-wrenching conclusion.

By Conner Habib,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Hawk Mountain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Single father Todd is relaxing at the beach with his son, Anthony, when he catches sight of a man approaching from the water's edge. As the man draws closer, Todd recognizes him as Jack, who bullied Todd relentlessly in their teenage years but now seems overjoyed to have "run into" his old friend. Jack suggests a meal to catch up. And can he spend the night?

What follows is a fast-paced story of obsession and cunning. As Jack invades Todd's life, pain and intimidation from the past unearth knife-edge suspense in the present. Set in a small town on the…


Book cover of Beautiful Little Fools

Yi Shun Lai Author Of A Suffragist's Guide to the Antarctic

From my list on women and girls who rocked the boat.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been writing about women and girls who rock the boat for two decades. I’ve written about it from my own point of view, in award-winning essays, and from imagined points of view, in almost-award-winning women’s contemporary novels. Now, I’ve tackled it in the YA genre. I want to keep on exploring what it means to buck the system and live to tell the tale. We’re still making up for men writing women’s voices, for women’s voices going unheard. I’m trying to do my part to ask, what if we heard about history from the women’s point of view? 

Yi's book list on women and girls who rocked the boat

Yi Shun Lai Why did Yi love this book?

Terrible things happen to the women in this book, but they all, every single one of them, rock the boat to try and make their own lives. In this retelling of The Great Gatsby that centers the POVs of three women critical to the story (Jordan Baker, Daisy Buchanan, and Myrtle Wilson’s suffragist sister), we get the story that was always hiding between the lines.

I found myself proud of and mourning the lives of each of these women. I felt furious on their behalf and hopeful that the generations that came after them would reap the benefits of their mistakes and their work. 

Perhaps most surprising to me, I found myself wanting to know these women more than I ever, ever wanted to get to know Gatsby’s world. 

By Jillian Cantor,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Beautiful Little Fools as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“Jillian Cantor beautifully re-crafts an American classic in Beautiful Little Fools, placing the women of The Great Gatsby center stage: more than merely beautiful, not so little as the men in their lives assume, and certainly far from foolish. Both fresh and familiar, this page-turner is one to savor!” —Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of The Rose Code

“Jillian Cantor’s shifting kaleidoscope of female perspectives makes F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic tale of Jazz Age longing and lust feel utterly modern. A breathtaking accomplishment.”—Fiona Davis, New York Times bestselling author of The Lions of Fifth Avenue 

USA Today bestselling…


Book cover of When We Lost Our Heads

Molly O'Keefe Author Of The Sunshine Girls

From my list on historical fiction NOT set during World War II.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have loved historical novels since my mom first read Anne of Green Gables to me as a kid. They are the novels I reach for first and love the most. The creative glimpse into other times and lives is, to me, the most exciting reading experience. I hope you enjoy these books as much as I do. My latest book – The Sunshine Girls is a dual narrative timeline, set in the current day and the 1960s-1980s. 

Molly's book list on historical fiction NOT set during World War II

Molly O'Keefe Why did Molly love this book?

Heather O’Neill is one of my favorite authors. She lives in the nuanced and gritty places in relationships. She also sets her novels in really exciting and different time periods. I could pick any of her books, but her latest is so delicious. When We Lost our Heads is set during the turn of the 19th century in Montreal. It’s about two women from different economic realities and families – who forge a very unlikely, volatile, destructive, and important relationship. It is funny and dark and the time and setting are vital and exciting. 

By Heather O'Neill,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked When We Lost Our Heads as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“Every decent friendship comes with a drop of hatred. But that hatred is like honey in the tea. It makes it addictive.”

Charismatic Marie Antoine is the daughter of the richest man in 19th century Montreal. She has everything she wants, except for a best friend—until clever, scheming Sadie Arnett moves to the neighborhood. Immediately united by their passion and intensity, Marie and Sadie attract and repel each other in ways that thrill them both. Their games soon become tinged with risk, even violence. Forced to separate by the adults around them, they spend years engaged in acts of alternating…


Book cover of The Space Between Us

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni Author Of Independence

From my list on the many mysteries of India.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a writer and a professor, I love sharing knowledge of my birth country (India) and the experiences of Indian immigrants in America. My first book, Arranged Marriage, is about the transformed lives of immigrant women and won an American Book Award. Mistress of Spices is about a spice-shop owner who knows magic, was a national bestseller, and became a film. One Amazing Thing is a multicultural novel about nine people trapped by an earthquake, was a Citywide Read in over 25 US cities. Recently, fascinated by the richness of Indian history, I have delved into it in novels like The Last Queen, set in the 1800s, and Independence, set in the 1940s. 

Chitra's book list on the many mysteries of India

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni Why did Chitra love this book?

Set in the present-day cosmopolitan city of Mumbai, India, the novel follows the lives of two women: Serabai Dubash, a middle-class widow, and her maidservant, Bhima. The pair experience similar situations in their lives: abuse, the death or absence of a husband, and the longing for a better future. They both have pregnant daughters, a fact that becomes significant as the novel progresses.

This book shows us the difficulties faced by women in Indian society but also their courage. Ultimately it is an upbeat book with great spirit. The plot twist at the end, and the resolution, blew me away. 

By Thrity Umrigar,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Space Between Us as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this beautifully crafted novel about the interlinked lives of two women, Thrity Umrigar explores the complex relationships between the classes in India, rarely addressed in contemporary fiction.

'Bhima is real. She worked in the house I grew up in, year after year, a shadow flitting around our middle-class home, her thin brown hands cleaning furniture she was not allowed to sit on, cooking food she was not allowed to share at the family dining table, dusting the stereo that mainly played American rock and roll, music that was alien and unfamiliar to her, that only reminded her of her…


Book cover of Mansfield Park

Eleanor Bourg Nicholson Author Of Brother Wolf

From my list on good and evil without being cloying or preachy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an omnivorous reader, a literature teacher, a novelist, and a homeschooling mother of five. I’m a firm believer that literature should be delightful and instructive, and that reading wonderful books should inspire a growth in virtue. At the same time, I loathe cloying, proselytizing presentations of goodness. This is one of the many reasons I love the Gothic; the genre permits me to play around with good and evil, virtue and vice—without preachiness. I am also absolutely terrified of the task of writing a book list and am now going to bury my face in a book before I have time to second-guess any of my own choices.

Eleanor's book list on good and evil without being cloying or preachy

Eleanor Bourg Nicholson Why did Eleanor love this book?

Jane Austen is unparalleled in her depiction of good and evil on a domestic level. While the situations are slightly less dramatic than in the other books I have selected, Mansfield Park compellingly presents the consequences of habituated action. Fanny Price is not perfect and certainly not most people’s cup of tea, but, like all Austen heroines, represents virtue and a growing self-knowledge over the course of the novel. The Crawford siblings are vivid examples of dulled moral vision. Without committing the literary sin of giving away the end, I will say that the “anti-romance” trajectory of the plot is wonderfully satisfying. Further, Sir Thomas Bertram may be my favorite male Austen character of all.

By Jane Austen,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Mansfield Park as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Full of the energies of discord - sibling rivalry, greed, ambition, illicit sexual passion and vanity' Margaret Drabble

Jane Austen's profound, ambiguous third novel is the story of Fanny Price, who is accustomed to being the poor relation at Mansfield Park, the home of her wealthy plantation-owning uncle. She finds comfort in her love for her cousin Edmund, until the arrival of charismatic outsiders from London throws life at the house into disarray and brings dangerous desires to the surface. Mansfield Park is Austen's most complex work; a powerful portrayal of change and continuity, scandalous misdemeanours and true integrity.

Edited…


Book cover of The Last Mrs. Parrish

CJ Vermote Author Of Do I Know You

From my list on suspense with a splash of paranormal.

Why am I passionate about this?

My love for reading suspense helped me develop the desire to write novels. It is as if I always have a movie in my head, so why not write them out. I have dyslexia, and reading along with learning is a challenge, but both have become my escape. I’ve always been fascinated by how a good suspense plays out and the relief that comes with the resolution. I added the paranormal world because I had a NDE (near death experience) in the 80s and became open to the paranormal. I became unafraid and see the paranormal as good. 

CJ's book list on suspense with a splash of paranormal

CJ Vermote Why did CJ love this book?

I have been subjected to the control of a narcissist and reading this book was something I felt deep. 

Liv Constantine brought forth the reality of what the outside world sees in a marriage, compared to what goes on behind closed doors. The control a spouse can have on a loved one puts a different spin on love.

I couldn’t help but feel the love grow and wonder what could go wrong when two people are so happy together. Having another woman setting up a plan to steal a husband made her despicable, but in the end, it became an amazing escape for one Mrs. Parrish. 

I felt so connected to the character in this book, not as a victim but as a woman who regained her strength and escaped.

By Liv Constantine,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Last Mrs. Parrish as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Deliciously duplicitous. . . . equally as twisty, spellbinding, and addictive as Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl or Paula Hawkins's The Girl on the Train."-Library Journal (starred review)The mesmerizing debut about a coolly manipulative woman and a wealthy "golden couple," from a stunning new voice in psychological suspense.Some women get everything. Some women get everything they deserve.Amber Patterson is fed up. She's tired of being a nobody: a plain, invisible woman who blends into the background. She deserves more-a life of money and power like the one blond-haired, blue-eyed goddess Daphne Parrish takes for granted. To everyone in the exclusive town…


Book cover of Joy in the Morning

Alice McVeigh Author Of Harriet: A Jane Austen Variation

From my list on for readers who like a varied book diet.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been “big-five-published” in contemporary fiction, Indie-published in speculative thrillers and I – only last year – rejected several publishers in favour of self-publishing books Jane Austen herself might have loved. A Jane Austen fanatic from an early age, I know most of the novels by heart, and appear to have succeeded (to some extent) in understanding her style. My Susan – a unique imagining of Austen’s Lady Susan as a young girl – is both award-winning and bestselling and my Harriet – an imaginative “take” on Austen’s Emma, has just been selected as "Editor's Pick - outstanding" on Publishers Weekly.   

Alice's book list on for readers who like a varied book diet

Alice McVeigh Why did Alice love this book?

I could have picked most of the Jeeves novels - though the Mulliner stories are almost as funny - of the immortal P.G. Wodehouse, but this one is especially full of panache. Bertie Wooster is forced to pretend to be Gussie Fink-Nottle in Deverill Hall - a stately pile infested with any number of critical aunts - and the machinations Jeeves is involved in while sorting out the love lives of the rest - not Bertie, on this occasion - are brilliantly done. A great introduction to Wodehouse, for the uninitiated - for the aficionados, a treat.

By P. G. Wodehouse,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Joy in the Morning as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Follow the adventures of Bertie Wooster and his gentleman's gentleman, Jeeves, in this stunning new edition of one of the greatest comic novels in the English language. Steeple Bumphleigh is a very picturesque place. But for Bertie Wooster, it is a place to be avoided, containing not only the appalling Aunt Agatha but also her husband, the terrifying Lord Worplesdon. So when a certain amount of familial arm-twisting is applied, Bertie heads for the sticks in fear and trepidation despite the support of the irreplaceable Jeeves.


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