Books on my TBR: disaster women

Hello, friends! I’m very excited for today’s post. I’ve decided to start a new series on my blog (and it’s been ages since I was excited about a series) where I talk about very specific genres or types of books on my TBR (to be read)! I thought it would be a fun way to discuss some books I’m excited about.

I’ve done a few posts of really long lists of books on my TBR, so for these posts I’m going to try to keep the list fairly small, provide the synopsis from Goodreads, and talk about where I found it and why I want to read it.

So, today’s topic is disaster women. I have recently been obsessed with books I deem “disaster women” books: books that focus on a youngish woman continuously making terrible decisions. Some disaster women books I’ve read, for reference:

  • Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney
  • Social Creature by Tara Isabella Burton
  • Necessary People by Anna Pitoniak

Usually the women are unlikeable, complex, compelling characters. There are often messy female friendships with a ton of jealousy, which I l o v e when they are written authentically by women. I particularly like when there’s some element of fame or riches involved. I just love the drama of it all.

So without further ado, let’s talk about some disaster women!


The Subtweet by Vivek Shraya

Everyone talks about falling in love, but falling in friendship can be just as captivating. When Neela Devaki’s song is covered by internet-famous artist Rukmini, the two musicians meet and a transformative friendship begins. But as Rukmini’s star rises and Neela’s stagnates, jealousy and self-doubt creep in. With a single tweet, their friendship implodes, one career is destroyed, and the two women find themselves at the center of an internet firestorm.

Celebrated multidisciplinary artist Vivek Shraya’s second novel is a stirring examination of making art in the modern era, a love letter to brown women, an authentic glimpse into the music industry, and a nuanced exploration of the promise and peril of being seen.

This book sounds like everything I could want: a female friendship gone wrong, twitter beef, discussions about social media, jealous women. I need to read it.


Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

Bridget Jones’s Diary meets Americanah in this disarmingly honest, boldly political, and truly inclusive novel that will speak to anyone who has gone looking for love and found something very different in its place.

Queenie Jenkins is a 25-year-old Jamaican British woman living in London, straddling two cultures and slotting neatly into neither. She works at a national newspaper, where she’s constantly forced to compare herself to her white middle class peers. After a messy break up from her long-term white boyfriend, Queenie seeks comfort in all the wrong places…including several hazardous men who do a good job of occupying brain space and a bad job of affirming self-worth.

As Queenie careens from one questionable decision to another, she finds herself wondering, “What are you doing? Why are you doing it? Who do you want to be?”—all of the questions today’s woman must face in a world trying to answer them for her.

Bridget Jones’s Diary meets Americanah is all I really needed to hear, honestly. A messy break up, discussions on race, bad decisions, a compelling female narrator. Why would you not want to read this?


The Majesties by Tiffany Tsao

Gwendolyn and Estella have always been as close as sisters can be. Growing up in a wealthy, eminent, and sometimes deceitful family, they’ve relied on each other for support and confidence. But now Gwendolyn is lying in a coma, the sole survivor of Estella’s poisoning of their whole clan.

As Gwendolyn struggles to regain consciousness, she desperately retraces her memories, trying to uncover the moment that led to this shocking and brutal act. Was it their aunt’s mysterious death at sea? Estella’s unhappy marriage to a dangerously brutish man? Or were the shifting loyalties and unspoken resentments at the heart of their opulent world too much to bear? Can Gwendolyn, at last, confront the carefully buried mysteries in their family’s past and the truth about who she and her sister really are?

Traveling from the luxurious world of the rich and powerful in Indonesia to the most spectacular shows at Paris Fashion Week, from the sunny coasts of California to the melting pot of Melbourne’s university scene, The Majesties is a haunting and deeply evocative novel about the dark secrets that can build a family empire—and also bring it crashing down.

I’m going to be honest, I love a good family drama, especially sister drama. I also love books that have a peak into the high life, so this sounds fantastic.


Hysteria by Jessica Gross

In HYSTERIA, we meet a young woman an hour into yet another alcohol-fueled, masochistic, sexual bender at her local bar. There is a new bartender working this time, one she hasn’t seen before, and who can properly make a drink. He looks familiar, and as she is consumed by shame from her behavior the previous week— hooking up with her parents’ colleague and her roommate’s brother— she also becomes convinced that her Brooklyn bartender is actually Sigmund Freud. They embark on a relationship, and she is forced to confront her past through the prism of their complex, revealing, and sometimes shocking meetings.

With the help of Freud—or whoever he is—she begins to untangle her Oedipal leanings, her upbringing, and her desires. Jessica Gross’s debut is unflinchingly perceptive and honest, darkly funny, and unafraid of mining the deepest fears of contemporary lives.

Okay, first: that cover. Second: a woman who thinks her bartender is Freud? Amazing. This sounds like a disaster, and I’m so here for it.


Luster by Raven Leilani

Edie is stumbling her way through her twentiessharing a subpar apartment in Bushwick, clocking in and out of her admin job, making a series of inappropriate sexual choices. She’s also, secretly, haltingly figuring her way into life as an artist. And then she meets Eric, a digital archivist with a family in New Jersey, including an autopsist wife who has agreed to an open marriagewith rules. As if navigating the constantly shifting landscapes of contemporary sexual manners and racial politics weren’t hard enough, Edie finds herself unemployed and falling into Eric’s family life, his home. She becomes hesitant friend to his wife and a de facto role model to his adopted daughter. Edie is the only black woman young Akila may know.

Razor sharp, darkly comic, sexually charged, socially disruptive, Luster is a portrait of a young woman trying to make her sense of her life in a tumultuous era. It is also a haunting, aching description of how hard it is to believe in your own talent and the unexpected influences that bring us into ourselves along the way.

See, “stumbling through her twenties and accidentally falling into an open marriage” is the exact vibe I am looking for. The exact vibe. This book could not sound more perfect for me.


Want by Lynn Steger Strong

Elizabeth is tired. Years after coming to New York to try to build a life, she has found herself with two kids, a husband, two jobs, a PhD―and now they’re filing for bankruptcy. As she tries to balance her dream and the impossibility of striving toward it while her work and home lives feel poised to fall apart, she wakes at ungodly hours to run miles by the icy river, struggling to quiet her thoughts.

When she reaches out to Sasha, her long-lost childhood friend, it feels almost harmless―one of those innocuous ruptures that exist online, in texts. But her timing is uncanny. Sasha is facing a crisis, too, and perhaps after years apart, their shared moments of crux can bring them back into each other’s lives.

In Want, Lynn Steger Strong explores the subtle violences enacted on a certain type of woman when she dares to want things―and all the various violences in which she implicates herself as she tries to survive.

Though I am usually less interested in mother narratives, I am very interested in messy female friendships written by women. And this book doesn’t sound like it’s focused on motherhood very much, but rather the messy friendship. So obviously I must read it.

So there are some books about disaster women on my TBR! Have you read any of these? What were your thoughts? Do you have any recommendations? Let me know!

Also if you have any requests for things you’d like to see on my TBR, let me know!

Ally xx


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20 thoughts on “Books on my TBR: disaster women

  1. Disaster Women is a great term for it! These books aren’t normally my cup of tea, though I did go through a Disaster Women phase several years back when I read Bridget Jones and other similar books. They definitely filled a need for me at the time! (However, now I can barely remember what the books were about. I do remember them helping me through some of my own disasters, though.)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This looks like a great list! Almost all of these are on my TBR as well. I have read Queenie, and while I had a few issues with the book I did love her character. It looks like she’s in good company here, I hope these will all be as great as they sound!

    Liked by 1 person

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