Mini AudioBook Reviews: The Perfect Neighbors & Things You Won’t Say by Sarah Pekkanen

Posted November 11, 2016 by Melissa in Book Review | 12 Comments

The Perfect Neighbors
Mini AudioBook Reviews: The Perfect Neighbors & Things You Won’t Say by Sarah PekkanenTitle: The Perfect Neighbors
Author: Sarah Pekkanen
Narrator: Madeleine Maby
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Publication date: July 5th 2016
Target Audience: Adult
Genres: Contemporary, Women's Fiction
Length: 10 hrs and 33 mins
Source: Publisher
Format: Audiobook
Find It: Goodreads
Buy It: Amazon|B&N|Book Depository
My Rating:

The page-turning new novel from the internationally bestselling author known for her “conversational writing style and a knack for making readers care about her characters” (The Washington Post) takes us into the homes of an idyllic suburban neighborhood where we discover the burning secrets hiding just below the surface.

Bucolic Newport Cove, where spontaneous block parties occur on balmy nights and all of the streets are named for flowers, is proud of its distinction of being named one the top twenty safest neighborhoods in the US.

It’s also one of the most secret-filled.

Kellie Scott has just returned to work after a decade of being a stay-at-home mom. She’s adjusting to high heels, scrambling to cook dinner for her family after a day at the office—and soaking in the dangerous attention of a very handsome, very married male colleague. Kellie’s neighbor Susan Barrett begins every day with fresh resolutions: she won’t eat any carb, she’ll go to bed at a reasonable hour, and she’ll stop stalking her ex-husband and his new girlfriend. Gigi Kennedy seems to have it all together—except her teenage daughter has turned into a hostile stranger and her husband is running for Congress, which means her old skeletons are in danger of being brought into the light.

Then a new family moves to this quiet, tree-lined cul-de-sac. Tessa Campbell seems friendly enough to the other mothers, if a bit reserved. Then the neighbors notice that no one is ever invited to Tessa’s house. And soon, it becomes clear that Tessa is hiding the biggest secret of all.

Book Quote

“Time didn’t heal all wounds, but at least it layered buffers around them.”

Quick Thoughts

I really enjoyed listening to The Perfect Neighbors. In this novel we get a Desperate Housewives style narrative focusing in on four women (Kellie, Susan, Gigi, & Tessa) all living within the same community and the drama and secrets that exist underneath the perfect Newport Cove facades that they wear.

Each of the women was wonderfully fleshed out and made entirely believable. I was invested from the beginning and was compelled to keep listening to discover what was really going on in this sleepy town and in particular to find out what secrets Tessa was hiding.

The stories of the four women were woven seamlessly throughout as they interact with each other and their families and we peek in as voyeurs through the window and see much more than intended. I wouldn’t necessarily say that the plot here was unique but I believe that the character development and the way they meshed together made this book better than the sum of it’s parts.

A compelling read, Sarah Pekkanen does not disappoint with The Perfect Neighbors.

Narration Notes

Madeleine Maby did a great job bringing The Perfect Neighbors to life. Her voice fit Newport Cove and Pekkanen’s writing perfectly.

Things You Won’t Say
Mini AudioBook Reviews: The Perfect Neighbors & Things You Won’t Say by Sarah PekkanenTitle: Things You Won't Say
Author: Sarah Pekkanen
Narrator: Cassandra Campbell
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Publication date: May 26, 2015
Target Audience: Adult
Genres: Contemporary, Women's Fiction
Length: 11 hours and 35 minutes
Source: Publisher
Format: Audiobook
Find It: Goodreads
Buy It: Amazon|B&N|Book Depository
My Rating:

In this timely and provocative novel, internationally bestselling author Sarah Pekkanen takes us inside a family in crisis and a marriage on the brink after a tragic shooting.

How far would you go to save your family?

Every morning, as her husband Mike straps on his SIG Sauer and pulls on his heavy Magnum boots, Jamie Anderson tenses up. Then comes the call she has always dreaded: There's been a shooting at police headquarters. Mike isn't hurt, but his long-time partner is grievously injured. As weeks pass and her husband's insomnia and disconnectedness mount, Jamie realizes he is an invisible casualty of the attack. Then the phone rings again. Another shooting but this time Mike has pulled the trigger.

But the shooting does more than just alter Jamie's world. It's about to change everything for two other women. Christie Simmons, Mike's flamboyant ex, sees the tragedy as an opportunity for a second chance with Mike. And Jamie's younger sister, Lou, must face her own losses to help the big sister who raised her. As the press descends and public cries of police brutality swell, Jamie tries desperately to hold together her family, no matter what it takes.

In her characteristic exploration of true-to-life relationships, Sarah Pekkanen has written a complex, compelling, and openhearted novel her best yet.

Book Quote

“She wanted her life back so desperately. She wanted her biggest worry to be about the electricity bill, or the fact that she couldn’t button her favorite jeans, or the state of the kitchen floor. She wanted to be annoyed with Mike because he’d gone out with the guys after work and had lost forty bucks in a poker game.”

Quick Thoughts

Things You Won’t Say is a story that really could have jumped right out of a current newspaper and onto the page. Pekkanen handles a difficult subject with deftness and gravity. Giving us lots of windows into one event.

In the aftermath of a Police shooting, we have a family falling apart. And all we can do is watch and wait and hope to see if they will be able to pull themselves back together and move on… There is plenty of emotional drama here and a few side stories that weave all of the characters together.

Most of the characters including the children were all a little frustrating but all the more realistic for that, especially considering what they were going through. Lou however was such a delight that I wish we could have a spin-off with just her story…and the elephants of course.

Things You Won’t Say is another solid read. Pekkanen has quickly moved to my auto-buy list.

Narration Notes

Cassandra Campbell is always a delight. She narrated wonderfully allowing me to immerse myself completely in the story and forget everything else.

About Sarah Pekkanen

Sarah Pekkanen is the internationally-bestselling author of the novels THE PERFECT NEIGHBORS, THINGS YOU WON’T SAY, CATCHING AIR, THE BEST OF US, THESE GIRLS, SKIPPING A BEAT and THE OPPOSITE OF ME.

Sarah is the mother of three boys, which explains why she wrote part of her novel at Chuck E. Cheese. Seriously. Sarah penned her first book, Miscellaneous Tales and Poems, at the age of 10. When publishers failed to jump upon this literary masterpiece (hey, all the poems rhymed!) Sarah followed up by sending them a sternly-worded letter on Raggedy Ann stationery. Sarah still has that letter, and carries it to New York every time she has meetings with her publisher, as a reminder that dreams do come true. At least some dreams – Brad Pitt has yet to show up on her doorstep wearing nothing but a toolbelt and asking if she needs anything fixed. So maybe it’s only G-rated dreams that come true.

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12 responses to “Mini AudioBook Reviews: The Perfect Neighbors & Things You Won’t Say by Sarah Pekkanen

    • Melissa

      Maybe that wasn’t the best analogy. I’ve actually never seen Desperate Housewives but this is similar to what I assumed it to be?

  1. You had me at Desperate Housewives style narration. I love contemporaries from different perspectives, usually you pick up small details that other characters tend to miss. The character development sounds wonderful! Things You Wont Say sounds incredibly compelling, I haven’t heard of this author before so will be checking out the Kindle versions. Wonderful reviews Melissa, so glad you really enjoyed these! <3 <3

  2. These sound like exactly the sort of reads that I can fall into, especially The Perfect Neighbors. A little bit Stepford, meets lifetime suspense. I could have sworn that I read this author before, but I just looked it up and see that I haven’t, so I added one. Thanks for the review.
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