If you like your summer reading with a side of rage, may I recommend my new thriller, We Were Never Here, out August 3. It’s about two globe-trotting best friends who kill a backpacker in self-defense and then flee the country, and I wrote it fueled by fury at how every woman who has the audacity to explore the world gets pelted, The Lottery-style, with variations of, “you in danger, girl.” Young men have always had the ability to strap on a backpack and travel the world (my dad did so in the ’70s; didn’t yours?). But for women, the messaging is: Watch your back. Avoid entire swaths of the globe.
And hey, at long last, international travel isn’t just something you can read and daydream about—it’s back on the horizon! However, much like smiling, not smiling, being friendly, being a bitch, wearing tight clothes, looking dumpy, and existing with a female form, travel is an activity that’s not without risks. To avoid the pesky assaults, robberies, druggings, and homicides that inevitably come along with having the nerve to step on a plane, heed the following tips. Happy travels!
First, it’s your job to avoid being assaulted on the plane. However, self-defense tools such as tasers and mace are not allowed in the cabin. Therefore, experts recommend investing in an iron-clad chastity belt for the duration of the flight. We hear Spanx is working on one that will—bonus!—shrink your thighs.
Don’t tell anyone you’re going on vacation, or else they’ll invade your home while you’re away. Also: Don’t not tell anyone you’re going on vacation, lest a well-intentioned friend think you’ve been murdered and call for a welfare check, draining valuable police resources. (Karens are the reason police departments don’t have the funds for deescalation training, that’s a fact.) Don’t tell anyone where you’re going once you get to your destination, either, or they may be tempted to follow you there and stalk you on the property. If a border patrol agent asks for your destination, just get really moony-eyed and say, “Hot Girl Summer 2021!” They love that.
After you check into a hotel, assess the room for security risks. Pack a small rubber door-stop to cram beneath your hotel room door, and be on the lookout for a long metal hook-shaped wire masquerading as the Babadook’s finger protruding under the door to open your doorknob. Rewatch the final third of Home Alone for tips on how to both booby trap the entrance and give the false impression your room is filled with people (men) who could pound any intruder to a pulp—it’s generally accepted that male companions can decide whether or not their female friend gets harassed, and when men say no, no means no. Ensure all booby trap materials are TSA-compliant. If you don’t have time to build and install booby traps, try shouting, “I have a boyfriend!”
Observe how male travelers navigate your destination. Do they let their phones and wallets hang temptingly from their hands? Do they speak to strangers? Do they hail cabs on the street? Doesn’t matter. Go back to your room.
Wear a T-shirt with a slogan such as, “Bill Gates Can’t Shoot Me Up!” with a cartoon vaccine on it. If a possible attacker gets within six feet, cough in his general direction. Do not cover your mouth.
(Remember, anyone you encounter, much like the post-transformation Hulk or that boy at the desk behind you in seventh grade who couldn’t stop snapping your bra, is a possible attacker who’ll be powerless to control himself if he enters your bubble. ACT ACCORDINGLY.)
Don’t drink anything you haven’t seen made. Don’t eat anything you haven’t seen prepared. Your best bet is staying in the hotel and ordering room service.
Oh my God, don’t order room service, you idiot! Inviting a complete stranger into your room just because he’s holding a tray of food covered in silver domes? What are you, asking for it?
In fact, don’t eat or drink anything until you get home. (Honestly, you could use the break, Ms. Post-Pandemic Pants. But don’t dwell on it—that’s vain.)
Speaking of sweatpants: Tight or revealing clothing will inevitably invite unwanted attention. But also, don’t wear loose or long clothing that’s easier for would-be kidnappers to grab. Of course, floppy, shapeless clothes also invites unsuspecting, helpless, hapless local men to imagine what’s underneath. Maybe you can explore the destination and see the sites without your body? They’re doing some amazing things on Zoom these days.
Assume that something will happen to you during your vacation, and really, it’s better for everyone if you just stay home and watch Bravo.
Image: BONNINSTUDIO / Stocksy.com
We live in a world that is streaming-obsessed. I know this because my credit card statement every month is nothing but Netflix, Apple TV +, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Disney + (and Seamless, and some more Seamless, and then a little Uber Eats so the Seamless people don’t judge me, I’m sure you understand). I basically get berated at work all day so that I can afford to watch High School Musical on repeat when I get home. And lately, the only thing streaming that people want to talk about is You. It seems all my friends are really into psychopaths, which now that I know this, makes a lotttt of sense. I mean, I thought they were into psychos, you know, like men who dip their pizza in ranch dressing, but it turns out they’re just turned on by good old-fashioned murderers. Cool. Never going to your boyfriend’s houses, though! I haven’t watched You yet, and the reason why is because I read the book You by Caroline Kepnes years ago and I have not slept ever since. It’s been fun!
Although the book continues to keep me up all night, I was incredibly impressed by how well Kepnes captured the ramblings of a psychopath. Now that I think about it, she was almost too good at it, and I’d like to request the police do a wellness check on her spouse, just in case. Sorry if they break down your door, Caroline! But you brought it upon yourself! If you’ve watched the show AND read the book, you’re probably looking for some new material to make people slowly back away from you at parties. Thankfully, I would rather read a book than engage in actual relationships with a real person, and I’m ready to share my knowledge with you, my fellow anti-socials. So, if you’re craving more books like You, here are seven that I’d recommend you start reading as soon as possible. Before you start making human connections!
The New Husband by D.J. Palmer
The first book is called The New Husband, and, frankly, any number of husbands is a terrifying thought, so sign me up. In this book, Nina Fitch’s second husband knows all her favorite foods, movies, and her son adores him. Definitely a psycho. Nina is a little gun shy because of what her first husband did to her (See! Husbands are terrifying!) so she decides to do a little digging. Sure, Nina. I can call stalking digging, too. When things aren’t adding up, the story gets more and more tense, twisty, and of course, there’s a shocking reveal. I shrieked! You have to get your hands on this one when it comes out on April 14, 2020.
The Sunday Girl by Pip Drysdale
Contrary to popular belief, The Sunday Girl is not about a twentysomething woman who goes to brunch with her girlfriends, gets day drunk, and orders a $40 uber home before passing out at 5pm. I know! I was also confused. The Sunday Girl is actually about a woman in an abusive relationship, who gets dumped by her boyfriend, and then he posts a sex tape of her online. I think we can all agree at this point he deserves what’s coming to him. And, what’s coming to him is a revenge plan straight out of The Art of War. Girl, I am SOLD. Find out what happens *please say she cuts off his balls, please say she cuts off his balls* when The Sunday Girl comes out on May 5, 2020
The Last Woman in the Forest by Diane Les Becquets
You is told from the point of view of Joe, the psychopath serial killer. But what if it was told from Beck’s point of view? In The Last Woman in the Forest, Les Becquets flips the script when her heroine Marian starts to believe that her recently departed man, Tate, was a serial killer. Marian goes on a mission to prove to herself that she was not, in fact, banging a dude who preferred his women in a ditch in the woods, but as she gets further along, sh*t starts getting terrifying and it’s possible Marian will end up as a skin suit for a different freak. I’m not going to reveal what happens, but I will tell you that Diane Les Becquets is an incredibly talented writer, who dedicated a lot of time to creating realistic and nuanced characters. This is not your run-of-the-mill thriller, it’s more of an intense, slow build that ratchets up the terrifying as it goes on. Just like life!
A Good Man by Ani Katz
A Good Man! Ha! At least the title is funny, even if the rest of it makes you dependent on melatonin for the rest of your life. A Good Man is about Thomas Martin, a rich dude from Long Island working in Manhattan, who commits a horrific act and then when he can’t take it back, tries to convince himself that all he ever tried to do was be a good man. Ha! Funny again! Coincidentally, that’s what my ex said when I found him literally on top of another woman. He was also, in fact, not a good man. Another pro for this book is the fact that it has a pull quote on the cover from Caroline Kepnes, aka the author of You. If it’s endorsed by the woman who thought up Joe Goldberg, you know it’s the perfect kind of creepy.
My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing
Okay, if you thought you liked one attractive, charismatic psychopath in You, you are going to be thrilled when you meet the most f*cked up couple of all time in My Lovely Wife. Is the husband a murderer? Sure is! Is the wife a murderer? You betcha! Do they do it together as some kind of twisted sex game to keep the spark alive? Yes, ma’am! Should they have just gone to therapy? Probably, but it’d be less fun! This book is slippery though, so you never really know what’s going on until the very end, and that’s just how I like it, much like murdering young women is how the couple in this novel likes it. My Lovely Wife came out last March, and the best part is, if it really turns you on to murderous families, Downing has another thriller coming out on April 28th called He Started It.
Darling Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel
So, yes, Darling Rose Gold is definitely more similar to The Act than it is to You, but I figure to us crime fiends that’s basically tomayto, tomahto, am I right? Plus there are plenty of murderous people in this, so you’ll be fine. Growing up, Rose Gold believed that she was seriously ill. Turns out, her mom Patty (YOU WOULD, PATTY), just did everything she could to make people believe that, even intentionally making Rose Gold sick. Patty went to prison, but now she’s out and Rose Gold takes her in. Such a sweetheart! Or is she? In this book, you can’t tell who is lying, and you can’t tell who is winning their little cat-and-mouse murder game until the very end. And who among us hasn’t wanted to kill their mother every once in a while?! (Not me, mom! Please still pay for that trip to Ireland!). You’ll have to wait until March for this one, but I promise you it’s worth the wait.
The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule
The Stranger Beside Me is the OG book about a handsome and charming man who preys on young women. And all you sickos are just as thirsty for him as you are for Joe! I know this isn’t a novel (it’s true crime, FYI), but I’d put all my money on the fact that Ted Bundy and Joe Goldberg are distant relatives. Let’s get these two on Ancestry DNA!
The Stranger Beside Me is written by Ann Rule, and her writing style is so sweet and sincere, you’ll feel like your mother is telling you a comforting bedtime story, except that bedtime story includes the dates and times that dozens of women were murdered. The Stranger Beside Me has been out since 1980, so while you’re waiting on some of these other books to be released, you should definitely spend your time with this master class in true crime. And just remember, Ted Bundy is dead so you can’t send him nudes in prison, FOR GOD’S SAKE.
And those are my recommendations! If you read any of these, please let me know what you think. And if you think you’re not a reader, just throw one of these in your bag to check out on the subway just in case. Candy Crush will still be on your phone when you go to the bathroom later!
Images: Beth Dubber/Netflix; St. Martin’s Press; Source Books; Berkley Books (3); Penguin Books; WW Norton
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Raise your hand if you’re a messy b*tch who thrives on drama and other people’s misfortunes. If you didn’t raise both of your hands and feet, then you might want to get out now because this post is for gossip mongers only. You’ve been warned. Now that that’s been handled, welcome, bottom feeders, to the book round-up you never knew you wanted! Celebrities are literally always trying to sell a memoir about their innermost secrets and are constantly disappointing me and the register girl at Barnes & Noble when she sees me coming to return a book five days after purchase. Most times, these so-called “tell-alls” are just a way to revive a career, promote a new season of their show, or just generally cling to their relevance for another five seconds. And there’s nothing wrong with that, but I’m not shelling out $27 for a hardcover version of information I could’ve tracked down through a semi-intense dive into their social media. So, for those of you craving the real tea and gossip that’s juicier than whatever your Aunt Linda is about to spill at the Thanksgiving dinner table, these are the celebrity memoirs for you.
Inside Out by Demi Moore
We’ve talked about this one before but, y’all, Demi Moore’s new memoir is actually bonkers. Not only does she finally open up about her marriage to Ashton Kutcher (#tbt) and the wild threesomes they used to have to try (in vain) to save their marriage, but she also talks about her meteoric rise to fame and struggles with addiction. She doesn’t just come for her ex Ashton Kutcher, either (though that in itself is messy as hell and way worth the read). She comes for ALL of Hollywood: she dishes on her other ex-husband Bruce Willis and one-time flame Rob Lowe. She even speaks to that one time Jon Cryer publicly declared she took his virginity, claiming he’d been with other women before and that he was just “bad at sex.” HE WAS JUST BAD AT SEX. I’m dead. Deceased. This isn’t just a book, it’s a Hollywood hit list and a petty work of art. Basically, a must-read. We bow down to you, Demi.
My Friend Anna by Rachel DeLoache Williams
In another article I wrote for this site, I made a bold statement when I compared those who are actively not following the Anna Delvey story to mole people, and I still stand by that statement. When news broke about Anna Delvey, the fake German heiress who somehow managed to con $200K out of Manhattan’s elite party scene, I was completely captivated. How did she get away with this? And do any of her friends understand how Venmo works? These were the questions that kept me up at night. My Friend Anna focuses on those friends, the people she scammed, and how she got away with it—one friend in particular, who arguably got hit the worst by Anna’s cons. Written by her former friend Rachel Williams, whom Anna personally scammed out of $62,000 during one lavish vacation, this book reads like a twisty thriller about a sociopath, except everything actually happened IRL. For those looking to familiarize yourself with the story before Shonda Rhimes’ new Anna Delvey Netflix series drops, then I URGE you to pick up this book. Rachel answers probably every single question you’ve ever had about Anna.
Coreyography by Corey Feldman
For those of you who are like “who tf is Corey Feldman” just know that I’m marking you for the youth you so clearly are, and I hope you can feel my shame through this screen. Corey Feldman was one of my FAVORITE child stars and starred in cult classics such as The Goonies and Stand By Me. He was the height of ‘80s fame and also a childhood crush of mine. I still secretly harbor ill wishes towards that trollop Stef for getting to make out with him during The Goonies. I will say, post-child star fame, Corey has not fared well. He’s battled with drug addiction and, to my knowledge, has not landed an acting role since we entered the 21st century. His memoir, Coreyography (great title tbh), sheds light on this. In his book he talks about the dark underbelly of Hollywood for child stars: from getting hooked on drugs at a young age to the rampant sexual abuse he experienced during his time in the lime light and his “innocent” friendship with the late Michael Jackson. This book can be pretty heavy and, at times, even triggering, but it’s definitely worth the read.
It’s Not Okay by Andi Dorfman
This one is for all you Bachelor Nation fans out there. Andi Dorfman, ex-Bachelorette and Mike Fliess’s worst nightmare, wrote a tell-all back in 2016 about her time as The Bachelorette. Not only did she give us an inside look at what actually happens during the fantasy suite dates, but she wasn’t afraid to talk sh*t about her exes Nick Viall and Josh Murray. You love to see it. It is the ultimate burn book for all things Bachelor and Nick Viall, which should be reason enough to pick this one up.
Darkness to Light by Lamar Odom
I, personally, have been waiting for Jordyn Woods to set her NDA on fire and break the internet by releasing her own tell-all about the Kardashians, but until then I’ll settle for Lamar Odom’s memoir. Former NBA player and ex-husband to Khloé Kardashian, Odom spilled all the tea when his memoir came out at the beginning of the summer. Tbh I feel like the Khloé Kardashian drama is the least exciting of all the bombshells he dropped in this book. Like, for example, did you know that he used a FAKE PENIS to pass a drug test before the Olympics? HOW?? Or that he was a host to multiple orgies when he lived in Miami? For people who Keep Up, or those who just really want a wild read, then you need to binge this one ASAP.
A Song For You: My Life With Whitney Houston by Robyn Crawford
This book was just released this week, and it’s already everywhere. The author, Robyn Crawford, is the late Whitney Houston’s longtime best friend, and in her memoir she comes clean about the romantic rumors that swirled for a long time regarding her friendship with Houston. Crawford confirms that her and Houston did have a romantic and sexual relationship in the early 1980s, but called things off when Houston started to get famous because Houston said it would “make our journey even more difficult.” It’s been rumored for a while that Houston was bisexual (her ex-husband Bobby Brown made a comment about it in 2016), but nothing has been confirmed, as Houston passed away in 2012. Whitney Houston is an absolute legend and this book shines a light on aspects of her life that have never been released to the public.
Open by Andre Agassi
Even if you’re not a big tennis fan, or your idea of being “sporty” consists of going to a bar on Sunday in your ex-boyfriend’s stolen jersey, you’ll still love Andre Agassi’s memoir if you’re a fan of juicy gossip. Agassi, who was known early in his career for his giant hair, admitted that he actually wore a wig on the tennis court once his hair started to thin. Impossible beauty standards at it again!! Honestly, he looks better with a shaved head anyway. Over in the personal life department, we also get an inside look at his failed marriage to Brooke Shields. He comes clean about testing positive for meth (yikes) in 1997, and basically says he did drugs because he was scared to marry Brooke (double yikes). He also admits that he blamed his assistant to avoid the consequences of said positive drug test. Weird, this reads a lot like my last boyfriend’s explanations for why we broke up.
Ladies Who Punch by Ramin Setoodeh
I haven’t watched The View in years, mostly because I’m not a middle-aged housewife, but I still couldn’t put this book down. Journalist Ramin Setoodeh somehow managed to interview basically everyone involved with the show in its 20-year history, and the behind-the-scenes drama is messier than your Sunday brunch that turns into “one more drink” at a bar nearby. This book has the tea on how basically everyone who has ever left the show was fired, even though they acted like leaving was their choice. You’ll read about how Star Jones used the show to get her entire wedding free, and of course, all the drama with Rosie O’Donnell. But for me, the craziest thing was that Barbara Walters basically had to be pushed out when she retired, and the producers had to forcibly stop her from extending her contract. What a way to go.
Images: Amazon (8)
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