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Necessary People by Anna Pitoniak

Necessary People

by Anna Pitoniak

Quick take

Stella and Violet are BFFs. And coworkers. Oh, and mortal enemies.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_SlowRead

    Slow build

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_FemaleFriendship

    Female friendships

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_LoveTriangle

    Love triangle

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Unlikeable

    Unlikeable narrator

Why I love it

Cristina Arreola
BOTM Judge

Most people, I’m willing to bet, have experienced a friendship that exists on a spectrum of love and competition, where the marking point could exist, perversely, at both ends at the exact same time. Violet and Stella, the protagonists of Anna Pitoniak’s Necessary People, epitomize that type of relationship—the kind where adoration and jealousy mix together in a toxic tonic that both women are only too ready to drink.

Violet, our narrator, grew up poor and emotionally abused in the Florida Panhandle; Stella, her best friend from college, hails from a rich New England family. After graduating, Stella parties her way across the world while Violet throws herself into her new internship at a cable news station, working hard enough to land herself a coveted promotion. It’s here that the story takes an icy turn: Stella, jealous of Violet’s success, uses her family connections to score a job at the station, and she quickly becomes a star—among audiences, executives, and Violet’s best work friend, Jamie, who soon becomes Stella’s boyfriend. Violet simmers in silence, but when Stella takes credit for her biggest story to-date, resentment boils and the unthinkable happens.

What happens when your greatest enemy is the person you love most in the world? And what happens when someone who grew up with nothing senses a challenge to the life she’s built for herself? “You come from nowhere,” the cable news station’s icy director, Ginny, tells Violet near the end of the novel. “And a woman with nothing to lose—I don’t trust her for one second.”

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Stella and Violet are best friends, and from the moment they met in college, they knew their roles. Beautiful, privileged, and reckless Stella lives in the spotlight. Hardworking, laser-focused Violet stays behind the scenes, always ready to clean up the mess that Stella inevitably leaves in her wake.

After graduation, Violet moves to New York and lands a job in cable news, where she works her way up from intern to assistant to producer, and to a life where she's finally free from Stella's shadow. In this fast-paced world, Violet thrives, and her ambitions grow—but everything is jeopardized when Stella, envious of Violet's new life, uses her connections, beauty, and charisma to get hired at the same network. Stella soon moves in front of the camera, becoming the public face of the stories that Violet has worked tirelessly to produce—and taking all the credit.

Stella might be the one with the rich family and the right friends, but Violet isn't giving up so easily. As she and Stella strive for success, each reveals just how far she'll go to get what she wants—even if it means destroying the other person along the way.

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Get an early look from the first pages of Necessary People.

Member thoughts

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6241 ratings
  • 35% Love
  • 54% Like
  • 8% Dislike
  • Duxbury, MA

    I marked this book as thought-provoking bc it’s definitely more than just a thriller. I found myself rooting for the “bad guy” to the very end without even realizing they were technically the bad guy.

  • Chapel Hill, NC

    This was such an interesting, compelling read that I truly didn’t want to put down. To be honest, I read the final 200 pages in one sitting after deciding to read “one more chapter”(famous last words)

  • Anderson, IN

    This book is... wow. Definitely didn’t end in the way I thought it would. As a matter of fact, the whole book was that way. I thought I knew what was going to happen and then it didn’t. Very good book

  • Nashville, TN

    I was moved by this book yet it has such an underlying darkness that creeps through it. I won’t tell you it’s a happy ending but it’s also not unhappy. Beautifully written and real and frightening.

  • Dunlap , TN

    I picked this book not knowing what to expect, and I assumed it would just be an okay book. However, I ended up loving the book! It is a MUST read if you are into thrillers! You won’t be disappointed!

  • Shady Side, MD

    I wanted to read a romance novel but read the synopsis of this book and knew I had to read it. I’m glad I picked this because I absolutely LOVED it! Not what I was expecting but amazing none the less.

  • Tioga, ND

    It’s one of those books that sucks you in. The writing makes you feel all the emotions; anger, jealousy, rage, sadness. The tensions was actually building inside me with every chapter. Very good read.

  • Valley Park, MO

    I felt so connected to the main character’s thoughts and feelings; I felt betrayed and stabbed in the back alongside her. You see yourself in the innately flawed but ambitious protagonist. Great read.

  • Suitland, MD

    I honestly can’t wait to see this as a movie pitched to some big names. This book is amazing. The story is gripping and made me question what it really means to make it to the top for some. I loved it

  • Corpus Christi, TX

    It has a slow start, but it picked up a whole lot halfway through. I enjoyed it very much and found myself super invested in Violet and Stella’s dysfunctional relationship. Glad I added this book on!

  • Virginia Beach, VA

    This book is a slow build, but once the back story is built up, BAM!! There’s hooks and twists you don’t expect. Definitely worth the read if you like seeing just how far friendships can be taken.

  • Lake Orion, MI

    How was I rooting for the “bad guy” here? The twist of this book ads a great thriller factor in what would otherwise be a coming of age story between two friends. I was turning pages at all hours.

  • Boynton Beach, FL

    Absolutely amazing! By the end of the book, I couldn't help but question everything I thought was true. A great example of how a well-written unreliable narrator can psychologically torture the reader

  • Northlake, TX

    I loved this novel more than I had expected to. The friendship between the characters was so dynamic, and at times I didn’t know which character I was “rooting for.” The ending had me surprised!

  • Uniontown, PA

    Edge of your seat who-dun-it vibe!! Loved every twist and turn the author took the characters through. Easy to follow and we'll written. Plot was steady and timeline was easy to understand. Loved it.

  • Strongsville , OH

    This is probably the best book that I have read in a while. I was hooked from the first page, and was sad when it was over. The author really know how to make her readers connect with the characters.

  • Westland , MI

    I loved this book because it shows how people change and form to become like someone they admire.. there is almost always an underlying reason that they do these types of things. I really enjoyed it t

  • Henderson, NV

    Great writing making you really feel for the characters. I really could not stand Stella and Violet annoyed me for not standing up for herself (at first) but that was the point. Great twist in middle.

  • North Hollywood, CA

    Wow! You're rooting for the underdog the whole time but then she does something bad, but it feels so good reading it because you would have probably done the same. A must read! Shocking turn of events

  • Longview, TX

    Tenuous alliances, fake smiles, and passive aggressive toxic friendships mark this world of burying your past and securing your future. One family name means all-access; another-invisibility & purpose

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