Stella and Violet are BFFs. And coworkers. Oh, and mortal enemies.
Good to know
Why I love it
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.”
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.