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Necessary People by Anna Pitoniak

Necessary People

by Anna Pitoniak

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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


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.
Necessary People

Part One

Chapter One

I was nineteen years old the first time I saved Stella Bradley’s life.

One of the older boys who lived in a shabby off-campus house had managed to capture Stella’s attention. When Stella needed rescuing from these situations, from these men who couldn’t resist monopolizing her, she would signal to me. Tuck her hair behind her ear, tap a finger against her chin. But for the better part of an hour, she’d ignored me entirely.

Ascending the stairs, she caught my eye. He’s cute, right? Her shrugging look said. This one is worth it. Earlier that year, Stella had declared that she was finished with men. Immaturity and frattish antics aside, the men at our college were simply boring, and Stella couldn’t stand that. “You know what I mean, don’t you?” she had said. “It’s just not worth it.”

“Totally,” I had replied. Which was a lie, and wasn’t. Stella’s intelligence often surprised me. Her categorical statements seemed silly but were in fact insightful. Are the men you meet when you’re eighteen really worth the effort? Well, I had no experience with boys, so what did I know? But I could also see the truth she was getting at.

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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.”

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Member ratings (6,993)

  • Kate M.

    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.

  • Kaylie O.

    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)

  • Marilyn A.

    Williamsville , NY

    Best friends from opposite sides of the track. Stella is a spoiled, elitist who thinks she’s doing Violet a favor bringing her into her world. But when Stella gets bored and threatens Violet’s career.

  • Kristi N.

    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

  • Janelle H.

    Nolensville, 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.

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