Elizabeth Berg. The art of mending (like My Sister’s Keeper) Returning home for a family reunion, Laura Bartone and her brother, Steve, are stunned by their sister’s allegations of shocking behavior on the part of their mother, and must come to terms with the truth and lies within their family.
Open House. Samantha’s husband has left her, and after a spending spree, she settles down to reconstruct a life for herself and her son. Sam takes in boarders to make her mortgage payments while she tries to figure out what to do with her life and comes to realize that only she has the keys to her own happiness.

Chris Bohjalian. Before you know kindness (like My Sister’s Keeper) After a decade of spending a delightful summer week at their country house in New Hampshire, the members of the extended Seton family are confronted by a terrible accident, testing the values and relationships that hold them together.
The Buffalo Soldier. The devastating loss of their twin daughters in a flash flood turns the lives of Terry and Laura Sheldon upside down as their marriage is tested by grief, Terry’s brief love affair, and their growing relationship with their foster child, a ten-year-old African American boy.
Midwives . A seasoned midwife in rural Vermont faces the antagonism of the law, the hostility of traditional doctors, and the accusations of her own conscience.
Past the Bleachers. After Bill Parrish loses his young son Nathaniel to leukemia, he fills the void in his life by coaching a local Little League team and becoming attached to a mute boy, Lucky, who eerily reminds Bill of his own lost son. Out of Print and Hard to Find.

Amy Bourret. Mothers and other liars. When Ruby was 19, she found a baby abandoned in a rest-stop trash can. Thinking she is doing the right thing, Ruby takes the baby to raise as her own. Flash forward nine years, and Ruby and the little girl, Lark, are a happy family in New Mexico, where Ruby works as a nail technician. They have a large network of friends and bond with Ruby’s boyfriend’s family. Then Ruby sees a tabloid article about an abandoned baby, and everything tilts. Lark wasn’t simply left, she was kidnapped, and now Ruby must figure out what to do.

Rosellen Brown. Before and After. (like Picture Perfect) When the chief of police comes to question Jacob Reiser about the brutal murder of his teenage girlfriend, it throws the entire family into a feud laced with guilt and questions of loyalty.

Diane Chamberlain. Secret Lives. A Virginia-born actress discovers the truth about her dead mother’s unhappy life and must come to terms with the uncle who adopted her and her rebellious, painful adolescence.
Breaking the silence. Visiting an elderly stranger to fulfill a deathbed promise to her father, Laura Brandon’s life is violently disrupted when her own husband commits suicide and their five-year-old daughter, who witnessed the suicide, stops speaking
Keeper of the Light. When a gunshot victim dies on her operating table, Dr. Olivia Simon learns that the victim is Annie O’Neill, the woman with whom Olivia’s husband is in love, plunging Olivia, her husband Paul, and Annie’s husband Alec into a dark world of obsession, passion, and deception where only the truth can set them free. Out of Print and Hard to Find.
Her Mother’s Shadow. Lacey O’Neill, while trying to care for the rebellious daughter of her late best friend, finally learns the truth about her own mother’s murder when a stranger arrives in the town of Kiss River, exposing the mysteries of the past.

Roddy Doyle. The woman who walked into doors. (like Picture Perfect) Relates the story of Paula Spencer, a woman approaching forty and struggling with alcoholism and a violent marriage. Not as easy a read as Picture Perfect but the thematic material is similar. Doyle writes about a woman’s experience with a perception that is rare, a compassion that is scorching and an uncompromising frankness that splinters his heroine’s suffering directly into the reader’s heart. Doyle triumphs here, with a tough-minded but deeply moving exploration of a wretched marriage and a woman who has lost all her self-esteem. Literary.

Anna Quindlen. Black and Blue. (like Picture perfect) Fran Benedetto tells a spellbinding story: how at 19 she fell in love with Bobby Benedetto; how their passionate marriage became a nightmare; why she stayed and then what happened on the night she finally decided to run away with her son and start a new life under a new name.
Rise and Shine. A novel about two sisters, the true meaning of success, and the qualities in life that matter most. It’s an otherwise ordinary Monday when Meghan’s perfect life hits a wall. A household name as the host of the country’s highest-rated morning talk show, Meghan cuts to a commercial break–but not before she mutters two forbidden words into her open mike. In an instant, it’s the end of an era, not only for Meghan, who is unaccustomed to dealing with adversity, but also for her younger sister, Bridget, a social worker in the Bronx who has always lived in Meghan’s long shadow. The effect of Meghan’s on-air truth telling reverberates through both their lives, affecting Meghan’s son, husband, friends, and fans, as well as Bridget’s perception of her sister, their complex childhood, and herself.

Luanne Rice. Concentrating less on controversial topics and more on family and personal relationships, the authors’ use of characters is similar to Picout; strong, intelligent women who find themselves consumed by life’s everyday and irregular tragedies but work out solutions with help from family and friends.
Home Fires. Glamorous and accomplished Anne has just lost her young daughter in a tragic accident and her husband to another woman. With her world in upheaval, Anne returns to the secluded island hometown that her earthy and envious sister Gabrielle never escaped. A fire in the women’s ancestral home drives Anne to rescue the one object she holds most dear and to be rescued by Thomas Devlin, a scarred firefighter with his own unfortunate past.

Louise Erdrich. The Painted Drum (like Keeping Faith) Discovering a cache of valuable Native American artifacts while appraising an estate in New Hampshire, Faye Travers investigates the history of a ceremonial drum, which possesses spiritual powers and changes the lives of people who encounter it. Erdrich crafts a provocative read elevated by beautiful imagery and stunning language. Literary.

David Guterson. Our Lady of the Forest (like Keeping Faith) Sixteen-year-old runaway and unlikely spiritual candidate Ann Holmes, surviving by living in a tent and working as a mushroom picker, experiences a vision of the Virgin Mary in the foggy woods of a Washington November afternoon. Though some readers may be frustrated by the slow pace, Guterson’s third novel is thoughtful, humane, richly detailed, and atmospheric. It should be welcomed by those who loved Snow Falling on Cedars. Literary.

Kent Haruf. Eventide. (like Keeping Faith) A novel of small-town life in the high plains region around Holt, Colorado, follows the challenges, emotional upheaval, tragedies, and intertwined destinies of the local inhabitants as they cope with the changes they encounter. This natural interaction of people thrown together by fate and unplanned circumstances realistically mimics life in general and, specifically, the community life of many small towns. The overall tone of the book offers hope and love despite the stark moments of sadness and grief. Compassion, strength of character, and loving concern for all life become the positive forces that help each of the individuals carry on. This book stands alone, but reading the two novels (follows Plainsong) in sequence gives additional meaning and understanding to the events and characters. Literary.

Madeleine L’Engle. A Live Coal in the Sea. (like Keeping Faith) Three generations of a family struggle with loyalty, commitment, and identity when Camilla Dickinson is confronted by her granddaughter, Raffi, with the news that her father has hinted that Camilla is not really her grandmother.

Billie Letts. Where the Heart Is. Pregnant, overweight, and convinced about her inherent bad luck, Novalee Nation hopes for a new life in a new state with her boyfriend but is dumped along the way in Oklahoma, where she finds her spirit renewed.

Elinor Lipman. The Inn at Lake Devine. When Natalie Marx is 13, she arranges to visit a gentile vacation spot with a camp friend, and years later, the two meet again.

Emily Listfield. Waiting to surface. Notified by police that her sculptor husband of ten years has vanished while swimming off the coast of Florida, magazine editor Sarah is aided by a team of investigators to discern the truth about her husband’s fate.

Miller, Sue. Similar to Picoult thematically, except her stories have a more literary quality and delve more deeply into character’s emotions.
While I Was Gone. An Oprah Book Club selection. Jo Becker is supremely content with her life. She’s married to a loving minister, owner/operator of her own veterinary practice and mother to three grown daughters. She doesn’t talk about the summer of 1968 when she walked away from another husband, another family and into a completely different identity only to be jerked back to her previous life after the brutal murder of her best friend. The reappearance of an old housemate forces Jo to analyze every choice she has made since that fateful summer.

Jacquelyn Mitchard. The Breakdown Lane. Doling out advice in a Wisconsin newspaper column, Julianne Ambrose Gillis struggles with the challenges of her husband’s inexplicable abandonment and her subsequent diagnosis with a serious illness.
The Deep end of the ocean. Nine years after three-year-old Ben Cappadora’s kidnapping, a twelve-year-old boy knocks at the door of the Cappadora house, looking for yard work. Followed by sequel
No Time To Wave Goodbye
.
The Theory of Relativity. Readers with a preference for observing how families in turmoil deal with shocking situations will appreciate this novel of grieving grandparents locked in an anguished custody battle for the sole surviving daughter of parents lost in a car accident.

Jeffrey Eugenides. The Virgin Suicides. (like The Pact) The narrator and his friends piece together the events that led up to suicides of the Lisbon girls, brainy Therese, fastidious Mary, ascetic Bonnie, libertine Lux, and saintly Cecilia.

Eileen Goudge. Once in a Blue Moon. Separated in childhood and sent to foster homes after their neglectful mother’s imprisonment, sisters Lindsay and Kerrie Ann are reunited in adulthood and help each other through the fiercest battles of their lives despite their differences.
One Last Dance. In the wake of a family tragedy in which their mother is accused of shooting their father, three sisters–Daphne, Alex, and Kitty–return home to confront a tangle of family secrets and lies and to rebuild their lives in the midst of devastating loss.

Nick Hornby. A Long Way Down. (like The Pact) Meeting on New Year’s Eve on the roof of Topper’s House, a London destination infamous as a last stop for suicidal people, a talk show host, a musician, a teenage girl, and a mother share stories about their circumstances and decisions.

Elliot Perlman. Seven Types of Ambiguity. (like The Pact) Frustrated by years of unrequited love, an unemployed school teacher takes matters into his own hands, with unexpected repercussions, in a story told by six different narrators whose lives have become entangled with one another.

Kevin Guilfoile. Cast of Shadows. Totally different twist on bioethics. When his daughter is brutally raped and murdered, Davis Moore, a Chicago fertility doctor specializing in reproductive cloning, comes up with a horrifying idea–to clone the murderer who killed his daughter from a vial of the killer’s DNA.

Jane Hamilton. Disobedience. Chicago private school student Henry stumbles onto the e-mail account he set up for his mother and inadvertently discovers she is having an affair with a violin maker wholly different from Henry’s socialist history teacher father.
A Map of the World. On a diary farm in the midwest, Alice is watching her neighbor’s daughter when she drowns in the pond. This marks the beginning of a series of events that turns Alice into a scapegoat and brings about her family’s downfall.

Eva Hoffman. The Secret. Seventeen-year-old Iris Surrey, increasingly troubled by her unusually close relationship with her look-alike mother, sets out in 2022 Chicago to learn the identity of her father, and along the way, the secret of her own origin.

Ann Hood. For a quieter, more lyrical tone than Picoult, Hood’s small town female characters are well developed but their problems are closer to home — infidelity, sisterly rivalry, and cold feet at an impending marriage. Hood employs a little more introspection and personal drama in her stories.
Properties of Water. Protagonist Josie Hunter lives with her family in an economically strapped small Rhode Island town near a river that threatens to overflow its banks. A short brutal attack in a mall parking lot robs Josie of her confidence and dignity in addition to her car and groceries. The sudden arrival of her long gone sister, Michaela, exacerbates Josie’s current problems dealing with two constantly fighting daughters, an ailing father, and an unfaithful husband. Out of Print and Hard to Find.

Dara Horn. The World to Come. Having stolen a million-dollar Marc Chagall masterpiece, thirty-year-old quiz-show writer Benjamin Ziskind and his twin sister work to evade the police and evaluate the eighty-year-old link between their family and the famous painting. Horn deftly weaves an intricate story steeped in folklore and family secrets. Along the way, readers are offered glimpses of the possibilities, allegorical and otherwise, of life’s beginning and end. This is intelligent, compelling literary fiction.

Kazuo Ishiguro. Never let me go.  Kathy, Tommy, and Ruth were once classmates at Hailsham, a private school in the English countryside with a most unusual student body: human clones created solely to serve as organ donors. A reunion draws these three companions on a nostalgic odyssey into the supposedly idyllic years of their lives at the isolated private school in the serene English countryside, and a dramatic confrontation with the truth about their childhoods and about their lives in the present. The author nimbly navigates the landscape of emotion–the inevitable link between present and past and the fine line between compassion and cruelty, pleasure and pain. Literary.

Dave King. The Ha-Ha. Compelling characters & interesting story like Picoult’s reside in this debut novel that explores familial bonds arising between people with no blood ties. Rendered unable to speak, read, or write after a Vietnam War injury thirty years earlier, Howard Kapostash feels trapped by his disability until his high school sweetheart, recently forced into rehab, asks him to care for her nine-year-old son.

Lori Lansens. Rush Home Road. When she volunteers to take in five-year-old Sharla Cody for the summer, eighty-year-old Addy Shadd forms a powerful bond with Sharla that prompts her to recollect her own childhood in Rusholme, a town settled by fugitive slaves in the mid-1800s.

Mary Lawson. Crow Lake. In the rural farm country of northern Ontario, the lives of two families–the farming Pye family, and zoologist Kate Morrison and her three brothers–are brought together and torn apart by misunderstanding, resentment, family love, and tragedy.

Kristin Hannah. The things we do for love. Returning to her hometown to care for her aging mother and run the family restaurant, Angie Malone hires job-seeking teen Lauren Ribaldo, with whom she shares an emotional journey that helps both women realize the meaning of family.

Alice Hoffman. Blue Diary. The revelation of a dark secret about Ethan Ford’s true identity and his past threatens to turn a small Massachusetts town upside down as the truth shatters Monroe’s small-town peace and tests the bonds between family and friends.
Local Girls. An anthology of interconnected short stories captures the lives and destinies of the Samuelsons, a family struggling with tragedy and divorce, in a series of portraits that chronicle Gretel Samuelson’s journey through betrayal, grief, conflicting loyalties, friendship, and loss.
Turtle Moon. Determined to begin life anew in Verity, Florida, with her son, Keith, transplanted New Yorker Lucy Rosen finds everything she ever hoped for and everything she ever feared in her new community.

Jean Hanff Korelitz. The Sabbathday River. When she stumbles upon the drowned body of a newborn baby girl floating in the Sabbathday River, Naomi Roth, something of an outcast in conservative Goddard, New Hampshire, becomes involved in the case of Heather Pratt, a young single mother, who is charged with murder.

Anita Shreve. Light on Snow. (like Plain Truth) Remembering the December afternoon twenty years earlier when her father and she found an abandoned infant in the snow, Nicky recalls her father’s efforts to escape society after a tragedy and a young woman’s struggles to live with her choices.
Testimony. At a New England boarding school, a sex scandal is about to break. Even more shocking than the sexual acts themselves is the fact that they were caught on videotape. A Pandora’s box of revelations, the tape triggers a chorus of voices–those of the men, women, teenagers, and parents involved in the scandal–that details the ways in which lives can be derailed or destroyed in one foolish moment.

Francine Prose. After. (like Nineteen minutes) In the aftermath of a nearby school shooting, a grief and crisis counselor takes over Central High School and enacts increasingly harsh measures to control students, while those who do not comply disappear.

Jim Shepard. Project X. (like Nineteen minutes) Hanratty and his only friend, Flake, struggle to deal with the nightmare of junior high school–bullying, girls who taunt them, jocks who beat them up, a creepy old man who stalks them, and a disaffected sixth grader who adores them.

Carol Shields. Unless. Finely detailed, thoughtful, and sometimes even humorous this novel is about a mother’s grief over a daughter’s break with the family and how it revises her feminist outlook and pushes her craft as a writer in a new direction.

Lionel Shriver. We need to talk about Kevin. (like Nineteen minutes) If the question of who’s to blame for teenage atrocity intrigues news-watching voyeurs, it tortures our narrator, Eva. Two years before the opening of the novel, her son, Kevin, murdered seven of his fellow high school students, a cafeteria worker, and the much-beloved teacher who had tried to befriend him. Because his sixteenth birthday arrived two days after the killings, he received a lenient sentence and is currently in a prison for young offenders in upstate New York. In relating the story of Kevin’s upbringing, Eva addresses her estranged husband, Frank, through a series of startlingly direct letters.

Afterwards by Rosamund Lupton Explores similar themes of mother-daughter relationships and separation/loss with a mystery element (Jackie S.)

How High the Moon by Sandra Kring. Eleven year-old girl dealing with a missing father; character-driven, well-paced, and heart-wrenching (Leane E.)

Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight Suspenseful and moving tale of a mother trying to piece together facts after her daughter’s sudden death (Kristy L.)