Cast of Smiles, by Amanda Brookfield.
I think this would fall into the category of “chicklit” (the bright pink cover even embarrased me), though it wasn’t all romance, hearts, and flowers. The general idea was about relationships such as friendships and marriage, but it followed a group of friends that had known each other since they were teenagers and there was plenty of dark motives, manipulation, and betrayals to keep me interested.
The book itself wasn’t overly complex, and many of the characters made me want to beat the shit out of them. I think that may have been the point though – some of the characters were pretty loathsome from their arrogance and inflated sense of self importance. They believed that nothing could ruin them, or take from them what they believed they deserved. Which led to a sense of karma getting its own back. They got what they want, but at what cost? Serves you right for not opening your eyes…
There were other characters that started out being a nuisance, but grew into quite likeable characters. You understood them better, and things worked out for them in ways you hadn’t expected.
This book covers a couple of issues around mental health (though only really skims the surface), when a potentially unbalanced girl is forced to bury her feelings, and how that then manifests. Little miss perfect later finds she can no longer hold together her immaculate exterior when the world she knows is falling down around her.
The interesting dynamics would be a good book to read, particularly if you’re after poolside reading, or just something very light. It’s well written, and quite well thought out. There are a few twists and turns thrown in but, like I said, nothing overly complicated.