Melanie Hamrick recommends 6 enthralling reads that keep you guessing

The ballet dancer suggests books from Delia Owens, Colleen Hoover and more

Melanie Hamrick.
(Image credit: Courtesy Image)

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Former American Ballet Theatre dancer Melanie Hamrick launched her choreography career with a ballet set to Rolling Stones songs written by her partner, Mick Jagger. Her debut novel, "First Position," follows a ballerina drawn into a tempestuous affair.

Manon Lescaut by Abbé Prévost (1731)

I'm in the middle of this one and I love it so much! "Manon Lescaut" is also an opera and a ballet, so I was very curious to read what those works are based on. It's the story of two young lovers, set in France and Louisiana in the 18th century. The novel was banned for being provocative when it first came out — which of course piqued my interest. I'm also reading it as research for a new novel I'm writing. Buy it here.

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The Turnout by Megan Abbott (2021)

I loved this story about a small-town ballet school and its internal politics. It's so interesting and authentic. And Megan Abbott writes so well about the world of young ballet dancers. Buy it here.

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (2018)

I'm in awe of Delia Owens. This best-selling novel about an abandoned girl who raises herself in the marshlands of North Carolina is so beautifully written. Kya Clark endures shame and loneliness but is so strong and resilient. She may be young, but she's a better person than most of the adults around her. Buy it here.

Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan (2012)

This memoir is one of my favorite books of all time. Cahalan was in her 20s when she was struck by a rare autoimmune disorder that causes potentially deadly inflammation of the brain. It's the story of a young woman being misdiagnosed over and over as she searches for answers and treatment. Buy it here.

Wrong Place Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister (2022)

The plot of this novel is incredible. A mother witnesses her son commit a murder and seizes on an unexpected chance to save him — something I'm sure any mother would want to do for her child. From there, the plot gets quite complicated, with twists around every corner, and it's brilliantly done. Buy it here.

Verity by Colleen Hoover (2018)

From beginning to end, this is a page-turner. The plot is intense, and kept surprising me. A struggling writer hired to finish another woman's series of best-selling novels falls into an affair with the novelist's husband. I was shocked by the events that followed — and I still think about the ending. Buy it here.

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