Liz Alterman is the author of the young adult novel, He’ll Be Waiting, the memoir, Sad Sacked, and the forthcoming thriller, The Perfect Neighborhood. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, McSweeney’s, and other outlets. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and three sons where she spends most days microwaving the same cup of coffee and looking up synonyms. When she isn’t writing, she’s reading.

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He’ll Be Waiting

What would you do to remember? What would you give to forget?

When Tess Porter agrees to pick up her boyfriend’s college pal at the airport on a snowy December night, she has no idea she’s about to embark on the most dangerous ride of her life. Two days later, the 17-year-old wakes up in a hospital with broken bones, unable to remember how she got there. Her parents are acting strange, and neither James, her boyfriend, nor her best friend, Izzy, has visited. As she struggles to physically recover, Tess wrestles with haunting questions: What happened? Will her memory ever return? And what if she’s better off not recalling any of it?

The Perfect Neighborhood

When actress and model Allison Langley leaves her former rockstar husband, Christopher, in the middle of the night, it’s all her Oak Hill neighbors can talk about. The gossip comes to an abrupt halt when five-year-old Billy Barnes goes missing on his walk home from kindergarten.

 

Billy’s mother, Rachel, blames herself for being at work and letting her only child walk alone. Cassidy, Billy’s teenage babysitter, was also late to arrive on the afternoon he disappeared and blames herself for his disappearance.

 

As the clock ticks down, police are unable to find any trace of Billy, forcing Rachel to ponder the enemies she’s made in their well-off suburb. Could it be one of her neighbors who stole her son? Would they abduct Billy to hurt her?  How easy would it be to take a child while the parents or nannies are distracted?

 

When another child goes missing, the town is put under a microscope as the police try to get to the bottom of the disappearances. Will they be able to find the two children, or will it be too late? What secrets lie at the heart of this tragedy, and how far will one go to keep those dangerous secrets buried?

Sad Sacked 

A very funny memoir about a very unfunny situation.   

The last person Liz Alterman expects to hear from during her Thanksgiving prep is her husband, Rich. He never calls from his job at a busy Manhattan newsroom. And he never will again, because he’s just been laid off. Two months later, Liz is downsized, too.  

At first, Rich is enchanted with his new leisurely lifestyle. But when he’s still unemployed six months later, his euphoric mood devolves into depression and despair. It falls to Liz to figure out how to support their family of five and keep up appearances in their well-to-do suburb, where even nannies drive the latest model Lexus.  

Sad Sacked blends the wit of Nora Ephron’s Heartburn with the madcap hilarity of Maria Semple’s Where’d You Go, Bernadette to expose the pressure on women to put on a happy face even as their world falls apart. In Liz Alterman’s gifted hands, we laugh until we cry about what happens when the bottom drops out.  

“I didn’t realize how much we needed a new Erma Bombeck to report from the tense bowels of modern suburbia. This book is a sweaty, funny examination into suburban marriage, motherhood, social status and all the other reasons I left New Jersey.” (Joel Stein)

Selected Work

As author, unless indicated otherwise.

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He'll Be Waiting

What would you do to remember? What would you give to forget? When Tess Porter agrees to pick up her boyfriend’s college pal at the airport on a snowy December night, she has no idea she’s about to embark on the most dangerous ride of her life. Two days later, the 17-year-old wakes up in a hospital with broken bones, unable to remember how she got there. Her parents are acting strange, and neither James, her boyfriend, nor her best friend, Izzy, has visited. As she struggles to physically recover, Tess wrestles with haunting questions: What happened? Will her memory ever return? And what if she’s better off not recalling any of it?

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