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'Gone Girl' and Other Summer Books I Couldn't Put Down

Forget the boys of summer; how about these books of summer? Around Town Laura shares her favorite reads of the season.

It's the "It" book of the summer and it has more twists, turns and stomach-wrenching plunges than your favorite ride at Cedar Point.

I'm talking about Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.

Simply said, it's the story of a wife gone missing. Or does she?

Amy and Nick Dunne find love and marriage in New York City. Then, unemployment finds them and they are forced to move back to Nick's home state of Missouri. Amy does not want to be there.

"I suppose it's not a compromise if only one of you considers it such."

In Missouri — a state with the death penalty, as a matter of fact — the couple drifts farther and farther apart until one day the front door is left open and Amy is gone.

Gone Girl is the kind of book that makes you text friends late at night with your latest theory. It's the kind of book that makes you burst out with, "Hold the phone!" while on the treadmill at Lifetime Fitness. It's the kind of book that makes you lay in bed and contemplate all the possibilities of what happened next, somehow forgetting these are fictional characters, not real people.

In short, it's the kind of book that gets a tremendous amount of buzz, and for good reason. My final goodreads.com review was as follows, "Clever, clever, crazy!"

Dare Me

After Gone Girl I was thinking I needed some fluff-n-stuff to read, but then Dare Me by Megan Abbott grabbed hold of me and would not let go.

When's the last time you occupied a teenage girl's mind? Dare Me puts you right in the middle of one and it's a sharp, brutal place.

"She holds certain things — calculus, hall passes, her mother, stop signs — in a steely contempt that drives her hard."

Beth and Addy have been best friends forever until a new cheerleading coach comes to town and their allegiances are divided. What would a 17-year-old girl do to hold onto a friendship? You might not want to know.

Girls In White Dresses

Each chapter in Jennifer Close's novel is its own standalone short story and I am betting nearly any woman aged 25 to 55 will have at least one that resonates with her on a very personal level. It had me nodding my head and laughing out loud throughout.

The "girls in white dresses" are a group of friends, acquaintances and colleagues in New York City. It follows their lives and attempts to find love from post-college to their 30's.

"Isabella couldn't get over the way their skin looked in these pictures. It was dewy and pink and she couldn't image what they'd ever complained about. Now they were duller and more matte. And she was pretty sure they were going to stay that way."

Lone Wolf

I'll admit, I'm not the world's biggest Jodi Picoult fan. While I have read her in the past, it has only been at the behest of my book club. But something about Lone Wolf made me pick it up without the promise of red wine and stimulating conversation to follow. 

It did not disappoint. 

Luke Warren, a wolf biologist, has been in a horrible car accident. Hooked to machines, his estranged son and underage daughter fight to decide his fate. In typical Picoult style it ends up in a courtroom.

"He will probably never know I have traveled back to be with him, to sit in his hospital room. But I will."

The most interesting part of the book to me were the chapters told by Luke Warren about his time living with a wolf pack. I was so fascinated I followed up by reading the autobiography by the man this character was based on, The Man Who Lives with Wolves by Shaun Ellis.

"Above all things I wanted to be like a wolf."

Ironically a wolf always puts his family first, yet neither of these men —  real or fictional — could bring themselves to do the same.

Want more summer reading? Check out our summer reading guide.

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