4 Hot Summer Reads

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

This may be THE "good summer read" that everyone has been asking for.  A page turning suspense/thriller with short chapters that you will read eagerly to find out how events unfold.  Pay attention to the chapter headings, which note the character name and the date.

Amy Elliott Dunne, New Yorker, grew up in a household headed by two psychologists. Amy's parents wrote a children's series called Amazing Amy, loosely based on her life. The books were used in schools around the country, leading to a tidy profit for the Drs Elliott. Each book chapter concluded with a quiz, which offered the student choices between possible courses of action. Growing up, Amy felt famous, cherished, beautiful and wealthy.

Amy married Nick Dunne, a New York writer. After losing his job, Nick moved Amy to his home town in Missouri, to help care for his aging parents. Amy yearned for New York, making no secret about her feelings about living "in the sticks."

As Gone Girl opens, Amy is gone. No one knows where, and Nick is the prime suspect in her disapearance. Alternating chapters take the reader back and forth between Nick and Amy's perspectives. To add intrigue, some of Amy's diary entries earn chapters of their own. The local police, a group of well meaning rescuers, Amy's parents, and past and present loves add more layers of plot a drama.
A very enjoyable, good summer read.

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The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson

This is a quirky, odd, and very enjoyable book.Parents Camille and Caleb Fang are performance artists, dedicated to creating "happenings" that far surpass the traditional concept of static art (photography, sculpture, painting, etc.). As their children are born, they become integral elements in their parent's performances. We first meet the family when "Child A and Child B", also known as Annie and Buster, live at home and create performance art with their parents. When they grow up and leave the nest, Fang art takes another direction. As adults who live at home again, Annie and Buster are profoundly confused when their parent's blood spattered van is found abandoned at a highway rest station, Camille and Caleb missing. Is this just another piece of wacky performance art? Were they really harmed? Could they be dead? Did they disappear intentionally? Did they intend that Annie and Buster grieve their death or search for them? Highly recommended.

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The Land of Decoration by Grace McCleen

A very quirky, thought provoking book that is still on my mind. Main character 10 year old Judith, raised by her fanatically religious father, is having a hard time fitting in with the kids at school. Her father preaches that Armageddon is imminent, and only strict observance to the rules will save them. Judith worships with her father, but seeks to control a world of her own in her room. She creates "The Land of Decoration", a world of her own making with discarded gum wrappers and pipe cleaners, foil and buttons. As her universe takes form, she begins to believe that what she creates or destroys in her room impacts the outside world as well. A fascinating perspective from a young girl's eyes, causing the reader to consider the many facets of religious belief and parent child dynamics.

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Carry the One by Carol Anshaw

Another very hot summer book. The story begins in Wisconsin at a 70's hippie style wedding. A group of friends who have been partying leave the wedding together in an over packed car which is involved in an accident that kills a young girl. The rest of the book reflects back on how one choice, one event, can stick with you throughout your life.The author pulls the reader through the lives of three siblings Nick, Alice and Carmen, as they live their lives always having the "carry the (memory of the) one" who was killed. The author writes very strong characters, and is an excellent storyteller.

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