Pretty GirlsPretty Girls by Karin Slaughter
Published by William Morrow

Twenty years ago, Claire and Lydia’s teenage sister, Julia, disappeared and hasn’t been seen since. Though the sisters have not spoken in years, when Claire’s husband goes missing, they agree to a shaky truce in order to uncover the truth behind both disappearances and find out if there is any way the two are linked.

This book is a LOT darker than I was expecting. It is extremely tough subject matter to get through – don’t say I didn’t warn you. But if you can deal with the most grisly, disturbing aspects of humanity, this is a must-read for sure. The relationship between Claire and Lydia is strained, to put it mildly, and it takes Slaughter a little bit to show the reader why exactly that is. While both women are extremely prickly and difficult to get to know, it’s clear from the beginning that they are both hiding major pain underneath their tough exteriors. And the book is SO fast-paced, the definition of unputdownable, if you like that kind of thing, this is a winner for sure. The book stuck with me for quite a while, it actually put me in a bit of a funk, seeing how the absolute worst of the worst things can happen to young girls be played out in the novel in excruciating detail, but also I think that’s a mark of an excellent read – one that you can’t stop thinking about after. If you can stomach the most horrific kinds of rape and murder that can happen to a person, Pretty Girls is an excellent read.

The 9/11 ReportThe 9/11 Report by Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colon
Published by Hill & Wang

This is a graphic nonfiction version of the 9/11 Commission Report published in 2005, a huge nonfiction account of the 9/11 attacks that most people never read. Jacobson and Colon sought to make that report much more accessible to the public, and in creating this work of graphic nonfiction, they’ve done that.

I don’t have much to say about this one other than I highly recommend it. Most people won’t ever read the MASSIVE nonfiction 9/11 report that was written in 2005, so this is a great substitute and seems to hit on all the important facts. Beyond that, the artwork is great and the book itself is written in such a way that makes the events of 9/11 extremely easy to follow and understand. I visited the 9/11 Museum in New York City in October, so reading this shortly after that visit just brought all that I saw back to the top of my mind. If you’re going to read or learn about the events on 9/11 at all and don’t have time for a 500+ piece of nonfiction, I suggest starting here.

Dirty Wings (Metamorphoses, #2)Dirty Wings by Sarah McCarry
Published by St. Martin’s Giffin

This is the story of Cass and Mia, two unlikely friends who find solace in one another when the world has failed each of them. Mia is a teenage piano prodigy and spends her days isolated in her home, laser-focused on her future, under her parents’ close watch. Cass is a runaway, a homeless teen who is knowledgeable about the world in ways Mia never could be. When the two meet and Cass springs Mia from her prison, they have the adventure of Mia’s lifetime. And Cass thinks everything couldn’t be more perfect, until Jason comes along. Jason, who takes Mia’s attention away from Cass, and just might ruin everything the girls have built together.

I enjoyed this book a lot but felt that there were things I might have been missing about it. It’s a retelling of the Persephone myth, which I am embarrassed to admit that I’m not familiar with. In addition, it’s the second book in a series, and I hadn’t read the first book. Even so, I really liked this story and was inspired by the courage shown by both of these girls. I love reading about friendship between girls and women, especially when it’s not based upon their relationship to a boy (which, in this case, it wasn’t until Jason came into the picture), and it’s something extra to see that friendship have the potential to blossom into something more. I would definitely read more from McCarry – her writing is gorgeous and her characters are truly complex. I’m not certain I grasped everything this story was trying to show me, but I enjoyed it anyway.