30 Book Challenge: Day 27 – The Most Surprising Plot Twist or Ending

The hard part about this post is that I can’t tell you WHY this book has the best plot twist AND ending. So here are a bunch of GIFs that summed up my reactions to Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl. Read my review of the book here!

When I got halfway through the book:

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When I finished the book:

 

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As I stated in my review, I can be a pretty cynical, know-it-all reader so when I book surprises me, I’m basically astounded. Gone Girl did it and kept on doing it the entire huge book. Read it. It’s so worth it!

Friday Five: Books I’m Looking Forward to Reading

1. Every Day by David Levithan

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About: There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.

It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.

 Why I’m looking forward to it: Someone in one of my young adult lit classes read it for a project, and she absolutely loved it. It’s been getting rave reviews everywhere I’ve looked online. I’ve read Levithan’s work before, and the concept is extremely interesting and original.

 2. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

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About: Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas.” As her family lay dying, little Libby fled their tiny farmhouse into the freezing January snow. She lost some fingers and toes, but she survived—and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, Ben sits in prison, and troubled Libby lives off the dregs of a trust created by well wishers who’ve long forgotten her.

The Kill Club is a macabre secret society obsessed with notorious crimes. When they locate Libby and pump her for details—proof they hope may free Ben—Libby hatches a plan to profit off her tragic history. For a fee, she’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club…and maybe she’ll admit her testimony wasn’t so solid after all.

As Libby’s search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the narrative flashes back to January 2, 1985. The events of that day are relayed through the eyes of Libby’s doomed family members—including Ben, a loner whose rage over his shiftless father and their failing farm have driven him into a disturbing friendship with the new girl in town. Piece by piece, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started—on the run from a killer

 Why I’m looking forward to it: I read Flynn’s Gone Girl (Read my review here), and I fell in love with her style of storytelling. I’ve heard her other books are even better. I’m going to test that theory for myself.

 3. The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

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About: Former piano prodigy Nastya Kashnikov wants two things: to get through high school without anyone learning about her past and to make the boy who took everything from her—her identity, her spirit, her will to live—pay.

Josh Bennett’s story is no secret: every person he loves has been taken from his life until, at seventeen years old, there is no one left. Now all he wants is be left alone and people allow it because when your name is synonymous with death, everyone tends to give you your space.

Everyone except Nastya, the mysterious new girl at school who starts showing up and won’t go away until she’s insinuated herself into every aspect of his life. But the more he gets to know her, the more of an enigma she becomes. As their relationship intensifies and the unanswered questions begin to pile up, he starts to wonder if he will ever learn the secrets she’s been hiding—or if he even wants to.

 Why I’m looking forward to it: I got this book for free from NetGalley a while back, and I’ve been seeing it everywhere since then. I think the story will be really interesting, and I’m ready to see if it lives up to all the hype.

 4. And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini

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About: In this tale revolving around not just parents and children but brothers and sisters, cousins and caretakers, Hosseini explores the many ways in which families nurture, wound, betray, honor, and sacrifice for one another; and how often we are surprised by the actions of those closest to us, at the times that matter most.

Following its characters and the ramifications of their lives and choices and loves around the globe—from Kabul to Paris to San Francisco to the Greek island of Tinos—the story expands gradually outward, becoming more emotionally complex and powerful with each turning page

 What I’m looking forward to: I read Hosseini’s The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns in high school and became a fan. Recently he came to my hometown for a community-wide book discussion and keynote, and I got him to sign my copies (OMG moment). His stories are powerful and life altering. I can’t wait for him to transport me to another world again.

 5. If I Stay by Gayle Forman

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About: In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeen-year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck…A sophisticated, layered, and heart-achingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make, and ultimate choice Mia commands.

What I’m looking forward to: EVERYONE loves this book. It’s gotten so many accolades and great reviews. My interest is piqued because I thought it was just another drama-junkie YA novel, but I’ve heard the writing is beautiful and that the book changes your life.

Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight

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In Kimberly McCreight’s debut novel, lawyer and single mother Kate is in the middle of working on a case when she gets a call from her teenage daughter’s private school telling her she must pick up her daughter, Amelia, because she’s been suspended from school for cheating on a paper.

Immediately Kate senses something is wrong because her daughter has always had strong morals and done extremely well in school.  When she arrives, she discovers emergency vehicles and school officials telling her that her daughter committed suicide by jumping from the top of the building.

Kate grieves her daughter’s loss and suffers through guilt from not spending enough time with the daughter she thought she knew until she gets an anonymous text telling her that Amelia did not jump. Kate launches into an investigation of Amelia’s last days and discovers secrets she never knew about her daughter.

It’s a story full of twists, similar to Gone Girl. I enjoyed the story overall. I liked how McCreight layers the narratives going between Kate, Amelia, text messages, and online chats. I enjoyed slowly discovering who Amelia was in her final days.

I think McCreight did a great job of playing on the psychological warfare that is cyber bullying and the paranoid schools and parents trying to cope with it. From a horror perspective, she hits the nail on the head by preying on this popular trend in parenting. I mean, Christ! It’s a single mom’s worst nightmare to think she’s been doing everything right, only to find that her daughter was caught up in all of this trouble. I also think Amelia and Kate are extremely likeable characters that are worth rooting for.

However, I was disappointed with this novel. It seemed more like a cautionary tale Lifetime movie. I kept thinking that it was a nice effort, but I never really got into it, and the characters seemed too contrived to be realistic. The plot got to be exhausting with all of the folds and surprises. It just lacked a certain something that would make the book shine. I just hope that this was a first effort from McCreight and that she’ll release an awesome second book.

I read great reviews on this book from several sources like Entertainment Weekly where it was deemed “this year’s Gone Girlhttp://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20685797,00.html,  so I was all

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But it fell ridiculously short. I would skip this one just because it lacks enough maturity to be a true hit and is too strung out to be a young adult hit in the Pretty Little Liars/ Gossip Girl genre.

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It would be worth reading before you see its film adaptation starring Nicole Kidman, as mentioned on my much referenced Buzzfeed’s list of “14 Books to Read Before They Hit the Big Screen”http://www.buzzfeed.com/ariellecalderon/books-to-read-before-they-hit-the-big-screen so you can be snotty about how the book was much better OR , in this case, how the film actually improved upon the book because Nicole Kidman is flawless.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

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I’m not usually a big mystery genre reader. There are a few great crime/ mystery novels I’ve encountered, but overall I’m not a big CSI/ Law and Order/ Criminal Minds/ Whatever else fan. However, last summer everyone was raving about this novel, and it topped all the best books lists so I put it on my “To Read” list.

And in true procrastinator fashion, a year later I read it.

Gone Girl by NY Times bestselling author Gillian Flynn opens on the anniversary of the main characters, Nick and Amy Dunne. Nick narrates the first part of the novel, recalling how he and his wife came to relocate from New York to Missouri and the tension their marriage had been under. Then it is discovered his wife has gone missing. Nick is immediately targeted, and there is plenty of evidence to convict him, including his behavior. The book also includes past diary entries from Amy before she went missing, detailing her type-A personality and how she feared her husband. Seems like a pretty open and close case.  And then…

A TWIST!  And then… ANOTHER TWIST!

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I had heard that there was a big twist in the novel, and I thought I had it all figured out as I am a well-read cynic and have figured out my share of plot twists. Let me assure you, you will not see this coming. At all. And the ending is nothing I could ever have predicted. That Gillian Flynn is a tricky one.

My break down of the novel:

The plot is an incredible jigsaw, manipulating the readers like they’re marionette puppets. Flynn does a great job of giving just enough information to manipulate you however she wants. You identify so much with each character’s flaws that it’s difficult to figure out which one you’re rooting for. The best part about Flynn’s characters is that they’re so ridiculously human. She’s not trying to depict rom com role-models. Theses people will disgust you, but you can’t deny their realness.

Through theses characters, Flynn writes some really quote-worthy passages about relationships and how people act. The entire novel plays with perception in a really interesting way.

Some reviews I’ve read online talk about how the novel has inconsistencies and how they hate the ending, but I honestly think that’s part of Flynn’s Big Idea. It plays perfects with some great rawness that will leave you wanting to devour the book whole.

According to Buzzfeed’s list of “14 Books to Read Before They Hit the Big Screen” http://www.buzzfeed.com/ariellecalderon/books-to-read-before-they-hit-the-big-screen, the book is in the process of being made into a movie. I’ll be interested to see how they translate the narration onto the silver screen because of the diary entries and inner monologues. The best part is that it is rumored that Reese Witherspoon (coming off that crazy incident with the police) will be playing Amy, and I cannot think of anyone better to play the part. Reference: her performance in Cruel Intentions.

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Film poster for Cruel Intentions – Copyright 1999, Columbia Pictures (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Read Gone Girl immediately. Then force your friends to read it immediately because you’ll want someone to talk about it with!