It was only recently that someone pointed out to me that every book I read has the word “girl” in the title. It was true – besides my forever love of Lifetime movies, there has been an influx of damsel in distress books over the last few years. Blame Law & Order: SVU or not (Ice-T, you get me every time!), women like reading about other women in trouble. And for me, the more elaborate and shocking, the better. I’ve always been a sucker for reading about someone whose life is more disorganized than mine. Addiction? Mental institutions? Cults? KIDNAPPING!? Sign me up! The weirder and more diabolical, the more you should not expect a text back until I’m done reading it. I guess if you want to get deep with it, it’s nice to read about women who go through hell, only to come out on the other side stronger and more badass than ever. Here are a few of my favorites:
1. The Girls
Whether you’ve read Helter Skelter or not, this fictionalized account of what happened during the heyday of the infamous Manson girls will put you in their head rather than a jaw-dropped bystander. You’ll feel the girls’ hunger, you’ll itch from flea-bitten clothing, and enjoy a murderous LSD-ridden journey that will indeed horrify you but also in a sick way, you’ll wonder where you can sign up? Don’t drink that Kool-aid too fast!
2. Lost Girls
The book that may have launched the reopening of this very case, Lost Girls is about five young escorts from different parts of the country who were all found dead on the same Long Island beach. A truly page-gripping piece of investigative journalism and a look inside the humanity of the victim, Lost Girls is a seriously gripping read. Plus, the serial killer is likely very much still at large.
In the age of social media, we’ve all done things that might verge on the edge of stalking. (No? Just me?) We may look at every plate of food your ex’s new girlfriend has Instagrammed for the last 3 years, but it doesn’t go past that. What if it did though? Follow a single woman who becomes obsessed with a couple she watches on her daily commute, and become equally obsessed with the story as it unfolds.
Whether you’re a huge Winona Ryder fan (the original Manic Pixie Dream Girl), or if you just have always been curious where your aorta is, this true account of Susanna Kaysen’s experience with borderline personality disorder and an in-patient rehabilitation Honorable Mention goes to Prozac Nation by Elizabeth Wurtzel and How to Murder Your Life by Cat Marnell, but neither have the word “girl” in the title.
5. Gone Girl
Obviously, this one was going to be on the list. Gone Girl spawned the whole “cool girl” narrative, showing thousands of women that hey! Anyone can be a sociopath and still also be relatable. Terrifying concept, right? Do you really ever know anyone? Can you be married to someone and hate them? Have you ever been more horrified by Neil Patrick Harris? Just kidding, that was the movie. Sidenote: you should absolutely read everything by Gillian Flynn.
If you’re super into like really gorgeous magazine fashion editors who have deep, dark secrets, then THIS IS THE BOOK FOR YOU. I think I read this in three hours on a flight from San Diego to NYC, constantly gripping my boyfriend’s arm like “do you even REALIZE what’s happening to Ani right now? AND she has a gorgeous fiancé AND a perfect wardrobe?” But he was all like “stop, I’m trying to eat these pretzels.”
Here’s where all the kidnapping comes in! Mia Dennett ends up regretting a drunken one-night stand when she realizes that not only had Colin been stalking her, but their one night is about to become a whole lot longer than that. Follow their new twisted romance as he hides her in a secluded cabin in the woods, as well as the story of the detective searching for her. For those who regularly binge on Law & Order: SVU, this story is for you.