This Bright River by Patrick Somerville
Why it's a must: It's the best kind of prose—like a friend who is telling you the wildest story over a beer. Time flies. Plot notes: Ben Hanson is out of prison and Lauren Sheehan is out of luck when the high school classmates reunite at rock-bottom in a small Wisconsin town. Craving more? Try The Cradle (2009), Somerville's riveting debut novel that, despite critical acclaim, flew under the mainstream radar.