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Read This Now: Beach Reads

Just in time for summer, Heather Wood found books perfect for the beach—and beyond.

The Can't-Put-It-Down Novel
When 15-year-old Seth learns that his mother has early-onset Alzheimer's disease, he understandably becomes obsessed with finding out every detail of his family's genetic lineage. But The Story of Forgetting also has a parallel narrative, in which a hunchback pines for forbidden love. Stefan Merrill Block's novel is a stunning debut, with prose that's witty, lyrical, and often hilarious—and all the more remarkable when you consider that Block was only 25 when he wrote it.

The Uplifting Memoir
Andrew Bridge's Hope's Boy opens with blissful mother-child bonding just before the two are ripped apart and Andrew, 7 years old at the time, is turned over to a very fractured foster-care system, where he suffers abuse and neglect. Still, he somehow finds a future in education (he graduates from Harvard Law School) and devotes his life to improving the welfare of children. It's the kind of story that will make you strive to be a better person.

The Hollywood Insider's Account
Ian Halperin goes incognito as an aspiring actor, snagging an agent, a few questionable job offers, and a season pass to mixers with the who's who of Hollywood. Hollywood Undercover: Revealing the Sordid Secrets of Tinseltown is a page-turner that has the dish we crave, but with enough journalistic integrity that it doesn't make us ashamed to read it (yes, we're talking about you, Us Weekly).

The Cautionary Tale
Here's the story of a teenage pregnancy that's not remotely as shiny and happy as the one in Juno. In 1965, after getting pregnant at the tender age of 16, Meredith Hall was disowned by her mother and expelled from school. When the baby came, he was snatched away so fast that Hall never saw his eye color. In Without a Map, she reveals the events of her life with candor rather than sentimentality, and she finds resolution for an adolescent mistake that by today's standards would be dubbed irresponsible and left at that.

Has your book club become a bore?
We all know how a book club can get once you've been doing it for a while—she loves everything, she hates everything, she's only here for the wine…. For the next issue of Girlfriend Getaways (due out in the fall), we're putting together a story about how to make a book club fun and interesting again. Got any ideas? Send 'em to!

Note: This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.



Oceanfront hotels in Miami's South Beach Pink-Slip Trips
Plenty of people panic after losing a job. But instead of staying home to polish their résumés (or nibble their fingernails), these women fearlessly packed their bags, embracing the freedom that comes with a wide-open schedule. Sayonara, vacation request form!
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