Sometimes we stick with a book because a character is so dear to us we simply must accompany her to the end. Other times we read for the love of an author’s use of language, a clever turn of phrase, perhaps, or an ability to conjure clear images in our minds. We might read to lose ourselves in a historical setting. Or we read to educate ourselves. We read to grow.

Gone Girl

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Then there’s a book like Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, which we read because the story is so darn good. And bizarre. And original. And it keeps us up for two nights straight until we know exactly what happens to the last word on the last page.

I read close to 50 books in 2012, but Gone Girl, book #30 for me, was the first one on my list that felt like pure reading pleasure, the nobody talk to me I’m in the middle of a good book kind of fun.

Now if you’ve read Gone Girl, you know that “fun” is probably not the best word to describe this story of a man who is accused of killing his wife. I almost can’t tell you more about the plot without ruining the clever twists and turns that Flynn reveals to us in brilliantly plotted and paced drips along the way.

Through the character of the wife-in-question, Amy, Flynn gives us some of the best social commentary I’ve encountered in a novel. Amy’s take on what it means to be the “cool girl” were some of my favorite passages of 2012. That’s no exaggeration. Again, I can’t share them more specifically without spoiling the wild ride of this book, but you’ll know exactly what I mean when you’re there. And you’ll highlight those lines and hopefully come back here to say, “Yes. Just yes.”

Flynn also forces us to ask ourselves how well we can ever know anyone, including a spouse.

My summary of the plot: Worst marriage ever.

My final recommendation: Read this book!

Nina Badzin is a freelance writer living in Minneapolis with her husband and four children. Her essays appear regularly in the Huffington Post, Kveller.com, and Writer Unboxed.com, and her short stories have been published in a variety of literary magazines. You can always find her on Twitter chatting about great books, Twitter etiquette, and more.