29. Marlena by Julie Buntin

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A buzzy debut that melds psychological suspense with pure literary fiction, Marlena revolves around the death of the title character, who drowns in just a few inches of icy water as a teenager, and her friendship with the narrator, Cat. β€œTell me what you can’t forget,” Cat begins, β€œand I’ll tell you who you are.” It’s Marlena, and what she did or didn’t do to save her friend, that Cat can never forget or escape ― a constantly expanding conundrum of responsibility, guilt, and self-loathing that novel explores. -CF

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