Girls' Night Out

This heady thriller (336 pages) was published in July of 2018 by Lake Union Publishing. The book takes you to Cabo San Lucas. Melissa read Girls' Night Out and loved it; it wouldn't be on our site if she didn't recommend it.

Girls' Night Out

Liz Fenton, Lisa Steinke

This is an astute study of complicated female friendships disguised as a beachy thriller, and you won’t be able to turn the pages fast enough because you must. know. what. happened.

The story begins with the introduction of three women: Ashley, Natalie, and Lauren. They’ve been friends for 20 years, and though their friendship is cemented with shared memories, it’s also infected with past grievances. The three of them hold fast to their resentments and have forgotten how to be vulnerable with each other — if they ever really knew.

They decide that a boozy trip to Cancun might be just the thing to heal the wounds in their relationships. Spoiler: It is not. From the first moments of their vacation — when they peer pressure each other into drinking margaritas and desperately flirt with the bartender — the old tensions are right there.

They proceed to meet a handsome but perhaps shifty local. And they drink. And they fight. And one night, during a painfully determined girls’ night out, Ashley goes missing. Natalie wakes up on the beach the next morning, just a few yards from her hotel room, soaking wet and unable to remember anything from the night before. As she tries to piece together what happened, we see the girls’ relationship in all its damaged glory.

In addition to the can’t-look-away train-wreck characters, this book does a brilliant job capturing the contradictory elements of Tulum: the crystal-gazing, hippy-dippy mysticism; its awesome beauty and perfect beaches; the connection to the past via the Mayan ruins; the endless cocktails; and the seductive notion that you can escape real life for a while.

This is a tense story about mildly terrible people making epically bad decisions. Like a perfectly salted tortilla chip with a tequila chaser, it’s irresistible.

Waves lapped against the shore. It sounded as if the sea were breathing. In and out. In and out. — Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke

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