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What We're Reading This Weekend: Can't Put 'Em Down Novels

06/13/2013 at 05:30 PM EDT

Book Reviews: Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald, The Dog Stars
It's one of life's best feelings: stepping into a fictional world so compelling you don't want to leave.

Let us know what you think about the novels we're loving – and tell us what you're reading.

What We're Reading This Weekend: Can't Put 'Em Down Novels| Book Reviews, What We're Reading

Gail Nussbaum, Reporter
Her Pick: Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler

Watching the new Great Gatsby movie, I saw how F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife's decadent experiences on Long Island inspired his masterpiece. But this completely engrossing novel, a reimagining of Zelda's wild-and-crazy life, does what the movie couldn't: I'm casting aside preconceived notions about her and really sympathizing with her struggles.

What We're Reading This Weekend: Can't Put 'Em Down Novels| Book Reviews, What We're Reading

Larry Hackett, Managing Editor
His Pick: The Dog Stars by Peter Heller

Remember The Road, Cormac McCarthy's bleak, haunting tale of a postapocalyptic world? Dog Stars shares McCarthy's creepy landscape (there was a flu, and...) but this book has a lot more heart. Hig, a former contractor, lives in an abandoned airport outside Denver, mourning his late wife, fending off marauders and desperate for human empathy. So he goes looking – against his better judgment – to see who's still out there. There are some annoying stylistic tics (why not use more punctuation?) but Heller has crafted a moving and gripping work.

What We're Reading This Weekend: Can't Put 'Em Down Novels| Book Reviews, What We're Reading

Mia McNiece, Writer
Her Pick: This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper

I can't remember the last time a book made me laugh out loud like this one. Jonathan Tropper's witty take on the dysfunctional Foxman family is funny, sad and so well written. It's going to be turned into a movie staring Jason Bateman, Tina Fey and Jane Fonda, so check out the book before it hits the big screen!

Check back every Thursday for another round of staff picks, and see more book reviews each week in PEOPLE magazine, on newsstands now. Plus, check out last week's smart summer thrillers and more great book finds here.

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