As part of our Best Books of 2012 coverage, our editors weigh in on some of their personal favorites from the list.

Novels that explore the repercussions of a single moment—in the process making us think “what if?”—will never go out of style, and Carry the One, Carol Anshaw’s contribution to this tradition, is especially lovely. On the way home from a wedding, a car full of sleepy (and drugged-up) young adults runs into a little girl. She dies, and the driver and passengers spend the next 25 years reeling from this mistake. They live their lives while the memory of the accident lingers: throughout jail time for the driver, love affairs, marriage, divorce, moments of fame. Though the story is compelling in its own right, the art is in Anshaw’s lyrical telling.

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View our Best Books of 2012: #26-50. Full list to come later this week!

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