Review: Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

I’ve learned through the years as a Jodi Picoult fan that she can write about anything. However, when I saw the storyline of this book I thought to myself, “Well, how is she going to pull this off?”

Picoult, a white woman, tackles the issues of racism and being judged by the color of your skin so well, as though she’s lived it.

Ruth Jefferson is an African American veteran labor and delivery nurse. On a routine shift, she encounters a couple who are staunch white supremacists, and she is given strict instructions not to touch their newborn baby boy. When the baby suffers a medical emergency, Ruth is the only one around at the time and is left with the impossible choice to either help the baby or follow orders.

Ruth chooses to try and save the boy’s life, but is too late. Devastated that despite her best efforts she was unable to save the baby, things are made ever worse when she is accused of intentionally harming the baby and causing his death.

What ensues is a frank and honest view of the intense lingering racism that exists in today’s society.

Picoult crafts a heart wrenching tale of love, forgiveness, hate, ignorance, racial tension and finding redemption.

Small Great Things is a beautifully written story about the things that make us more alike than different, and how hard it is to stay strong in the face of diversity. It’s an incredible book that has some seriously crazy twists and turns.

Picoult has again proved herself a master storyteller that writes fully formed characters that help us see this story from every angle. This book should be spoken about in the same breath as Harper Lee’s “To Kill A Mockingbird.”

I hope you all read this book and it leaves an impact on you just as it did me!

Happy Reading!

Erin Toland

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Review: All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin

I love all of Emily Giffin’s books, and this is definitely one of her best.

This book dives deep into tough subjects like privilege, consent, marriage, love and parenthood. Told in alternating perspectives between Nina, a mother who has begun to question every aspect of her life, and Tom, who is just trying to do right by his daughter.

When Nina Browning’s son Finch, is involved in a scandal involving a Latina scholarship student attending his elite private school, she has to reconcile her biological instinct to protect her son with her desire to also protect his victim.

Nina’s Husband, Kirk, an incredibly wealthy businessman thinks the solution is to throw money at the problem. Taken aback by his cavalier attitude toward what their son had done, she begins questioning her entire marriage and she begins to ask herself if she ever really knew the man she married.

Emily tells a gripping story that keeps you invested in these incredibly relatable characters. In the current climate, consent is still such a hot button issue, and the fact that Giffin has both a daughter and twin sons, gives her the unique ability to tell this story from both sides.

Emily Giffin is a BRILLIANT writer, and she never disappoints!

Get your hands on this book, you will thank me later!

Happy reading!

Erin

Review: Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

OH MY GOODNESS. This book is an absolute whirlwind that swallows you up whole from start to finish.

If you took the movie “Almost Famous” and mixed it with the very best episodes of “Behind The Music,” then you maybe you could get a fraction of the experience you get by reading this book.

Daisy Jones is young, talented, beautiful and wants to be taken seriously as a musician. When she meets Billy Dunne and the rest of the members of The Six, they join forces to become the biggest band in the world.

What ensues is a wild ride that gives you everything you could want from a book and more! There’s never a false note, the story never lags, and you become so attached to these characters that it feels like losing a friend when you finish the book.

I loved the interview format, and the way the author shows that no two people remember a shared experience the same way.

It’s an absolutely brilliant novel, and after reading The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, I thought there’s no way she could write another book THAT good. But, alas, she did. I am completely in awe of Taylor Jenkins Reid and her ability to write complex, strong, and bad ass women.

Daisy Jones & The Six comes out in March, and I beg you to do yourself a favor and read this book!

Happy reading!

Erin

Review: The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda

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Most writers would have difficulty writing another novel after their last debuted to such high critical praise, but not Megan Miranda. The way she delivers her next thriller, The Perfect Stranger, is nothing short of brilliant.

I loved the way she wrote her last book, All The Missing Girls, in reverse chronological order yet telling you only enough of the story at a time that it didn’t seem like an odd way to tell it at all. It made so much sense and flowed perfectly.

She has such a keen sense of what makes a thriller worth every moment spent hungrily devouring each word, waiting for the next big clue to emerge. She doesn’t waste time trying to divert the reader from the big reveal, like many of authors of the genre do. Every word is deliberate and there’s never a false note in the way she unravels the story piece by piece. Slowly but surely, she is building the tension in the most tantalizing way and keeps you so insanely tuned into the world that she creates that when you finally release your white-knuckle grip on the pages and look up, hours have passed and you have one hell of a book hangover.

I literally cannot praise her writing style and absolute gift for storytelling enough. One of the first authors I ever really loved was Mary Higgins Clark. I tore through her catalogue and loved getting launched into the worlds she created, but after reading about 10 of her books, I found myself getting a little disappointed in the pay off. Each story followed the same formula, as most writers have some kind of similar set up to each of their stories. James Patterson is another author who writes this way. There’s nothing wrong with it, and these writers have sustained long careers and I am big fans of them both. However, what strikes me the most about Megan Miranda is that there is nothing formulaic about her approach. She weaves such a taut tale of who people really are behind the mask they use to present themselves to the world, and how easily one can be fooled.

In The Perfect Stranger, Megan dives into the story of Leah Stevens and her former roommate, Emmy Grey. Leah has just lost her job as a reporter in Boston and with that, has essentially ruined her life there. Aching for a fresh start, she serendipitously runs into her former roommate with whom she shared a strong bond, and they set out for a new town together. She and Emmy are enjoying their new town until a dead body threatens to steal away whatever hope of peace they’ve found in their new surroundings.  Just as the dead body appears, Emmy vanishes and leaves Leah with a million questions and no answers. Did she ever really know Emmy? Where had she come from? All the circumstances and details surrounding their relationship are suddenly called into question and Leah has nothing to prove Emmy Grey ever existed, leaving her questioning her own sanity.

What ensues is one hell of a ride and leaves you desperately turning the pages until you’re left breathless and thinking to yourself, “Damn, that was an awesome book.”

If you enjoy my reviews, you can keep up with me on Twitter and Facebook.

More reviews coming soon!

Erin

 

Interview with Helen Callaghan the Author of the INCREDIBLE book DEAR AMY!

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I loved this book and could not put it down, for the full review: HERE!

Helen Callaghan was gracious enough to let me ask her some questions about her debut novel, and I am so excited to share them with you! This interview was originally conducted in December 2016, but due to unforeseen circumstances, I’m just now posting it. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

 

ME: I was incredibly surprised that this was your debut novel. Had you always been a writer on the side or did something or someone inspire you to begin writing as a profession?

HC: I’ve always written, from being a little girl. That said, the earlier works definitely had less murders and more unicorns! But I’ve weaved in and out when it’s come to pursuing publication. There was a draft of Dear Amy written in 1989, but for the longest time, it just sat in a drawer. It was only when my agent suggested that I try dusting it off over six weeks and sending it over to her that I realised that a) I had improved a lot as a writer since I first wrote it and b) there was definitely more than six weeks of work involved into making it sizzle! In the end it took thirteen months and it was all more or less completely rewritten. But the response to it has been fantastic…

ME: Your book deals with a lot of dark themes, was it ever hard for you to push through certain boundaries or did you ever considering “watering down” some of the more violent scenes because you were afraid to cross any lines? (I don’t think you crossed any line whatsoever, for the record)

HC: Well, thank you! I guess I think that things that are implied work so much better than explicit scenes anyway. I felt there did have to be violence in Dear Amy, because these are violent events, but I didn’t want to write anything I would hesitate to read in another book, if that makes sense. I’m reading a book now, a thriller, which is AMAZINGLY well done, but there are violent scenes in which are so explicit that I kind of have to get a run up to it to read past them, if you know what I mean, and you do have to steel yourself to carry on.

That said, sometimes you can only be explicit. If you have a traumatic event which is the main scene in the book, a scene that explains why everything fits together and has happened the way it has, you just can’t dodge that bullet; you have to write that character’s experience in full to be true to the book and true to you.

ME: What was your inspiration behind this book, and did you draw any inspiration from real life cases of women being kidnapped and held captive?

HC: I drew inspiration from real life cases in the sense that I could imagine nothing more terrifying. I did read up on real life cases, but I didn’t base Dear Amy on any particular one. Really, it’s about the What If – what if that happened to me? It really is drummed into you a girl that this is a real danger – that could be you. And as a novelist, the things that scare you are the primary things you want to explore.

The main thing that informed Dear Amy when I wrote the first draft all those years ago was actually the Yorkshire Ripper. I lived in the part of the world where he was murdering women and I remember how, even in the schools, they would hang posters up telling us girls to not go out at night alone. It went on for years, too. It was a very serious, paralysing sense of fear, and that I think was probably the inspiration.

ME: Your main character, Margot, deals with a great deal of emotional issues and a very specific mental illness. How much research into those aspects of the book did you have to do, and did you consult with any mental health experts who have dealt with patients like Margot?

HC: I didn’t consult with any experts, but I did a lot of reading. To be honest, I had more of an intuition on how things would play out for her, and then in the reading I found permission, if anything, to keep on the way I was going.

ME: Your book has so many crazy plot twists and surprising turn of events. Did you have any issues constructing the story and keeping track of the way your story was unfolding, or ever doubt your ability to tie everything together due to the many facets of your story?

HC: You know it’s interesting, but I was still doubting whether it held together by the time my agent was sending it out! There’s no way you can fireproof these things ever because unlike a movie or TV show, a book always happens in the reader’s head, not on the page.

I’m someone that has a sense of what should happen when I start, but the more I’m in the midst of it and completely absorbed by it and thinking about it 24/7, the more I start making connections that hadn’t been obvious before, and having better ideas, and also discarding ideas that seemed good at the beginning, but when they’re on the page, they fall flat. So you really need to write the whole book first, then give it another look. And of course by that time, you’re so close to the material, it’s hard to tell the wood from the trees. So you never really know if it will hold together, but you cross your fingers and hope.

ME: Did you ever speak to real victims or the families of victims of the type of crimes your book deals with? And if so, was it difficult to hear their stories? Or did you choose not to for any reason?

HC: I don’t think I would have spoken to real victims about this. I was actually very keen that the story not resemble any real case. Dear Amy, for all of its dark subject matter, is ultimately an entertainment – by which I mean that it’s written by me as a way of exploring my fears in a cathartic way, and ideally, the reader then gets to explore their fears cathartically too. If the book had resembled a particular case too much that would have felt quite exploitative to me and I don’t think I would too comfortable with that.

ME: Did writing a book with this type of dark material and such traumatic and violent scenes have any effect on you? As in the way you go about your life, such as making you weary of walking around alone, or being more aware of your surroundings or even cause you to have nightmares? (I know if I was walking around with a story like this in my head, it would definitely make me paranoid!)

HC: Oh yes! In a lot of different ways. I must check my front door is locked at least three times a night. And it’s not predictable, because one minute everything’s fine, you’re walking home and everything’s peaceful, and the next it’s in your head and you’re suddenly really rather alarmed. In Dear Amy there’s a point where somebody breaks into Margot’s home while she’s in it alone and I wrote that late at night (it all tended to happen late at night while I was alone, because I worked full time and night was my writing time) and that was a bugger. Not much sleeping after that!

In fact I’ve lost count of the number of times I’d be researching something – missing children, Jane Does, serial killers – and then realise a) it’s hours past my bedtime and I have work in the morning, and b) there is no way I am going to be able to sleep. Fear really is the price of imagination.

ME: Do you plan on writing more suspense novels like Dear Amy, or do you have any interest in exploring other genres? If so, which ones?

HC: I do – in fact I’ve just finished the next novel and sent it to Penguin. It’s a suspense novel based around someone who discovers that their mother, who appears to be the victim of a suspicious suicide, was in a cult in her youth. I’m waiting for the notes back on that, and in the meantime starting on a third one, which is also going to be a suspense novel.
Funnily enough, even though Dear Amy was the first thing I ever completed and is definitely crime, the other two I wrote between then and now were not. The first was a dystopian thriller set in the near future, which got me my agent, and the second was a big sprawling SF novel about multiple universes. But thinking about it, all of these books, in fact everything I do, is constructed around mysteries. To me that’s the most satisfying thing not only to write, but also to read. For the moment I’m really enjoying writing crime, but I would love at some point to do something with the other two. One day…

ME: Which authors have had the most influence on you or are your favorite to read?

HC: Well, basically, I’m a massive fangirl for the Gothic novel. I love the Brontes and I love Bram Stoker and Ann Radcliffe. When I was a teenager I loved Anne Rice, Iain Banks and Angela Carter. Nowadays I get very excited by the prospect of a new Donna Tartt novel – The Secret History was definitely an influence on Dear Amy and this year I read some great books – I loved The Girls by Emma Cline and Black Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin.

ME: If you were to have your book turned into a film, who would your dream cast be?

HC: Oh wow! I dunno! Years ago I used to think about Sigourney Weaver as Margot. I’m not sure who would play her now!

ME: What has been the best advice you’ve been given as a writer or could give to those you aspire to be writers?

Well, a suggestion – right. There’s all the staple suggestions about writing and being persistent and those are great – definitely people should do those, but I think the one I would recommend is finding a good writing group. You may need to try a few to find the right one, but when they work they are fantastic. You meet people interested in the same things as you, you learn to process criticism, and you can share tips and info. If you can’t get out for some reason, there are good online alternatives, but nothing quite beats meeting other writers in person. It’s made a huge difference to me.

ME: Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do to combat that?

HC: Yes – though it’s not the absence of ideas, as such, it’s a form of performance anxiety: “What I am writing is stupid and I am stupid and I might as well give up now.” You know, that sort of tedious thing. As for how I combat it, I change gears – what I find quite useful is to switch from the computer to pen and paper. That blankness on the computer can be very intimidating, whereas if you are just mucking about in your notebook, it’s all lower stakes – you can say to yourself, no-one will ever see this. You can just go nuts and be as terrible as you want, and that is very freeing. And frequently out of that something extraordinary can happen.

 

I hope you enjoyed her answers as much I did! Read Helen’s new book Everything Is Lies !    click link to purchase! Review coming soon!

 

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Back to Books!

 

I’M BACK!

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Sorry for the ridiculous long hiatus! A difficult pregnancy had me unable to sit upright a lot of the time and kept me from being on the computer much at all, so even though I kept reading, I was unable to write any reviews! Now that pregnancy is over, and that baby is a whole year old (and thankfully becoming more independent), this mama needs to get back to doing what she loves: TALKING ABOUT BOOKS!

I have read a ridiculous amount of amazing books in the time I spent away and I want to share them all with you! However, because I got so sick so suddenly, I have a few items of unfinished business I need to get to first! Such as, the awesome interview I did with the amazing author Helen Callaghan about her book “Dear Amy.”

Get ready for tons of reviews, a couple of interviews, and some talk about some of the recent adaptations I’ve watched! (On that note: I hope you’re all watching “Sharp Objects” on HBO. It’s seriously one of the better adaptations I’ve ever seen!)

We have a lot to catch up on, so follow me on Twitter: @etoland16 or on Facebook for all updates!

Review: The Whole Thing Together by Ann Brashares

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Ann Brashare’s new book The Whole Thing Together is about a family who is just about as dysfunctional as it gets. It all started when Lila married Robert, and together they had three daughters, Emma, Quinn, and Mattie. After Lila and Robert had an incredibly bitter and nasty divorce, Lila got remarried to Adam, and Robert got remarried to Evie. Adam had two children from his previous marriage, but they’re not part of this particularly complicated equation. Then Lila and Evie got pregnant at the exact same time. Born only weeks apart, Lila and Adam had Ray, and Robert and Evie had Sasha. Due to their inability to be at least somewhat cordial around each other under any circumstances, Lila and Robert split their time with their three daughters, and also their summer home on Long Island. It had belonged to Lila’s family but when Lila’s father almost lost it due to financial issues, Robert stepped up and saved the house from foreclosure. During their splitting of assets during their divorce negotiations, both Lila and Robert stubbornly refused to give up the Long Island house because they both felt as if they were the rightful owner. Finally, a truce was made and they agreed to split up their time in the house, rotating ownership by the week. The only family members who didn’t have rotate their time in the house were their three daughters, Quinn, Emma and Mattie. Since so much hostility remains between them, they have the turn around scheduled carefully so they don’t ever have to encounter one another. Because of Lila and Robert’s carefully choreographed routine of never being in the same place at the same time and having no contact with each other, Ray and Sasha have never actually met despite having three half-sisters in common and sharing the same room every other week, and also sharing the fact that they are the only members of the family who share no blood relation. They’ve shared a lot through the years, books, toys, and various other things including their summer job. Each of them have imagined how the other spent their time in their shared room, wondering about the curious stranger with whom they have so much in common. After a brief chance encounter between Sasha and Ray at a party where they finally see each other for the first time, they are now more curious about their counterpart than ever, leading them to start communicating via notes, texts, and emails through which they begin to get to know one another apart from just being the other sibling that their half-sisters split time and a home with.

When a family celebration is planned that gives Lila and Robert no choice but to be in the same space at the same time for the first time since their divorce, tensions that have bubbled under the surface all these years come to a head and chaos ensues. After the disastrous family party that was meant to be a joyous occasion is over, the entire family endures a heartbreaking and tragic loss. The animosity in the family is replaced by overwhelming grief, and the whole family comes together to mourn, putting aside their differences for the first time.
The book is a beautiful story about family, and all of the ups and downs that come with it. Ann Brashares is truly a gifted writer, and this book again proves how wonderful she is at letting you really get to know her characters, and eliciting imagery so well that you feel as though you’re right in the story with them. Her stories never fail to leave you feeling touched by the way she writes with such sincerity, and they manage to stick with you long after you’ve finished reading them.

This book is out April 25th! Seriously, do yourself a favor and pre-order a copy now!

Review: It Happens All The Time by Amy Hatvany

it-happens-all-the-time-9781476704456_hrTRIGGER WARNING: If you are a sexual abuse survivor, the topics in this review and this book may be a trigger for you. I’d advise not reading this book until you’re far enough along in your recovery that you feel like reading about these topics will not have an adverse effect on your progress.

Amy Hatvany’s novel is one that stirs your emotions and grips you until long after you’ve finished reading. I loved the way she approached this story, and decided to look at from both sides – the man who committed the assault, and the victim. What made this story even more compelling was the fact that the two main characters were best friends through out most of their lives, and what becomes of their relationship after the night the assault takes place.

Amber and Tyler have gotten through the roughest times in their lives together. From Tyler’s parents volatile divorce, to Amber’s near-death caused by her eating disorder.  It seems like there’s nothing that can come between them. Amber has just finished college and is home for the summer, and for the first time in years, she and Tyler are spending significant amounts of time together. Amber has a serious boyfriend and big aspirations of becoming a trainer for a professional athletic team, putting her degree to work and eventually joining her boyfriend in Seattle where they will begin their lives together. Tyler is an EMT for the fire department, and has never really gotten over his feelings for Amber, although she has made it clear that she only wants to be friends. Tyler sees Amber’s return as an opportunity to make her see that he’s the perfect guy for her, despite the fact that she’s in a serious committed relationship.

When things with Amber’s college sweetheart start to make he reconsider her romantic choices, and lines begin to blur between Amber and Tyler, a night of heavy drinking leads to the unthinkable that will change the course of their lives forever.

Amy Hatvany expertly moves between Amber and Tyler’s point of view, navigating the murky waters of these heavily scrutinized subjects: rape and consent. Anyone who has ever been on either side of a situation where they felt taken advantage of or felt as though they may have pushed too far will identify with the characters in this book. There are some amazingly difficult topics discussed in this book, but in my opinion, a thorough discussion of topics like rape are what’s needed in today’s society. Blurred lines and arguments of whether or not someone has truly given consent aren’t easy topics, but it’s necessary to explore them in the way that Amy Hatvany has done in her novel. I implore women and men alike to read this novel, and think about your own experiences and explore your feelings and stance on these topics. This intensely gripping novel forces you to confront your previous judgements and biases on the subject of rape and then forces you to throw them out the window when you find yourself empathizing with the exquisitely written, human, and all-too relatable characters on both sides of this emotionally stirring story.

I personally applaud Amy Hatvany for her exquisitely written and incredibly important novel, It Happens All The Time. Everyone should read this book! Out on March 28th.

More reviews coming soon!

Happy reading,
Erin

 

Review: My (Not So) Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella

 

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Hello again and sorry for the long hiatus! Being pregnant and very ill throws a wrench in all creative endeavors. However, being on bed rest provides ample time for reading! I’ve read all the books I had waiting for review, which leaves me without new ones to read, but I plan on trying to fix that ASAP!

I adore the way Sophie Kinsella writes. Her characters are lovable, flawed, but so damn relatable that you read their accounts of their lives and think to yourself, “We are practically the same person.” I personally stumbled on her books after watching the big screen adaptation of her Confessions Of A Shopaholic series starring Isla Fisher and found myself immediately drawn in by her hilarious characters and brilliant writing style. Her books really lend themselves to being adapted into films because she writes with such a vivid visual style that builds her character’s worlds so well.

Much like her previous novels, this book concentrates on a young female entrepreneur who has humble beginnings but lofty dreams and aspirations.
Katie Brenner is a country girl who grew up on her family’s farm, raised by a single father who tried his best after her mother’s untimely passing. Although she loves her father, she has dreams of being a glamorous, city living, business woman. After university, she moved from her small rural home town of Somerset and accepted a position in London at a marketing firm. The job is at the bottom of the corporate ladder, but at least she gets to work under and learn from her insanely successful and glamorous boss, Demeter. Demeter is the epitome of everything Katie, or Cat, dreams of being. She’s the head of a successful marketing firm, well respected and admired for the brilliant marketing campaigns she has spear-headed, married to an equally successful and glamorous husband with whom she shares two children and a gorgeous home that has been featured in magazines, always on top of the latest fashions, and basically the perfectly instagram-able, picturesque life. Katie tries desperately to impress Demeter with her ability to learn quickly and handle whatever is thrown at her, but Demeter is dismissive and too wrapped up in her own world to ever truly recognize Katie’s potential. Demeter’s harsh and arrogant attitude is a constant source of interoffice conflict and gossip, causing tension among the employees and leading them all to talk about her behind her back. Katie’s relationship with Demeter is complicated because as much as she loathes the way she and her colleagues are treated by her, she can’t help but begrudgingly admire her.

Despite the terrible pay she earns, her awful roommates she shares a flat with, and unglamorous lifestyle, she still tells her father how amazing her life is because he has never understood why she felt the need to leave home and pursue her dreams. Katie’s dad is a simple man who has spent her entire life trying to find the next big thing he can invest in that will bring him the great success that he strives for, despite his many failures. Katie’s desire to escape the world she grew up has strained her relationship with her father, and being honest with him about the current state of her life in London would just reinforce his belief that what he thinks is right and lead him to say “I told you so.” So, when Katie’s life begins to unravel when she’s fired by Demeter, she heads home to assist her father and his long-time girlfriend in their new business endeavor of turning their farm into a prime “glamping” destination under the ruse of being on a sabbatical from her job.
While desperately trying to find another job in London, she helps her father run his new business as it takes off, becoming a highly sought after destination for the city dwelling elite to escape their lives. Katie’s cover is at risk of being completely blown by the surprise arrival of Demeter and her family. As much as Katie would love to keep her secret from her family, she is also tempted to get Demeter back for the ruthless way she fired her.
Just as things seem to be the worst, Katie learns that although her life may not be as perfect as she wants it to be, she can still make it pretty great.

My (Not So) Perfect Life is a fun, engaging read, that never fails to keep you interested and cheering for the perfectly flawed heroine that every woman can identify with. Sophie Kinsella is a truly gifted writer that takes you on a fun journey with her characters that leaves you feeling as though you’ve lost a friend when you finish reading.

I highly recommend that everyone read her new book! No matter which genre you prefer, this book is a truly enjoyable escape from our (not so) perfect lives! (Too cheesy? Sorry!)

Stay tuned for more reviews, coming soon!

Happy reading,

Erin

Review: All The Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

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This book was SO good. It was one of those books that you want to blaze through so you can know how it all comes together, but I had to force myself to put it down at times because I also wanted to savor it. It was that good. The book is told in an incredibly unique and compelling format and draws you in from the very first page and weaves a gripping tale of first loves, friendship, and the cost of loyalty when it comes to those you care about most. Megan Miranda brilliant wrote the book in reverse chronological order, starting with day fifteen of Nic’s stay in Cooley Ridge and ending on day one

It’s been ten years since Nicolette Farrell left her home town and put the trauma of the disappearance of her best friend, Corinne Prescott, in her past. After the grueling searches and the brutal investigation into Corinne’s disappearance that Nic, her brother Daniel, her boyfriend Tyler, her friend Bailey, and Corrinne’s boyfriend Jackson were at the center of, she could no longer remain in the town she grew up in and continue to be suffocated by the rumors, whispers, and stares she was constantly subjected to by the fellow inhabitants  of Cooley Ridge. Cooley Ridge was the type of town that no one ever left, they just grew up and settled there like the generations before them.
After Corinne disappeared, it felt like part of Nic had disappeared with her. She and Nic had been best friends for as long as she could remember, and Corinne was the type of person who drew you in, tested you, and was both toxic and intoxicating. She was constantly pulling stunts that pushed boundaries between Nic, Bailey, Tyler, Daniel, and Jackson. When she disappeared, the detectives picked apart her life and broke her sense of mystery wide open by interrogating those closest to her. Her family was questioned and the fact that Corinne’s father was abusive was made known, and all the secret details of her life were made public, and Nic and the rest of their group were heavily interrogated and suspected to be involved or have more knowledge about what happened to Corinne that they were unwilling to share with the police. The cops never formally charged any of their suspects and her disappearance remained unsolved. The secrets that surrounded the night she disappeared haunted Nic, and she felt somewhat guilty for the resentment she still feels toward Corinne for the things that happened that night. Corinne’s presence, despite being physically gone, still felt like it surrounded her the minute she stepped back into Cooley Ridge.

When Nic left behind her hometown, she became a new person, found a new love in her lawyer fiance Everett, and a good job that lets her feel like she has really moved past her childhood and what happened with Corinne. All is good in Nic’s life until she is obligated to come back home to help with her father’s estate and help him get used to living in a nursing home and fixing up his house to sell. She helps her brother Daniel out with the logistics and while going through her father’s things she finds things that trouble her, so she decided to start looking into things and trying to ask her father questions on his more lucid days. When she sees her ex-boyfriend and first love Tyler, she is transported back to being 17 and still feels the magnetic pull he has on her and even begins to feel jealous of the young girl he is dating. Things become incredibly complicated when the girl goes missing, and the town is thrown into another whirlwind of chaos, devastation and suspicion. People didn’t exactly miss the fact that as soon as Nic reappears in town, the young, beautiful girlfriend of her ex-boyfriend has gone missing with no details guiding the investigation except for the fact that she had inquired about Corinne’s case to the local police shortly before disappearing without a trace and she just happened to be Nic and the group’s only alibi the night of Corinne’s disappearance.
Suspicions run high and again, the town in embroiled in a search and investigation. Nic feels the pressure of trying to figure out what happened to this girl in order to protect Tyler, who was the last person seen with her. It’s also because after Corinne’s disappearance, she knows people can be capable of anything.
Together with her brother Daniel, his very pregnant wife Laura, Tyler, and other people she talks to along the way, Nic feels as though it’s up to her to find out what happened to Corinne and now Annalise to protect her family. The novel’s main idea stem’s from the question, “How far are we willing to go for the ones we love?” Megan Miranda answers that expertly in an incredibly entertaining fashion.

This book is so incredibly well written, and the suspense starts to build as soon as you read the first page. With complicated, intense characters and the way small-town rumors begin to turn into fact the longer they linger, Megan Miranda crafts one of the best mysteries I’ve read in recent years. I know a lot of people lauded “The Girl On The Train” for it’s drama and suspense, but this novel surpasses its’ level of intensity and brought more heart pounding suspense that will keep you enthralled, without any of the extra padding in the story other authors sometimes use to distract from getting to the big reveal. Every detail the reader is given to absorb is put there deliberately and expertly so by the author. I sincerely recommend this book to all lovers of thriller and mystery novels, and I cannot wait to see what else Megan Miranda has in store for us readers.

Hope you all enjoyed the review,  I didn’t want to spoil the story for anyone, so I didn’t go into as much detail as I usually do with my reviews and for good reason!

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Happy New Year and happy reading!
Erin