Friday, May 6, 2016

Book Review: "All the Missing Girls" by Megan Miranda

Yes. This is what a thriller should be.

Ten years ago Nicolette Farrell's best friend Corinne disappeared from their North Carolina hometown one night. No one could figure out what happened to Corinne, although the investigation brought a lot of people's secrets to light, and made everyone a suspect—Nic, her then-boyfriend Tyler, her brother, and Corinne's boyfriend, Jackson. It wasn't long before Nic left Cooley Ridge, getting rid of her accent and putting her old life—and those in it—behind her.

You can never truly escape your hometown. Ten years after Corinne's disappearance, Nic returns to Cooley Ridge to help tie up some loose ends related to her ailing father, and get her childhood home into saleable condition. Since everyone else from her past still lives in Cooley Ridge, it's not long before she finds herself falling into familiar behavior patterns, revisiting old resentments, and picking at old wounds that she thought had healed.

One night shortly after Nic's return, another young woman, Annaleise Carter, disappears. Annaleise was one of Nic's neighbors, and was dating her ex-boyfriend Tyler, and although she was younger than Nic and her friends, she was there the night that events occurred leading up to Corinne's disappearance. And apparently, Annaleise had recently shown a keen interest into that night 10 years ago.

After the initial set-up, All the Missing Girls is told backwards, from Day 15 to Day 1 following Nic's return home. She tries to unravel what happened to Annaleise, and also attempts to understand what happened to Corinne all those years ago, and the hold she had on those around her. Nic also must come to terms with things she and her family have kept hidden, and try to figure out what the next chapter of her life holds, while everything seems to be unraveling quickly.

This book kept me hooked from start to finish. It reminded me of one of my favorite movies, Memento, which is also told backwards, and it's fascinating to see something referred to or see the aftermath of an event, and then read about what actually happened in the next (or technically, previous) chapter. Megan Miranda doesn't ease up on the tension, and I really wasn't sure what to expect. The plot is utterly fascinating even if it wasn't totally surprising to me, but all I wanted to do was keep reading.

I mentioned a few reviews ago that it's difficult for me to read mysteries and thrillers because I've become so used to not trusting any characters. In the introduction to the book, it is mentioned that none of the characters are reliable narrators, so that lack of trust actually works here and doesn't distract. It's just really well done.

For some reason the media marketing minds have decided to compare this to The Girl on the Train, but I don't think they're similar, and I think this one is better. I look forward to seeing what comes next for Megan Miranda, because her talent makes her totally worthy of being another famous Miranda (along with Hamilton genius Lin-Manuel Miranda).

NetGalley and Simon & Schuster provided me an advance copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making this available!

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