Saturday, June 11, 2016

All the Missing Girls - by Megan Miranda: Book Review

While this book reminds one of The Girl on the Train because it is told backwards, I liked it better. There are so many books that try to give us the Gone Girl feels, but All the Missing Girls didn't feel a copy-cat like The Girl on the Train felt.

It wasn't necessarily an unputdownable novel, at least not until toward the end, but it made me curious and interested in coming back to it. I liked how the author created the suspense, how you couldn't place a bet on anything too soon. There are a handful of characters, but you can't know for sure who is innocent and who is not. At some point I was asking myself if maybe I'm tricked into believing that the main character, who is also the one telling the story, is innocent. If you let it, this book can play with your mind a little bit. That's why I recommend reading it in bigger chunks, not fragmented as I did.

I am not sure I am a big fan of the ending. There are two mysteries that go parallel: the ten-year-old one concerning the disappearance of Corrine Prescott, and the present-day one concerning the disappearance of Annaleise Carter. How the older mystery is "elucidated" is clearly not something I expected to begin with, but it felt a bit unreal. How can one live with something so big for so long and not know? Maybe it's a bit too far-fetched, but I'll take it; it's unexpected. As for the other one, regarding Annaleise - not believable, and the "what happened" is something Nic suddenly figures out, but we're not told if this is the truth.

The characters were convincing despite their one-intentional structure, and I liked how they stayed mostly true to their personalities throughout the novel. What I found to be unnatural in the flow of events was their reaction to events. As I said, the story is told backwards, starting from Day 15 since the disappearance of Annaleise Carter going to Day 1. It was a bit tricky trying to understand in the beginning all the information and clues given backwards, but readable. Then I reached the early days, Day 4 to Day 1, and there are important things taking place, and I started wondering myself: how did they not talk about things like these over the coming days?! Nic, Tyler (her highschool boyfriend), Daniel (her brother) - they all react flatly to what happens. Somehow it seemed like the days were disconnected, and what kept them together were the pieces of information and clues the main character, Nic, was trying to untangle.
Also, funny how in the end she becomes this able person who manages to save the day. I'll overlook that suddenly found power, but do you know why it itches me? Because for the previous ten days she seemed a weak, not very reliable person, then the story ends with Day one, comes back to the present day, and she figures everything out. Hmm.

As for Corinne... We only get to know her through Nic's memories of her, but she's one mean character. Nic mentions a few times that you just couldn't help but love her. I can't see why, since she was mean to all. There were some soft sides of her, when she was there for Nic, but that's not enough. Annaleise is a weaker copy of Corinne, and I didn't like Annaleise's character at all!

The story kept me intrigued, I expected something more from the ending, just like I did with The Girl on the Train. Compared to that book's ending, All the Missing Girls's was better, the twists were more surprising, and the overall atmosphere was heavier and better. 

4 stars

I received an  advanced e-book copy of this book from the publisher via Net Galley. All thoughts expressed here are my own.

List of Characters:
Cooley Ridge - their hometown
Nicolette, Nic Farrell - main character, highschool counselor
Daniel Farrell - her brother
Laura Farrell - Daniel's wife. pregnant
Tyler Ellison - Nic's highschool boyfriend, own a construction company
Corinne Prescott - Nicolette's best friend. disappeared ten years before
Jackson - Corinne's boyfriend 
Everett - Nic's fiance. lawyer in Philadelphia

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