Monday, June 27, 2016

All the Missing Girls ~ Megan Miranda (earc) review [@MeganLMiranda @simonschuster]

All the Missing Girls
Simon & Schuster
June 28, 2016
384 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

Like the spellbinding psychological suspense in The Girl on the Train and Luckiest Girl Alive, Megan Miranda’s novel is a nail-biting, breathtaking story about the disappearances of two young women—a decade apart—told in reverse.

It’s been ten years since Nicolette Farrell left her rural hometown after her best friend, Corinne, disappeared from Cooley Ridge without a trace. Back again to tie up loose ends and care for her ailing father, Nic is soon plunged into a shocking drama that reawakens Corinne’s case and breaks open old wounds long since stitched.

The decade-old investigation focused on Nic, her brother Daniel, boyfriend Tyler, and Corinne’s boyfriend Jackson. Since then, only Nic has left Cooley Ridge. Daniel and his wife, Laura, are expecting a baby; Jackson works at the town bar; and Tyler is dating Annaleise Carter, Nic’s younger neighbor and the group’s alibi the night Corinne disappeared. Then, within days of Nic’s return, Annaleise goes missing.

Told backwards—Day 15 to Day 1—from the time Annaleise goes missing, Nic works to unravel the truth about her younger neighbor’s disappearance, revealing shocking truths about her friends, her family, and what really happened to Corinne that night ten years ago.

Like nothing you’ve ever read before, All the Missing Girls delivers in all the right ways. With twists and turns that lead down dark alleys and dead ends, you may think you’re walking a familiar path, but then Megan Miranda turns it all upside down and inside out and leaves us wondering just how far we would be willing to go to protect those we love.

Now I want to read All the Missing Girls backwards . . . or would it be forwards? In standard chronological order, however that should be described.

Megan Miranda really did a superb job with the nontraditional way that this story is told, giving us the beginning, then working backwards from nearly the end back up to just after that beginning. The idea had me a bit skeptical, at first. I didn't wan tot be in on it all from the beginning, part of what I really love about mysteries and thrillers is how they all come together, how, at last, everything adds up and you figure things out. I didn't want to miss out on that.

And I didn't. Somehow - and I am still working on exactly how it worked - the time goes backwards but the mystery and the clues still unravel in a way that keeps you guessing, keeps you from knowing the end. A character would find something, hear something, say or do something, and then later in the book (but a day or two earlier in the character's life) you would discover some of the significance. It was the usual way mysteries work, but also not at all because the chronology was reversed. (It's tricky to explain but so good to read.)

I also appreciated that the story was not just told backwards with no other mention of time or order in the book. There are several mentions of time, what it is, what it means, and how we view it. There are mentions of distances seen as time, the amount of time Nic's been away, how long she's been back, how long she'll stay, etc. Along with the quotes accompanying the different Parts, it really ties in well to how the story is told.

"Tick-tock, Nic." (pg 31, etc.)
The ending had me questioning things I thought I knew about the characters, some of the events and what they really meant. I wanted to reread scenes to see how differently I viewed their reactions and statements in light of, now, having the full story. I love how this book seems to let you know what happens next before what happens first while all the while keeping you guessing and having a startling resolution.

One last note: this is an adult novel but fans of the author's YA noels should enjoy it as well. With the characters' ages (late 20s), the glimpses into their time in high school, and more, it had almost a NA feel, at times.

Other Books You May Also Enjoy: No One Knows by JT Ellison and Take the Fall by Emily Hainsworth

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