The Girl Before You

Apparently, the Observer said, “So addictive, it should come with a health warning”

“A page-turner,” some other publication said. 

Some author said, “A tantalizing and suspenseful mystery. Absolutely brilliant! I didn’t want it to end”.

There is a weird sticker like thing on the book that reads, “The new The Girl on the Train THE ENDING WILL LIVE YOU GASPING

I’m not sure I read the same book as all these people who made such statements. Maybe I should not have read this book – I was not the biggest fan of The Girl on the Train. And because hindsight I am told is 20/20 I should have probably realized I did not like The Girl on the Train because I felt it was over-hyped for what it was. 

THE STORY I thought was about this woman that goes missing, presumed dead while at College (or University). And fast forward a few years, there is a pregnant curious wife who believes her husband had something to do with it…. For some reason…. As I read the synopsis on Goodreads though I realized what I thought the book was about and what it is pitched as is maybe not the same thing.

Goodreads tells me it’s a story about a woman, Alice, who has always been concerned about the women from her husband’s past. And for some reason, there is one ex of her husband’s that she can not seem to shake – the one that went missing; presumed dead. The one that Alice is sure she saw on a train one day. 

The number of characters in the book seemed a bit much especially since they all had smaller stories going on within the larger one of was that Ruth or not that Alice saw on the train that day. There is Alice, and her husband George. The missing/dead one – Ruth. Ruth’s gay-sister Naomi. Naomi’s wife, forget her name. A woman named Kate who was raped by George and his friend Dan. George’s friend Dan who died mysteriously after Ruth’s death. Then there was Richard, who was Ruth’s boyfriend at the time of her disappearance who Kate was in love with and very upset with Ruth for dating him even though she knew Kate loved him. 

I used to read psychological thrillers when I was younger and for some reason, as an adult, I can’t do it. Are they all this convoluted?

Aside from the number of characters and stories within stories, there was a lot of time hoping with no clear reason jumping around in time was necessary. 

The ending was disappointing; no one’s story was ever really finished. The reader does not really find out if Ruth is alive or not – the outcome is implied. The reader does not find out what happened with Alice and her sketchy ass husband either which I guess is the main point of the book. 

If this is how all psychological thrillers are supposed to go – then I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys such books. But in good conscience, I can not recommend this book to anyone. There was a lot of great potential in the story. And I stuck with it and forced myself to finish it over the course of the month because I really thought it was there. That something would “do it” for me and I am sad to say that something never happened (for me). And whoever said this was a page-turner probably meant it in the sense that they kept turning the pages waiting for something exciting to happen.


Thank you to NetGalley and HarperCollins Publishers Australia for providing a free copy of this book for review.

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