Published: June 7, 2016
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source: TLC Book Tours
You might enjoy this book if you like: Books with unreliable narrators, books featuring adolescents, mysteries, books the "Girls" in the title (because, you know, that's a thing...)
Imagine that you live on a picturesque communal garden square, an oasis in urban London where your children run free, in and out of other people’s houses. You’ve known your neighbors for years and you trust them. Implicitly. You think your children are safe. But are they really?
On a midsummer night, as a festive neighborhood party is taking place, preteen Pip discovers her thirteen-year-old sister Grace lying unconscious and bloody in a hidden corner of a lush rose garden. What really happened to her? And who is responsible?
I first read Lisa Jewell two years ago when I was blown away by The House We Grew Up In. Jewell's characterization and raw emotion in that book was amazing, and I expected the same from this. And, for the most part, Jewell delivered here. However, there were other aspects that didn't work as well for me--leaving me trying to measure the pros and cons when trying to form my opinion.
As I said, Jewell did not disappoint in the development of the characters. We really get to know three of them--Clare, Pip, and Adele--and each one of them is completely unique and their view of the actions of the book are filtered through their respective lenses. We know why each of these characters is the way that they are and why they react to things the way that they do.
We are kept at arms length from the psyche of the other characters, but that is a tool to build suspense and interest. This book is, at its heart, a whodunnit. The cast, besides the three characters mentioned above, are all clouded in mystery and their motives are all questionable. I can't say that this book has an unreliable narrator, as Claire, Pip, and Adele are all reliable--but they are the only ones in the book.
Now, I did have some issues with this book. Well, more accurately, I had one issue that kept popping up. There were several times where I didn't feel like Jewell connected all the dots. I don't know that I can go into specifics without spoiling elements of the plot, so I'll try to address this as generally as possible. More than once, I was absorbed in the story and then something would happen or, more likely, not happen, and I'd be pulled out of it and wonder, "Wait...what about....". Now, in many books, this wouldn't be a huge deal for me. However, given the nature of this novel, that is more problematic.
I'm really torn on this book. There was so much about it to admire and Jewell succeeded in so many ways, but that one snag just really stuck out for me and impacted my overall feeling of the book. I suppose it all depends on what your "sticking point" is with books like this and, if you aren't bothered by things that don't always completely add up, you'll probably enjoy it.
Lisa Jewell was born and raised in north London, where she lives with her husband and two daughters. She is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA TODAY bestselling author of twelve novels, including The House We Grew Up In and The Third Wife.
Connect with the author: Website / Facebook / Twitter
I received a copy of this book in return for an honest review. I received no other compensation for this post.
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