Published by Atria Books
Published on April 17th 2018
Genres: Mystery, Thriller
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“The dysfunctional, unreliable heroines of Girl on a Train and The Woman in the Window have a new sister-in-arms: Eliza Fontaine, protagonist of this adult novel by the author of the YA juggernaut Pretty Little Liars.”—Newsday
“A book you won’t be able to leave sitting on the nightstand for long.”—Harper’s BAZAAR
When debut novelist Eliza Fontaine is found at the bottom of a hotel pool, her family at first assumes that it’s just another failed suicide attempt. But Eliza swears she was pushed, and her rescuer is the only witness.
Desperate to find out who attacked her, Eliza takes it upon herself to investigate. But as the publication date for her novel draws closer, Eliza finds more questions than answers. Like why are her editor, agent, and family mixing up events from her novel with events from her life? Her novel is completely fictional, isn’t it?
The deeper Eliza goes into her investigation while struggling with memory loss, the closer her life starts to resemble her novel until the line between reality and fiction starts to blur and she can no longer tell where her protagonist’s life ends and hers begins.
“A story blending Hitchcock, S.J. Watson, and Ruth Ware.”—Entertainment Weekly
“Buckle up Pretty Little Liars fans, because author Sara Shepard is here with her first adult novel, and it is sizzling.”—Bustle
“An eerie tale of manipulation, inception, and betrayal that will leave readers questioning their own memories—and reality.”—Jamie Blynn, Us Weekly
“This is spring-break reading at its finest.”—Town & Country
“Highly recommended for fans of eventually justified ‘paranoid woman’ characters who descend in a direct line from Charlotte Brontë to Ruth Ware.”—Booklist (starred review)
So I believe this is supposed to be Sara Shepard’s first adult novel, and I was a Pretty Little Liars fan… to an extent anyway. When I found out she was taking her crazy twists and turns into adult fiction, I was so excited! There was so much more potential with writing an adult novel, and I couldn’t wait to see her take advantage of that!
One of my favorite things about this book is the book within the book. I love that we bounce between The Dots book and the “regular” book. That is immediately interesting, it is such a unique way to go about the story. But now that my favorite thing is cleared, lets move on to everything else…
I love an unreliable narrator. That is my jam. I’m basically an unreliable narrator of my own life, so I just vibe with these type of stories. I love the unbalanced nature of the characters. I love not being able to trust them or their memories to the point that I have no clue what is happening. It’s also pretty exciting, as you never are sure what twists and turn may be waiting around the corner. Shepard seems to also be a fan of writing in this style, if you weren’t already aware. But Eliza was a whole different level of unreliable and unstable, to say the least.
As with any novel from Shepard, you can expect twists and turns, however predictable they may be at this point. For me, I think it was more of a matter of how they were connected. At times, when we start unraveling clues and making revelations, it was almost a bit much. Maybe too much too keep up with? Remember, not only are you keeping up with our main story, we are also keeping up with The Dots. Each time we think we have sorted everything out, something new came along. As much as I love the unreliable narrator attempting to right her memories and life, I also love to finally reach a point of clarity.
This book was unique to anything I have read before. The narrator was of the most unreliable kind. The plot kept me intrigued, I needed to know the resolution both to The Elizas and to The Dots. By the end, I feel like I didn’t completely get that. That may have been completely intentional by the author, of course, but that just didn’t leave me feeling satisfied. But should I leave such a book feeling satisfied? I don’t know. And now the book has me questioning my own sanity…
One other minor aspect that left me a little disappointed was that he author didn’t seem to take full advantage of the adult aspect of this novel. It never became sexy or had much intrigue as far as relationships or sex, when it absolutely could have. Not that every adult novel needs that, I just feel like it could have been included here in the right way, just to amp it up from feeling like another YA novel.
But overall I did like this book, I can’t say I loved it, but I would still recommend to the lovers of unreliable narrators and a unique way of story telling!
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