First impressions before reading the book:
I bought this for my kindle on Amazon because it said if you liked Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train (both of which I’ve already read) you would enjoy this book. I read the description which says; But is Leah all she seems? Or does she deserve everything she gets? Everyone has secrets. But some are deadly.” That sounded interesting to me so I decided to give it a go. I’d never heard of the author, or read any reviews on it, but it is rated 4 out of 5 stars on Amazon.
The book follows the main character Leah’s life in London, or lack of it. She wakes up, she goes to work in a library, she sometimes goes on walks, she returns home and reads. That’s basically it. The book refers to her past and ‘the anniversary’ quite a lot, but it’s so vague, it gives you absolutely no indication of what ‘the anniversary’ is even for, except you’re left to make the decision that it’s probably something pretty terrible if she doesn’t want to live a fulfilling life as a result of it, and she dreads the day every year. You don’t find out what she’s so scared of reliving until three quarters or more through the book, which infuriated me, but I suppose that’s all part of the psychological thriller tag. Everything is the same as it always has been in her life, until one day she starts receiving post and emails which indicate someone knows about her past and wants her to remember it, as they get more and more threatening, and she’s forced to tell someone what happened in her past, and who she really is. The book switches between present day Leah, and pre-anniversary Leah.
The story is told from Leah’s point of view, but other frequent characters are Adam, Imogen, Corey, their teacher, Julian, Ben and her mum. The first four being from her past, and Julian and Ben being from the present. To be honest, there wasn’t a single character I particularly liked in the book. I found Leah to be a bit helpless and frustrating, and the portrayal of her friend Imogen changes slightly as they get older and get boyfriends, but I had no strong opinion on her either way. I didn’t like Adam, I couldn’t understand why Leah was so into him, which didn’t make me sympathetic towards her, or him, throughout the book. I didn’t find any of them relatable, so I struggled to want to find out what happened to each of them, despite wanting to know what happened in her past to put me out of my misery.
Would I recommend it?
I found myself trying to race through this book to get it out of the way faster so I could find out what the anniversary referred to, and why she was being so whiney about her past. Normally that would be a good sign if you keep turning the page quickly to read more, but in my case, I was relieved when I found out and the book was over. I thought that although it’s a good move not to give too many details if you’re writing a psychological thriller, I found Leah very whiney and the fact she didn’t allow herself to have any form of a life or friends quite a severe reaction. I found it made me dislike her, as she came across as someone who never lets anything go, and she kept saying things like “I couldn’t let myself” which I found pretty silly. Obviously I read the entire thing, so I didn’t hate it, but if you’re looking for this type of book, I’d say stick with Gone Girl. Overall, not my favourite, but it was alright. That sounds pretty negative, but the book is well written and thought out. I don’t think it is in any way, a true comparison with Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train though.
If you want to see what i’m reading next, i’m on Goodreads.