Review: The Couple Next Door & All The Missing Girls

I’ve never really read psychological thrillers. Not until all the hype around Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train finally convinced me to finally give them a try about a year ago. I’ll admit I read both of the aforementioned books, and really didn’t like them. I thought I’d be in for crazy plot twists that spun my head around, but I found them to be both way too predictable, and honestly, somewhat boring.

Fast forward to the beginning of April and I found myself getting two more psychological thrillers from the library. Why? Well, I didn’t think it was fair to judge an entire genre based on my experience with two books that were, in my opinion, unnecessarily hyped up. Giving this genre a second chance was probably one of the best decisions I made this month, because these two books were amazing.

The Couple Next Door, by Shari Lapena

How well do you know your neighbours? This question comes up multiple times in The Couple Next Door. Sure, your neighbours might look like a totally normal, happy family/couple, but no one is perfect.

The plot of this book centers around a kidnapped baby. While the initial crime is pretty easy to figure out (I had guessed correctly after maybe 5 or 6 chapters), the reasons behind why the crime was committed are not as clear. The story has so many plot twists that will keep you up reading past your bedtime, and leave you thinking until the very last chapter. While the third person narration seemed a little juvenile at first, it ultimately helped convey the story incredibly well.

I’d recommend this book to almost anyone, especially those like me who aren’t as familiar with psychological thrillers and want to start exploring the genre.

All the Missing Girls, by Megan Miranda

This book is written backwards! No, seriously. The story takes place over the span of two weeks, starting with Day 15 (the present). Then, it works its way back from Day 14 to Day 1, and then jumps back to Day 15 to wrap up the cliffhanger you were left reeling with at the end of the first chapter.

All the Missing Girls posed a new reading experience for me; it was fun, albeit difficult. Instead of trying to guess what would happen next, I was left trying to figure out how events were happening. You know that characters have information, but you don’t know how they know it. So mysterious! And to make everything even more exciting, they are unreliable narrators who are hung up on events that happened ten years ago. Not only are you trying to figure out why a twenty-something just went missing, you’re also trying to figure out why an 18 year old went missing ten years ago. All of this, plus super creepy descriptions of a forest, make this book awesome.

While I wasn’t a huge fan of the story’s ending, I would still recommend this book: to anyone looking for a new spin on storytelling, or to anyone interested in small town politics and gossip.

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