Rating: 4 1/2 stars
Mood: Excited, haunted
Would Recommend?: Yes
Wine Pairing: Full-bodied red, such as Alamos Malbec
I really wish I could recall how this book popped onto my radar. I do remember that the second I read the description I was hooked. The average review on Goodreads isn’t great- less than 3.5- and the reviews are either “I loved it” or “I hated it.” Clearly, I am one who loved it, so this is my disclaimer.
This book was chilling, which is hard to evoke through words, so for that alone I think the book deserves recognition. I found it incredibly difficult to put down. I read the bulk of it while I was on “vacation” (wedding prep week), and even picked it up in the middle of the night while having trouble falling back to sleep (perhaps not the best decision I’ve made this summer). I needed to know what was going to happen to my precious narrator! I needed to know what the mystery was, what was wrong, what wasn’t wrong, all of it. Ugh, I’m getting so emotional typing this.
This was the debut novel for Iain Reid, and I am going to be honest and say that I think it’s going to be incredibly difficult to match with his upcoming novel, Foe, with a release date set for September 4, 2018. Don’t get me wrong, I am toeing the line with pre-ordering his second novel ridiculously hard, but I still think the challenge of giving himself a run for his money remains.
What I loved most: The narrator. The book is narrated by a female who is thinking of ending things with Jake. Jake is taking our narrator to visit his parents on their farm, it’ll be the first time they meet, the narrator and the parents. Throughout the book, the narrator asks Jake questions, overhears Jake’s parents, wonders what might be going on that she’s missing. Her mind is so beautifully crafted by Reid. I was able to relate, I was able to feel. It was simply wonderful. I also enjoyed the simple fact that it was a female narrating the book, I think the importance of the female stereotype (more sensitive, listens better, understanding, etc.) was important for this novel. Normally, this is something that would bother me, but again, it added something here and that’s important.
What I loved least: The supporting characters. I didn’t feel like the supporting characters added much. The one that stands out the most to me is the girl in the Dairy Queen who tells our narrator to watch out. She’s really the only one, including Jake’s parents, that I feel warn us as to what’s to come. Sure, Jake’s parents have some important dialogue that probably shouldn’t have been left out, but it also could have been more clever in my opinion. This could probably be extrapolated to a loose plot. I don’t think going to the parents’ farm was really necessary for this story. It helped that Jake was back at home, but aside from that, there were so many little details that had potential to be stronger, but they weren’t.
Who should read: Fans of psychological thrillers and plot twists should definitely read this book. I had an idea about what the ending would be before I even added the book to my to-read list (and I was correct), so the element of surprise was cut short for me. That being said, I also abandoned my theory only about 5-10% into the book based on how it was written, so I was still surprised. As I mentioned, there are a group of people that hated this book, so I would advise that you abandon it if you’re not feeling it rather than push through.