You might have seen recently that I’ve fallen for the Pigeonhole App. I wrote about it a little here and here. Today I’m reviewing a book from their disappearing stave collection. There’s a post about the concept and my experience with that coming Friday. But today I take you into the chilling book All the missing girls by Megan Miranda
It’s been ten years since Nicolette Farrell left her rural hometown after her best friend, Corinne, disappeared from Cooley Ridge without a trace. Back again to tie up loose ends and care for her ailing father, Nic is soon plunged into a shocking drama that reawakens Corinne’s case and breaks open old wounds long since stitched.
The decade-old investigation focused on Nic, her brother Daniel, boyfriend Tyler, and Corinne’s boyfriend Jackson. Since then, only Nic has left Cooley Ridge. Daniel and his wife, Laura, are expecting a baby; Jackson works at the town bar; and Tyler is dating Annaleise Carter, Nic’s younger neighbor and the group’s alibi the night Corinne disappeared. Then, within days of Nic’s return, Annaleise goes missing.
But here’s the thing I’ve learned about leaving – you can’t really go back. I don’t know what to do with Cooley Ridge anymore and Cooley Ridge doesn’t know what to do with me, either. The distance only increases with the years.
After the initial set-up of the story, All the missing Girls is told backwards. We start from Day 15 and go back to Day 1 following Nic’s return to her old home. She attempts to unravel in these what has happened to Annaleise, and Corinne all those years ago. Nic must also come to terms with the secrets her family have kept hidden whilst protecting them too.
The book kept me hooked from start to finish. Telling the tale backwards means that you have work out the references without the build-up to an event. Then you read what actually happened before in the next (previous) chapter. Throughout Megan Miranda doesn’t miss a beat. I was second guessing myself through the reading, trying to pick through the lies and work out the truth. At times I struggled to trust Nic as a narrator making the reading more haphazard. (This is mentioned at the beginning but when I reading I try to find a credible source.)
A polaroid fading from the edges in, the colors bled out; the outline of a ghost town full of ghosts.
The writing is claustrophobic and dense. It has a magical, woven sense of style and I devoured it. It’s blustery and free-spirited but always with a sense of danger. I have a feeling I will buying everything and anything this author writes.
“The woods have eyes and monsters and stories. We are them as much as they are us.”
The characters are fantastically written. Tyler the ex-boyfriend who was/is always there for Nic. Trusting but also cold he was a favourite of mine. Nic can be a struggle to empathise with but as I threw myself deeper into the rabbit hole I wanted it to all be okay. Her ailing father, closed off brother it’s an infuriating and exciting mess. The flashbacks to the group ten years ago tell of a dangerously intense female friendships that left me gripping the edge of the book.
The biggest credit to this book was I constantly judged every character I came across. I was toying and frowing as to who I thought had done it. Towards the end I managed to stumble on a conclusion but I didn’t quite get it. The execution is spot on. I want to go back and read this the other way round – but I’m not ready to yet. The initial excitement of reading this hasn’t worn off. The ending is brilliant too – maybe there are monsters in all of us. That’s all I’m saying.
It’s better than Gone Girl, and The Girl on the Train. It’s sublime. GO get it.