‘All The Missing Girls’ by Megan Miranda

First of all, this book, man. It’s told in reverse, is a mystery that literally keeps you guessing, and refuses to let go of your heart strings. Normally, i’m not a fan of books told backwards but Megan Miranda makes it work somehow. Not entirely sure how but she does. Anyways, moving on.

This book follows the protagonist, Nicolette (or Nic), as she moves back home to take care of her dad after he calls about seeing a missing girl. Along with her brother, Daniel, they check him into a nursing facility specializing in dementia care. And you learn that 10 years ago, after graduating high school, Nic’s best friend, Corinne, suspiciously went missing after the annual town carnival. And she was last seen with Nic and her then boyfriend, Tyler Then suspiciously, a few days after Nic arrives in town present day, another girl named Annaleise goes missing. The funny thing? It’s Tyler’s current girlfriend.

The plot thickens as you go back in time learning about how Annaleise is tied to Corrine’s missing, what actually happens to Corrine that fateful night, and how family feuds as well as old flames never really go away or fade quietly. It’s an interesting part where every chapter is named The Day Before or some unit of time. I’ve been getting into mysteries lately and this one by far takes the cake with keeping me on the edge of my seat the entire time. The twist at the end literally had me gasping. ANd normally, I pride myself on being able to call who done it halfway into something.

It’s also a fascinating look into how first loves never really go away and sometimes family wounds run deeper than one could ever imagine. As the old adage, every family is screwed up in their own way. And Nic’s family definitely fits the bill.

This book is a great look into what it means to be human, to fail, to lose, and still pick yourself back up again. It dives into what coming home really means when your past is less than picture perfect and how there’s never one pure definition of coming home.

I loved this book and read the bulk of it on a 9 hour flight from Paris. It’s great, dark, and fascinating. I loved it.

Favourite quote: If there’s a feeling to coming home –something comforting and nostalgic: a mother’s cooking, a family pet sleeping at the foot of the bed, an old hammock strung between trees in the yard — for me, it’s this. It’s Tyler. KNowing that there’s someone who has seen all the different versions of me; watched as they stacked themselves inside one another; knows all the choices I’ve made, the lies I’ve told, the things I’ve lost, and still. 

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Before The Fall by Noah Hawley

I’m sure you’ve heard of this novel, especially if you follow Reese Witherspoon on any form of social media. It follows the tale of a man and a boy who are the only survivors of a plane crash on its way to New York City from Martha’s Vineyard. Everyone, including the boy’s family, died on the plane. And I thought it was going to be like most other mysteries I’ve read where I’m able to guess the ending about half way through. But with Before The Fall, I was kept guessing the whole way through.

It’s a damn good read that’ll keep you up. Noah Hawley does a wonderful job of intertwining the drama of the deceased with the difficulties of surviving something so inexplicably complicated like a plane crash. And after what happened with the Malaysian plane as well as a few other news worthy crashes around the world, this book seems to dive into why it happens. ANd why we’re so fascinated with lone survivors.

The still living protagonists are a middle age painter and a young boy who deal with the aftermath in their own way. One throws himself into work and the other stops talking all together. It’s a powerful read and will make you question a lot of things about the rich and powerful. Especially the power of money and its hold over people.

The stories of the deceased and the living blend wonderfully together. And throughout the novel, you learn that one story is not complete without the other revolving parts. Before the Fall truly demonstrates how connected we are as people and how focused we are on the taboo when we should be focused on the good.

This book will keep you guessing. I can promise you that. And it’s a powerful, intricate read. Borrow this from the library or pick it up from a local, independent book store. It’s absolutely fascinating.

Favourite Quote: Was it possible? Could anyone be Superman if they just put their mind to it? If they were willing to do what it took? Whatever it took?