Author: Lisa Jewell
Publisher: Atria Books
Release Date: June 7th, 2016
Rating: 3 Birds
Imagine that you live on a picturesque communal garden square, an oasis in urban London where your children run free, in and out of other people’s houses. You’ve known your neighbors for years and you trust them. Implicitly. You think your children are safe. But are they really?
On a midsummer night, as a festive neighborhood party is taking place, preteen Pip discovers her thirteen-year-old sister Grace lying unconscious and bloody in a hidden corner of a lush rose garden. What really happened to her? And who is responsible?
Dark secrets, a devastating mystery, and the games both children and adults play all swirl together in this gripping novel, packed with utterly believable characters and page-turning suspense. Fans of Liane Moriarty and Jojo Moyes will be captivated by The Girls, the next unforgettable novel by New York Times bestselling author Lisa Jewell.
I’ve been sitting here processing this book now for a few days, unable to fully gather my thoughts on it. The trouble with it is that my feelings on it are conflicting, I see the book in two sections: “The Beginning” and “The Ending”. The Beginning is amazing. The setting and characters are so real you feel like you could pull back your curtains and watch the story unfold right before your eyes. Most of us likely knew one or more of these characters growing up in fact.
The Ending however is infuriating and reckless and makes me hope to God that no young adult looking to expand their reading horizons into Chick Lit picks up a copy.
Now, when I say “the ending” I literally mean the last 20-40 pages or so where everything is wrapped up. It’s not that it’s written badly, it’s just that I simply can not wrap my head around the choices made by the author that this is how such a fantastic novel should end. It’s like those news stories you see where you smack your forehead and think “Who allowed that person to exist” because the crime is so utterly terrible or avoidable or stupid, that you cringe a bit that you share the same air as them.
I have tried to write this review with out spoilers, but found it to be impossible. I will remain vague but for those of you who would like to not know anything more, you should skip the next paragraph.
:Spoiler Ahead: Here’s where my anger and eventual dislike for the book stemmed from: When the guilty party is found out and the motivation revealed, there is no punishment. Literally nothing. Everyone goes on about their business like it’s not a big deal. Some characters even hide evidence to make sure no one really finds out the whole truth, and some even go so far as to move the guilty party in with them and their children. (?!?!) :Spoiler Over:
You need only to read the first pages of the book to know that Grace isn’t just found unconscious, she’s also found drugged, her pants down and her shirt up – and she’s 13. So you can see how putting this person with more kids might not be the best idea.
By the time I turned the last page, I literally couldn't breathe. I could see all the occupants of the park homes gathered 10 years from now, laughing over wine “Hey, remember that year your daughter was drugged and assaulted? What a riot that was!” because this is literally how they all seem to deal with it. Out of sight, out of mind.
Perhaps it’s because I’m the mother of 2 daughters and these kinds of things are my worst nightmare. Maybe it’s because in a world full of senseless crime, this seemed all to possible for me and I knew that out there someone likely has done what this book lays out in fiction. I don’t know what it is, but this story about kids in a park who range in age from 9-14 was wonderful, right up until the end.