All the Missing Girls starts, at a point in time, then jumps two weeks forward, and is subsequently told in backwards order, day by day, counting down to the start of the story.
Initially I thought that this was clever, different and difficult to write. Getting used to reading in this way is also not easy. You have to come to terms with the fact that the story during the day moves forwards, but then there is a discrete jump back to the beginning of the previous day, which can jolt a little. I fell asleep while reading once, and my dreams were in such a jumbled order, I woke up completely disoriented.
But if you imagine writing a story by setting a number of scenes, drawing them so that the characters develop well, and the plot moves on, then it isn't as complex. And that level of planning is necessary for this kind of book.
All the Missing Girls is about the disappearance of a girl in a small town, and has reference to a similar disappearance a number of years earlier. The same crowd is implicated in both, and there is a strong sense of eeriness and distrust, which is unsettling.
Nicolette Farrell (Nic) has moved on from Cooley Ridge, where her best friend, Corinne, disappeared without a trace. She must return to visit her father, who struggles with dementia, and sort out the family home. The remaining members of the gang - her brother, Daniel, ex-boyfriend Tyler, Corinne's ex-boyfriend Jackson and the younger Annaleise (now dating Tyler) are all still around.
The story worked for me, but I'm not sure that the backward telling was completely necessary to the plot. But hey, I figure if you want to tell a story, you can tell it in the order that suits you, right?
The characters were great, and the plot was interesting. The resolution was well executed, if a little too neat and tidy for my taste.
A thoroughly enjoyable read. Don’t worry too much about the time-jumping.
With thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
You may also enjoy Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, or The Missing Hours by Emma Kavanagh, or Black-eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin
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