Author: Paula Hawkins
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Publication Date: January 13, 2015
Genre(s): Adult, Mystery thriller
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A debut psychological thriller that will forever change the way you look at other people’s lives.
Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.
And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?
Compulsively readable, The Girl on the Train is an emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller and an electrifying debut.
This is the first book I've tackled from our recommendation challenge with our sister blog, YA Bookmark and I'm very pleased. Adult thrillers are very either-or for me, and if this book got off to a slow and boring start, it more than made up for it (that enddinnnnng).
Rachel is recently divorced, living with a friend she doesn't know well. Rachel drinks a lot and can't seem to get over her husband. Rachel obsesses over other people.
I don't like Rachel.
This is where the book became problematic for me, because a significant part of the book (the first third especially) is from Rachel's perspective. I was in her head a lot, wading through pages and pages of how she wants to stop drinking but can't, how she wants to get over Tom, but can't, how she wants to get her life together, but can't and-- oh look there's that couple again they're so cute I wonder what they have for breakfast. Pull yourself together lady.
It was pretty awful. I wanted to smack some sense into her for pretty much the entire book.
Strangely enough, I never considered DNF'ing because the book was so eerie. Something about the setting unnerved me from the first page and all I knew was that I had to figure out what was going on.
Just when I thought I'd had enough of the book, everything changes. The paces quickens, the stakes rise, the mystery heightens, and all of a sudden, I couldn't. read. fast. enough. I was left guessing and changing my mind and dying to find out what happened next for the rest of the book. Part of what made this book unique for me was that I didn't really root for anyone...because I hated them all. I was solely focussed on the mystery. If there's one thing Hawkins did really well, it was cranking up the creep level to do-not-want-to-leave-my-bed-at-night. I'm really bad at predicting what will happen in thrillers and mysteries, so the final reveal had me gasping and wide-eyed and oh-my-god-what-is-happening.
I don't really want to go into any plot points or characters here because going into the book with no clue as to what it was really about, or any presumptions worked really well for me, and I think thrillers are best done without any indication of what the book's going to be like. Rest assured, I immensely enjoyed myself right until the end.
I mean, I was a shaking, quaking mess that didn't want to look under the bed. Details.
I'm pretty sure this was my first recently read adult thriller, and I'm glad I got to read it, because I've been trying to branch out from YA and get interested in some new genres. It isn't a horror, but the book gave me chills because I could trust no one, and I cheerfully hated every character in the book. I was worried I wouldn't like it because of its Gone Girl-esque vibe, but it was a well-written creepfest of a book, and I mean that in the best possible way.