I can count on one hand the number of books that gripped me the way All the Missing Girls just did. I read this mystery/thriller over three evenings/late nights, wishing I could clear my schedule to finish it sooner. So, consider this a warning to plan accordingly.
First I should address the structure. After an introduction to set the scene, the story line is presented backwards. Each day for two weeks is presented as a chapter labeled as “the day before.” As the days unfold, or fold?, the details are filled in. This structure may seem gimmicky or confusing, but I can assure you it works well and provides a reading experience rarely equaled.
The story is narrated by Nicollete (Nic) whose best friend disappeared right after they graduated from highschool. When Nic is back in town ten years later to help her ailing father, another girl goes missing in similar circumstances. Secrets and suspicions float around, involving some of the people closet to Nic, including her father who has dementia but keeps saying he has “seen that girl,” her brother, and her ex-boyfriend, who was just dating the girl who most recently disappeared.
Of course I couldn’t help myself from guessing all possible endings and culprits throughout the book, and I am happy to report I did not guess the ending.
In books this gripping with experimental literary techniques, one might assume the quality of the language is lessened, but I didn’t find that to be the case. Miranda’s descriptions and insight to “going home” again, such as how a certain door opens, are relatable. The emotions and feelings presented by Nic throughout are so believable, it reads like a true story. The ending (or beginning, actually) is also believable. I had a minor issue believing one of the details of the ending, but I also can’t imagine a better ending. (So now you have to read so we can discuss this!)
The book is incredibly entertaining, well-written, and a great read for when you just want to be engrossed in a book!
I was provided a complimentary download of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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