By: Megan Miranda
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: 6/28/2016
My Rating: 4 Stars
Like the spellbinding psychological suspense in The Girl on the Train and Luckiest Girl Alive, Megan Miranda’s novel is a nail-biting, breathtaking story about the disappearances of two young women—a decade apart—told in reverse.
It’s been ten years since Nicolette Farrell left her rural hometown after her best friend, Corinne, disappeared from Cooley Ridge without a trace. Back again to tie up loose ends and care for her ailing father, Nic is soon plunged into a shocking drama that reawakens Corinne’s case and breaks open old wounds long since stitched.
The decade-old investigation focused on Nic, her brother Daniel, boyfriend Tyler, and Corinne’s boyfriend Jackson. Since then, only Nic has left Cooley Ridge. Daniel and his wife, Laura, are expecting a baby; Jackson works at the town bar; and Tyler is dating Annaleise Carter, Nic’s younger neighbor and the group’s alibi the night Corinne disappeared. Then, within days of Nic’s return, Annaleise goes missing.
Told backwards—Day 15 to Day 1—from the time Annaleise goes missing, Nic works to unravel the truth about her younger neighbor’s disappearance, revealing shocking truths about her friends, her family, and what really happened to Corinne that night ten years ago.
Like nothing you’ve ever read before, All the Missing Girls delivers in all the right ways. With twists and turns that lead down dark alleys and dead ends, you may think you’re walking a familiar path, but then Megan Miranda turns it all upside down and inside out and leaves us wondering just how far we would be willing to go to protect those we love.
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A special thank you to Simon & Schuster and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
YA author, (The Safest Lies) Megan Miranda makes her entry into adult fiction with ALL THE MISSING GIRLS — a tightly wound enthralling twisty-psychological mystery; equally suspenseful and haunting tale, surrounding the dark secrets and intriguing disappearances of two young women, a decade apart.
“There is nothing more dangerous, nothing more powerful, nothing more necessary and essential for survival than the lies we tell ourselves.”
From a cast of unreliable characters, and the deep woods full of secrets and memories of crimes buried- the author takes us from the present Day 15-Day 1, working her way backward, where readers will make the shocking discoveries.“The woods have eyes, monsters, and stories.”
“It is quite true what philosophy says; that life must be understood backwards.”—Soren Kierkegaard
Nicolette (Nic) Farrell left the rural small hometown (without the charm) of Cooley Ridge, NC ten years earlier. Corinne Prescott, her best friend disappeared. Life did not turn out the way she had planned.
Tyler never left Cooley Ridge. Daniel, her brother, was stuck here-an insurance adjuster. The mother who never lived to see the dreams (cancer). Her dad losing his mind with dementia.
Can you really go back?
Now, in her thirties, living in Philadelphia, Nic is engaged to Everett. She receives a strange letter from her ailing father, Patrick Farrell with dementia following a stroke. She has to return to help her brother. A father straddling between fact and fiction- now in a facility.
“I need to talk to you. That girl. I saw that girl.”
The ghosts of the past. The dark spaces of the heart. A town full of fear, searching for answers. A town of liars. Nic hated the ghosts who lived here. A girl never found. Truth or dare?
Ten years earlier, around the last two weeks of June—the county fair had been in town. The Ferris wheel. The old investigation focused on Nic, brother Daniel, boyfriend Tyler, and Corinne’s boyfriend, Jackson. Nic is the only one who escaped the small town.
Presently, Daniel and his wife, Laura, are expecting a baby; Jackson works at the town bar; and Tyler (former boyfriend) is dating Annaleise Carter, their younger neighbor and the group’s alibi the night Corinne disappeared.
Within days of Nic’s return, Annaleise goes missing. Two girls disappearing without a trace from the same town. The last known words from Annaleise were about Corinne. The woods where Annaleise was last seen. These were the woods they had searched years ago--now once again. She disappears the day after Annaleise texted police with questions about Corinne’s case
Annaleise’s art. Girls, all alone. Exposed, sad, full of longing. Girls passed over, staring out from the walls. Look at us. The one creating, seeing, but never seen. The opposite of Corinne. A field of Sunflowers. Johnson’s Farm. How did Annaleise get her pictures? Who was this girl she had lived beside for years? Five years younger. Someone they barely noticed back then.
The disappearing girls. Police. A father blurred between reality and memories. Papers. A ring. A box. Friends. A fair. Blackmail. Betrayal. Lies. Motives. Tyler, an old boyfriend she left behind. Would time explain?
Nic had to understand, viewing from Annaleise’s point of view. Starting at the beginning of that night ten years ago. Starting with what she saw at the fair. There was gossip. Infectious and inescapable. The truth, the fiction, tangled.Which parts truly exist?
Lies and secrets. Cover-ups. How far would you go to protect the people you love? The lengths everyone would go for one another. The unraveling, day by day. All secrets come to the surface. Tick-tock.
Utterly absorbing, chilling, compelling! Psychologically rich, mysterious, and pulse-pounding. Miranda provides a perfect set-up, with twists you do not expect.
“It is quite true what philosophy says: that life must be understood backwards. But then one forgets the other principle; that it must be lived forwards.” – Soren Kierkengaard
Fans of David Bell, Chevy Stevens, Jenny Milchman, Julia Heaberlin (Black-Eyed Susans), Jennifer Hillier (Wonderland), Laura Lippman, Alafair Burke, and Heather Gudenkauf, will appreciate the complexities, and the atmospheric mood, while sustaining suspicion until the final pages.
Delighted to discover this Southern author, presently residing near Charlotte, NC (a native myself, of NC Charlotte-Lake Norman-Davidson, with family residing in the area).
Welcome to the adult world! Looking forward to more.
June Top Reads
"All the Missing Girls is a smart, suspenseful, and emotionally complex thriller. Told in reverse, this story will make you want to lock the doors, turn off the phone, and read until the last satisfying page." (Alafair Burke, New York Times bestselling author of The Ex)
“Intricately plotted…Ms. Miranda brings heightened suspense and a twist to this familiar scenario by telling the story, which unfolds over 15 days, in reverse chronological order.” (The New York Times)
"As original as it is addictive, this story puts a knot in your gut from the opening pages. Then, through the wizardry of its unconventional structure, that knot tightens and tightens and will not let go until the final pages—and even then the story continues to haunt you. Vividly rendered, psychologically complex, and narratively acrobatic, All The Missing Girls is, above all, totally gripping." (Tim Johnston, New York Times bestselling author of Descent)
“Are you paying attention? You'll need to be; this thriller will test your brain with its reverse chronological structure, and it's a page-turner to boot.” (ELLE)
"Megan Miranda’s utterly gripping and original All the Missing Girls keeps you off balance in the most perfect way. I was held hostage by the book from the first page to the stunning conclusion. This literally backward tale is a winner." (Lisa Lutz, author of The Passenger and How to Start a Fire)
"In All the Missing Girls Megan Miranda leads readers back through the past of a small southern town, enfolding them in a slow, tense nightmare of suspicion, menace, and tangled motives. A twisty, compulsive read--I loved it." (Ruth Ware, author of In a Dark, Dark Wood)
"Fiendishly plotted...Miranda convincingly conjures a haunted setting that serves as a character in its own right, but what really makes this roller-coaster so memorable is her inspired use of reverse chronology, so that each chapter steps further back in time, dramatically shifting the reader's perspective." (Publishers Weekly, starred review)
"Darkly nostalgic....Miranda takes a risk by telling the story backward, but it pays off with an undroppable thriller, plenty of romantic suspense, and a fresh take on the decades-old teenage-murder theme." (Booklist)
“Some “girl” books worth a deeper look this season include The Girls, by Emma Cline, and Megan Miranda’s All the Missing Girls.” (The Rumpus)
“The twist here is that the story of the disappearance of two teen girls 10 years apart — linked by the narrator who was friends with one and knew the other — is told backwards.” (Hollywood Reporter)
About the Author
Megan Miranda is the author of the young adult novels FRACTURE, HYSTERIA, VENGEANCE, and SOULPRINT (all from Bloomsbury). Her next young adult novel, THE SAFEST LIES, will be published by Crown BFYR/Random House in May, 2016. Her debut adult suspense novel, ALL THE MISSING GIRLS, will be published by Simon & Schuster in June, 2016. Megan has a degree in Biology from MIT and currently lives near Charlotte, North Carolina, with her husband and two children. Read More