“There is nothing more dangerous, nothing more powerful, nothing more necessary and essential for survival than the lies we tell ourselves.”
—Megan Miranda, All the Missing Girls
(from the book blurb)
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.
All the Missing Girls easily could have been lost in the sea of mystery/thrillers told through the eyes of an unreliable narrator, but Megan Miranda finds a way to make it stand out. She has Nic Farrell tell the story backwards instead of the standard timeline, starting with Nic’s 15th day in Cooley Ridge, North Carolina, working backwards to her first day.
Well, this is a bit of an exaggeration, but just a bit. The story begins with Nic’s return to her hometown, which gives Miranda a way to present all the necessary information. Readers meet Nicolette – Nic to her friends – and the other main characters. Also, at that point, Corinne’s disappearance ten years earlier is explained, and the recent disappearance of Annaleise Carter is introduced.
But Miranda then fast forwards to day 15, and begins counting back to day one, throwing in a few walks down memory lane for Nic.
It’s a great device, and it works. All the Missing Girls is exceedingly engrossing, and fast paced. I think it would have been better in one sitting. I found when I put it down for awhile and then picked it back up, I had to go back and reacquaint myself with the characters. I think the story being told backwards threw me off a bit, although I really enjoyed it.
The plot is incredibly twisty and turning, and I closed the book (or my Kindle cover) with a smile and a shake of my head. The ending really stunned me with its final twist.
All the Missing Girls is a great read for a rainy day or a weekend stuck inside. Dark, suspenseful, thrilling. Everything I hoped it would be.
I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
Title: All the Missing Girls
Author: Megan Miranda
Publisher: Simon & Shuster
Pages: 384 (hardcover)