Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for providing me with an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review. As always, it’s appreciated!
A gripping psychological thriller for fans of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train.
Leah Mills lives a life of a fugitive – kept on the run by one terrible day from her past. It is a lonely life, without a social life or friends until – longing for a connection – she meets Julian. For the first time she dares to believe she can live a normal life.
Then, on the fourteenth anniversary of that day, she receives a card. Someone knows the truth about what happened. Someone who won’t stop until they’ve destroyed the life Leah has created.
But is Leah all she seems? Or does she deserve everything she gets?
Everyone has secrets. But some are deadly.
Once again, I will register my distaste for this prevalent trend of comparing every book EVER to “Gone Girl”. Please, publishers and blurb writers, let books stand on their two feet. This book is more than capable of being attractive to the reader without the comparisons to a book that has already had its fifteen minutes of fame. (No disrespect meant to Gillian Flynn, who I think is very talented). I do understand that there needs to be some frame of reference for readers, but can we pick a new one please?
ANYWAY. Onto the book, which I really enjoyed.
The Girl With No Past is a taut and suffocating suspense novel. The main character, Leah Mills, is steeped in subterfuge, running desperately from one terrible event in her past. She lives a solitary existence, surrounded by books (both at home and at the library where she works), talking only briefly to co-workers and members of online chat rooms. Then, she meets a man who allows her to step outside of her own mind — and that’s the beginning of the end for Leah’s carefully constructed life.
Strange things begin to happen. It’s clear that someone knows what she did. They are determined to punish her. But who is it? And what is Leah’s secret?
The journey to finding out is a little slow at the beginning, but soon, as Leah’s world begins to crumble, so does the book speed up and become much more exciting. It flicks between the past and present, showing us how Leah arrived at this place where she trusts no one and expects the worst from all of her interactions.
As for the secret – I guessed some of it almost immediately, but not the completely gross extent of it (and it is VERY horrifying and upsetting to read about). I did NOT guess the perpetrator, or the shocker of an ending. That ending. It was so beautifully perfect and exactly what I wanted. Comeuppance is sweet, my friends, and those who received it in this book deserved it more than anyone ever could.
Is the book perfect? No. Some of the phrasing is awkward, and like I mentioned above, the book is slightly flat in the beginning (I think it could use a trim-down as the meat of the story doesn’t begin for quite a while). However, these are minor quibbles – The Girl With No Past was much better than I expected, and the writing is crisp, without melodrama, and gets points for perfectly capturing how vile and self involved teenagers can be.