Thursday, June 30, 2016

ALL THE MISSING GIRLS BY MEGAN MIRANDA - BLOG TOUR + BOOK REVIEW

Hello everyone!

Today, I am partnering with Simon and Schuster and some other bloggers in the Summer Fiction Blog Tour to bring you all a bunch of highly anticipated books of the year, over the course of 5 weeks with 5 different bloggers!


This week, we are all sharing our reviews of All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda. Thanks so much to Simon and Schuster for sending me an ARC of this book for an honest review. As always, all opinions are my own.

This book was one heck of a ride! Sometimes, with these types of books, there's not a lot of suspense, because you know the ending before the story, but this was definitely not the case with this book.

Before I even talk about plot or characters or anything, I want to talk about the way this book is written, because it is quite different than the usual books you read. You got a glimpse of the first day at the beginning of the book, but then it jumps forward to two weeks later and everything counts down from that point until day one, giving more and more insight into what is actually going on. Some books try to do this with flashbacks, but it was a totally different experience living it backwards like this. The storyline was simple enough, the main character Nicolette comes back to the sleepy town she grew up in to help get her ailing father's house ready to sell. A few days later, a girl goes missing. While this in and of itself is tragic, it is even more troubling when you find out the girl that went missing was Nic and her friend's alibi for the disappearance of one of their friends, Corinne, who went missing ten years ago, and is presumed dead.

At first, I thought this was going to be a story about Nic trying to help her father, but also help find the girl that helped prove her innocence in the last disappearance. But, as the note from the editor in the ARC says, you quickly learn that no one is a reliable narrator, and no one is trustworthy. Nic is not who she seems to be, but neither are her friends or her father. As the days roll on, you learn more about what really happened that night, and who was really to blame.

Up until the last few days of the story, I honestly thought that I could rely on Nic's narration. I thought the editor's note was a bit of reverse psychology to trick me into not trusting her, so automatically, I did. And to be frank, she didn't really give me much of a reason to think she was lying or hiding anything.

I think between the unreliable narration and the reverse chronological order of storytelling, this book really messes with your head. You are constantly trying to remember what happened in days prior, and trying to figure out how everything pieces together. I was confused, but it was a good confused. On some level, I knew what was going on, but like Nic, some pieces were slipping away while others were falling into place. It was this weird sort of limbo where you are juggling what is actually happening and what you remember happening later on. I couldn't put this book down, not only because the story was so engrossing, but because I was afraid if I left it too long, I would forget important details.

As crazy as this book was, I do think it had some great quotes and a really great, if not frightening message. I won't give too much away, but this book really delves into what happens when those you love are in trouble, and the things you will do to protect them. Love is a powerful force and can drive people to do crazy things to protect those they love most. While this book is a bit extreme, it is admirable the lengths these characters will go to to protect each other from harm.

Overall, this book blew me away. It was wondrously confusing and exhilarating; I loved every page!

I was also able to do a quick Q&A with the author, Megan Miranda!

Telling the story backwards, as opposed to just having flashbacks, is an interesting way to tell a story. Why did you decide to write the book this way? 
The structure and the story developed hand-in-hand. I knew from the start I wanted to tell it this way, as the unwinding of a mystery, where each day would peel back another layer, revealing more of the why and how of things. To me, it was also tied to the theme, with the main character going back to the past for an understanding of things, seeing the events in a different light.


Many thrillers published lately are being compared to major blockbusters like, or advertised for fans of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train. Other than the fact that this book is considered a psychological thriller, why or why is it not fair, in your opinion to compare All the Missing Girls to these books? 
I think Gone Girl and The Girl on The Train are pretty different from each other, but are similar in that both primarily focus on the characters and relationships, and the set-up or structure adds a level of mystery or unreliability. Whereas in Gone Girl, part of the story is presented in a journal, and in The Girl on The Train, there are blank spaces in the main character’s memory. So there’s an inherent question of trust built into both. Though I think All the Missing Girls is pretty different from each of these books, I think there’s a similarity to a question of trust built into the structure, where the answers to motivations may be revealed later because of the reverse chronology.


I’ve been on the hunt for a fantastic thriller and part of what always fascinates me in these types of books is wondering why the author wrote the book, the underlying psychological reasoning. Is there any personal significance to writing this story, or is it just more of an idea you came up with? 
I usually start with character first when developing an idea. For me, Nic’s character is what sparked the story. I’d been driving from NC (where I live) to NJ (where I grew up) to see family, and the drive felt like a character shift in itself, where as the scenery changes, you almost feel yourself change as well, back to the person who existed there, with all these people who know you that way waiting for you. So I wondered if versions of you could be tied to place, if it was possible to leave the person you used to be behind. The first scene I wrote was of Nic driving home from Philadelphia to NC, seeing pieces of her past as she drove. And then, because I love thrillers (both reading and writing), the backstory of what happened 10-year earlier is what I saw first, and the idea developed from there, in the present.


What, in general, do you want the reader to take away from this book at the end of the book? 
I tend to think that when you put a book out there, it stops belonging to you, and instead belongs to the reader and what they take from it. I guess for me, while I was writing it, the element that really stuck with me was a questioning really—what these characters have each done to protect the people around them, and what you would do for the people you loved.

Thanks so much to Megan for answering my questions!

Stay tuned for next week's review of Lily and the Octopus! And don't forget to check out the Simon and Schuster's Read Chill Repeat website for more info and to enter for a chance to win a set of books + one year of free coffee from Aroma Espresso Bar!


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