Title: All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 384 pages
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss
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.
Told backward over a two week period, Megan Miranda’s All the Missing Girls is a perplexing mystery about the disappearance of two young women who vanished ten years apart.
Following the unsolved disappearance of her best friend Corrine Prescott, eighteen year old Nicolette “Nic” Farrell left the small town of Cooley Ridge, NC behind her. Ten years later, she reluctantly returns after receiving a troubling letter from her dementia stricken father and a phone call from her brother Daniel requesting her help getting their family home ready to sell. Not long after her arrival, their closest neighbor Annaliese Carter vanishes. Her disappearance bears eerie similarities to Corrine’s still unsolved case and the whole town cannot help but hold their collective breath as the investigation into Annaliese’s disappearance quickly hits a dead end. Fearing Daniel or her ex-boyfriend Tyler Ellison might somehow be involved, Nic is quickly caught up in trying to understand what happened to both Corrine and Annaliese.
With a job she loves and a wealthy fiancé, Nic has come a long way from her small town roots and she is in no hurry to return to Cooley Ridge. Her relationship with Daniel is fraught with tension and they are stuck in a pattern of ignoring the problems between them. Her attraction to her high school boyfriend Tyler has not waned in the intervening years and the events from the night Corrine vanished continue to haunt their relationship. Adding to her anxiety is the mysterious note from her father but she must delicately question him in an effort to avoid confusing him any further. When her fiancé unexpectedly arrives in town, Nic is caught in a maelstrom of strong emotion while trying to explain why she kept her past a secret from him.
Annaliese’s disappearance brings back Nic’s long forgotten memories of Corrine and with the lens of maturity, she now views her friend much more clearly. Corrine was a force to be reckoned with and she bullied her friends until they agreed to do whatever she wanted them to do. She reveled in picking and prodding them into revealing their secrets and she enjoyed exposing then exploiting their weaknesses. Corrine carefully concealed her troubled home life from them and in order to keep her problems a secret, she easily manipulated them into helping her escape her family. Initially believing Corrine left town by choice, Nic and the police came to the conclusion that she was most likely the victim of foul play but with little evidence to go on, her case grew cold.
With the narrative going back in time, the reader’s perspective about what is occurring in the story is constantly shifting once the preceding events are revealed. This manner of storytelling is a little hard to follow sometimes but it is fascinating learning what lead up to the events of the previous chapters. A large portion of the story concentrates on Corrine’s disappearance and the complicated relationships between her, Nic, Daniel and Tyler. The events on the night she disappeared are, initially, quite confusing because very little information is known about the various characters’ backgrounds or their complex histories. Since Annaliese vanished at the beginning of Nic’s arrival in town, the events surrounding her disappearance do not become clear until the novel’s final chapters. The conclusion of All the Missing Girls is full of shocking revelations and while most of the loose ends are completely wrapped up, a couple of small, yet important, details remain unresolved.
All in all, this adult debut by young adult author Megan Miranda is a riveting mystery that fans of the genre do not want to miss.