There came a moment in All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda where I said out loud "Oh S***" and then climbed onto my couch cushion because I couldn't believe what I was reading. The great news was the story just continued from there. I will place what day that took place at the bottom, so if one is looking to go into this book blind, it will not ruin anything.*
I want to mention that I received an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley, so it may not be the same in the final form. I do not have to give a positive review, but I do have to inform the reader that I received the book this way.
Ten years ago, a teen girl, Corrine, went missing. Her boyfriend, Jackson, was the main suspect, but three of her friends were the last ones to see her at a county fair they attended. The friends were Nic (our protagonist), Tyler (Nic's then boyfriend), and Daniel (Nic's brother). There was also Annaleise who were the three friends' alibi the night of Corrine's disappearance and is Tyler's current girlfriend.
Nic must return to her hometown because she received a note that simply read "I need to talk to you. That girl. I saw that girl." Nic's dad isn't doing well and is in a specialized care unit, but he keeps talking about "That Girl." When Nic returns, Annaleise also goes missing, but this time Tyler is the main suspect.
Believe it or not, I am not spoiling anything in the above outline because the unique part of this book is that it is told backwards. Many may remember Seinfeld did a similar thing, as did the movie Memento. To tell a mystery this way left me on edge the whole time. Things weren't lining up, there was a feeling that someone knows more than is being told, and it left me, as the reader, a bit disoriented, in a good way. The backwards story just worked. Sentences would go by that would just drop a little hint at something that wasn't told before because it happened a few days before the part one is reading. It was an effective tool.
Miranda has a great story telling voice. Even though there were parts of the book that frustrated me because I thought I missed something or wanted to know more and I wouldn't get to those parts until 3 days earlier or so (we count from Day 15 backwards), I was drawn into the story due to the writing. There was one critique and I am not sure if it was because of my frustration or the need for Miranda to tell the story backwards, but Miranda revisits scenes often and occasionally I felt too often. We come back to the Ferris Wheel, for example, where Nic is dared to hang off the side, at least 6 times, if not more. It was a life event for Nic, but it felt like we were there a few too many times.
Much of the book is about secrets and small town gossip. Is something true just because a town declares it true? Can anything really be kept secret in a small town? What is truth in the first place?
There are some great twists in the book, as stated at least one "oh s***" moment. It comes out next week and it is a page turner.
I rated this one 4 stars.
Here is the Amazon link- All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda
*It isn't much of a spoiler, but if you are ready to jump to when things get really rolling, Day 4 and Day 3 were my moments.