Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.
And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?
Seriously compelling, ridiculously addicting, and so very fucked up.
The Girl on the Train was one of the most fun books I’ve ever read. I know, fun isn’t the first word you’d associate with a book like this, but I was lit with excitement by the time I got off this crazy ride.
This book featured one of the most fascinating characters I’ve ever read. Rachel is fascinating like watching a building collapse is fascinating. I don’t think I’ve ever cringed or screamed more at a character. I’ll give you some details about the events in this book, though not too much, but seeing as this is a mystery, I think the details should remain such.
Rachel is a sad, sloppy shell of a woman who spends most of her life watching the lives of those around her. She used to be different, but now her days roll by without anything to mark them. Until she sees something she shouldn’t and becomes involved in the lives of the people she used to watch from afar. I loved Rachel. I felt for her, I was scared for her, I pitied her, and I rooted for her, even though sometimes I wanted to turn my back on her. But I could never leave her alone. She was that friend who exasperated me as she did stupid shit over and over again, but I stuck by her because I knew that she could be better.
The novel is told mainly from her POV, along with two other women, and through their eyes the reader sees each clue to the puzzle. I loved the format for this book. Its nonlinear plot confused me and spun me in all directions until I had no idea what one was north. The mystery was truly absorbing, made even more so by the fact that the main character’s observations were unreliable. I had so much fun trying to see through the mucky facts, but that wasn’t even the best part of the book to me.
I loved the characters most. They were so engaging and well developed, each one evoking strong feelings from me. There wasn’t a redundant one in the bunch. This wasn’t suspense that relied only on the unsolved mystery and the plot to thrill and captivate. The characters pulled me in and each one made me feel like I was living their life, which made what was going on between the pages seem so real.
Paula Hawkins created a novel that had movement. At no time while I was reading did I feel like I was sitting still. I recommend this to any reader, regardless of which genre they love. This is simply a great book with skillful writing, layered characters, and an exceptional story. I just finished it and I already want to read it again.