Audible version, narrated by Chloe Massey and Kathryn Griffiths
This story takes place before and after. You only find out before and after what towards the very end, and I gotta tell you it’s a humdinger, and something I didn’t see coming until we were almost there.
The Before part is told by Heather and the After part is told by Edie. We begin with After, and meet Edie who is pregnant and alone. We understand something happened between her, her then boyfriend Connor , and a girl named Heather 16 years ago. The traumatic event led Edie’s mother to abhor her, and they’re still not in touch. Edie isn’t in touch with anyone, she doesn’t get close to anyone any more. We know that she is haunted by what happened and imagines seeing both Heather and Connor everywhere she goes – still. And then one day, Heather is actually there on her doorstep.
Before: We meet Heather, who is at best an awkward teen and at worst a bit of a stalker and psychopath. Everyone thinks Heather is weird, and she has no friends. She used to have a younger sister, but she died years ago under as yet mysterious circumstances – though you kind of get the feeling Heather was involved somehow. Then Edie shows up, new in town, and Heather actually has a friend. A real friend. And she becomes a tad obsessed.
Although I was a little impatient to get to know what the event actually was, and was apprehensive that it would be anticlimactic and therefore retroactively ruin the book (it wasn’t, and it didn’t), I did like the way the book was written. You have two narrators who are equally unreliable, with their separate version of events, and also at separate times in the the story. This leads to an interesting duality and ambiguity. I kept going back and forth and wondering what happened and who did what, and feeling sympathy for each of the women at different times.
This book is a portrait of two troubled teenage girls, and a story of how decisions made at this relatively young age can have shocking and heartbreaking consequences that reverberate through time. Especially if you run away from those consequences. It’s also a fairly intense and unnerving read.
So yeah, definitely decent thriller, decent story, good writing and well-developed characters, it just didn’t have that little extra that made me go “wow, I really loved it”. But a very respectable 4.