disclaimer – i received a copy of this book via ballantine books in exchange for an honest review.
the girl before is described as a thriller but it is actually an incredible study of the choices we make to protect ourselves after. after tragedy. after trauma. after horrific mistakes. we get to watch the choices two women, emma and jane, make as they try to move on after. we also get to see what came before the attempt at after and it’s tempting to judge the decisions, but we can’t. we weren’t there, right? well, maybe we actually can because there is such a thing as reality. there is accountability, or there should be.
j.p. delaney created two amazing women in the girl before. all of the characters are good but emma and jane are so nuanced, so complex, so very human that they draw you into their respective stories. even if you don’t actually like the character, you know you’re in her world when it’s 3:00 a.m. and you’re saying “oh honey, no” because that was such a stupid choice. how could she not see that that was a stupid choice?
in the past, i’ve found point-of-view narration tricky but delaney makes great use of it and switches between the two voices effortlessly, leaving no confusion. overall, the girl before was a great read, an excellent thriller with a mystery that i wasn’t able to figure out until the end but it was the psychological side of the story that kept me enthralled.
four out of five stars