The Girls by Lisa Jewell
Published by Cornerstone Digital
Published 2 July 2015
WHAT’S IT’S ABOUT
Dark secrets, a devastating mystery and the games people play: the gripping new novel from the bestselling author of The House We Grew Up In and The Third Wife.
You live on a picturesque communal garden square, an oasis in urban London where your children run free, in and out of other people’s houses.
You’ve known your neighbours for years and you trust them. Implicitly.
You think your children are safe.
But are they really?
Midsummer night: a thirteen-year-old girl is found unconscious in a dark corner of the garden square. What really happened to her? And who is responsible?
Pip stands behind her mother in the tiny bathroom. She’s not sure what to do. She’s never seen her mother being sick before.
WHAT I THOUGHT
The Girls is a complex, twisty read and I really enjoyed it. The book opens dramatically with 13-year-old Grace being found unconscious and bleeding by her younger sister. I was hooked from this moment through to the final page. The book is split into two sections aptly dubbed ‘before’ and ‘after’. The book opens with Grace being found, moves back in time to the moment Grace and her family arrive on the garden and moves forward picking up from the moment Grace is found. This structure works really well. I liked the fact what happened to Grace is delayed until quite far into the book which built a lot of tension. The Girls is one of those books filled with misdirection; the author leads you in a certain direction using a trail of tempting breadcrumbs only for you to end up tripping over half-buried objects you never noticed. The characters are realistic and most of them are pretty messed up. The long-term residents of the communal garden are a bit creepy and there’s something unsettling about the whole lot of them. The only thing that let The Girls down was the ending. Nothing is really resolved. Grace claims to have no memory of what happened to her even though it’s obvious she’s lying. One of the neighbours, Adele, has uncovered some seriously disturbing facts about her husband, his father and a teenage friend of her daughter’s but carries on regardless instead of going to the authorities. The ending didn’t work for me.