Title: The Girl on the Train
Author: Paula Hawkins
Publisher: Black Swan
Release Date: January 2015
My Rating: 8/10 Solid
Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She’s even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. ‘Jess and Jason’, she calls them. Their life – as she sees it – is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy.
And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough.
Now everything’s changed. Now Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she’s only watched from afar.
Now they’ll see; she’s much more than just the girl on the train…
There are minor spoilers in here, as I struggled to write this review without them, but I don’t think it’ll ruin your enjoyment of the book.
I know I’m so late to this party that it’s practically over, but I finally got round to reading The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. It’s taken me until now for two reasons. Firstly, I don’t like reading hardback books, so I had to wait for the paperback. It’s not that I won’t read a hardback book, I just prefer paperback. I had the option of borrowing this book from my bestie Juliet (Not Capulet), but as it was so hyped, I felt like I should have my own copy, especially if it was going to turn out to be one of those books that I absolutely love, and enjoy staring at on my bookshelf in reminiscence. Secondly, I was a bit worried that I would be disappointing. I’ve had bad experiences with over-hyped books, so I kept putting this one off.
It turns out that this book was good. Just good. Solid even. I can see why it would be loved by somebody who doesn’t read the stupid amount of thrillers that I do, but it didn’t absolutely thrill me. I enjoyed it, I really did, but I had some issues with it.
I’ll start with the positives. This book is well written, particularly for a debut author. You can tell it has been well thought out and planned. The plot is fairly original, which meant it wasn’t predictable, and I was guessing until (almost) the very end. Without giving anything away, the author uses memory loss to add suspense throughout. We know there is something important hidden deep within Rachel’s mind, we just don’t know what, or how we’re ever going to find out.
The characters were good too, if not a little similar. I did find myself forgetting whether I was reading a Rachel chapter or a Megan chapter at first, but as both characters developed, it became more obvious. Rachel was the sort of character you can’t help but like, despite her many flaws, whereas Megan is very difficult to like. There is a certain mystery about all the characters, as if they’re all hiding something, and this only adds to the suspense.
The one thing that lets it down, however, is the psychological element. The big twist, if you will. Again, without giving anything away, it feels a little bit forced. Elements of the plot were meant to make you feel a little confused, but I wasn’t confused in an ‘Omg, how did I miss that’ sort of way, more in an actual ‘I don’t really get why that happened’ sort of way. If that makes sense! After reaching the twist at the end, I was left wondering whether I’d read certain passages right earlier on in the book. I could see exactly what Paula Hawkins was trying to do, I’m just not sure it was quite executed as it could have been. The ending itself was a little far-fetched and unrealistic, although it was exciting and gripping if you look past that. It was the sort of ending that you enjoy whilst reading it, but afterwards you stop and wonder whether it was really as good as you thought.
Overall, I did really enjoy this book. In many ways it is worth the hype, and I can see why so many people love it. It was a very decent thriller, with elements of psychological thriller thrown in there, and I’m glad I finally got round to reading it after putting it off for so long.
Although no the best book I’ve ever read, or the best thriller for that matter, I really would recommend it. It has all the elements needed to be a brilliant thriller, with just one or two minor things that let it down. I am excited to see what Paula Hawkins comes up with net.