Title: The Girls
Author: Lisa Jewell
Release Date: July 2015
My Rating: 8/10 Solid
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?
Lisa Jewell is fast becoming one of my favourite authors. I loved the first book of hers that I read, The House We Grew Up In, and The Girls didn’t disappoint. I really like the subtle and understated way that Lisa Jewell writes. She has a simple, yet beautiful style, that allows the reader to form a vivid image in their heads without being over the top, or quirky. I’m struggling to describe what exactly it is that makes it so beautiful, but there is something about it that makes you feel warm and comfortable.
The story is split between the points of view of various people who live on a communal garden. It starts with a girl being found unconscious in the garden, before rewinding time to find out how it happened. The story itself, while good, isn’t incredible, but that does’t matter really. The mystery keeps the reader gripped enough to keep turning the pages, but it’s the writing and the characters that make this book so good.
The setting of a communal garden was an interesting one. I’m from Yorkshire, where everyone has their own garden, so I didn’t realise this sort of thing actually happens in London. It allows a small, slightly too close community feel, which makes the incident all the more unsettling. The relationships between the characters a borderline weird, so we struggle to figure out who is responsible.
I’m struggling to put my finger on what really makes this book so good. It’s got fairly mixed reviews on Goodreads, but I suppose people value different things in books. It you want an absolutely incredible story, then this book probably isn’t for you. If you want beautiful writing, then it definitely is for you.
Although I don’t think I enjoyed it quite as much as I did The House We Grew Up In, it was still very good. I really can’t wait to read more of Lisa Jewell’s books.