The Girl on the Train

Author: Paula Hawkins 
Pages: 336 
Publisher: Riverhead Books 
Format: Hardcover 
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost. 

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

My Summary: Rachel's life is a bit of a mess.

She has no job, her cheating husband left her, and she may have a drinking problem. All that Rachel has left is the 8:04 train ride into town, where she wanders aimlessly until taking the train home again later that night. The train rides are all she has to look forward to every day, and she spends her time watching the houses outside the window, making up stories in her head.

One couple in particular catches her attention - a man and woman she names "Jason and Jess". Their life seems perfect - an example of everything she's lost. But when she notices something completely out of the ordinary outside of Jason and Jess' house one day, Rachel can no longer remain a casual observer - especially when she discovers that Jess is missing, and Rachel is the last person to see her alive. 

My Thoughts: I have seen this book everywhere. Like, literally everywhere. My professor was reading it as I wrote her exam, the pharmacist was reading it when I went to pick up my prescription, and the amount of raving reviews I've seen is ridiculous. Unfortunately, I had to wait until exams were over to read it. 

Fortunately, it was well worth the wait. It's been a while since I read a novel with such unreliable narrators, but Rachel makes your heart ache for her, and Megan and Anna get under your skin as well. Rachel's been through a lot, and she's not dealing with it very well.

The story pulls you in right away. Rachel's narrative is clear and engaging, despite her constant inebriated state. The narration flows smoothly, and the way Hawkins describes Rachel's world adds that extra spooky element to Jess' (Megan's) disappearance. I really liked the shifting point of views and the contrast we got to see between Rachel's storybook version of Jess and Jason's life and the real thing. 

I also really liked the flashback element - it really added that extra level of uncertainty to the narration. The twists and turns caught me completely off-guard - I found myself trying to formulate new theories after every chapter, and every chapter they'd be disproved. 

Final Thoughts: I definitely recommend this novel to fans of Gillian Flynn, as well as psychological thrillers in general. Trust me guys, there's a reason you've been seeing this book everywhere. Don't wait to find out why. 

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