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The Girl on the Train?

The Girl on the Train?

If you work at a public library, you’re bound to have heard of the latest thriller, The Girl on the Train. In my library system there are currently 285 holds on the 101 copies we have in our collection, ergo, it is an extremely popular book. Apparently, “Gone Girl fans will devour this psychological thriller” (People) and “Nothing is more addicting than The Girl on the Train” (Vanity Fair). Needless to say I had to get my hands on a copy to see what all the fuss was about. I did, in fact, devour and thoroughly enjoy Gone Girl, so I assumed this book would be a hit, as well.

If you’re completely out of the librarian-loop, here is a brief synopsis from Amazon.com:

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? Compulsively readable, The Girl on the Train is an emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller and an electrifying debut.

It sounds like a promising, thrilling read; however, I just finished reading it and I am left feeling let down. Am I the only person on the entire planet who was unimpressed by this novel? Perhaps since there was such a build-up I was expecting too much… although Gone Girl lived up to the hype.

I found the beginning of the story to be tedious- you start to wonder if the entire storyline is going to consist of Rachel’s daily commute on the train. I found my mind wandering, which is never a good sign, especially when the book is supposed to be an “electrifying” and “compulsive” read. I also found the character development rather weak. The story starts out alternating between Rachel and another character, Megan, narrating the chapters, and although the chapters are properly labeled with each character’s name, I didn’t even realize at first that there were two different characters. When a third character was added- Anna- I still didn’t see her character differ from the others. Generally when you have several different characters narrating a story, they all have distinct personalities, which makes it easy to distinguish which character is “speaking” at the time. This story was none too clear.

I also would not necessarily consider this a “thriller”- a mystery, yes; I continued reading it because I was curious how the story would end. But a real thriller is like Gone Girl when the story takes that turn in the middle and your mouth drops open, or in Dean Koontz’s Hideaway when you literally jump in your seat. The Girl on the Train paled in comparison. There also was no surprise-ending- nothing shocking or unpredictable happened, and you weren’t left feeling unsettled in the end, as with Gone Girl.

I don’t mean to bash this novel by any means. I’m simply confused as to why this book is flying off the shelves and being “devoured” by so many readers.  Am I completely missing something here? Feel free to enlighten me and help me see this book as more than a weak (and rather annoying) main character, her train rides, and a ho-hum murder mystery.

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Most Wonderful Time of the Year…

Most Wonderful Time of the Year…

Here’s a list of good Christmas reads for adults:

  • Skipping Christmas by John Grisham- imagine a year without Christmas; a hilarious look at the chaos and frenzy that have become part of our holiday tradition
  • Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris- collection of six essays about Christmas, some new and some previously published; known as “one of the funniest writers alive” (Economist)
  • The Bridge by Karen Kingsbury- heartwarming Christmas story about a hundred-year flood, lost love, and the beauty of enduring friendships
  • The Christmas Train by David Baldacci- a sweet holiday tale; differs greatly from Baldacci’s usual fast-paced thrillers
  • Wishin’ and Hopin’: A Christmas Story by Wally Lamb- “Both heartwarming and laugh-out-loud funny… a cast of characters that are both uproarious and unforgettable… a poignant reminder that family and friends are the greatest gift of all.” (Hartford Books Examiner ) (Not to mention that anything by Wally Lamb is worth reading!)
  • The Christmas Box by Richard Paul Evans- “This inspiring holiday tale tells the touching story of a widow and the young family who moves in with her, and the ways in which they discover together the first gift of Christmas and what the holiday is really all about..” –Barnes & Noble; eight million copies in print!
  • All I Want for Christmas by By Sherrilyn Kenyon, Lori Foster, Eileen Wilks and Dee Holmes- ‘tis the season for passion; four of the best romance authors team up for this hot Christmas romance 
  • The Christmas Shoes by Donna VanLiere- heart-tugging Christmas tale; may not be suitable if you’ve recently lost someone to illness, as it deals with a character losing his mother to cancer
  • Santa, Baby by Jennifer Crusie, Lori Foster and Carly Phillips- “You’ll believe in Santa all over again with these seductive stories” 😉
  • A Wallflower Christmas by Lisa Kleypas- light, humorous Christmas romance
  • An Irish Country Christmas by Patrick Taylor- heartwarming, cozy tale of yuletide merriment by the New York Times bestselling author of An Irish Country Doctor
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If You Like…

If You Like…

Here are some author read-alikes. If you like the authors in bold, then most likely you will enjoy reading the authors listed below.

Jodi Picoult
Chris Bohjalian
Jacquelyn Mitchard
Ann Hood
Luanne Rice
Lionel Shriver

Sophie Kinsella
Helen Fielding
Jane Green
Sarah Mlynowski
Sarah Strohmeyer

V. C. Andrews
John Saul
Kay Hooper
Adele Geras
James Patterson
Lois Duncan

Karen Kingsbury
Lisa Tawn Bergren
Terri Blackstock
Donna Fletcher Crow
Francine Rivers

Sandra Brown
Heather Graham
Lynette Eason
Lori Foster
Karen Robards

Rick Riordan
Kelley Armstrong
Christopher Paul Curtis
Margaret Peterson Haddix
Philip Pullman

Lee Child
F. Paul Wilson
James Lee Burke
Barry Eisler
Reginald Hill
Vince Flynn

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The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars

It seems as though every second teen is requesting The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. When books are requested that often I have to read them, regardless of the topic, to see what all the fuss is about.

Amazon.com Review:

In The Fault in Our Stars, John Green has created a soulful novel that tackles big subjects–life, death, love–with the perfect blend of levity and heart-swelling emotion. Hazel is sixteen, with terminal cancer, when she meets Augustus at her kids-with-cancer support group. The two are kindred spirits, sharing an irreverent sense of humor and immense charm, and watching them fall in love even as they face universal questions of the human condition–How will I be remembered? Does my life, and will my death, have meaning?–has a raw honesty that is deeply moving. –Seira Wilson

Accolades for The Fault in Our Stars:

TIME Magazine’s #1 Fiction Book of 2012
An Entertainment Weekly Best Fiction Book of 2012
John Green is one of Entertainment Weekly’s Entertainers of the Year, 2012
#1 New York Times Bestseller
#1 Wall Street Journal Bestseller
A USA Today Bestseller
International Bestseller
#1 Children’s Indiebound Pick
New York Times Editor’s Choice
The Huffington Post Best Books of 2012
A Booklist Books for Youth Editor’s Choice
The Horn Book Fanfare List
A Publishers Weekly Best Book
A School Library Journal Best Book
Unprecedented EIGHT starred reviews

My review: I read half the book in one sitting, which obviously is a sign of a gripping book. It started off very strong, making you quickly grow close to main characters. It’s LOL funny at times, moving, and none too “teen angsty,” as many YA books. However, I felt like it fizzled toward the end. I wasn’t expecting a happily ever after type ending, but the so called turn in the story was predictable, and I was left a bit disappointed. Maybe I expected too much? It’s overall a good book, but not one that will stick with me, nor plague with me questions of what happened to the main character after the book ended, as it did to Hazel in An Imperial Affliction. *Spoiler Alert!* Okay, I take that back, I am starting to wonder how Hazel is doing…

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