The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda
Release Date: April 11, 2017
* e-ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review – thanks so much for sending me a copy!*
When you got down to it, everyone was a mystery, just waiting to be unraveled.
If you’re a follower of my blog, you know how much I love Leigh Bardugo, Simone St. James, and of course, Marissa Meyer. I endlessly fangirl over them and squeal and cry over how talented and amazing they are. I don’t talk about Megan Miranda that much, which is a shame, because she is honestly in the top 5 of my favorite authors and her writing style is so beautiful. She will just caught you off guard with a stunningly beautiful quote in the middle of what you thought was a boring or not important part. So needless to say, when I saw her newest book was available on Netgalley, you best believe I raced over as quick as I could to request it.
Once Upon a Time…
In the masterful follow-up to the runaway hit All the Missing Girls, a journalist sets out to find a missing friend, a friend who may never have existed at all.
Confronted by a restraining order and the threat of a lawsuit, failed journalist Leah Stevens needs to get out of Boston when she runs into an old friend, Emmy Grey, who has just left a troubled relationship. Emmy proposes they move to rural Pennsylvania, where Leah can get a teaching position and both women can start again. But their new start is threatened when a woman with an eerie resemblance to Leah is assaulted by the lake, and Emmy disappears days later.
Determined to find Emmy, Leah cooperates with Kyle Donovan, a handsome young police officer on the case. As they investigate her friend’s life for clues, Leah begins to wonder: did she ever really know Emmy at all? With no friends, family, or a digital footprint, the police begin to suspect that there is no Emmy Grey. Soon Leah’s credibility is at stake, and she is forced to revisit her past: the article that ruined her career. To save herself, Leah must uncover the truth about Emmy Grey—and along the way, confront her old demons, find out who she can really trust, and clear her own name.
Everyone in this rural Pennsylvanian town has something to hide—including Leah herself. How do you uncover the truth when you are busy hiding your own?
I’ve always been a massive fangirl over Miranda’s YA novels, but when I saw she ventured in adult mysteries last year with All the Missing Girls, I thought I would give it a try. And dear gosh, it was amazinggggg. It shocked me, kept me enthralled, and I found myself loving it the best of all her novels. So, I assumed The Perfect Stranger would be the same. Maybe I had too high of expectations for it because of the first one, but it just fell flat for me.
I had been no one. I’d stood in front of the bulletin board eight years earlier, adrift from my life. I was lost, untethered, unsure of everything. And then Emmy came along while I was this stripped-away version of a person. So was it strange that I felt her in my skin? She was there when it re-formed. She existed inside the sharper edges I erected.
I think the main issue was in the character connection. I never felt any connections to the characters, and I wasn’t actively rooting for Leah. I couldn’t feel much of her personality shining through the pages, and she was just kind of there for me. Every once in a while I would be like, oh, hey, Leah. You’re still here. I started not to care about what was happening to her, and when I couldn’t even get behind the romance, I knew there was a problem. I just wanted more from Leah.
I also got a little distracted by the flashbacks. I thought there was far too many. While I understood why they might have been needed to establish the connection between Emmy and Leah, I got a bit bored in some of them and started skimming because I just wanted to get back to the now. It slowed down the pace for me.
One thing that did not change was Miranda’s talent for writing. She has such a way with words that the quote lover in me just cried because there was a lot of beautiful lines. Yes, I actually put quotes in my review because I just loved these lines. They were just things that struck me in the novel that I literally paused and let them simmer just so I could soak it in.
You can get there and not like the truth you find. Discover that the truth does not glimmer or shine or burn or feel like ribs cracking open, a light escaping. That it can be the opposite. Bones folding in and over, as your body does the same.
When you realize that no one was who you thought.
Also, I was pretty surprised with the twists and turns that the novel took. I didn’t really see a lot of what was going to happen and who was playing who. Miranda definitely succeeded in creating suspense, because even though I did have a missed connection with it, I still sped through this book within two days. She created such a rush and need for me to just figure out what was going on. I had the thought just in the back of the mind, wondering where it was going, what was happening next, what more could go wrong?
Overall, it was a good read, but I did have the two major problems with it that really made the book fall flat compared to other Miranda books. She still holds her place in my Top 5 favorite authors, but this will not be my favorite book by her. She still shines in her writing and master of suspense title, but I didn’t connect with the characters and the pacing did lag a bit in parts.
3 stars and a Belle rating!
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What do you think? Do you have a favorite author whose work you just don’t fully love all the way? Let’s discuss in the comments below!