Published June 21st 2016 by NAL
Format read: Finished copy via publisher
Three months earlier, Jenna Barton was supposed to meet her lifelong best friend Celia. But when Jenna arrived late she found that Celia had disappeared—and hasn’t been seen since. Jenna has blamed herself for her friend’s disappearance every single day since then.
The only piece of evidence is a lone diamond earring found where Celia and Jenna were planning to meet. And even though Jenna has obsessively surfed message boards devoted to missing persons cases, she is no closer to finding any answers—or easing her guilt.
But when her son’s new girlfriend disappears, a stricken Jenna begins to unwind the tangled truth behind Celia’s tragedy. And as long-buried secrets finally come to light, she discovers how a few simple lies can completely shatter lives.
However, my friends over at Penguin did such an exceptional job of pitching Since She Went Away, and I was so intrigued by the synopsis, I gamely agreed to read the book. And I'm very glad I did, because I've now discovered a writer that I'm definitely going to look forward to reading in the future.
David Bell introduces us to Jenna Barton, who is grappling with the disappearance of her friend. She feels responsible; the friend was scheduled to meet with her the night she vanished. But as Jenna digs deeper, another mysterious disappearance of someone close to her family rocks the foundation of Jenna's life...
Since She Went Away unfolds like two halves a coin. Bell has readers jumping back and forth between Jenna and her son Jared, which helps to emphasize the uncertainties and unknowns of the story. There's a certain delicious ambiguity in only getting their alternating perspectives, as it helps heighten the anxiety of the overall situation.
Bell does a great job of peeling off hints as the story progresses, making sure to reveal just enough to keep readers reading, while also making sure to keep enough hidden, that each reveal feels like a thunderclap to te reader's emotions. There's a twist that I definitely didn't see coming, and other readers will likely be just as surprised.
Though I did think the overall ending was a tad stereotypical for the genre, the masterful writing and good characterizations makes this a book that will keep readers riveted from beginning to end.
David Bell does an excellent job of putting us into the mindset of two very different people, who are privy to a story that they only partially understand. It's thrilling and will keep readers guessing, which is exactly what you want in a summer read like this.
Strongly recommend to mystery readers. This is a good summer read that will keep you riveted from beginning to end.