Review: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Tuesday 6 January 2015
Title: The Girl on the Train
Author: Paula Hawkins
Publisher: Doubleday
Publication Date: 15th January 2015
Pages: 320
Source: NetGalley Review Copy
Rating: 4/5
Purchase: Amazon
Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She’s even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. ‘Jess and Jason’, she calls them. Their life – as she sees it – is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough.

Now everything’s changed. Now Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she’s only watched from afar.

Now they’ll see; she’s much more than just the girl on the train…

PR extraordinaire Alison Barrow knows exactly how to create a buzz surrounding the books she works with, no sooner does she reveal a book than the publishing and blogging worlds go crazy. That is exactly what happened when The Girl on the Train was revealed, with one of the best proof covers I've ever seen, sadly my review copy was digital! The praise coming in for it was almost all positive, therefore I went into it with much excitement, and high expectations. There was a battle to acquire the rights to the book, and after reading it it's easy to see why.

I really loved the idea for The Girl on the Train. Those of us that have travelled on a train will have had thoughts of the houses that we pass along the route. Mine have included wondering how people can live so close to a train line and why some houses don't have blinds, because people are bound to look in. I do anyway, it's almost like they are inviting you to look. Rachel, one of the characters in this novel takes it a few steps further than just having a nose though, and actually invents a life for two of the people she sees daily on her commute, she even gives them names, seeing them as having the perfect life. I guess this could all sound very innocuous at first, most of us people watching in public will invent scenarios for some of the people that we see, yet this being a psychological thriller it isn't long before things take a rather sinister turn and this book becomes very, very addictive.

The only problem I have is trying to write this review without giving the story away, yet it's hard to discuss the book in detail without revealing stuff. All I can say this is an absolutely thrilling read, and one that you won't want to put down. I experienced many emotions reading this book, but the ones I felt the most were shock and anger. Especially towards the character of Rachel who isn't likeable in the slightest and despite the fact there are reasons why she is the way she is, I just struggled to sympathise with her. Having three narrators allows us as a reader to see the full picture, at times it felt almost wrong to know so much about the three of them whilst they were often in the dark. Not knowing which characters were trustworthy meant that I read the book almost on edge. It's essentially a classy whodunnit, with some truly messed up characters in the frame, but I found it easy to put characters into one of two piles, 'Maybe' and 'Contrived'. I really hope this doesn't spoil the book so perhaps you might want to look away but there is an especially hateful character that Paula has created here, and for me certain aspects of the story felt a little obvious and, for the most part, far too female.

Paula Hawkins writes expertly, debut novels rarely get much better than this and I predict Paula is going to be a star in this genre, and The Girl on the Train is going to be a memorable novel in 2015 that everybody will be talking about, and rightly so. This book is almost perfect for a film, and towards the end I was playing director in my head imagining how the shots for some tense and haunting scenes could be shot. (I studied Film Studies at A Level...) The book ended and I just sat there for a few minutes thinking about the story I had just read, letting my heart resume its normal rhythm. I would advise you to pick up this book as soon as you can, it's a book everybody will be talking about, and it's a lot better than the rubbish book people are comparing it to so ignore those comparisons. Those that read this book will probably never look out of a train window the same again.

But don't just take my word from it, some of my fellow bloggers that loved this book as well are Margaret (Bleach House Library), Karen (My Reading Corner), Gordon (Grab This Book) and Liz (Liz Loves Books)


1 comment:

  1. I have heard nothing but good things about this book. I'm dying to read it!!! Great review!


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