Nicolette (or “Nic”, to her friends) is haunted by the disappearance of her childhood best friend, Corrine. Escaping this tragedy, Nic moves away and tries to start fresh. However, with an ailing father and family duties, she is called back to her small hometown, Cooley Ridge. Back to where it all started. Once she arrives, her world is shattered when another girl goes missing, exactly a decade after Corrine’s disappearance; not only does this reawaken Corrine’s case but also opens old wounds that threaten to tear a family apart….
All The Missing Girls, by Megan Miranda, is a mystery novel that opens with Nicolette returning to her childhood home. Her father is sick (suffering from dementia) and her brother, Daniel, is working hard to restore their childhood home to sell (they need the money to care for their father). Her high school sweetheart, now ex-boyfriend, Tyler is helping to restore the home. Other members of their high school clique (Jackson, Bailey) are still around the town, having never left after their mutual friend Corrine went missing. What is unique about this tale is the mirrored plot; Nicolette’s childhood friend went missing after a town event and then, after Nicolette’s arrival, another girl goes missing. The story relies on the idea of the “small town” atmosphere; everyone is connected, everyone knows everyone else’s business and everyone talks.
The novel is told in reverse from Day 15 to Day 1.
Now, I need to be incredibly clear. I loved the story. The twists and turns were great and the ending was unexpected. I loved Miranda’s writing; I think she did a good job of building some suspense and keeping the reader’s attention.
However, I absolutely hated this narration. I was actually excited about this initially because it sounded so different but I actually found it incredibly difficult to follow. There were moments that shone through and I was able to grasp what was going on, but, for the most part, I found myself having to constantly double check and turn back pages to try and create a timeline. The plot was complex enough it itself; it didn’t need the tactic of a complicated narrative path. It took away from the pace for me. I think that I would have enjoyed this novel a lot more if it had been told in a linear way, or even if we had a chapter and then flashbacks.
Overall, the narration ruined this one for me. If you like to read slowly and have time to decode a difficult narration, then, by all means, you may love this novel. However, if you enjoy something faster paced, you probably won’t have much patience for it. I know that I didn’t.