Review: The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney

Title: The Girl Before
Author: J.P. Delaney
Pages: 320
Genre: Mystery, Fiction
Source: Free ARC from Ballantine

Rating: B-

Note: As stated under the Source (above), I received this book for free from Ballantine via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review (and trust me, honest is always what you’ll get).

Summary: Emma and Jane are both coming to terms with a recent trauma and in desperate need of change, a clean slate really, when they get the opportunity to rent a beautiful, one-of-a-kind house for a budget price. Of course, they have to pass muster with the very particular owner, and agree to some strange and very limiting rules, but for this house at this price? Why not? And in a strange way, the requirements are kind of refreshing, almost liberating. When Emma moves in with her boyfriend, she has no way of knowing how this house will change her life, and what happens to her will have a ripple effect years later, changing Jane’s life forever as well.

Review: This book is unlike anything I’ve ever read. And I really, really like stories that aren’t some variance on every other book in the genre. I understand there are a number of other readers who had a difficult time suspending disbelief, not finding the overall storyline plausible. Maybe this is where my penchant for sci-fi, fantasy, paranormal stuff impacts my overall consumption of books. Because the thing is, I don’t have a hard time “buying in” if the writing is good. As long as there aren’t any clear conflicts in the details, things that don’t match up or make logical sense, I can accept that anything is possible. And I actually enjoy it when authors push the envelope a bit, as long as it isn’t ridiculous. In this case, I think the overall plot was rather ingenious.

The characters themselves were interesting, if not particularly complex. As Emma’s true nature unraveled, I was surprised, but then…not so much. Edward, well…I can’t say much because I don’t want to give anything away, but while I didn’t like him, I understood. Jane was another beast entirely. It was hard for me to understand why she would tolerate what she did in the relationship.

The ending of the story was really unsatisfying. It went a little further than I thought necessary. Based on the acknowledgments at the end, I understand why the author ended it that way, but I think the point he was trying to make had been made earlier and didn’t need to be reiterated at the end. It took a story that would have been a strong A- to more of a B-.

2 Replies to “Review: The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney”

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