Book Review: All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

Title: All the Missing Girls
Author: Megan Miranda
Published: 2016
Genre: Adult Thriller

Synopsis: It’s been ten years since Nicolette Farrell left her rural hometown after her best friend, Corinne, disappeared from Cooley Ridge without a trace. Back again to tie up loose ends and care for her ailing father, Nic is soon plunged into a shocking drama that reawakens Corinne’s case and breaks open old wounds long since stitched. The decade-old investigation focused on Nic, her brother Daniel, boyfriend Tyler, and Corinne’s boyfriend Jackson. Since then, only Nic has left Cooley Ridge. Daniel and his wife, Laura, are expecting a baby; Jackson works at the town bar; and Tyler is dating Annaleise Carter, Nic’s younger neighbor and the group’s alibi the night Corinne disappeared. Then, within days of Nic’s return, Annaleise goes missing.

My Rating: red-star

Hate is a strong word, hate I hold it when I had a moral issue with the book. In this book I suffered unnecessarily so I’m going to go with STRONG DISLIKE. It took me 9 days to read and I ranted in my reading journal about it the whole time. (as a BONUS I have typed up my train of thought for your reading enjoyment and a warning I curse. A lot.)

This book follows the story of Nicolette ‘Nic’ who is in her late 20s and has to go back home to a small town in the middle of fucking nowhere to sort out her father’s home now that his health is declining. This book is told in a backwards to front format for the period of 14 days. So you start out with her going to this small down and arriving to her childhood home and then we go to the future and tell the story backwards.

There are a slew of problems with this novel and I will attempt to delineate because I don’t like to slap a one star on a book without cause or explaining. These are things that for me destroyed what could’ve been a really awesome story. From now there will be SPOILERS!

  1. Format: while I appreciate the concept of backwards to forward it doesn’t work in this story because the fact is that Day 14 Nic details the events as if she didn’t know what happened in Day 1. Does this make sense? So though we’re telling the story backwards it’s as if Nic didn’t know what happened in the past. Information is withheld from days until the end which defeats the purpose of the backwards storytelling. This made the story extremely confusing.
  2. The Unreliable Narrator Trope from Hell: It’s not that I do not like an unreliable narrator, I very much enjoy it but the problem here is that there are 2 types of unreliable narrators: the ones you don’t know they’re unreliable until the end and it blows you away because it was so well crafted that you almost want to read the story again to see what you missed, those are the awesome ones. Then there’s this one. The ones you KNOW the entire time that they’re holding shit back, that you can’t trust anything they say, etc. There’s a serious lack of elegance to this narration, Nic is a complete mess and you know it and it’s frustrating because she’s so sloppy in her narration. She’s repetitive, unlikable, selfish, lying, weak, jumbled – she’s everything that I dislike. She believes in the justification of her actions but at the same time condemns them. Also, the entire world view presented is that everyone is like her, deep inside, we’re all just nasty people.
  3. The Lack of Likable Characters: When I tell you that not one of these motherfuckers are likable, I don’t think I’ve ever experienced this before. In all books/movies there’s always that one sympathetic character which you need, you need it to contrast the rest. In this narration not ONE is likable and mostly it’s because you don’t know anything about them. The characters in this story are just dimensions, they’re interchangeable, they lack deep quirks and roots and things that make them come alive. Because our story is told by the hateful and bland Nic we see everyone through her eyes and thus they are reflective of her blandness.
  4. So Predictable: About 10% into this book I knew that A: all the chicks were dead and 2 that it was one of the 5 main characters. Now, this format has been done well before – for example Clue, the movie. If you’ve watched it you know one of the characters killed Mr. Body, maybe even more than one of them but it’s done so flawlessly that by the end you love them all, even the killer(s). This book was the opposite. You wish they were all the killers and you wish they would all die.
  5. The Reader is an Idiot Trope: Oh, you know that book – the book that decides that you as a reader are a moron and you need to repeatedly be told plot points. This book is incredibly repetitive, you can literally skip from Day 10 to Day 4 and you’ll be fine.
  6. The Nothing Happens Trope: Oh yes. Nothing actually happens except the last 50 pages and by then you would like to join in on the murder spree.

Needless to say, I don’t recommend this book.

BONUS: My reading log:

  • 10% in… What is this character’s motivation? Like why are you detectiving this shit? This town feels like I’m drowning and I don’t like it. She is stupid and careless – like that character in a movie that hears a noise in the basement and goes to investigate. I’m not sure I like any of the characters. I also don’t care if these girls went missing because it’s obvious they were sucked up into this depressing town.
  • p.63 This woman needs to be committed, she’s unwell (Nic). Schizophrenia? Maybe she is the killer. I wouldn’t be surprised. Split personality. God I hate that twist.
  • p.103 This book should be renamed ‘All the Missing Likable Characters’ or ‘All the Missing Common Sense’.
  • p.147 THIS BITCH HEARS SOMEONE RUNNING IN THE WOODS IN THE DEAD OF NIGHT WHERE GIRLS HAVE GONE MISSING AND SHE GOES RUNNING AFTER THEM BAREFOOT AND WITHOUT A PHONE. The only possible satisfactory ending to this story is that she dies, hopefully drowned in her own stupidity.
  • p.153 I maintain the split personality stance with this chick, it’s the only possible explanation.
  • p.162 Here she goes again running into the forest without a cellphone!! Can we get an APB for the killer to kill her next?
  • NOTE: I think I know the reason the characters are so unlikable, it’s this backwards narration. You haven’t progressed with them and Miranda is a fan of the telling and not showing.
  • p.182 At this point I think they all killed Corinne who was an unlikable as they are so I personally vote that Kim Jong-Un tests his nuclear weapons on this town! =D Also – why would Daniel hit Nic to begin with when younger? Is he in love with her? Did he molest her as a child? This would explain the tension because it doesn’t seem like anything else can explain this tension and also why is the mother never mentioned? I should DNF this book…
  • p. 189 “Maybe they knew I had seen darker things. That I would understand.
    Or perhaps they would sense that I am an excellent keeper of secrets.
    I am.” OH FOR THE LOVE OF GOD. Really? Please be the killer. Or get killed. You don’t get a happily ever after, after you’ve made me so unhappy.
  • p.239 I think Bailey is the only likable person in this group and only because she has the good sense to leave these fuckers behind and get on with her life
  • p. 261 She’s still not dead and continues to be hateful
  • p. 341 AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA WHAT BULLSHIT.
  • p. 380 Suddenly she’s smart, collected and on top of it. *insert dramatic eye-roll*
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