Megan Miranda

Review: “The Perfect Stranger” by Megan Miranda

31443398Title: “The Perfect Stranger”
Author: Megan Miranda
Genre: Psychological thriller
Publication Date: April 11, 2017 (Simon & Schuster)

My Rating: My Rating: ★★★☆☆

Megan Miranda’s “All the Missing Girls” was a 2016 highlight for me — favorite book, bar none. I waited with greedy anticipation for “The Perfect Stranger” for months and dug in the day it was released, expectations higher than one might consider safe. When you go in like that, you’re almost inevitably going to be let down. (Is it fair to expect an author who absolutely knocks it out of the park to do so again in short order? And if I hadn’t devoured and adored “ATMG,” and went into “The Perfect Stranger” more objectively, would I have expected less and in return enjoyed it more? Maybe.)

Brief plot run-down: We meet former journalist Leah Stevens, who got too personally tangled up in a story and was forced out. After a chance encounter with a summer roommate of eight years past, who also happens to be in run mode, the two decide to relocate from Boston to Western Pennsylvania, where Leah gets a teaching job. She’s still trying to acclimate when a woman who looks just like her is attacked and left for dead by the lake. Then her roommate, Emmy, goes missing. When she reports it, of course, things get interesting/complicated because it turns out there’s no record of Emmy ever existing. Cue Leah getting, again, really tangled up in the pursuit of the truth and figuring out who Emmy is/was … and if their encounter was really so chance, then or now.

I didn’t dislike “The Perfect Stranger,” but it doesn’t live up to its predecessor in writing or story quality. It was at times clunky and felt forced and unrealistic — Leah was this distressed and that close to someone she knew for mere months? (Though she’d have a quick response: “I can only explain it this way: that I knew her deeply, if not thoroughly; that a four-month relationship can supersede all the boyfriends, all the friendships, that came after and lasted longer, that our friendship was born from the one time I’d stepped off track, done something unexpected that did not follow the predicted steps of my life. And for that reason, it shone brighter, and so did she.”)

Though I understand building suspense by slowly revealing snippets of Leah’s backstory and what led her to Pennsylvania, I felt confused more than a couple times trying to piece things together. The sub-plots are interesting but lose some of their power as they’re dropped in ever so sporadically and piece-meal. It took me more than 200 pages to actually feel invested in the characters and the outcome of the story (which landed with a bit of a dull thud after such a long buildup.)

Still, it’s entertaining enough, and worth checking out if you enjoy Miranda’s books. I adore her so much that I almost feel guilty stamping less than 5 stars on “The Perfect Stranger.” Megan, you keep your spot on my favorite authors list, and I’ll be right here waiting for the next one!

Alert: Megan Miranda Book Tour Announcement!

If you loved “All the Missing Girls” as much as I did, you’re probably very impatiently awaiting “The Perfect Stranger” (out April 11 — so soon, but never soon enough). The extra thrilling thing about this thriller release, that I’m really thrilled about, is that Megan is hitting more than a dozen cities as part of her book tour:

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She is not, unfortunately, coming to my land (DC/VA region). If you’re one of the lucky ones who get to see her, enjoy! Meanwhile, I’ll be helming the #BringMeganToDC campaign.

Review: “All the Missing Girls” by Megan Miranda

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Title: “All the Missing Girls”
Author: Megan Miranda
Genre: Thriller, mystery
Publication Date: June 28, 2016 (Simon & Schuster)

My Rating: ★★★★★

I read this book months ago and am still pining for it — I loved it *that much* — so it feels fitting to kick off the blog by paying homage to it. By now, you probably know “All the Missing Girls” is unique because it’s told backwards, from Day 15 to Day 1. From what I’ve gathered, the technique threw some readers, but I appreciate the innovation and never got too confused. And of course, you can always try the “All the Missing Girls” challenge: Read it straight through and then start on the last page and do a second read in reverse direction.

Exciting Save the Date: Megan’s next book, “The Perfect Stranger,” comes out April 11. Just 63 days away, for those counting along at home. Waiting with bated breath!