Genre: Mystery/ Thriller

Publisher: Avon Books UK

“I sometimes get the sense that the same things happen over and over again: that everything is a variation of something that has happened before and that life works like water, in currents, with things tugged away from us and other things returned.”

The Girl Before You is a captivating book with an amazing story.

While traveling in a train, a red-haired woman nudges a long-lost memory of Alice. She remembers in snippets there was a girl in college who went missing. The memory flashes arouses unsettling feelings about the disappearance. And with every passing day she feels her husband, George, is part of it. Will Alice be able to find the truth about George and the girl who went missing 15 years ago.

The story centered on Ruth who disappeared 15 years ago. Ruth’s disappearance tied Alice, Naomi, and Kat together. We hear (or read) the story from their perspective which shuttles between past and present.

Most of the setting is in the college set in 1999/2000. The language and college pub scenarios are without the use of modern technology. .

Even though, these are three unrelated women telling their story, each of the narratives merges impeccably.

The writing was easy and entrancing. The author candidly explores the feelings of teenagers and how they change as we grow up. In retrospect, as adults, we try to analyse why we took certain decisions.

Naomi and Ruth are sisters in the book. There’s a passage in the book where Naomi describes her relationship with Ruth. It is very relatable (read below).

“How to put it? When I try to access my first memory without her, there isn’t one. There isn’t memory without Ruth. She was the one person to whom I could say: ‘You know that ballet teacher?’ And she would know whom I meant, or ‘Remember that boy on holiday in Crete, with the with the burnt skin?’……….”

The author aptly describes the memories you create with your siblings, the secrets you share with your bestie or a roommate.

The author eloquently wraps up the mystery and the parallel characters in the end.

For a debut novel, the author did an admirable job. I would recommend this book for all the mystery book fans.

Thank you to NetGalley and the Avon books for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

My rating for the book 5 stars.