When the Lights Go Out
by Kubica, Mary

Forced to start over upon her mother's death, a college student with debilitating insomnia begins to succumb to her grief before a stranger's desperation to have a child changes both of their lives. By the New York Times best-selling author of The Good Girl. 250,000 first printing.

This fifth stand-alone psychological thriller (after Every Last Lie, 2017) from New York Times best-selling author Kubica will keep readers riveted as they witness the unraveling of the lives of two women, one in the present, the other in the past. Jessie Sloane is struggling to build a new life after years of being sole caregiver to her mother through a protracted and ultimately terminal illness. Her disorientation, heightened by chronic insomnia, turns into sheer panic and hallucinatory mania when she applies for college, only to learn that her Social Security number belongs to a deceased three-year-old. Her mother's story, set 20 years earlier, explains why her life had been so secretive that Jessie knows nothing about her mother's past, nor even her father's name. The ending brings a stunning ironic twist, with a resolution that some readers may find disconcerting. Overall, though, this intensely moving novel about identity and deceit is strongly recommended for anyone who has been drawn to the current wave of Girl sagas. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

When Jessie Sloane's mother, Eden, dies of cancer, Jessie is left rudderless. Then she discovers she might not be the person she thought she was. Jessie never knew her father, and she can't bear to live in the house that she shared with Eden, so she puts it on the market. When she applies to community college, she gets a call with the alarming news that a death certificate was filed 17 years ago with her name and social security number on it. She'll need to get a copy of her social security card, but without a birth certificate or driver's license—she doesn't drive—it's nearly impossible, and when a clerk takes pity on her and does a search, no records are found. It's a vicious circle, and it hampers her ability to find an apartment, although she does eventually find a place in a small carriage house she rents from reclusive widow Ms. Geissler. Unfortunately, in addition to the question of her identity, she's got a more pressing problem: Jessie has insomnia, and a s the days pass and she doesn't sleep, she begins to hear and see things, eventually wondering how long she can go without sleep before it kills her. Woven with Jessie's first-person narrative is Eden's tale, beginning 20 years ago in 1996 when she's only 28. She and her husband, Aaron, are crazy in love and desperately hope for a child, but as time passes and they don't conceive, they begin trying more aggressive, and more expensive, methods. Eden's obsession builds to a fever pitch, threatening to tear her and Aaron apart. Jessie's story, an effective study of grief, nightmarishly builds to its own fever pitch, and Kubica peppers her narrative with creepy, surreal touches that will have readers questioning reality right along with Jessie. Eden's story, on the other hand, poignantly examines what it's like to want a child so badly that you'll do anything to have one. Can Jessie find out who she really is before it's too late? It all leads to a denouement that isn't very sur p rising, but a lesser writer might not have been able to pull off the final twist. Kubica is a helluva storyteller, and while this doesn't quite equal her best efforts, it's still pretty darn good. Copyright Kirkus 2018 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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