Struggling to put her life back together a decade after her beloved teen daughter's disappearance, a divorced woman bonds with a charming single father whose young child eerily resembles the woman's own lost daughter.
*Starred Review* Laurel Mack's world was destroyed when her 15-year-old daughter, Ellie, disappeared on her way to the library. Ellie, a bright, happy girl whose only care in the world was having to be tutored to pass her math exams, seemingly vanished from her suburban London neighborhood-CCTV cameras show nothing, and the police have no leads, so she's chalked up as a runaway. But 10 years later, after the family has fractured, remains are found along with Ellie's belongings, putting the case to rest. Laurel still has questions but is desperate to finally move on, so when charmingly geeky Floyd comes into her life, she latches on to him. But Floyd's young daughter, Poppy, bears an uncanny resemblance to Ellie-and, strangely, he has a connection to Ellie's former math tutor. Jewell teases out her twisty plot at just the right pace, leaving readers on the edge of their seats. There will surely be comparisons to novels such as Emma Donoghue's Room (2010) as well as all of the "Girl" thrillers, but Jewell's latest really isn't at all derivative. Her multilayered characters are sheer perfection, and even the most astute thriller reader won't see where everything is going until the final threads are unknotted. Those few who do guess early won't mind, as the pace and prose will keep them hooked. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.
Ten years after her teenage daughter went missing, a mother begins a new relationship only to discover she can't truly move on until she answers lingering questions about the past.Laurel Mack's life stopped in many ways the day her 15-year-old daughter, Ellie, left the house to study at the library and never returned. She drifted away from her other two children, Hanna and Jake, and eventually she and her husband, Paul, divorced. Ten years later, Ellie's remains and her backpack are found, though the police are unable to determine the reasons for her disappearance and death. After Ellie's funeral, Laurel begins a relationship with Floyd, a man she meets in a cafe. She's disarmed by Floyd's charm, but when she meets his young daughter, Poppy, Laurel is startled by her resemblance to Ellie. As the novel progresses, Laurel becomes increasingly determined to learn what happened to Ellie, especially after discovering an odd connection between Poppy's mother and her daughter even a s her relationship with Floyd is becoming more serious. Jewell's (I Found You, 2017, etc.) latest thriller moves at a brisk pace even as she plays with narrative structure: The book is split into three sections, including a first one which alternates chapters between the time of Ellie's disappearance and the present and a second section that begins as Laurel and Floyd meet. Both of these sections primarily focus on Laurel. In the third section, Jewell alternates narrators and moments in time: The narrator switches to alternating first-person points of view (told by Poppy's mother and Floyd) interspersed with third-person narration of Ellie's experiences and Laurel's discoveries in the present. All of these devices serve to build palpable tension, but the structure also contributes to how deeply disturbing the story becomes. At times, the characters and the emotional core of the events are almost obscured by such quick maneuvering through the weighty plot. Dark and unsettling , this novel's end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed. Copyright Kirkus 2018 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.
Then She Was Gone
Those months, the months before she disappeared, were the best months. Really. Just the best. Every moment presented itself to her like a gift and said, Here I am, another perfect moment, just look at me, can you believe how lovely I am? Every morning was a flurry of mascara and butterflies, quickening pulse as she neared the school gates, blooming joy as her eyes found him. School was no longer a cage; it was the bustling, spotlit film set for her love story.
Ellie Mack could not believe that Theo Goodman had wanted to go out with her. Theo Goodman was the best-looking boy in year eleven, bar none. He’d also been the best-looking boy in year ten, year nine, and year eight. Not year seven though. None of the boys in year seven were good-looking. They were all tiny, bug-eyed babies in huge shoes and oversized blazers.
Theo Goodman had never had a girlfriend and everyone thought maybe he was gay. He was kind of pretty, for a boy, and very thin. And just, basically, really, really nice. Ellie had dreamed about being with him for years, whether he was gay or not. She would have been happy just to have been his friend. His young, pretty mum walked to school with him every day. She wore gym gear and had her hair in a ponytail and usually had a small white dog with her that Theo would pick up and kiss on the cheek before placing it gently back down on the pavement; then he would kiss his mum and saunter through the gates. He didn’t care who saw. He wasn’t embarrassed by the powder-puff dog or his mum. He was self-assured.
Then one day last year, just after the summer holiday, he had struck up a conversation with her. Just like that. During lunch, something to do with some homework assignment or other, and Ellie, who really knew nothing much about anything, knew immediately that he wasn’t gay and that he was talking to her because he liked her. It was totally obvious. And then, just like that, they were boyfriend and girlfriend. She’d thought it would be more complicated.
But one wrong move, one tiny kink in the time line, it was all over. Not just their love story, but all of it. Youth. Life. Ellie Mack. All gone. All gone forever. If she could rewind the timeline, untwist it and roll it back the other way like a ball of wool, she’d see the knots in the yarn, the warning signs. Looking at it backward it was obvious all along. But back then, when she knew nothing about anything, she had not seen it coming. She had walked straight into it with her eyes open.