Book Review – The Girl On the Train by Paula Hawkins

by Maryse on January 24, 2015 · 12 comments

in My Book Reviews

The Girl on the Train: A Novel

FANTASTIC brand spankin’ new release that was TOTALLY up my alley and TOTALLY not on my radar. Why!? ‘Cause I only check the romance section. Ohhhhh yesssssss I DO LOVE ME some romance books. That will never end. However… my love, and need of that psychological scary thrill is back in full force! And this one delivered 100%!!!

So what’s it about? I can barely tell you a thing but I will say a bit like what the blurb says… Basically, Rachel is suffering from depression having lost her life as she knew it. Her “normal”… her bliss… is gone. And she’s self-medicating with alcohol. Severely.

The weekend stretches out ahead of me, forty-eight empty hours to fill. I lift the can to my mouth again, but there’s not a drop left.

She’s living with a roommate that worries about her, and “pretending” to be going to work each day, she takes the train and and watches the lives of those living in the houses as the train passes by.

Twice a day, I am offered a view into other lives, just for a moment. There’s something comforting about the sight of strangers safe at home.

Coming up with “fantasy lives” of those she sees most often.

They’re a match, they’re a set. They’re happy, I can tell. They’re what I used to be, they’re Tom and me five years ago. They’re what I lost, they’re everything I want to be.

Until one day… as the train comes to a slow stop in front of her favorite fantasy “couple” she sees something that disturbs her. And within days, hears something on the news. And she gets involved by providing the information she saw to the police. But… due to her alcoholism and memory issues, well… let’s just say… things get REALLY messy.

I have lost control over everything, even the places in my head.

For those of you wanting to go in blind STOP READING MY REVIEW HERE. I don’t spoil anything at all, really, but it’s best to just read this one without knowing anything more from me. Just know that I LOVED THIS BOOK!!! It was crazy awesome and it’s time you cracked it open! Or flipped it on, however you like to read your books. ;)

For those of you that don’t mind my banter and self-analysis through the experience of reading this one, read on. There are NO spoilers, so no worries, but we do flip back and forth with our banter and guesses. LOL!

Thank you THANK you Sadie for bringing it to my attention! We buddy-read this one together, and OMG do we love these crazy twisty reads!

Sadie: Have you seen all the buzz about Girl on a train? I’m going to read it soon and will keep you posted

Maryse: Ohhh lemme look it up!!

Sadie: It’s not a romance – but everywhere I turn it’s being recommended. 4 people today

Maryse: yeah I’m good with it not being romance. I want something crazy!! I bought it yesterday night. Have you started it yet? I’m gonna start it in just a few. Maybe I should put it in the “book that scares me” section of the 2015 Reading Challenge since it’s a psych-thriller / hitchcock like book

Sadie: You totally could! Okay I’ll start it. I hope it’s good! I’ve been getting so many recs for it. Got to 5% and will pick it back up tonight. Can already tell it’s my kind of book. I love the effed up narrators.

Sadie: I’m at 10% and back at it! Did you start?

Sadie: I’ve gotten completely obsessed with this book!

Maryse: It is SO good. I’m only at about 20% but loving it. They are all SO messed up…

Sadie: Yes, I can’t put it down. I’m at 30%. I can’t stop thinking about it It’s creepy. so well written. and i love unreliable narrators! because your brain is constantly spinning

Sadie: Loved this:

Beautiful sunshine, cloudless skies, no one to play with, nothing to do. Living like this, the way I’m living at the moment, is harder in the summer when there is so much daylight, so little cover of darkness, when everyone is out and about, being flagrantly, aggressively happy. It’s exhausting, and it makes you feel bad if you’re not joining in.

Maryse: I totally highlighted that. So did everyone but I couldn’t help myself. SO SO SOOOOO good!

Sadie: Yes some of the lines are just too good not to highlight. I’m still working so haven’t read beyond 30% but excited to get back to it!

Maryse: I’m right about where you are too… time to get back to my book. !!!

Sadie: **% very anxious!!!

Maryse: Do you have any theories? Well you’re way past me, but for awhile I was thinking *spoiler*. LOL! Not sure…

Sadie: I’m at **% now so I don’t want to spoil anything but my mind has been all over the place with this one thinking everyone is guilty!

Maryse: Good!!! YES I KNOW!!!!

Sadie: everyone is messed up in their own way

Maryse: I’m so glad that the 2015 Reading Challenge inspired me to branch out a bit… I only put it down ’cause I’m tired or busy, but I LIKE reading it big time.

Sadie: Yes, me too. I could have read it in one sitting if I wasn’t working or sleeping lol. While I think they are all guilty, I’ve oddly been sympathetic towards all of them at different points

Sadie: Eeek! Very interesting. I’m just going to read until I’m finished because I need to know what’s happening.

Maryse: Good!!! *squee* at me if something crazy happens. LOL!!

Sadie: Well something big happened just now but I can’t tell you! bahahaha

Maryse: BRAT!!! *snort* :P

Sadie: tehehehe

Sadie: Finished! Loved it!!!

Maryse: I LOVED IT TOO!!!! I want another like it!

Sadie: Ugh I know! Very hard to follow. I’m so glad you loved it too! But I mean how could you not? I meant hard to follow like hard to find another book to follow it lol just to clarify

Maryse: Right? Did you figure it out early? I literally only figured it out when ****** did. When ******* realized *spoiler*…

Sadie: Yes, I figured it out *spoiler*. What was that around **%? yep me too that’s where it clicked…

Maryse: Yep! Good… I thought I was being so clever trying to guess and I was SO way off. LOL!

I guessed and I guessed and I guessed and I even came up with some theories! A few atypical but “suddenly showing up in my recent reads” more often, so I assumed… probably this one too, right? Big reveal, most would *gasp*!! Clever SHOCKER (but since I’ve read a few “like that”, I wouldn’t be so shocked ’cause I’m now well-versed in shocking twists, and more clever now, like that. ;)

HA! And boy was I wrong. It still got me. I had NO clue. I thought everything. I “tried” out everything. I analyzed. I backtracked. I finally just let myself go, and still… I was wrong. Do you know when I finally clued in? When that AHA! moment happened? Right when it was supposed to. That ONE scene that ALL of us readers should have finnnaaallllllyyy caught on to… and I was all. OH EM GEE!!!!!!!! OF COURSE!!!!! There was no “early-bird” clueing in for me. Heck no. But that made it all the more fun!

HOORAY!! And then…. I was excited. Oh… don’t get me wrong. I was excited through the whole thing, but they’re ALL such a freaking mess… *shakes head*. Such a mess, that I was mostly exasperated and feeling like I needed a shower, ’cause I was all sweaty in my day-long (even night long) same pj’s reading-marathon. Sweaty from the craziness and anxiety these people were causing me… these devastated, depressed, despondent, deviant and perhaps even… deadly… characters. And the circumstances they were finding themselves in.

Who dunnit?!! Or was it all in my head?

I’m not telling! I can’t even barely tell you what the story was about. I mean… we DO have a main character, (mostly just… that girl on the train). She tells us everything. Thing is… she can’t remember anything. :| Much…

But things are pieced together for us, slowly… interestingly, by all of the other characters involved. Yes there is a lot of POV switching, and a bit of time line balancing, but don’t even worry. You’ll find their rhythm soon enough and you’ll forget you’re reading and think you’re watching some crazy awesome freaky movie. And soon enough, once you’re a part of this manic mystery (and these people’s crazy lives) you won’t be able to put it down.

I felt for them… I disliked them. I hoped for them… I was despondent with them.

“What happened to you, Rachel?” he asked me. “When did you become so weak?”

I don’t know. I don’t know where that strength went, I don’t remember losing it. I think that over time it got chipped away, bit by bit, by life, by the living of it.

Ugh. My heart…

Sad. Fascinating. Manic. YES! That’s a great way to describe some of these characters. And me, while I was reading it. Good times!!! :D

4.5 stars! Probably should give it 5 stars ’cause its as so expertly written and so fun and exciting and I’ll never forget it. Okay then. 5 stars!

P.S. I’m going to end of with one of the last but most “YES!!! EXACTLY!!” things Sadie said about the overall gist of the book. It’s kind of spoiler-ish (but not really) but still avoid this last part if you haven’t read the book and want to go in blind. But she just said it so well, and she was exactly right. This is how I felt, too:

Sadie: I just loved how it was about how we judge people so easily and really we have no idea what’s going on behind closed doors. And the harm it can do. yes! I thought everyone was guilty at some point. and in their own way they were…like everyone had a part in it. Sort of.

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Julie January 25, 2015 at 8:26 AM

I read this yesterday. Fascinating is a good word to describe it. I couldn’t stop reading it. I liked it but didn’t love it. Maybe because I didn’t really like any of the characters? I get the comparisons to Gone Girl. An unreliable narrator is always interesting. I too thought everyone was guilty and didn’t figure it out until close to the ah- ha moment. I would recommend it. I’m ready to go back to a good romance now though :)

Elizabeth January 25, 2015 at 8:48 AM

Yes!!!! I loved this book. Such a refreshing change from romance books, which I still love but I need to mix it up. The characters were so interesting and the story was totally unpredictable. That’s what I’ve been missing in books lately so this one hit the spot. Thank you!

Jean January 25, 2015 at 12:39 PM

I didn’t read your entire review, but think I will start this today. Sounds like just the change I need after just finishing A Second Chance at Paris which was awesome! And I love Psycho/thrillers and could use this book for my challenge too!

Maryse January 25, 2015 at 1:21 PM

Julie everyone keeps telling me to read Gone Girl! Okay… I just gotta see what all the fuss is about. :D

Maryse January 25, 2015 at 1:22 PM

Elizabeth, me toooooo!!! I needed something to shake me up a bit. I want to find another that’ll give me that same reading-rush.

Maryse January 25, 2015 at 1:23 PM

Jean! I just bought the Paris book and I can’t wait to give it a go

Michelle January 25, 2015 at 4:24 PM

I’m reading this one today too. It has sucked me in already – so far a nice change of pace.

Julie January 25, 2015 at 5:29 PM

The Paris book looks good! I think I’ll read that next!

Jean January 25, 2015 at 9:10 PM

I hope you guys like it as much as I did!

Jean January 25, 2015 at 9:11 PM

Oh and haven’t been able to put down The Girl On the Train. I’m really liking it!

LoriAnn2011 January 27, 2015 at 7:18 PM

The Girl on the Train. I couldn’t put it down. I was up til 3 AM with 50 pages to go and I had to finish it today. WOW!!! It was crazy…it was a ride! You think you know what’s really going on and then you see that you don’t. You think you have it figured out and there’s another twist. I LOVED it. It definitely had the Gone Girl feel to it.

Tranell January 28, 2015 at 3:27 PM

I was in quite the book funk until this book!!! I’m still trying to figure out how I missed half the signs. My husband was into it as well and it’s nice to talk about a book with him that we both enjoyed. Thanks for our posting – I so enjoy your blog.

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