The Girls Who Disappeared - Claire Douglas

Reading Challenge Category: Book Club November read

Official Blurb:

Twenty years ago, Olivia Rutherfood crashed her car while driving home with three friends.
When she regained consciousness, she was alone - her friends had vanished.
Now, journalist Jenna Halliday visits the town where it happened, determined to unlock the girls' disappearance.
But Olivia won't speak. And as Jenna probes further, the locals grow frightened . . .
How many secrets can one small town hide?

My Thoughts:

This was my November Book Club’s read. It was chosen as it was the No1 in Amazon’s bestseller list. The one thing I have realised after reading this is that just because a book is a bestseller doesn’t mean it is a good book. It just means they had a good marketing team.
This book was not good, I’m afraid. It is another one that starts off excellent but falls flat in the middle while it builds up to the big reveal that disappoints massively.
So, we start off with Olivia driving her friends home after a night out. The weather turns, and as a consequence, they crash; however, when Olivia regains consciousness, her friends have disappeared. It was all fascinating and held a lot of promise.
However, we jump forward 20 years when a journalist Jenna, is doing a podcast on the disappearing girls. I’m going to deal with the time jump first. This vast amount of time felt very unbelievable with how everyone acted around the situation. It was hard to get your head around it; having been this length of time, especially when everything is revealed at the end, it just didn’t sit right that it had been that long. It felt more like it had only been a couple of years, primarily for Olivia. She was trapped in her younger self’s mindset; she never really grew up after the accident. Her relationship with Wesley felt strained, and throw in the fact they’d been together for 20 years, it just felt wrong. They were so uncomfortable together, and to think that had been going on all that time, I didn’t buy it. Wesley was overwritten and over-emphasised as a bad guy; it was just clumsy.
One thing we discussed at book club was the locality of everything, sometimes, everything felt far away from each other, but then others felt like it was all walkable within minutes. Olivia has her sore leg, yet she is powering around the village every few hours, appearing in places that, previously in the book, everyone had to drive to.
I enjoyed the sections in Thailand and made a few guesses about this. It is steered to look a certain way, but I wasn’t fooled. This side of things had such promise, but it unravels and falls flat during the big reveal.
The ending! Well, that was the biggest disappointment of the whole book. A lot of it was just too implausible and was very disappointing. Jenna had only been there five days and all the secrets that had been guarded for 20 years started being revealed. It made no sense; if some people had just kept their mouths shut, the secrets could have been taken to their graves, as Jena didn’t really do much other than be there.
So, I’m sorry, but this book was a massive letdown, and I didn’t enjoy it. The premise had so much promise, but it just wasn’t executed well enough and fell short of being a good book.

The Girls Who Disappeared
by Claire Douglas
Date Started
18th November 2022
Date Finished
23rd November 2022