All The Missing Girls
by Megan Miranda
Getting All The Missing Girls was a splurge. I have a bit of a problem when it comes to books. I have multiple huge piles of library books and books from friends, and then I add to it. Recently, I’ve been trying to stop getting new books in order to work through the ones I already have. Well, it’s hard to resist the urge to bring new books home, and when I went to pick up a hold book at the library, I “happened” to see All The Missing Girls on the new shelf and decided to splurge by bringing it home and reading it right away. It was the best indulgence!! I blew through this book and loved every second. It was intense, creative, and so different as the story was told backwards. I am in awe of Miranda’s work and I can not say enough good things about her psychological thriller.
Ten years ago a girl goes missing. Ten years ago lies are told and the truth is hidden. Ten years ago, Nic’s best friend Corinne disappears and Nic leaves to start a new life in Philadelphia. Ten years later, she has a career and is engaged to a successful lawyer, Everett. Her father’s health is failing, so Nic decides to return to North Carolina in order to help her brother Dan sell the family home and take care of their father. The brunt of the story takes place over two weeks and is told in reverse (day 15, back to day 1 when Nic first arrives in NC). Lots of Spoilers: at 18, Nic is dating Tyler, Corinne is with Jackson, and Dan is dating Bailey. Bailey, Corinne, and Nic are best friends and very close. Corinne is the center, drawing everyone in, but has her dark moments. One night, everyone is at the town Fair, Nic found out a few days earlier that she’s pregnant and Corinne and Tyler are the only ones who know. The girls are riding a Ferris Wheel and Corinne who loves playing truth or dare, dares Nic to ride outside their box and jump. Nic does, but instead of jumping from the top, slips off at the bottom. Her brother comes up and hits her, making her fall to the ground. Tyler runs over, punches Dan and whispers that Nic is pregnant and then he leaves with her. All of this is witnessed by Annaleise, a quite teenager who ends up being the alibi for everyone after Corinne disappears. Tyler and Nic drive away and Tyler proposes. Then, as they’re driving home, Corinne appears, thumb out to hitch hike. Nic is driving and is flooded with thoughts of how Corinne is always daring her and how she dared her to jump earlier and end her life. Instead of stopping, Nic accelerates to pass Corinne by, but then Corinne jumps in front of the car and dies. Nic runs home, where she has a miscarriage, and Tyler leaves to take care of the car. Meanwhile, Nic’s dad is driving to find Nic and hears the accident. He takes Corinne and buries her in his garage, which is in the process of being finished. When everything comes crashing down around Nic she decides to leave town for good, thinking that she just can’t come back after all that’s happened. Fast forward ten years and Nic is returning home to take care of her dad, who is becoming senile, and that’s when things begin to fall apart. Out of the blue, Annaleise approaches her with pictures of Corinne’s body wrapped up on her dad’s porch, and blackmails Nic. In a panic, Nic calls Dan and Tyler after Annaleise leaves. Tyler is dating Annaleise, so he calls her to come over and the three of them corner her to try and get her to stop blackmailing, but she runs. Dan runs after her and loses her. They all expect her to turn up, but she doesn’t. Later, Nic figures out that Laura (Dan’s wife) took their dad’s gun and killed her. The police come on board, find Annaleise’s body, and begin questioning. By this time, Nic, Tyler, and Dan have dug up Corinne’s body and disposed of it, gotten rid of any other evidence, and come up with a solid story to keep them all safe. In the end, the town clams up and there’s nothing more the police can do. Nic realizes that she’s still in love with Tyler and that Everett is not a good fit for her. She decides that she actually belongs in NC and moves back, marrying Tyler and renovating the garage for her dad to live in. Honestly, I loved the ending and how it was a “happy ending.” This story was complicated and the characters’ lives were intricately intertwined. I liked how they all protected each other, even though it wasn’t honest.
Summing it up: This book kept me in suspense until the very end, but in such a delightfully good way. I just loved this book and I especially loved the way it was written backwards. I highly recommend it!
All the best, Abbey