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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

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3.9 out of 5
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  • Slow Burn

    Oh this is such a slow burner of a book, in the best way possible. Then all of a sudden you're half way through and it takes off. This book was everything I hoped it would be, great writing, lots of suspense, excellent characters, family drama, old school mean girls/boys...the list goes on! The characters were well-developed and easy to envision. I was drawn into the story and there were enough unanswered questions to keep me hooked. The book is told in the first person point of view of the main character, Fran and the author really made you feel for her...the ugly duckling with the low self esteem, who is extremely intelligent. This is my first book by Nicola Rayner but the title and blurb of this one caught my eye and I was intrigued. I wasn’t disappointed as it was a great story from start to finish. I wouldn't call this a thriller more of a psychological drama but still such a fabulous story, it will have your emotions on high alert. The characters and story-line are beautifully crafted making this one fascinating book. I’ll be keeping an eye out for more of this author's works.

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  • Persevere

    It took me a while to get into this, predominantly because the main character is not easy to understand but beneath the obsession is someone who just wants to fit in and be liked. The story flows well and you do question the motivation of the characters, the flashbacks to her time at school go a long way to explaining her relationships with many other characters and by the end of the book I was totally engrossed, it was well worth persevering.

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  • A Good Second Half

    Fran, who’s in her late 30s, works in a bookshop and is a loner with no close friends. Since her school days, she’s been obsessed with Charles Fry. She’s certain that they have a connection and that one day he will realise this. She doesn’t only follow him on social media but also stalks him by following him around, sitting on a bench on the estate where he lives, hanging out near him. For now, he’s very married to Fiona with whom he has baby twins. He’s only friendly and cordial towards her, just like he was at school when he saved her a few times from awkward situations. She also has a younger sister who’s the mother of Rose, a niece she never met, something she feels very bad about. Ellie ran away from her after a vicious argument and lives abroad now but most of the time Fran doesn’t know exactly where. They only talk on Facebook and through e-mail. She misses her terribly and often thinks to spot her somewhere in London. One night when she’s following Charles to the platform of the tube, she witnesses how Dickie (another schoolmate) falls under the train. She thinks that he recognised someone and may have been pushed but doesn’t tell anyone that she was there as well. There’s something universal about unrequited love and as a young teen, who hasn’t pined after some unattainable boy we were secretly in love with? I do remember riding my bicycle numerous times a day through the street where this boy lived. (I can’t believe it, but I’m not sure anymore what his name was). But for most of us, we grow out of these infatuations. Here, our main character hasn’t and is delusional about the meaning of Charles’ friendliness. This was a difficult book for me. It started out very slow and I didn’t think this book was for me. All these people who’re stuck in their schooldays friendships and never move on, just gossiping and keeping secrets from one another as if their still 16. The characters are really annoying; Caroline the widow was the most likeable of the lot. With Fran, I felt sorry for her but also wanted to give her a good shake-up and shout “Grow up, get a life and get real!” This part was tedious and I only kept reading to find out if she saw something or not. With all her fantasies about Charles, she’s not exactly a trustworthy narrator. So you’re left guessing. But it is really drawn out and I wouldn’t give it more than 2 stars. But then a bit over halfway, the story changed and became interesting. At this point, I got pulled into the narrative and the suspense. I won’t tell you what happens, but it’s something I never would have guessed. A very well found intrigue, I must say. So if you can read through the first half without giving up, you get a second half that’s a really good and suspenseful psychological thriller with several twists and turns that deserves at least 4 stars. I don’t know how 2 parts of the same book can be so widely different but it’s very difficult to rate. I settled for 3 stars as the average. I thank Netgalley and Avon for the free ARC they provided me with; this is my honest unbiased review of it.

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  • Creepy good

    Ahh, I hadn’t expected it to be this good. I flew through the pages because I kept wanting more. Fran had a lifetime infatuation with a guy who was her school mate. She was so sure they were destined to be together. She just needed time to make him realise that. How chilling was that book premise? I really liked Fran’s character design. I liked how she could be an unreliable narrator not because of any substance abuse, but because of lack of self confidence! How many times we second guess ourselves in real life? I also liked how fleshed out the other supporting characters were. I did have a lot of theories going at the same time while reading this book (as a Thriller enthusiast, I couldn’t help it). And sure, a few of my guesses came true (inevitable when you’ve read as many Thrillers as I have). But this didn’t diminish the satisfaction of reading the conclusion in any way at all. Loved it. Great thriller. Going to check more book(s) from Nicola Rayner now. (Thanks to NetGalley and Avon Books Uk for a free copy in exchange for an honest review)

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