Synopsis: “There she sits, the girl on the train. What she sees, gazing out the window, will change everything.
Every day the same. Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She looks forward to it. She’s even started to feel like she knows then. Jess and Jason, she calls them. Their life–as she sees it–is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.
Until today. And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation but in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?
Compulsively readable, The Girl on the Train is an emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller and an electrifying debut.”
Review: When I first started reading this book, I have to admit I was a little skeptical. Murder mystery / thriller novels have never been my cup of tea, so even with my mother’s constant talk of how I “needed to read this book,” I wasn’t so sure. The only murder mystery books I had ever read before this was a few novels by Agatha Christie, and some Sherlock Holmes stories in class. I started reading this book and had a very hard time getting into the plot the first time around. Since I always thought I didn’t like thriller novels, I figured I wouldn’t like this one either, so I only read around 20 pages before I gave up and put the book away. However, the second time around I just picked it up and read it without thinking about the genre, and I finished it in just a few days.
Although this novel isn’t Hawkins’ first book, (she had previously written four under the pen name Amy Silver), this was the first one that was majorly successful–and I can see why.
The concept for the characters is what interests me the most about this book. The story is told between three different characters: Rachel, Anna, and Megan. By telling the story through different characters, the readers gets different perspectives on the same topic which I think is very interesting and helpful, especially in a book like this. Their lives are all very connected, and I liked how throughout the book you can really see their characters grow and change, almost with one another. This book has both important male and female characters, but I could sense the importance of women sticking together and helping each other out throughout the novel, especially towards the end.
The only thing I wasn’t too fond of about this book were the dates on top of the sections. Since the story was told through many perspectives, sometimes we’d have to go back / forward in time a few days or a week to find out the other person’s thoughts about a particular event, and while that is a great way for the reader get all of the information and feel really connected (especially in a mystery), it confused me a little because sometimes I would forget the date I was reading and have to look back in the novel to think about how much time has passed since the last section.
Other than the date jumps, I loved almost everything else about this novel. The story line was interesting, the characters were vibrant, and the plot twists and turns in ways that I didn’t expect. I really flew through reading this–I could not put it down. It’s very fast paced and the action between characters is almost constant. If you’re like me and you don’t usually read murder mystery / thriller novels, you should pick this one up anyway. I think it’s a fantastic story, and a really great way to start getting into this genre.