You know those books that you just want to tell absolutely everyone about? THE GIRL BEFORE was that kind of book for me. This January 2017 release is a gripping, compulsively-readable, sometimes-explicit twist on a domestic thriller. Complete with time hops, twisted relationships, and edge-of-your-seat suspense, THE GIRL BEFORE truly is a psychological thriller to beat in 2017.
Read on for a brief plot summary, and my top 3 reasons why THE GIRL BEFORE should be on your 2017 reading list.
"Please make a list of every possession you consider essential to your life." So begins the application process for renters interested in One Folgate, a stunning piece of minimalist architecture owned by a mysterious and troubled architect.
The restrictions and rules for One Folgate seem odd, even intrusive -- but to two women, Emma and Jane, the house provides shelter at periods of upheaval and tragedy in their lives. Emma: reeling from a traumatic break-in, Emma wants a new place to live. She and her boyfriend move to One Folgate, but the move soon reveals fissures in their relationship... Jane: after a personal tragedy, Jane needs a fresh start. Drawn to the fortress-like quality of One Folgate, Jane takes refuge within its walls, but soon becomes fixed upon the mysterious death of its previous tenant, and unwittingly begins making the same mistakes as the girl before...
THE GIRL BEFORE is everything I could have hoped for it to be and more. This book is immersive, dark, sexy, and completely unnerving—and I can't recommend it highly enough for fans of THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN, LUCKIEST GIRL ALIVE, and, unexpectedly, 50 SHADES OF GREY.
Here are my top three reasons why THE GIRL BEFORE is a Buzzworthy 2017 Book.
- Razor-sharp use of alternate timelines. I can often feel fatigued by books with alternating timelines—it can seem cumbersome to keep switching between past and present with each chapter. However, THE GIRL BEFORE proves that, when used well, this technique can be utterly addictive. By alternating between previous and current tenants of One Folgate, THE GIRL BEFORE draws readers ever deeper into the mystery at this house's core—and makes the reader witness to the disturbing patterns that evolve for each tenant.
- Alluring, enigmatic characters. Each character of THE GIRL BEFORE has his or her own secrets and traumas, all of which play out against the sparse backdrop of One Folgate. No character, however, is more intriguing than that of the architect and owner of the house—his character reminded me a lot of Christian Grey, but a better-written and more disturbing version. (So yes, this book does have a lot of explicit scenes in it! Just a heads-up.)
- A new twist on standard crime fiction fare. Ever since GONE GIRL, domestic thrillers (aka psychological thrillers focused on married couples) have taken the world by storm. I was thrilled to discover that THE GIRL BEFORE takes this sub-genre and flips it on its head, making the "domestic" part of this thriller more about the history of the house than the history of its tenants. This is a fresh, engaging take on the books that have been so popular recently, and it had me on the edge of my seat from start to finish.
I can't praise THE GIRL BEFORE enough. Due to its explicit content, this book might not be for every crime reader—but if you're looking for a thriller that blends the best of domestic thrillers with a darkly sexy and twisted plot, you will love THE GIRL BEFORE. I'll be sharing my full review of this exceptional crime book closer to pub day, but for now, please feel free to comment below with any questions!
Disclaimer: I am an employee of Penguin Random House. All opinions my own.