A Little Break: Summer 2016

Dear all,

This summer has been exceptional in many ways. One of the reasons was that I got to keep researching during July to finish some very important work on my thesis that granted me an ‘Excellent’ grade from my university on my yearly plan. After that, I had planned on taking a few weeks off to read, review and recharge. But life had other plans and I was offered a part-time job that would pay for my university fees for the upcoming year. I also happen to love the job, and the two students that I get to tutor. However, this has meant staying in my hometown and working all mornings Monday to Friday. As you can imagine, this means early mornings, and half the time off to do all the things that I had planned, and no time to spend part of my break near the sea, where I am at my happiest. So, while I try to make the most of Spain’s heat wave while teaching, and my free evenings I have been reading less, and not writing at all. I have been meeting with friends, going for long walks, and trying to remember that this is how my Summer Break’16 looks and I should enjoy it.

I will get back to blogging and reviewing as soon as I can, as soon as I recharge and go back to my routine. But for now, it’s all about freedom, sun, and unexpected plans. I hope everyone here has a happy August and we’ll see each other soon!

Best,

Elena

My Life on The Road by Gloria Steinem

As a feminist, I know there are certain books and certain authors that I should read in order to be as informed as I can about the previous struggles and the many successes of feminist. The reason to impose such a view on myself comes mainly from my love for books, rather than an external obligation. Imagine the internal conversations I had with myself when I realised that I had never read by Gloria Steinem, one of the key figures in feminism and activism in the 20th century. Imagine my reaction when my beloved Margaret Atwood – who I think can do no wrong – recommended Steinem’s autobiography My Life on the Road, as one of the books of 2015 in a list for The Guardian. Imagine,  again, my surprise and my delight when, after talking about this to the boyfriend, he bought me My Life on the Road for no other reason than love for my feminist reading.

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My Life on the Road is not a typical autobiography, and I would have not expected anything different from Gloria Steinem, someone who has never done things by the book. Even though she covers everything from her childhood to her current life as a feminist celebrity, she approaches events from a point of view: Her travels. She credits her father for her love for adventure, and she describes how the whole family would get into the car and travel – with no budget – to a destination her father chose randomly. With such a childhood, it is not a surprise to find that Steinem had not spent more than 8 days home during her life, and that she did not create a home until the 1980’s, when she was already in her fifties. It was only fitting then, that I took this book with me on my week to Bath and Cardiff and I started reading it at the airport in Barcelona, among huge amounts of diverse people heading to their destinations all over the world while I wondered what kind of lives they led.

I was surprised to find out that My Life on the Road  only portrays some of Steinem’s travels inside the United States of America rather than her world-wide travels. I was a bit disappointed at first, since I have never been to the States, and I thought I would not be familiar with the interests and motivations behind her enterprises. I was partly right, and partly wrong. Even though I would have love to read about her travels around the world examining the very different ways in which feminism is articulated, she spent a good part of her autobiography giving a voice and making sure we learn about Native American feminism. As a European, we do not get to hear much about the struggles of Native Americans in general, and Steinem goes beyond the all-masculine idea we have of them and presents readers with feminist leaders to whom people like ex-president Bill Clinton thanked for their contributions. Native American feminists are present all over the world, but Steinem devotes a whole chapter to one of them: Wilma Mankiller, who Gloria approaches from a candid perspective both as a friend and as a feminist and introduces readers to a different approach to life:

You cannot think yourself into right living. You live yourself into right thinking – Native Elders

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Yet, I think the book’s real power to inspire and change women’s life is how Gloria Steinem has lived her life. Even though Mankiller sadly passed away in 2010, we are presented with Steinem’s grief, and how she moved on. Death is present in Gloria’s life as much as her desire to change women’s situation all over the world. While reading, I was reminded that life is both good and bad, but we have a choice to surrender or to keep going. Steinem did not make it California to see her father before he passed away after a bad car accident, and she has regretted this her whole life. But rather than letting it stop her from living, she has learned from the experience and she has moved on as better as she could. Throughout the book we are reminded that we can give up, but we do not have to. We are reminded that life is hard work, but that hard work has its rewards.

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A behind-the-scene look at Gloria Steinem’s work at the National Women’s Political Caucasus

One of those rewards – probably the most important – is love. Not romantic love, not love in a traditional, white-wedding way. But love for the people in our lives, and love from them in return. Feminism has the difficult task of trying to dismantle the wide-spread idea that women cannot be friends with other women, because we bicker, and we fight, and we get jealous. Luckily, Steinem’s life of female friendships is proof enough to deconstruct that myth. Being on the road does not mean to be alone, and Gloria’s friends appear at the turn of every page to remind the reader that women can work together successfully. Not only that, but if we support other women who are fighting for women’s rights, and if we help them, we will all benefit in the end. Steinem makes no effort to hide her dislike for those who do not fight for women’s rights, and her political alliances with politicians such as Bella Abzug and Hillary Clinton is patent. I was surprised to read about Betty Friedan’s grudge towards Steinem, and how Gloria herself does not distinguish between Republicans and Democrats, but urges women to forget those labels and support those who will fight for their rights.

In fact, many questions have three or seven or a dozen sides. Sometimes I think the only real division into two is between people who divide everything into two, and those who don’t.

I can’t recommend My Life on the Road enough to every woman out there. Gloria Steinem is a key figure in Western feminism, and although some of her recent comments have been controversial, she is a woman who knows who she is and she is not apologetic about it. At one point I found myself reading about one luxurious Thanksgiving spent with the then partner – who remains wisely unnamed, because this is Gloria’s story after all – in Palm Springs with three very powerful couples, among whom she quotes a snack mogul. It included limousines, private planes, and a private concert by Frank Sinatra. I realised then that I was not reading any feminist biography, but about a very privilege’s one. But, after all the hard work that she has done, could it be otherwise? Should it be? Was it cynical of me to expect less of one of the key women for the feminist movement in America? I do not have an answer, but I believe women should be rewarded for the hard-work they do. Gloria Steinem has done her share, and I am very happy she is giving us the opportunity to peer into her life, and remind us that life is good, and we have the power to make it good for others, but also to ourselves.

Altogether, if I had to pick one place to hang out anywhere, from New York to Cape Town and Australia to Hong Kong, a bookstore would be it.

My Life on the Road is personal, yet well-researched. There are notes, at least 10 for each chapter, and an index, so that anyone looking for specific information regarding anything, from abortion to Florence Kennedy, will be satisfied. Every chapter is also introduced by a picture of Gloria with someone who inspired the chapter – and she makes no distinctions between her mother, with whom she had a troubled relationship, to international politicians – so that we are reminded of the people in our lives, and the importance of love, support, second-opportunities and change. Because, if there is a theme that infuses the book is change, be it through activism, travelling, deaths and births, different jobs, or by simply letting ourselves be free, enjoy life, and break way with traditional ways of being and thinking. But – in Gloria’s spirit– don’t let this review tell you what My Life on the Road is. Go out, find a copy, and experience it for yourself.

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This is review #3 for my  20 Books of Summer project

First Time Reading a Classic: And Then There Were None (1939) by Agatha Christie

Confession time: I had never read or watched any adaptations of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None (1939) by Agatha Christie. Except for the Family Guy double episode, Psychs and the many other references in popular culture and media that I have watched. But, the original? Nope, never. It does not help that we have kept a literal translation of the original title Ten LIttle Niggers  in Spanish – click here to see it – and when I looked for an English second-hand review copy on Abebooks, I could find none. But, after some failed attempts, and some research, I found the original title, and after last Christmas’ super successful BBC adaptation I knew I had to give it a try.

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Because the book is such a masterpiece and a cultural landmark, I will divide my review in different sections so that I can deal with everything that I have noted down. Also, please keep in mind I am not an expert in Golden Age crime fiction, and my analysis is not an academic one.

The characters

I was really pleased with the presentation of characters. When we have 10 main characters, it can be quite difficult to get a glimpse into who they are, but Christie devoted a paragraph to each of the main characters at the very beginning of the book. Having said this, I had to make a list with their names and a defining quality – profession, age, gender, etc– and,again, Christie made it very easy to put a label on each of them. But, this does not mean that the characters were plain, in fact, as the story progressed, I could see they were more multi-faceted than expected.

Out of the ten characters, ten were women, and although I was not impressed by them, I was not offended either. If we take into account the lack of racial sensibility of the original title, one could expect a very misogynist book, which was not the case. Having said that, I was obviously very interested in Vera Clayhorn’s story because she was a young, single governess and her story reminded me of The Turn of the Screw so much, I wonder now if Christie was inspired by James’ novel.

The crime

One of the things that disturbs me the most about Golden Age crime fiction is that I do not like the detectives at all. I find Poirot petulant and snobbish, and the few Miss Marple mysteries I have read have not left enough of an impression on me, meaning that I was probably not impressed by her. Luckily for me, there is no detective in And Then There Were None: the story is told by a third person, omnipresent narrator who does not get involved in the story. And, as the title suggests, by the end of novel, no one remains alive.

The Setting

I was most impressed by the setting for two reasons: one is that I love the sea, and the sea-side, and the second is that I am not usually captivated by settings, except for Indridason’s dark and twisted tales in Iceland. But, the cold, and misty English weather gave me nightmares about the sea for three nights in a row. There is something magical about the way Christie makes the environment an accomplice in the crime.

I was also really surprised to find out that the house in the novel is described as modern, with electric lights and white (art deco, I guess) style. In popular adaptations the house is usually represented as a nineteenth-century mansion, three or four stories high and relying on candles.

The ending

Do not worry, no spoilers here! I was surprised by the ending and did not see it coming at all although it was the most logical and reasonable solution to the mystery, and now that I think about it: Of course. Of course!

The verdict

And Then There Were None is a classic in 20th century English literature, not only in the crime fiction tradition. The many, many adaptations of the story have made of it a popular story and a  landmark in contemporary popular culture. I would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading, and who has seen any of the adaptations.

Now I can’t wait to watch the BBC adaptation, which comes highly recommended by every reader I trust. If you are late to the party too, here is the trailer.

I love how they are making it as dark and twisted as the original text, leaving besides popular believes about it being a ‘cosy’ story. it is not. The sea, and the house will haunt readers in their dreams like modern serial killers haunt their victims. If you have ever taken for granted Christie’s talent – like I did myself – And Then There Were None will surprise you, and then remind you why Christie was labelled the Queen of crime.

Author Interview: Helen MacKinven author of Buy Buy Baby

It’s my turn to bring a very special book tour to an end: Buy Buy Baby by Helen MacKinven in a novel about motherhood, domestic abuse, relationships and what society tells women to measure. In Western, affluent countries motherhood is constructed as a women’s ultimate goal in life, and the only one that will make her happy. Not only that, but the media are also on the hunt of ‘baby bumps’ scrutinising female celebrities’ bodies in every week. Jennifer Aniston wrote a very good article for the Huffington Post on the millions of times she has supposedly been pregnant stating that:

This past month in particular has illuminated for me how much we define a woman’s value based on her marital and maternal status. The sheer amount of resources being spent right now by press trying to simply uncover whether or not I am pregnant (for the bajillionth time… but who’s counting) points to the perpetuation of this notion that women are somehow incomplete, unsuccessful, or unhappy if they’re not married with children.

You can read her post here.

Meanwhile, Helen MacKiven has written Buy Buy Baby, a novel about motherhood and how society creates the desire to be a mother at any price in many women. From Goodreads:

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Set in and around Glasgow, Buy Buy Baby is a moving and funny story of life, loss and longing.

Packed full of bitchy banter, it follows the bittersweet quest of two very different women united by the same desire – they desperately want a baby.

Carol talks to her dog, has an expensive Ebay habit and relies on wine to forget she’s no longer a mum following the death of her young son.

Cheeky besom Julia is career-driven and appears to have it all. But after disastrous attempts at internet dating, she feels there is a baby-shaped hole in her life.

In steps Dan, a total charmer with a solution to their problems.

But only if they are willing to pay the price, on every level…

I am very happy to have Helen MacKinven over to answer some questions about motherhood, her creative process and how important it is for women all ages – but especially young women like me – to navigate motherhood discourses critically. Welcome, Helen, and thank you very much for your time!

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  1. Why did you choose to write a book about motherhood?

I wanted to explore the yearning that some women feel in their quest to be a mother. I was very lucky to have no problem getting pregnant and neither of the births when I had my two sons was particularly problematic. However, I spent 15 years working as a Road Safety Officer and was involved in many publicity campaigns highlighting the aftermath of a child dying in a road incident. This made me reflect on how I might feel if I was unfortunate enough to experience the same trauma. Would I want to replace the child, like Carol, in Buy Buy Baby? And what if I hadn’t been able to have children naturally? Or struggled to find a suitable partner, like Julia, in my novel? These issues made me wonder how far a woman in those types of situations would go to be a mum. What price would they pay on every level? This triggered the idea of exploring the emotional, psychological, physical, financial and moral implications of the journey Carol and Julia find themselves on because of their desperation to achieve motherhood.

  1. You are a mother – please visit Helen’s guest post at Noami’s here – but have strong views against traditional and essentialist motherhood. How did you arrive to these conclusions (after pregnancy, during motherhood, you knew it all along. As a young woman myself struggling with the representations of motherhood, I would like this question to be as open as you would like).

I’d describe myself as a person first, and it just so happens that I’m also a woman. Whether I’m a mother as well is neither here nor there as regards my sense of self. I wouldn’t say I’m against traditional motherhood, whatever that might mean, what I believe in is doing what is right for you as an individual. I had a wee rant when I woke up to the headlines on Saturday that Andrea Leadsom allegedly claimed that because she is a mother, she was the best candidate for PM as she had a greater stake in the country’s future. This narrow-minded attitude rips my knitting! Of course being a mother has fostered certain skills and attributes in me but that status does not make me superior in any way compared to women who do not have children. I’ve always felt this way and hate the way some women wear the ‘Mummy’ badge with an arrogance that I find distasteful. Being a mum is very important to be me but I’m ‘Helen’, first and foremost. A firm sense of identity should be enough for any woman to be comfortable in their own skin, and for them not to feel under pressure to add an extra label in the misguided belief that it will somehow give them the edge over other women.

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Author Helen MacKinven with her sons, now aged 20 and 23 – (C) Helen MacKiven

  1. The discourses around motherhood have changed a lot in the last two decades. Being a writer and a reader, have you seen this reflected in literature? Could you give us some examples of other novels that question motherhood as some women’s main goal in life?

I’ve always been attracted to ‘interesting’ characters in fiction that aren’t afraid to stick two fingers up at the societal norm. One of my favourite mothers in fiction is Eva Khatchadourian from We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver in which the nature versus nurture debate is examined when a woman finds herself to be the mother of a killer. I can’t think of a better example of a woman discovering that motherhood doesn’t always live up to preconceived ideas. Last year, I went to the Edinburgh Book Festival to hear Meera Syal discuss her novel, The House of Hidden Mothers which was a fascinating insight into the dealings of the corrupt surrogacy market in India. The main character has to confront her desire to be a mother and question the morality of her actions. I also recently read, Dead Babies and Seaside Town by Alice Jolly which is a moving memoir of loss and infertility as Alice battles the system to become a mum again.

  1. Buy Buy Baby is a research project on contemporary motherhood. The title itself is evocative of new and controversial practices such as surrogacy, or even human trafficking. Could you tell us a bit about your research? (Whether this is covered in the media, whether it was difficult to find cases in the UK, if you actually met someone who had experienced any of these practices, etc.)

The first draft of Buy Buy Baby was written six years ago and there have been many developments since the time of the book’s setting. I spent a lot of time researching the various options open to women who are struggling to conceive and there was a wealth of information on the internet. Although I personally haven’t experienced fertility tourism, considered adoption or surrogacy, I know women in my own circle of family and friends who have had to cope with these scenarios. During the first draft, a friend of a friend very kindly offered to share her experience of using a sperm donor so I was fortunate to have access to a real account. My last novel, Talk of the Toun, was very much a case of following the advice to “write what you know” but Buy Buy Baby is an attempt by me to write what I want to know.

  1. Finally, I think it is very important to provide young women (like me!) with challenged views on maternity. Will your next book follow this subversive line?

It’s in my nature to be confrontational (in my writing!) so I’m sure that whatever I write in future will feature dark themes and tackle controversial issues. I’ve got notes and ideas for a new novel set in Scotland after the independence referendum result but with a local historical event related to the Leningrad Siege weaved into the narrative. The novel would be used to feature the solidarity of the Scottish women with those in Russia in the 1940s but with a contemporary context. It would have a feminist and political agenda but I’d hope there would be plenty of opportunity for humour too.

If you wan to check Helen MacKinven’s past blog tour dates and posts for Buy Buy Baby:

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Happiness in a Suitcase! Cardiff Book Haul

Remember when I went to the UK for a week and all I could tweet about was food and books? Well, there was a reason! The lovely Lucy – who you can already follow on Twitter for anything on children’s literature and crime fiction – took me second-hand book shopping in Cardiff the three days I was there. One day, we even went into Waterstones three times, much to my embarrassment, and much to Lucy’s delight. But, while I was there I thought: I can get the brand new books that I know about online in Spain, wouldn’t it be better if I used this precious time to browse second-hand book shops? So we did. Here are my purchases:

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From top to bottom:

Darkly Dreaming by Jeff Lindsay.- This was actually one of Lucy’s copies of the first instalment in the Dexter series, but she kindly gave it to me when I said – to her surprise – that I had never read any Dexter.

The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud (*) (£3.5).- This book has been hugely popular online for a while now because it contains one of the most unlikable female main characters in the history of modern literature. Can’t wait to see what I make of her.

The Hand that First Held Mine by Maggie O’Farrell (£1 ).- When O’Farrell’s latest novel came out some weeks ago, most bloggers who know me pretty well and who have amazing taste in literature were surprised I had never read of her works. I thought of starting with the latest, This Must Be the Place, but Naomi suggested I gave The Hand that First Held Mine a try first. Couldn’t belive it when I found it for one pound.

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters (*) (£3.5).- Again, yet another well-known and respected author whose works I have never read. This one comes highly recommended to me for the crime fiction elements on the story.

The Portable Veblen by Elizabeth McKenzie (£2).- This book came out this year, and I found my copy – slighlty damaged, but with the text intact – at the W&H clearance section. I first heard about McKenzie’s book on Twitter referenced as the new Bernadette.

Women, Health, and Medicine by Agnes Miles (£4).- I was not looking for this book, but I found it at the Oxfam shop and a few chapters seem to perfectly fit my thesis. It was published in 1990 and it covers women as doctors, as well as women as patients, and how gendered the medical practice actually is.

I really, really enjoyed all the book browsing and book shopping not only because it is quite difficult to find good books in English in Spain, but because we have a 21% tax imposed on them, and the only legal discount applied to books is 5%. Imagine my happiness at finding books so cheap!

The books marked with (*) were purchased at TroutmarkBooks, a second-hand book buying and selling shop in the Castle Arcade. They have a wonderful selection of anything from contemporary novels to farming books, all arranged alphabetically by the author’s name. Their general fiction and crime fiction selection is mostly priced between £2.5 £3.5, and they even have Palgrave academic books for £20, when their usual price is up to £150. If you are ever in Cardiff, I highly recommend you spend a few hours browsing TroutmarkBooks, and if you are travelling make sure you leave extra space on your suitcase for the books!

(C) Cardiff Arcades

TroutmarkBooks – (C) Cardiff Arcades

The stationery offer in the UK is quite impressive as well, and I found the perfect planner for the 2016 – 2017 academic year – starting 1st August, ending 31st July – at The Works. Of course, it is pink:

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And last, but no least, I found a border collie cuddly toy at Hamley’s that stole my heart – and my brother’s and my mother’s – and helped me cope with my dog-less days. But, again, I had no space left, and it was quite expensive at £20. (But look at that face! It shall me mine!).

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All I can say is that I had the best of times, and I owe Lucy and her partner a lot for making me feel at home all the time and spoiling me rotten for three days. She even taught me to cook scrambled eggs (UK version!). Cardiff is now my second home and I can’t wait to go back as soon as possible. Meanwhile, I have all these books to keep me entertained.

Wilde Lake by Laura Lippman

A few months ago I discovered American author Laura Lippman – a bit late to the party, I know – and I started following her on Twitter. She and Megan Abbott saw my confession and told me about Lippman’s upcoming stand-alone novel, Wilde Lake, to be published in the UK the 7th July by Faber Books. So, thanks to Laura I got in contact with Faber Books and they kindly sent me a review copy of Wilde Lake. Abbott suggested I would love it, and she was right.

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Wilde Lake tells the story of Louisa ‘Lu’ Brant, newly elected – and first female! – State’s Attorney of Howard County (Maryland). Lu grew in Columbia and now she is back on the family home, where her father still lives, with her two young children. But returning home is not always an easy task, especially when Lu is occupying her father’s post, and she is back to her childhood home. But past and present meet when Lu investigates the murder of a middle-aged local waitress.

That is much as I am willing to give away in this review, because Wilde Lake is a legal thriller as much as a character study on female public servants, and what it means to grow up. Despite being forty-five, Lu is forced to face her past and to question it when she returns home. What happened to her mother? Why is her older brother a hipster? What happened to her husband? Was her time in Wilde Lake High School as easy and innocent as she remembers it?

Lippman makes an amazing job at creating a complex, and not always likable character. Lu has her own agenda, and she has no trouble following it, but she is fully aware of how female ambition is perceived by the general public, and how she should play her cards wisely if she wants to be re-elected:

The thing I had gotten wrong was showing how desperately I wanted to win. That was what I had to learn to conceal, what my father and AJ knew from birth: disguise your desire.

And she is the first female elected State’s Attorney, and she knows it. Throughout the novel, which is narrated in third person in the present, and Lu’s first person in her past, we are offered glimpses of what it means to be a female public servant. It is not unknown that women in politics are subjected to far more criticism and higher standards than their male counterparts. And Lu knows it:

Is Lu going to have to train people to knock, to remind her former colleagues that she’s the boss? Does it matter? Should they knock? Would a man worry about such things? Would he worry about the knock, or would he worry about telling people to knock?

Lu takes special care to make sure her expensive clothes do not look expensive.

The murder is also especial. For one thing, I think this is the first legal thriller that I read, and I loved the experience. Do not worry about getting lost, or not understanding the jargon. I had very vague notions of American law – which I confess comes from binge-watching Law & Order – and I had no problems following the plot. But, because I do not want to give much away, I will say that there are hints about how gendered a crime can be, and how times have changed regarding women’s treatment by public servants and the police. Lu also presents the reader with her father’s point of view, an old-fashioned one we could argue, and we are allowed to compare social and civil rights changes, but also how the general public is – or should be – more sensitive towards those crimes that involve women’s situation in a male-dominated society.

If, like me, you have never read anything by Laura Lippman, Wilde Lake is your perfect starting point. If you are already a fan of hers, you will know the high-quality to expect from both her writing, and the publishers. My review copy’s cover (pictured above) got compliments from more than one person because of its clever reminiscence of American high school aesthetics. In short, Wilde Lake is a complex legal thriller with dark and twisted glimpses into everyday, all-American small-town life.

This is review #2 for my  20 Books of Summer project

New Review: All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda for Los Angeles Review of Books

Today I am very happy to bring you my latest review for Los Angeles Review of Books. When my former editor contacted me he wanted to know if I would like to review books by female writers for the Noir section, and I obviously did not have to think about it. Sadly, my editor is now gone – wishing you the best, Zac – and the Noir section as such is gone, but I am still writing for them.

Zac’s last task before he left was to make sure I got a review copy of Megan Miranda’s first adult novel, All the Missing Girls. What makes this book special is that it is a crime story told backwards. Here’s what Goodreads says:

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It’s been ten years since Nicolette Farrell left her rural hometown after her best friend, Corinne, disappeared from Cooley Ridge without a trace. Back again to tie up loose ends and care for her ailing father, Nic is soon plunged into a shocking drama that reawakens Corinne’s case and breaks open old wounds long since stitched.

The decade-old investigation focused on Nic, her brother Daniel, boyfriend Tyler, and Corinne’s boyfriend Jackson. Since then, only Nic has left Cooley Ridge. Daniel and his wife, Laura, are expecting a baby; Jackson works at the town bar; and Tyler is dating Annaleise Carter, Nic’s younger neighbor and the group’s alibi the night Corinne disappeared. Then, within days of Nic’s return, Annaleise goes missing.

Told backwards—Day 15 to Day 1—from the time Annaleise goes missing, Nic works to unravel the truth about her younger neighbor’s disappearance, revealing shocking truths about her friends, her family, and what really happened to Corinne that night ten years ago.

Like nothing you’ve ever read before, All the Missing Girls delivers in all the right ways. With twists and turns that lead down dark alleys and dead ends, you may think you’re walking a familiar path, but then Megan Miranda turns it all upside down and inside out and leaves us wondering just how far we would be willing to go to protect those we love.

The novel is the perfect mix of pop-culture intertextuality, complex structure and character study, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys American crime fiction.

You can read my review ‘A Breath of Fresh, Confusing Air in American Crime Fiction’ here.