WARNING! REVIEW CONTAINS MINOR SPOILERS
Title: The Girl Before
Author: JP Delaney
Publication Date: January 24, 2017
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Goodreads Rating: 3.7
My Rating: 5/5
Please make a list of every possession you consider essential to your life.
The request seems odd, even intrusive—and for the two women who answer, the consequences are devastating.
Reeling from a traumatic break-in, Emma wants a new place to live. But none of the apartments she sees are affordable or feel safe. Until One Folgate Street. The house is an architectural masterpiece: a minimalist design of pale stone, plate glass, and soaring ceilings. But there are rules. The enigmatic architect who designed the house retains full control: no books, no throw pillows, no photos or clutter or personal effects of any kind. The space is intended to transform its occupant—and it does.
After a personal tragedy, Jane needs a fresh start. When she finds One Folgate Street she is instantly drawn to the space—and to its aloof but seductive creator. Moving in, Jane soon learns about the untimely death of the home’s previous tenant, a woman similar to Jane in age and appearance. As Jane tries to untangle truth from lies, she unwittingly follows the same patterns, makes the same choices, crosses paths with the same people, and experiences the same terror, as the girl before.
I really loved how this story was told. Alternating every chapter between each girl and their stories added to the suspense so much. What adds even more to the suspense is that Jane tells her story from the past and Emma is in the present. Having their lives intertwine so much was at times a bit creepy and really helped me to fall in love with this book. I loved the mystery element of Jane trying to figure out what happened to Emma and how it is the plot of the story, but it didn’t take over the story.
There were many parts of this book that I found myself surprised that the author was a male. Usually, I don’t think it matters who is writing because this is fiction and the author is using their imagination to tell a story so I judge the book based on their writing and depth of story. In this case though, JP Delaney wrote so vividly about things that only a woman can go through that I was very impressed with his writing. He also did a wonderful job keeping me guessing the whole story and this book had so many twists and turns that it was a hard book to put down.
Both Emma and Jane felt so real to me that I was invested in both of their stories from the get go. Jane has just been through a home invasion and is looking for somewhere new to live with her boyfriend because she, understandably, doesn’t feel safe anymore where she is living. Emma has recently suffered a stillbirth and is trying to recover from the loss of her child. Both of these events are the motivation behind each girl’s choices and behaviors. Even though both of their stories are taking place at different times many of the side characters are the same for both narratives, which just further entwines their stories. Both Emma and Jane were messy and relatable women and I found myself so caught up in each of their stories that I wasn’t even trying to look for clues to the mystery. Also, knowing that something is going to eventually happen to Emma kept the suspense level high throughout the whole story.
The Girl Before was way more dark and twisted than I thought it would be. I’m not really sure what I was expecting but it was definitely more rated R than PG13. I love how dark it was and it was a great addition to all the other elements in the book. This story has a lot of sexual content which may make some readers uncomfortable or may even be triggering so please keep that in mind if you’re deciding to read this book or not. JP Delaney balanced everything in this book so well and it was a very enthralling read.
Earlier in the month I posted about a challenge I was doing, where I’m wanted to read 15 thrillers before the end of the year. This was one of the books on the list and I’m so happy that I was finally pushed to read this because I loved it so much. I was also happy to find out that The Girl Before is being turned into a movie. It is going to be such a great movie if done right and I will definitely be seeing it in theaters.