book review

ARC Review: Watching You by Lisa Jewell

Thank you to Netgalley for allowing me to read this for free in exchange for my honest opinions.

Title: Watching You

Author: Lisa Jewell

Genre: Thriller

Publication Date: December 26, 2018

Publisher: Atria Books

Rating: 5/5

Melville Heights is one of the nicest neighbourhoods in Bristol, England; home to doctors and lawyers and old-money academics. It’s not the sort of place where people are brutally murdered in their own kitchens. But it is the sort of place where everyone has a secret. And everyone is watching you.

As the headmaster credited with turning around the local school, Tom Fitzwilliam is beloved by one and all—including Joey Mullen, his new neighbor, who quickly develops an intense infatuation with this thoroughly charming yet unavailable man. Joey thinks her crush is a secret, but Tom’s teenaged son Freddie—a prodigy with aspirations of becoming a spy for MI5—excels in observing people and has witnessed Joey behaving strangely around his father.

One of Tom’s students, Jenna Tripp, also lives on the same street, and she’s not convinced her teacher is as squeaky clean as he seems. For one thing, he has taken a particular liking to her best friend and fellow classmate, and Jenna’s mother—whose mental health has admittedly been deteriorating in recent years—is convinced that Mr. Fitzwilliam is stalking her.

Meanwhile, twenty years earlier, a schoolgirl writes in her diary, charting her doomed obsession with a handsome young English teacher named Mr. Fitzwilliam…


This was such an enthralling read. It took me a couple of chapters to really get into this book but once I did I was absolutely hooked. I started reading this book in November but that was soon after we had moved and I was trying to find something to get me out of my reading slump. For whatever reason this book just wasn’t doing it for me at the time. I picked this book back up in January once I had found my groove again and I read it in three days. I was so invested in the characters and the reveals were so well done. This is a stunning thriller novel that masterfully builds up the suspense and does not leave you wishing for more at the end.

The way the story builds and layers is so well done. Lisa Jewell’s wonderful style of writing combined with the perfect pacing of the book made this one of the best thrillers I have ever read. My favorite books always seem to be multi perspective story which this one did so wonderfully. I loved the adult characters along with the two teenage characters we get to read from. I love how all their thoughts, ideas and interactions with different characters really shaped the suspense of the story. I also really enjoyed how Jewell was not afraid to write some unlikable characters. Sometimes authors try to give reasons for why a character does a bad thing and I very much appreciated that these characters were complex and she gave no apologies over it.

There were also a few breaks in the story set in the future where we know something happened to someone but we were left in the dark who it was. These breaks also showed us how shady a certain character was and also helped cement our thoughts and opinions of them. Obviously, the other purpose of these breaks were to really amp up our anticipation of what the novel was building to.

The ending was brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. The clues were right there in the book and yet they seemed so innocuous that I read it and didn’t give it another thought. I love a well done thriller and I was so happy with this one. There was also another reveal that I didn’t see coming and I was so pleased with it. Most of the time I can predict twists and see them coming a mile away but I didn’t even suspect anything about this certain character.

If you are a fan of thrillers than this is definitely a book you should check out. If you aren’t really into thrillers, I still recommend this book to you. I will definitely be reading more from this author in the future. In fact, I have her novels, I Found You and Then She Was Gone on my shelves and I can’t wait to read them this year.



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