Author: Holly Throsby
Rating: 2.5/5 wooden horses
Release date: October 1st 2016
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Goodwood is a small town where everyone knows everything about everyone. It’s a place where it’s impossible to keep a secret.
In 1992, when Jean Brown is seventeen, a terrible thing happens. Two terrible things. Rosie White, the coolest girl in town, vanishes overnight. One week later, Goodwood’s most popular resident, Bart McDonald, sets off on a fishing trip and never comes home.
People die in Goodwood, of course, but never like this. They don’t just disappear.
As the intensity of speculation about the fates of Rosie and Bart heightens, Jean, who is keeping secrets of her own, and the rest of Goodwood are left reeling.
I’m very disappointed to say that this book is just not for me. It doesn’t quite capture the essence of a good mystery novel. There was a complete lack of suspense, and the story just felt really flat and boring.
The story started off with 17-year old Jean, a juvenile teenager who – like the rest of the town – is simple and friendly. I really liked how Jean was portrayed at the beginning of the book. She’s a girl with brimming curiosity, loves books, music and her family. But of course, her whole personality just shifts as the story progresses. That’s part of her character development, after all, but I feel like her voice grows more passive and the further I read the more I feel like I could no longer relate to her. I also thought that seeing as she’s the main character, she contributed almost nothing to the story. Jean is just a ‘minor witness’ in the story. She has nothing to offer to the table because she isn’t in any part of the whole mystery to begin with. I feel like if we’ve gotten Rosie’s perspective before her disappearance or a close friend of hers, the story would actually go somewhere.
The writing has so much potential too – but it completely drew me off after reading the first half of the book. It got to the point where I just wanted to put the book down, but I went on anyway. I skimmed through a few pages, found nothing that might lead me to the answer, continued skimming, and before I knew it I was left with five chapters. Only then did I give my full attention. Then again, I thought the ending wasn’t anything special either. I have to admit – it had a good build up to begin with, but it seems like the author just wants the readers to run in circles, drop a couple of hints in the last remaining chapters and then gradually reveal the answer to the mystery. There was just this lack of intensity that could have made the book more exciting.
I don’t have much to say about this book, really. I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re looking for a fast-paced mystery thriller. If you like books with slow build-ups, then give this one a try. I’m personally not a fan of it, but of course everyone is entitled to their own opinions. The book has its pros, it’s just that to me the cons pretty much outweighs them.
Thank you so much Allen&Unwin for sending over the book in exchange for an honest review!