ISBN-13: 9780060566944
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication Date: 12 August 2014 (Reprint)
Format: Paperback, 384 pgs
Source: Publisher

Kathryn Campbell lost her best friend, Jennifer Pelletier, on the night of their high school graduation. Jennifer simply told her friends that she's taking a walk in the woods, but she never back. Her disappearance comes as a blow to Kathryn, after all they are close and Jennifer asked her a question about future plans before she took off that walk. Kathryn didn't really understand her question at that time and Jennifer didn't wish to elaborate.

Fast forward to the present, Kathryn moved to Boston after her marriage to Paul, whom she met during their college days. However, their marriage only lasts two years and now Kathryn us moving back to her hometown, Bangor, Maine.

She has mixed feelings returning to Bangor, since it brought her sad memories of Jennifer, and on top of that she doesn't know what she wants to do with her life there, and she's afraid of finding out. She seems like she's living in denial. Other than these, she isn't sure how she'd go along with her mother and her younger brother, Josh. Their parents divorced when she was twelve, and she and Josh felt it was too much to face their mother with that sadness written on her. Gradually, Josh drifts apart from Kathryn and pursue his own dreams.

Her mother encourages her to write for the local Bangor papers, since she has the experience but Kathryn isn't keen until an old friend, Jack probed her to write something on the disappearance of Jennifer. It'd be one stone killing two birds as who knows, she may find something new surrounding her disappearance.

I've to confess I wasn't warmed up to Kathryn in the beginning. She has too much of her emotions bottled up, due to the disappearance of Jennifer, her parents' divorce when she was twelve, and finally her divorce with Paul. Although I totally understand the unfortunate events she has gone through, but at times her denial state got to me and I felt like shaking her up and telling her to move on. But then, she's been waiting for Jennifer to come back for the past ten years; waiting for the past to catch up with her so she can begins her future. She simply needs an answer; something she can lives with.

The story is categorised into four parts - Homecoming,  Memory, Reunion and Release. The part on the Memory is where readers will know more about Jennifer; and how she's getting along with her high school friends and how they think of her. I think this part is the most interesting and intriguing, as we speculate and wonder about her disappearance. Did Jennifer feel suicidal after the death of her father, or did she feel hatred and betrayed of her mother's affair? Then, there are questions about Jennifer going out with a few guys and then dumping them.

As much as this is a mystery, I find the pace is a tad slow in my opinion; thus this is more of a literary fiction by itself. The story is mostly surrounding on Kathryn searching for the truth behind Jennifer's disappearance and learning something which she didn't know about her along the way. I wasn't sure of the closure though,  it left me feeling unsatisfied because of the "murderer's" motive, but I suppose that's up to each reader to ponder about it.
10 Responses
  1. jenclair Says:

    This sounds interesting. I like the categorization into the 4 parts, and I'm curious about what really happened to Jennifer.

  2. Unknown Says:

    This sounds like an interesting character-driven novel. It does sound disappointing on the level of a mystery though.

  3. Melody Says:

    Jenclair - It's interesting but I think the story isn't big on the mystery. However, it's still an OK read for the characterisations.

  4. Melody Says:

    Irene - Yes, it's more of a character - driven story. Being me, I'd prefer a fast paced mystery though.

  5. The Bookworm Says:

    Slow paced stories tend to bore me and the ending would bother me if I didn't get the motive.
    Thanks for your thoughts on it!

  6. Melody Says:

    Naida - I think this is still an OK read, as it's leading more towards a literary than mystery. I think it's partly due to my high expectations since I want to read a fast - paced mystery.

  7. Iliana Says:

    Great review, Melody! I think this sounds like an enjoyable book to get into even if it was a bit slow. I like books like these when I want "comfort" reads.

  8. Melody Says:

    Iliana - I'm so glad to 'see' you! Hope you're doing great! :)
    I think I wasn't in the right mood reading this book; plus I was expecting more actions in a mystery. However, this is more of a literary mystery so that explains the pace.

  9. Thank you for the head's up about this one, Melody. I liked the author's Orphan Train quite a bit and do want to read more by her. I have this one in my TBR collection.

  10. Melody Says:

    Wendy - I'll have to check out Orphan Train as I keep hearing good things about that book. Hope you'll enjoy this book as well.

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