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All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

All the Missing Girls is Megan Miranda's first adult novel; she has previously written several YA novels.  However, I haven't read any of Miranda's YA novels.  All the Missing Girls is a thriller, a genre I don't read as often as I used to, and a page turner.  You won't be able to put it down, and you won't see many of the twists coming until they're right on top of you.  The story opens on day 1 and then flashes forward to day 15 and unspools backwards one day at a time back to day 1 before jumping forward again at the very end to wrap up the story.  It's a messy ending and it's probably not your stereotypical 'happy ending.'

Nicolette's father is slowly succumbing to dementia and now that he's run out of money, Nicolette and her brother, Daniel, must sell the house to finance their father's upkeep at the convalescence home.  So Nicolette returns home to tiny Cooley Ridge, NC, for the summer to ready her father's house for sale and put his affairs in order.  It is her return home that serves as the catalyst for everything that comes afterwards.

Once back in Cooley Ridge Nicolette's summer is derailed when a young woman named Annaliese goes missing from town.  The disappearance dredges up the fears and uncertainties remaining regarding the disappearance a decade prior of Nicolette's best friend Corinne.  All the persons of interest in that still unsolved disappearance remain in town except for Nicolette who escaped up North and rarely returns home.  And now those same persons of interest, from Daniel to their father to Nicolette's former high school boyfriend (who was now dating Annaliese), are under renewed scrutiny in the current disappearance.  As Nicolette delves into the past, dredging up all the secrets and lies related to Corinne's disappearance and the toll the investigation took on her family, friendships, and the town, she starts losing weight and losing sleep.  As the days unfold in reverse time all of Nicolette's secrets and lies are laid bare to the reader.  Is Annaliese's disappearance tied to Corinne's?  If so, how and why?  Who is stealthily entering her father's house to rifle through his belongings and what are they looking for?  Why was Annaliese obsessed with Corinne's disappearance?

This book sucks you in from the first chapter and as the story progresses it becomes increasingly harder to put down until the mysteries of both disappearances are resolved.  While the story structure is unique and allows for the organic reveal of several story twists, keeping track of the twists that reveal Nicolette's increasing repertoire of obfuscation as well as her possible motives for such is tricky.  Miranda's writing is both haunting and lyrical in its depiction of two weeks that threaten to unravel everything that Nicolette has built since she left her small hometown.  I highly recommend you pick this up the next time you visit the library.

--Reviewed by Ms. Angie


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