Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Forgotten Girl

Bell, D. (2014). The Forgotten Girl. NY: Penguin Group.

Adult / Adult for YA / Mystery

I gave this book 3.5 of 5 Stars on Goodreads

High school mystery gets solved twenty-seven years later.  The Forgotten Girl is mostly told through dialogue, which isn't a problem for me but made it feel less like a suspense novel and more voyeuristic -- like I was listening around the corner to private conversations.  Author Bell does a great job setting-up the story with the prologue and readers will take note of the last line there, an ominous foreshadowing of things to be revealed.

We have a bunch of important characters, none of whom we get to know well, but all of whom we definitely get impressions that stick. Jason, the main character, and his wife, Nora, are really kind of boring. I kept thinking there would be some spark or action there, but nada. I will say that given the couple's history we're given, I found Nora's tolerance for Jason's shenanigans ridiculous. Also ridiculous to me were secondary character Hayden's shenanigans -- no twelve-step program endorses endangering your life and the lives of your loved ones in the name of making amends. Sierra, Hayden's daughter, is a bit cliche as the girl who managed to turn-out good despite her mother's lack of parenting skills. Also cliche was the repetition of how Jason and Nora didn't-have-kids-so-couldn't-possibly-understand thing.  The most interesting character to me was Logan, the boy who disappeared on graduation night, twenty-seven years earlier.

What kept me reading was the slow unraveling of what happened to Logan.  Layer after layer is peeled away to reveal an ever-expanding circle of people who's lives were impacted by his disappearance. The gossip in me just had to know the truth. By the same token, that slow unraveling, with the lack of any real climax to the story, made the book end in a bit of a whimper.

There is mild profanity and violence, references to alcohol and drug use, and one sexual situation that isn't overly graphic. Though it's classified as an adult novel, it's way more tame than many young adult novels on the market and fine for that audience. And it moved from a 3 Star rating to a 3.5 Star rating simply because I liked it enough that I found myself reading for hours at a time when I should have been doing other things.

Thank you to Shelf Awareness for providing me a free ARC in exchange for my honest review -- the only kind I give.


  1. The test of any book for me is if I put off doing other things to read it.

    1. Absolutely! I definitely was interested in seeing where this went -- and trying to figure out where the title and cover image came from.