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February 06, 2015

Review: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins - A Gritty Thriller

The Girl on the Train
Title: The Girl on the Train
Author: Paula Hawkins 
 Random House Canada
Publication date: January 6, 2015
Genre(s): Adult Fiction (Mystery/Thriller)
Source: Publisher
Format: Finished Copy
Pages: 320
 Just what goes on in the houses you pass by every day? 
     Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and evening, rattling over the same junctions, flashing past the same townhouses.The train stops at the same signal every day, and she sees the same couple, breakfasting on their roof terrace. Jason and Jess, as she calls them, seem so happy. Then one day Rachel sees someone new in their garden. Soon after, Rachel sees the woman she calls Jess on the news. Jess has disappeared.
     Through the ensuing police investigation, Rachel is drawn deeper into the lives of the couple she learns are really Megan and Scott Hipwell. As she befriends Scott, Rachel pieces together what really happened the day Megan disappeared. But when Megan's body is found, Rachel finds the chief suspect in the case. Plunged into a world of betrayals, secrets and deceptions, Rachel must confront the facts about her own past and her own failed marriage. 
Want a thriller read done right? pick up The Girl on the Train. There, that is my review in one short sentence convincing you to pick it up. The Girl on the Train was a gritty, sometimes even uncomfortable like read. Rachel, the main protagonist, is so unlikable.. actually, every single main character in this book is hateful. More than once I was disgusted by Rachel and I feel that is what made the book such a different experience for me. There is no clear indication on who you should be rooting for or who you can side with or who the hell to trust and confide in. *shivers* this book really gave me the creeps, and I loved every single page of it!  

Granted, the beginning was slow, it took me a day or two to get to page 70 but right after we are finally up to what the synopsis reveals, you are officially locked in this game of lying, deceit, despicable characters, and suspicion. Told from an almost dual POV of Rachel and someone else, as well as their two differing timelines that will ultimately  diverge, you can't help but run a 100 theories through your head trying to figure out where Paula Hawkins will take the plot. The pacing of the book and how only fragments of the real story and happenings and memories get thrown at us is what makes it such an addicting read. Rachel is a drunk. Like a complete and utter drunk. Everyday she wakes up saying she'll quit then drinks as much as humanly possible.. whether it be morning, in the train, or even as soon as she wakes up in bed. As a result of that, Rachel has had her fair share of blackouts and lost memories.. some very important memories that could solve the whole damn mystery.  
Rachel is not supposed to be a likable character. She frustrated and disgusted (3rd time already?) me to no end. All I wanted to do was shake her and tell her to GET A GRIP and to hell with her cheating ex-husband and to just, for God's sake, MOVE ON. Of course Rachel's demons aren't that easily fought.. and so we trudge along, unwillingly may I add, through Rachel's worthless days.. but that added to the gritty and chilling feeling of the whole novel. 
I don't think I've read an adult mystery thriller as good as The Girl on the Train.. I know it has been labeled as the next "Gone Girl" which I've read, but I truly believe this amped up the suspense and thrill while keeping me engaged throughout the whole novel. While I was able to guess correctly on one point, the motive, and the execution of the crime as well as all the other memory holes are what kept me going. This is a brilliant thriller and I can't recommend it enough. I am interested to see what Paula Hawkins' next book will be and if it's another thriller than will leave me, days later, still thinking and obsessing about the characters and events that took place within the book's pages. 


  1. I am so excited to read that one. I have heard so many great things!

  2. I bought this a few weeks ago and I can't WAIT to read it!

    Kate @ Ex Libris

  3. Your convincing sentence was very convincing! I have a copy of this on my shelf and I hope to get to it soon. I have heard a lot of good things about it. You hate every character? That reminds me of when I read Gone Girl. People keep saying this is the next Gone Girl, but I wasn't that big of a fan of Gone Girl, so I'm glad to hear you say that it is even more of a thriller.

  4. Unreliable narrators are the best in mystery/thriller novels! I feel like that was what made Gone Girl as good as it was. I'm definitely going to check this book out! I need more exciting mystery novels in my life haha

  5. I saw you talk about this book on Youtube, and I really am interested in this book now without even reading your review! I didn't read the synopsis because you said that it's nice to get into this without knowing anything. Seems like an amazing read! Thanks for sharing :)
    “I was scarred but I was not broken. Beneath my wounds I was still whole. Beneath my insecurities, beneath my pain, beneath my struggle, beneath it all, I was still whole.”

  6. I've heard nothing but good things about this novel, I'm glad you enjoyed it though .. lovely review!

    Benish | Feminist Reflections

  7. I hope that I'll spot this here in the Philippines because I've been waiting for this for such a long time! So so excited for this + your review just made me more impatient to get to it. Thanks, Juhina!

    1. Buy it on National Bookstore's online store.

  8. I love this novel and I stayed up all night reading this and I just couldn't put it down! I really recommend this to everyone and you have a nice review of this gripping mystery novel!

  9. I really liked this one too -- I love thrillers so much! I really liked how I thought I'd decided which characters were likable or not and then I'd change my mind...
    Thanks so much for stopping by! Jen @ YA Romantics

  10. I would like to recommend reading the book The Girl on the Train: A Novel.
    I finished reading it today, and my conclusion is that its a really interesting book.

    I brought mine off Amazon and they delivered it in only 2 days.
    Here is a link for the book on Amazon:
    The Girl on the Train: A Novel