The Girl From Widow Hills – Book Review
The Girl From Widow Hills by Megan Miranda
Published by: Simon and Schuster
Publish Date: June 2020
Genre(s): Fiction, Mystery, Thriller, Psychological Thriller
HB&W Rating: 4
View on Goodreads
Buy on Amazon: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository
I’d realized I couldn’t save her. None of us could. The only people we could save were ourselves.
Everyone knows the story of “the girl from Widow Hills.”
Arden Maynor was just a child when she was swept away while sleepwalking during a terrifying rainstorm and went missing for days. Strangers and friends, neighbors and rescue workers, set up search parties and held vigils, praying for her safe return. Against all odds, she was found, alive, clinging to a storm drain. The girl from Widow Hills was a living miracle. Arden’s mother wrote a book. Fame followed. Fans and fan letters, creeps, and stalkers. And every year, the anniversary. It all became too much. As soon as she was old enough, Arden changed her name and disappeared from the public eye.
Now a young woman living hundreds of miles away, Arden goes by Olivia. She’s managed to stay off the radar for the last few years. But with the twentieth anniversary of her rescue approaching, the media will inevitably renew its interest in Arden. Where is she now? Soon Olivia feels like she’s being watched and begins sleepwalking again, like she did long ago, even waking outside her home. Until late one night she jolts awake in her yard. At her feet is the corpse of a man she knows from her previous life, as Arden Maynor.
And now, the girl from Widow Hills is about to become the center of the story, once again, in this propulsive page-turner from suspense master Megan Miranda.
Synopsis source: Goodreads
How could you become someone new when everyone kept pulling you back to the person you once were?
Wow! I did NOT see that coming!
I don’t want to brag or anything, but I am usually pretty good at guessing the outcome of stories. But truly, this one took me by surprise…and kept me up late!
Everyone knows the girl from Widow Hills, the one who got trapped for three days in the drainage pipes below town after sleepwalking and being swept away by a flash flood. It was all over the news, a media hailstorm, even 20 years later, especially since the girl at the center of it all is now a person of interest in a murder investigation. A murder that happened just feet away from her front door, the very next night after she had been found sleepwalking. A night she had no recollection of.
I thought the author did a fantastic job of portraying the frenzy of the news coverage around Arden / Olivia. It was easy to imagine the panic, terror, paranoia and PTSD Liv had to live with thanks to the realistic depiction of the events. It was so easy to step right into the inner workings of Liv’s mind.
As the story progressed and Liv began to question herself, so did I begin to question. As she began to suspect everyone and debate with herself which people could be trusted and who couldn’t, herself among them, my heart pounded as I was swept away in the doubt and fear she was feeling.
I always enjoy books that delve into the psychological aspects of human nature, and this book certainly did not disappoint. It was easy to understand the feelings of the crowds of people who came to help and felt particular ownership over the story, or felt that they were owed something. It was so well-thought-out and downright fascinating to read.
A story about you doesn’t necessarily belong to you. It belongs to the writer. To the witness. To the teller.
…people who came under the guise of help also wanted something in return. I may have been born with a healthy does of self-preservation, but I developed the lack of trust legitimately.
The book also touches on the opioid crisis, and delivers one of the most eye-opening lines in the book.
The percentage of addiction [in the health care field] was the same as in the general population; the only difference was access.
This is a book about survival, trust (in others and in oneself), mental health, and addiction. If you enjoy fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat fiction with a psychological bend, I highly recommend this book. And if you DO read it, tell me…did you see that ending coming?
Trigger Warning: there are scenes alluding to abuse, addiction, and stalking.
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