Publisher: Atria Books
If you loved Luckiest Girl Alive and The Girl on the Train, you’ll devour this stunning debut novel about an intense best friendship between two college girls which leads to the abrupt disappearance—and presumed death—of one and the survival of the other, who reveals the twists and turns of their relationship seven years later.
Glo never thought she’d become best friends with a girl like Cyn. Blonde, blue-eyed, and stunningly gorgeous, Cyn is the kind of girl other girls love to hate. Yet Cyn is the only person who embraces Glo when she transfers to their tiny liberal arts college in Florida, looking for a second chance to get things right after falling apart at her first-choice school. With her dark sense of humor and bad-girl ways, Cyn is captivating to a nice girl like Glo, and soon they’re inseparable.
Until they both fall for the same guy.
It’s Cyn who suggests they share Raj. Half the time he’ll be Cyn’s boyfriend, the other half he’ll be Glo’s. And for a while, everything goes smoothly. Until Glo realizes that she doesn’t know Cyn or Raj half as well as she thinks. Until Glo and Cyn’s friendship implodes while they’re studying abroad in Costa Rica. Until Cyn disappears one night, setting off a media firestorm and leaving Glo in the dark for seven long years.
Until Cyn resurfaces.
Between the gorgeous cover and the blurb, this book might as well have my name literally written all over it. I love unreliable narrators and how I’m constantly guessing, and second guessing who to trust. I also love missing persons stories, then when the person turns up seven years later? That’s gold in my book. As much as I had hoped that this one would fly straight to the top of my best reads of the year list, it didn’t quite make it. It had all the ingredients necessary to secure a spot on said list, but I just had too many issues with the second part of the book to add it.
Part one begins when Cyn and Glo meet in college and is told from Glo’s point of view. Glo is in a fragile state after a rough freshman year, so when she meets the captivating and beautiful Cyn, she’s taken under her spell immediately. She’s never really had a super close female friend before, but she’s desperate to belong and she can’t quite believe her good fortune when Cyn accepts her with open arms. The two grow close swiftly and before too long they meet Raj. Both girls are suddenly taken by his charming good looks and unsure how to proceed as it seems like Raj is into the both of them. Cyn suggests they share him and they all agree to try out this bizarre dating arrangement. Things are going alright, though there is the typical jealously and angst you would expect, until the girls head to Costa Rica for a school trip. Cyn disappears and both Glo and Raj are shattered.
Part two begins seven years after Cyn goes missing and again begins from Glo’s viewpoint. Her and Raj are now married, and while they’re happy, they are both haunted by Cyn’s ghost. Glo is guilt ridden and wishes she had done more to save her friend, while Raj is too, but he’s torn up about the last time he saw Cyn. That all may sound vague, but going into more detail would only serve to spoil important details. When Raj and Glo both separately think they see Cyn, things begin to unravel. Unfortunately, this is also where the book unraveled for me.
Raj begins to narrate some chapters in part two and I was really interested in hearing things from his POV. Upon Cyn’s return, I wrongfully assumed that we would now hear from her, even if briefly. I think that was a crucial missing component to this story and I really wish I could’ve seen what was going on in that head of hers. The ending left a few too many loose ends for my liking, and the parts that were tidied up were too plausible for me to believe easily. I did appreciate Lee’s writing, it was polished and the characters were extremely interesting as well. I guess I just wanted a little more in the end, maybe a stronger conclusion to match up to the compelling beginning.
Overall rating: 3/5
Thanks to the author for my review copy, I truly appreciate it.