Review: Into the Water by Paula Hawkins 

Release date: May 2, 2017

Publisher: Riverhead Books

Genre: Mystery/Thriller 


The author of the #1 New York Times bestseller and global phenomenon The Girl on the Train returns with Into the Water, her addictive new novel of psychological suspense. 

“Hawkins is at the forefront of a group of female authors – think Gillian Flynn and Megan Abbott – who have reinvigorated the literary suspense novel by tapping a rich vein of psychological menace and social unease… there’s a certain solace to a dark escape, in the promise of submerged truths coming to light.” –Vogue

A single mother turns up dead at the bottom of the river that runs through town. Earlier in the summer, a vulnerable teenage girl met the same fate. They are not the first women lost to these dark waters, but their deaths disturb the river and its history, dredging up secrets long submerged.

Left behind is a lonely fifteen-year-old girl. Parentless and friendless, she now finds herself in the care of her mother’s sister, a fearful stranger who has been dragged back to the place she deliberately ran from—a place to which she vowed she’d never return.

With the same propulsive writing and acute understanding of human instincts that captivated millions of readers around the world in her explosive debut thriller, The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins delivers an urgent, twisting, deeply satisfying read that hinges on the deceptiveness of emotion and memory, as well as the devastating ways that the past can reach a long arm into the present.

Beware a calm surface—you never know what lies beneath. 


Along with most of the free world, Into the Water was very high on my list of most anticipated reads for 2017. I think it’s always difficult for an author that has had a successful first novel to release their second, imagine the pressure, the doubt, the insecurity. When you wrote one of the best selling books of all time and had tremendous global success, I would gather it’s even scarier, even more intimidating. I saw a tweet from Clare Mackintosh the other day and I couldn’t agree more. Here’s what she said:

#intothewater is out today. Intelligent and beautifully written. It’s not #thegirlonthetrain, and nor should it be. Don’t compare – enjoy.

I’m glad I saw that before I picked this up, she’s totally right and I did my best not to compare the two books. How can you even top TGOTT anyway? Simple answer? You can’t. Hawkins second book shows her writing style has gotten even more sharp and refined, she is a sure footed author and a talented one to boot, however this one never did grab me the way I expected it to.

This one is slow going and at the beginning is downright confusing. I think I counted twelve different perspectives, which the fact that I can’t remember an exact number pretty much speaks for itself. It’s told through flashbacks, parts from a manuscript written by Nel, and present day happenings. Each chapter shows a different narrator which never gave me the proper time to form a solid connection to any of them. There was so much going on, and I’m no slouch when it comes to reading books that follow this formula, but it was even a bit too much for me.

The middle is where I finally felt drawn in, I remember thinking, finally, this is what I’ve been waiting for! This is also where Hawkins shines, the various plot threads started to vaguely come together and there was a sinister feeling that I couldn’t shake, along with a hint of the supernatural that really worked for me. Unfortunately, as things neared the end she lost me again. The intensity did increase as did the chapters, and I was eager to see where things would head, but I kept feeling like something was missing. I wanted more suspense, tension, that addictive quality that makes a book a real page turner. 

My overall feeling when I was finished was that I was underwhelmed. Hawkins does have an uncanny ability to tie several plot threads together effortlessly and I’m immensely impressed by this ability. This wasn’t a bad book, it just wasn’t my favorite, I’m feeling pretty apathetic about it. I think people will be divided about it and I’m so curious to see what others think, if you’ve read it I would love to chat! Or when you do read it, come back and we can discuss. 

Overall rating: 3/5

Thanks to BookSparks for my review copy. 

39 thoughts on “Review: Into the Water by Paula Hawkins 

  1. angiedokos says:

    I agree. It would be really hard to release another book after your first was so freaking awesome.

    Just like when I started reading Carve the Mark, I knew not to compare it to Divergent!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ann Marie says:

    Great review! It’s so hard for me to manage my expectations sometimes when it comes to new books from authors that who’ve written a favorite of mine. I find that as much as I try to go in with a completely open mind, there’s always that little part of me that can’t help but compare.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Annie says:

    I think I’m going to pass, for once I’m not suffering from FoMo and I didn’t love TGOTT that much so this wasn’t as anticipated either. Great honest review ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Reads & Reels says:

    I keep hearing mixed things about this book. I’m trying to ignore the media machine because it kind of ruined Girl On the Train for me. Glad to hear you like it. I’m still on the fence about reading it but your review nudged me on to the reading side a bit lol.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Julia says:

    I really enjoyed this one, and liked it a little more than TGOTT. I think that’s because it was a little slower pace and I felt it focused more on the development of the characters and the relationships between them, which I really enjoyed. I felt this one had a bit more heart to it. I love that everyone has different opinions – although it does make me a nervous recommender !! Nice review 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Kat says:

    I didn’t think much of The Girl on the Train, but it was good enough that I would read more of Hawkins books. Not having high expectations – and like you say, not comparing – will hopefully make reading this book an enjoyable experience too.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Vicki says:

    I’ve read other reviews that said it was slow going and confusing to begin with. I bought it, but I may save it for the long summer holidays when I have more time to read. Fab review xx


  8. noveldeelights says:

    I’m on the fence about this one and since the kindle version is ridiculously expensive, I’ll wait. And then add more goodies to my TBR and probably completely forget about it. 😄


  9. Emma says:

    I always think second books are hard but it feels almost impossible that this one would hit the mark as much as girl on the train. Still want to read it though.


  10. Abbie at Bloomin' Brilliant Books says:

    Great review Amy. Fair and honest. This book hasn’t been on my radar and I don’t feel compelled to read it, despite having read GOTT and finding it enjoyable. I think I’m sometimes put off by the hype. From an authors perspective I think you got the nail on the head and after such a huge success it must be incredibly stressful trying to follow it up xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Books, Vertigo and Tea says:

    Wonderful and honest review Amy! I am passing on this one simply because I have yet to approach this author. Several friends were very disappointed with The Girl on the Train and I just cannot muster up desire at the moment. Who knows though 😉 My reading habits are growing and changing a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Amanda @Cover2CoverMom says:

    I totally agree that it has to be challenging to come out with a second book after your first book had so much success. I often think of J.K. Rowling here post Harry Potter series… she has been writing adult fiction, but will anything she writes ever live up to HP?

    It’s a shame this book came up short. It sounds like there was too much going on…

    Thanks for the honest review Amy 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Jessica's Reading Room says:

    I wasn’t a fan of TGOTT, and with that many perspectives going on I think I will pass on this one. That may be too many perspectives for me. Maybe her next one will be one for me.

    Liked by 1 person

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