The Girls In The Garden
Author: Lisa Jewell
Publisher: Atria Books
Genre: Mystery, Contemporary
Release Date: June 7th 2016 (first published July 2nd 2015)
Page Count: 320
The Girls In The Garden by Lisa Jewell is one of those stories that immediately feels disturbing and slightly off-putting. The kind of story that you know right away is going to give you goosebumps and make you feel slightly uneasy. As soon as The Girls In The Garden begins, you are hit with a troubling and disturbing scene, only to go back in time to a couple of months prior to this event in order to slowly learn the details behind what exactly happened.
The Girls In The Garden tells the story of Clare and her two daughters, Grace and Pip. The family moves to a new neighbourhood after a devastating event causes them to leave their old home behind and start a new life. This new neighbourhood has more of a communal feel where the backyard of each home opens into a large park/garden. Everyone seems to know each other one way or another which makes it a little difficult for Clare and her family to fit in at first. Eventually Grace and Pip begin to become friends with some of the neighbourhood children, but this isn’t necessarily for the best.
As soon as I read the opening foreward, I knew I was going to enjoy this novel. I loved the idea of a flash forward to the peak of the story being the first thing you read. You then get transported back to when things began and you continue reading the novel knowing what is going to happen and trying to figure out the who/what/when/where/why and how of it as you continue. This made for a perfect storytelling device in which the story could be slowly unravelled.
Can I just say that the idea of living in a communal-type setting freaks me out? I mean, just thinking about the communal tables at Chipotle gives me anxiety…I can’t even imagine living like that permanently. As much as I personally hate the idea of living this way, I will say that it made for a fantastic setting and it really made it easy for all of the characters to weave together perfectly. Usually when there are as many characters as there were within this story, I tend to get confused. I start to lose track of who’s who and who did what and all that nonsense, but that was not the case with The Girls In The Garden. I feel as though each character had their own individual traits…except for maybe Catkin, Fern and Willow, three neighbourhood sisters. I found myself losing track of who was the oldest and youngest between those three, but other than that, the rest of the characters were quite memorable.
Lisa Jewell does a fantastic job in using each of her many characters to her advantage as she makes the reader suspect each one of them at least once throughout the story. She focuses on a few characters more so over others as the possible culprit, but that didn’t stop me from suspecting everyone else at least once.
I had a really tough time wrapping my head around the fact that the majority of the kids in this story are 12-14 years of age. They all acted so much more mature. Their ages really played a huge factor in why this story was so unsettling and it really makes you think about what kids these days are up to when no one is looking.
One thing that really pissed me off wasn’t necessarily the ending itself, but the actions of one of the characters towards the end. How they could just ignore everything that happened and brush it off so nonchalantly blew my mind. They were so into figuring out what happened and then once they figured it out they decided to just leave it alone. Although I can maybe understand why they might do this, it really did piss me off.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. The Girls In The Garden was really hard to put down and I couldn’t wait to continue reading and unravel the mystery! It was fast paced and got right to the point and I highly recommend it to everyone who loves a good suspenseful mystery.
*Note: An ARC of The Girls in the Garden by Lisa Jewell was provided by Simon & Schuster Canada as part of their Summer Fiction Blog Tour in exchange for an honest review.
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