Friday, July 29, 2022

Review: The Night She Went Missing by Kristen Bird

by Kristen Bird
Release Date: February 8, 2022
2022 Mira Books
Kindle Edition; 352 Pages
ISBN: 978-0778332107
Audiobook: B099GX54HH
Genre: Fiction / Mystery
Source: Review copy from publisher

2.25 / 5 Stars

Emily, a popular but bookish prep school senior, goes missing after a night out with friends. She was last seen leaving a party with Alex, a football player with a dubious reputation. But no one is talking.

Now three mothers, Catherine, Leslie and Morgan, friends turned frenemies, have their lives turned upside down as they are forced to look to their own children--and each other's--for answers to questions they don't want to ask.
My Thoughts
The Night She Went Missing had a pretty interesting synopsis, and I was intrigued for the first third of the book, but it went completely downhill from that point on and I struggled to finish it.  I wish the author had taken a chance and really messed up her characters and the story line as there was so much potential for it to be something interesting and well...quite deceitful.   

The story was written from different POV and although you tend to develop empathy for characters this way, I actually thought this was a disadvantage in this book as the shorter chapters didn't really give me a chance to develop connections with any of the characters.  To be honest, some of them I skimmed through because the dialogue seemed to be pointless and wasn't necessarily developing the characters or the story line.  The adults really had no depth to them despite their individual issues as they seemed more concerned with their appearance and keeping their secrets than they did with finding Emily. And the author's constant justification for Catherine's behaviour and the reason for losing her job was a complete turn-off and made me dislike her more throughout the novel.  I can't stand it when characters don't own up to their own behaviours and take responsibility for their actions. And the author writes their characters as if the reader should feel sorry for them.  No way!
The first part of the novel was interesting and I was intrigued enough to want to know what was going to happen to Emily. Then, for a multitude of reasons, the story took a nosedive and became something that was more about how all women are victims and the men are all evil in some capacity type of scenario.and it was just reading through to discover which bad man actually did the deed. Now, what a twist it would have been otherwise.  And in a book that focused quite a bit on women's ambitions, I was disappointed in the ending when one of the main characters gave up an Ivy League dream to go to community college for certain reasons.  I just couldn't wrap my head around the fact that all strong, capable women would be so ambitious as to jeopardize everything in their lives as this book seemed to highlight, then try to justify the actions because of things that happened to them in their earlier lives, and try to get readers to empathize with their current behaviours as if its okay just because something happened to them in the past.  To be honest, I'm still kind of seething over it.

The Night She Went Missing had a lot of potential, but completely missed the mark.  There were alot of things happening, but nothing that really enhances or moves the story along.  I didn't really have empathy for most of the characters, except maybe Morgan, and wasn't really invested in what happened to them, especially as I felt like the author wanted me to feel sorry for some of their past transgressions, and some of it just made me roll my eyes.  However, I would probably try another book by this author as there were some things I liked, but this one was definitely not what I expected. Disappointing second half and even more disappointing ending.