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.

My Thoughts: After the body of Nel Abbott is found in the water, the police conclude that she jumped. But her sister Jules and her daughter Lena, a troubled teen, are not convinced.A short time before her mother’s death, Lena’s best friend Katie had died, also in the river, and Lena is keeping a big secret about the events leading up to Katie’s death. Lena and Katie’s brother Josh are holding what they know close, pretending ignorance.

Because of the history of the Drowning Pool, with suicides ending up there, and then, as Patrick Townsend had been known to say, the river took care of “troublesome women,” some of the women in the English village of Beckford are starting to speculate. Like Jules. And like the psychic Nicki. What stories are the women telling Nel, who is writing a book about the history of the river? Her focus is on how the women are punished, even though the men were also behaving badly.

Years before, Patrick Townsend’s wife Lauren, the mother of Sean, a police officer, died in that river. What had happened? Had she been troublesome? Why does Sean blank out suddenly, and why does he tug at his arm, where someone cut him at some point? What memories are he suppressing?

What really happened between the teacher, Mark Henderson, and Katie? What does Lena know?

Into the Water was a convoluted tale with many red herrings, too many characters, and a lot of confusing elements. At the very end, in the last lines, we finally realize what must have happened to at least one of the dead women. But was there more to the story? I could have enjoyed the story more if it had fewer narrators, but the themes of crime and punishment did keep me intrigued. 4 stars.






Enter the teen world in small town Meridian, where who your friends are can define you.

But sometimes, as our MC Liz Emerson discovers, that world can be stultifying and can turn you into the kind of person you hate. Hating herself, after years of being the popular, pretty one, Liz decides to crash her car, to kill herself in what looks like an accident.

You know what they say about best laid plans. Falling into Place weaves between the past and the present in a somewhat unpredictable fashion: Five months before the crash, # hours or days before the crash, etc. But as the story circles back and forth, we are offered a glimpse of who Liz was, who she has become, and what events in her life created her.

Yes, she was definitely an unlikeable character, as were most of her friends. Looking at their world, I was reminded of my own teen years, but back then, we had different challenges. Different obstacles. But the core of them is the same. We all long to be liked, we wish we could change the mistakes we’ve made, and we suffer in silence rather than share our feelings.

Sometimes I just wanted to be done with this story. It was sad, it was frustrating, and in so many ways, it reminded me of every other YA book I have read (not that many, to be sure). Troubled kids, bad choices, and mean streaks a mile long.

Bullying comes up, too, and then I realize that Liz’s moments of introspection have led her to believe there is no redemption for her. And now I begin to empathize with her. I realize that she feels helpless in the face of all she has done…and doesn’t believe that anything can change that for her.

An interesting twist: the story is narrated by an unknown someone.

In the end, we are left with questions: what will Liz do? Is there hope for her after all? Definitely a book that will leave me thinking about the big issues in life. 4.0 stars.