Considering One is A Woman Who Goes Missing the Title is Also Messed Up

All the Missing Girls: A Novel - Megan Miranda

This book was terrible. Besides a gimmick of telling the main story backwards (which I swear I have seen before in books like "The Secret History") there was nothing appealing about this book. The main character was terrible, her family was terrible, and there was no development at all with secondary characters. I didn't get a sense of anyone at all and when I got to the letdown of an ending I was really ticked I had wasted any time at all with this.

 

Nicolette (or Nic) is reluctant to return to her hometown. We know that she is still haunted by her best friend Corrine that disappeared years ago. Nic left town and ended up going to school and settling in Philadelphia. She met a great guy named Everett and is finally engaged. However she feels stunted by her past and when her brother Daniel calls her to help with selling their family home she goes. Deciding to take two months off to help her brother Daniel, Nic is quickly confronted with an old boyfriend (Tyler) who is now dating Corrine's younger sister Annaleise. Things go sideways for Nic again though when Annaleise goes missing just like Corrine did years ago.

 

Nic sucks. Sorry, when you eventually go from day 15 back to day 1 you have all of these things revealed which just makes her a small and just messed up person. I don't see any "Gone Girl" comparisons here since with Amazing Amy you get a really cool reveal about her. Telling the book backwards like she did, Miranda hid things until they were revealed earlier on which doesn't work. There were so many plot holes that I skipped counting them after a while.

 

I had so many questions about Nic's family, but everything dealing with her father and brother Daniel was vague. There is barely any dialogue by the way by anyone in this story. So you are fully immersed in Nic's head at all times. People's motivations for doing anything was murky and downright stupid at times.

 

Tyler is pathetic from beginning to end. I still don't get what drew him to Nic or her to him. Once again I am going to blame this on the writing though. Maybe if Miranda had told the story with the setup of everyone involved and then jumped to the present it would have worked better. But instead we just glimpses of Tyler and everyone else in this book through the count back day gimmick. And Tyler acting like a spurned lover though he has been dating and having sex with other women and Nic acting like they had this bond was ridiculous. Once again I am going to blame that on the narrative structure.

 

The writing I found to be so-so. Honestly, there was way too much tell going on here. And I had a hard time with even understanding why thing on day 15 would be vague since by then Nic obviously knows what happens and who did what. You can't do it that way and then have readers go the whole way to day 1 and all of a sudden things suddenly make sense. Frankly Miranda should have said on day 15 what went on and who did what and then you can work forward that way. This makes me think a little bit of "The Secret History". "The Secret History" worked better for me even though you have the reveal of who did what and who was murdered upfront. You get to work forward (or backwards in a way) and get to see what was the final incident that caused the murder.

 

The setting of this small town does not come alive at all. Probably because of the structure of the book. Besides Nic and Daniel's childhood home no place felt "real" to me while reading.

 

The ending was a joke and a half.