The Girls by Lisa Jewell
Rating: 5 stars
Lately there have been a handful of outstanding books but lots of just average stories with little to distinguish between them, it has fallen to one of my favourite and most highly regarded authors to blow everything else out of the water with a truly standout book for the summer of 2015.
Lisa Jewell's newest book "The Girls" sees he's return to what I feel she excels at which is writing about small communities and the relationships within relationships that go on behind closed doors. In her latest novel we follow young sisters Pip and Grace as they move into a new flat with their mother after losing their home and access to their father in difficult circumstances. The garden in their new home is communal and shared on all sides by the houses surrounding it and soon the girls are welcomed into the group of young people who frequent the playground and garden. At the outset of the book we are made aware one of the sisters has been found in the garden badly beaten and possibly sexually attacked and therefore for the rest of the book we are asking "who"?
The book explores the complex relationships between the teens and tweens and how the newcomers alter the dynamic of the group. There are lots of snippets of information given throughout about not just the children but their parents and other adults living on the gardens perimiter. Half of the book is dedicated to events leading up to the attack on Grace and we are offered many potential suspicious events to make us question just about everyone.
Lisa Jewell is a master at writing this type of book, her characters are engaging and not stereotypical, there is no obvious answer to the puzzle you are reading and subsequently you just cannot put it down. I'm currently only just beginning the tv show Game of Thrones and have been addicted over the past month but this book has pulled me away and it took only a day to devour it cover to cover.
There are some truly terrifying truths in this book about raising children and who we trust and let into their lives and how much freedom we allow them and how in groups a mentality of sticking together can lead to devastating results. It's an amazing read and one Jewell should be very proud of. The character of Pip was especially well written from the perspective of a 12 year old child and it made the book a joy to read.
Alongside The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes by Anna McPartlin this is possibly one of my favourite reads this year