Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins is one of the best debut novels I have ever read and I’m not the only person with this opinion. It has won various awards, numerous accolades, and it’s already been optioned Dreamworks. But Girl on the Train is a misleading title because it’s really about three women’s lives connected by a commuter train. Rachel, Anna, and Megan are complicated, frustrating, and outrageous characters whose poor decisions will put readers through a whole gambit of emotions.
The story is told in first person through the eyes of three people, with a non-linear timeline which all adds to the intensity of the murder mystery. At the halfway mark, I was tempted to read the last chapter because I was dying to know the identity of the killer. If I had done that, I would have missed out on the most amazing 180 degree character development of all the main suspects. The closest book I could compare this reading experience with is Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, from the author’s unique writing voice to dislikable (but mesmerizing) characters. When you decide to read this book, give yourself a block of time, because you won’t be able to put this book down until you reach the end.
A debut psychological thriller that will forever change the way you look at other people's lives.
Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.
And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?
Compulsively readable, The Girl on the Train is an emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller and an electrifying debut.