Release date: May 2, 2017
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Premise: 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.
Thoughts + Feelings: Into the Water was an average book. It is helping me climb out of my reading slump as I finished it in three nights on the couch. I actually preferred to read it instead of watching a movie that was on television. There was nothing incredible about Hawkin’s writing in this novel. It was just an average, enjoyable book. I have developed a love of thriller novels and while this was definitely an attempt at being a thriller, it just didn’t do it for me.
One of my initial points of apathy for Into the Water was how many characters there were throughout the novel without a lot of introduction. It seems that some names were just thrown in and you read and flipped through the book trying to figure out if they served some type of importance or if they were just there to be there. Some of the main characters such as Helen and Nickie weren’t even granted full story lines, but they played a key role throughout the novel. And then there is Louise Whitaker who has way too much of a story line. It was a challenge to keep track of all of the characters because there was no clear cut language or personality differences between them. There was not a single good character in the entire book. Mark Henderson = bad; Lena and Jules = bad; Robbie Cannon = bad. You need someone to root for in a 400 page book and there was not a single character that I could stand behind as a good person.
Jules Abbott is a bad sister, but so is Nel. I appreciated how their relationship developed throughout the novel and how Jules came to mother Lena in Nel’s absence. Sean is a cop for goodness sake, and so was Patrick. They are just so unlikable and awful.
I feel like there are some novels that do suspense and mystery very well and others that just flop. That being said there were parts of the novel where I was on the edge of my couch… and other parts where I fell asleep on said couch with my iPad in my hands. Although it was labeled as mystery, Into the Water was relatively predictable. Many of the thriller novels that I’ve read recently do a good job of keeping main points of the plots secret until you’re ready for the big twist, but in this book some of the plot points were given away in early chapters. Maybe you didn’t catch them; that’s okay. If you did catch it; that’s okay for you too!
Into the Water was an easy book to read – the language was smooth and well-written. If you are looking for a huge twist at the novel, this book is not for you (unless you missed it!). You’ll likely be left disappointed (I was). I was missing the stories of the women who died in the drowning pool. The original legend, while later tied back to the point of the story, would’ve been great to read more about. I want to know more about the women who committed suicide or were killed in the Drowning Pool. Give me more of that and less of the grief of a mom.
Other thoughts: I have not read The Girl on the Train which everyone raves about, so this was my first jump into Paula Hawkin’s writing. I am glad that I started with this novel because from reading other reviews and thoughts I have a feeling that I will enjoy The Girl on the Train even more.
Recommend? Into the Water wasn’t a bad book. I enjoyed reading it and would suggest it to someone who was looking for a book to try who doesn’t mind a lot of miscellaneous characters.