Megan Miranda’s debut novel, All the Missing Girls, was a smash hit last year and put her name on the map. Seriously, is there anyone who book blogs and isn’t aware of this woman? I’d think not.
I somehow never got around to reading that book, though I do have it on my shelf. Instead, my first Miranda novel is her second outing, The Perfect Stranger. This one focuses on former reporter-turned-teacher Leah, who has recently moved in with an old college roommate and taken a teaching job in western Pennsylvania. One day, her roommate (Emmy Grey is her name) disappears . . . and it’s almost as if she never existed at all. While that is going on, there is another mystery unfolding: a couple of people are found murdered in a nearby lake, and Leah seems to be the nucleus of all these strange happenings.
Truth be told, this novel’s synopsis in any form is more exciting than the story itself. This one just plods, never finding its legs. The narrative has as much energy as I do after sixty minutes on the elliptical at the gym. Leah is a decent character, though, and I like that Miranda made her a teacher. I just like reading about that occupation; it’s fun, for me. It doesn’t particular serve or hurt the story in any way.
The Perfect Stranger just feels too safe. You can sense the author wanting to say more, do more; this story wants to be more, but it falls woefully short. It says nothing of import and leaves the reader sorely disappointed. I guessed the ‘twist’ (if it can be called that) at approximately the 5% mark. Oops. I haven’t felt this let down by a novel since reading Ruth Ware’s latest. Ugh.
I plan to read this author’s debut novel at some point, simply because I always give writers two chances to impress (or disappoint) me. But that won’t happen any time soon.
Thanks to Netgalley and Simon & Schuster for the ARC (which I am just now getting around to reading and reviewing – sorry!), which was given in exchange for an honest review.