It's hard to believe The Missing Girl is Jenny Quintana's debut novel. She has written a twisty story that is both heart-wrenching and heart-pounding all at once. I had no idea what would happen at the end of this novel which made it an exciting read.
Here's the synopsis:
It's been thirty years since Anna's older sister disappeared. Anna's never stopped missing her.I don't read a ton of thrillers or mysteries but I usually enjoy them when I do pick one up. I don't really like the scary/terror/terribleness that comes with some of the stories though and that's why I only read them once and awhile. What I do love about them is how I'm never sure what's going to happen next. When they're done well, they surprise me and keep me on my toes (without scaring me of course because I'm a big wimp). Quintana's found that perfect balance I need and I found myself often thinking of the story and the characters when I wasn't reading. I was so invested in Anna's story and, being a fan of happy stories, hoped for a happy ending...or, at the very least, a satisfying closure for her.
When Anna Flores' adored older sister goes missing as a teenager, Anna copes by disappearing too, just as soon as she can: running as far away from her family as possible, and eventually building a life for herself abroad.
Thirty years later, the death of her mother finally forces Anna to return home. Tasked with sorting through her mother's possessions, she begins to confront not just her mother's death, but also the huge hole Gabriella's disappearance left in her life - and finds herself asking a question she's not allowed herself to ask for years: what really happened to her sister?
With that question comes the revelation that her biggest fear isn't discovering the worst, it's never knowing the answer. But is it too late for Anna to uncover the truth about Gabriella's disappearance?
I think the way Quintana put together the novel made a big difference in how the reader feels about the story. Each chapter alternated between 1982 and "present" day and they both move forward in time at the same pace (or at least at a similar one). By doing this, we get to meet all the characters who are important to the story, even the ones who are now dead or still missing. And you have to wonder, what do the people who are still around really know about what happened to Gabriella?
This story is about so much more than a missing girl. There are secrets among everyone (seriously...the shocks just keep on coming) and the knowledge that no family is perfect. You may not be able to understand why Anna left behind her remaining family and her life when you first meet her but once you know what it was like for her after Gabriella went missing, you can't really blame her.
If you're in the mood for a family thriller (is that a proper way to describe this? I have no idea), The Missing Girl will keep you interested. Jenny Quintana has written a story that will keep you guessing - and hoping - until the very end.
*A copy of this novel was provided by the Canadian distributor, Publishers Group Canada, in exchange for review consideration. All opinions are honest and my own.*