Even though this isn’t one of her most popular books, I’m starting to see why Colleen Hoover is so hyped. I finished Verity in less than a week, something so rare in me lately. It’s the type of book that kept me up at night because I wanted to read just “one more chapter”.
The plot was engaging, and the twist at the end was something I was definitely not expecting. While it’s considered a thriller, there’s also romance, providing the story with some equilibrium and making it less dark compared to other thrillers.
I’ve rated this book 4 stars because it was entertaining, but I feel that’s the only adjective to describe it overall. The story lacked depth, I would’ve liked to know more about Verity’s background. The turn of events happened too fast to make it believable. And the writing style…I have no problem with the first-person POV, but it sometimes felt like a YA novel that covered disturbing topics. But it felt good to come across a book that got me out of a reading slump.
Will I read more Colleen Hoover books? Yes, mostly out of curiosity.
Synopsis: Edward Fosca is a murderer. Of this Mariana is certain. But Fosca is untouchable. A handsome and charismatic Greek Tragedy professor at Cambridge University, he is adored by everyone —particularly by the members of a secret society of female students known as The Maidens. Mariana Andros is a brilliant but troubled group therapist who becomes fixated on The Maidens when one member, a friend of Mariana’s niece Zoe, is found murdered in Cambridge. Mariana becomes convinced that, despite his alibi, Edward Fosca is guilty of the murder. But why would the professor target one of his students?
The Maidens is a page-turner psychological thriller following Mariana, a group therapist who finds herself involved in the murders happening in Cambridge.
There are two narrators in this novel. Mariana’s perspective is written in the third person, while other chapters are anonymous recountings written in the first person — presumably the murderer. We don’t know this for sure.
I guessed who the killer was halfway through the book, although I was hoping to be wrong. However, I would’ve never guessed the motive. The plot twist at the end was something I hadn’t expected.
There is also a crossover with The Silent Patient, a few of its characters make appearances here, providing the readers with some “aha” moments. So I do think you’ll enjoy The Maidens more if you’ve already read The Silent Patient. You can read my review on The Silent Patient here.
I liked the references to Greek mythology and how they combined well with the suspense. It leaves the reader guessing whether it’s all really just mythology or if the Greek gods do hold some sort of power. Maybe it’s all just a coincidence.
However, some parts felt like textbook explanations of psychology. Don’t get me wrong, as a psychologist myself I enjoyed it, but it made me feel like I was in university again. Perhaps the author should’ve shown more and explained less.
This is the second book I read by Stephen King. The first book was The Outsider, which I also read at the beginning of this year. Neither of them have disappointed, quite the opposite, I can’t wait to read more of his work! Specially his most famous ones, like The Shining, Carrie, Salem’s Lot — and the list goes on.
Anyway, here’s the book summary of The Institue based on Goodreads:
In the middle of the night, in a house on a quiet street in suburban Minneapolis, intruders silently murder Luke Ellis’s parents and load him into a black SUV. The operation takes less than two minutes. Luke will wake up at The Institute, in a room that looks just like his own, except there’s no window. And outside his door are other doors, behind which are other kids with special talents—telekinesis and telepathy—who got to this place the same way Luke did: Kalisha, Nick, George, Iris, and ten-year-old Avery Dixon. They are all in Front Half. Others, Luke learns, graduated to Back Half, “like the roach motel,” Kalisha says. “You check in, but you don’t check out.”
In this most sinister of institutions, the director, Mrs. Sigsby, and her staff are ruthlessly dedicated to extracting from these children the force of their extranormal gifts. There are no scruples here. If you go along, you get tokens for the vending machines. If you don’t, punishment is brutal. As each new victim disappears to Back Half, Luke becomes more and more desperate to get out and get help. But no one has ever escaped from the Institute.
To be honest, the beginning felt a bit slow and confusing, as it was completely unrelated to the book summary. That’s because, unlike most novels, it began narrating the backstory of a secondary character which connects with everything else much later. However, once it got to the main character’s part, Luke, the pace picked up.
What I loved most about this book is the way it explored teenage friendships and the impact that it had on the protagonists while trying to stay motivated to find some sort of escape. I don’t want to give out any spoilers, but this story proves the importance of bonds and the effects it has during difficult circumstances. In that aspect, it felt more on the YA realm, but with horrendous scenes.
The thing about writing an amazing debut novel is that is causes high expectations for your next novel, right? I’m not a writer but I think that’s what happened to Paula Hawkins with “Into The Water”. The plot itself is not bad, the whole Drowning Pool concept is quite intriguing. Over the course of centuries, several women have been found dead in the river, presumably because of suicide. But the town is small and the rumors are various, did these women really kill themselves?
By the way, Hawkins works with multiple point of views for this novel just like she did for “Girl On The Train”, except that here there are a total of 10 point of views. Which is why it’s a bit confusing in the beginning, not to mention some are told in first, second or third person. “Into The Water” starts with Jules’ point of view, who is forced to return to Beckford because her sister Nel, with whom she hasn’t spoken in a while, has been found dead in the water. Although their relationship has been rocky, deep down Jules knows that Nel wouldn’t just jump and end her life — leaving behind her fifteen year old daughter. Nel also leaves behind her work incomplete, she’s been digging into the town’s past to write a book and tell the real story of those women who died so long (and not so long) ago.
To be honest, it’s a bit hard for me to summarize it briefly– I felt as if there were many small parallel stories happening all at once. Which is why some questions are left unanswered or some details are overlooked. Of course the readers can draw their own conclusions, but it’s not explicit in the novel. I didn’t like the way the story ended either, there could’ve been more information on Sean and his whereabouts and how he truly felt after everything.
Regardless, it’s still an entertaining thriller, but as I mentioned in the beginning, it wasn’t as breathtaking as her debut novel (at least not in my opinion).
“All The Missing Girls” by Megan Miranda is definitely a captivating thriller. However, when I first began reading it, I thought I wasn’t going to like the book for two main reasons. The first being the simple language used –it feels very YA. Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy YA books, but since this novel isn’t considered one I was expecting a more challenging narrative. The second reason I thought I wasn’t going to enjoy it was due to the recurring use of clichés surrounding the south. It reminded me a bit of the movie Sweet Home Alabama starring Reese Witherspoon, replacing the comedy with suspense and missing girls.
For those of you who haven’t read it, “All The Missing Girls” is about Nicolette Farrell (Nic) returning to her hometown, Cooley Ridge, ten years after her best friend, Corinne Prescott, went missing. The story is told backwards, starting on Day 15 after her arrival at Cooley Ridge, making its way up to Day 1. At first, it was a bit confusing, since we’re used to reading to stories in chronological order. During her stay, Nic starts digging up the bones from her past and finally learns what happened to Corinne that night after they left the town fair –and how it all relates to the disappearance of Annalise, a woman a few years younger than Nic who was just declared missing.
Nic was a likable character, I was even able to relate to her at times. But during certain moments when she recalled her past, it was obvious she’d made the wrong choices —you can’t just run away from yourself, Nic. Furthermore, Corinne could be a good example of borderline personality disorder, she was too intense, a messed up eighteen-year-old. She needed help, and in a moment of loneliness, she made a decision that changed not only her destiny but the rest of the character’s as well.
Overall rating: 4/5
“If there’s a feeling to home, it’s this. A place where there are no secrets, where nothing stays buried: not the past and not yourself.”
Though I’ve heard that “The Perfect Stranger” isn’t as good as this one, I look forward to reading more from the author.