Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Review: The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney

Title: The Girl Before
Author: J.P. Delaney
Published: January 2017, Ballantine Books
Format: ARC E-copy, 352 pages
Source: Netgalley
Please make a list of every possession you consider essential to your life.

The request seems odd, even intrusive—and for the two women who answer, the consequences are devastating.

Reeling from a traumatic break-in, Emma wants a new place to live. But none of the apartments she sees are affordable or feel safe. Until One Folgate Street. The house is an architectural masterpiece: a minimalist design of pale stone, plate glass, and soaring ceilings. But there are rules. The enigmatic architect who designed the house retains full control: no books, no throw pillows, no photos or clutter or personal effects of any kind. The space is intended to transform its occupant—and it does.

After a personal tragedy, Jane needs a fresh start. When she finds One Folgate Street she is instantly drawn to the space—and to its aloof but seductive creator. Moving in, Jane soon learns about the untimely death of the home’s previous tenant, a woman similar to Jane in age and appearance. As Jane tries to untangle truth from lies, she unwittingly follows the same patterns, makes the same choices, crosses paths with the same people, and experiences the same terror, as the girl before.

My thoughts: Lately there's been lots of buzz about all the great psychological thrillers that have been coming out and it's hard to not get caught up in all the excitement about them. It's also hard to not read too much about them ahead of time - you certainly don't want to have anything be given away. I'll do my best here to not give away any spoilers but at the same time share my thoughts.

This is a quick, engaging read with a somewhat different premise than we have previously seen. It's told from two perspectives, both in the present tense, though in two different times. You have Emma's section which is "Then" and Jane's section which is "Now" and both unfold linearly. What ties these women together is that they have applied to live at One Folgate Street - an incredibly technologically advanced house that is designed by one bizarre architect. There are rules upon rules and that application - it has 200 questions. Just this alone would turn most people off, but for some reason, both Emma and Jane are coming from bad places and this house seems to be the perfect change of environment for them.

The idea of obsessive, controlling, manipulative behaviors comes to the forefront when I think of what happens in this story. There's secrets and lies, devious behavior, and some really dark, creepy happenings. The characters are well-developed and while they aren't necessarily the most likeable of characters, they are certainly very intriguing!

As the story progresses, we come to see that nothing is really as it seems and we are led down one path after another as we learn who these characters really are. The tension builds slowly and the build up to the ending will leave you breathless as you try to figure out just what is going on.  

This was a clever, intriguing read and kept me engaged from beginning to end. I've heard that this has already been picked up to be made into a movie...I'd definitely go see this - would love to see how it translates onto the big screen!


  1. I keep seeing this title, and I'm sorry it wasn't pitched to me, because it sounds really good. I think I'll have to add it to my list. Great review.

  2. I've been interested in this one and have an advance copy to read. Have not started it yet, but coming soon. OK, first of all, I'd never be able to live there, even though I'm pretty much a minimalist about stuff, because NO BOOKS! Seriously? What is that about? LOL

  3. I'm not sure I could handle living in that environment but I love the idea of such a controlling environment. It definitely ups the creep factor. I'm enjoying all these psychological thrillers that are coming out though they are doing a number on my TBR. I want them all!

  4. This sounds like it could be intense, nice review. I am loving all the psychological thrillers. Can you share your top 2 you have read and 2 you are excited for?


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