The Girl Before – JP Delaney

9780425285046

Publisher: Random House Audio

Publication Date: January 24, 2017

Listening Length: 9 hours and 59 minutes

From the Jacket:

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.

EMMA
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.

JANE
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.

Unpopular opinion time. I absolutely loathed this book. I hate finished it just because I thought surely, at some point with all of the rave reviews I read, it would get better.

Spoiler alert: It did not get any better.

There were only two redeeming factors for me. The first, was listening to the audio version. Emilia Fox and Finty Williams do a lovely job narrating this terrible content. The second, was doing a buddy read with my wife. She had print and I had audio, and we must be soulmates because we equally abhorred it. I’m going to go into detail about my issues with this book below, so this post will be spoiler central. You’ve been warned.

I went into this book thinking that it would be a psychological thriller about a super intelligent house that interferes with the lives of the women who live there. Turns out its actually about a moderately smart house with outdated technology, the wealthy sociopath who designed it, and the women who (completely inexplicably) fall for him. This book was rated highly by multiple sources that I have a lot of respect for. It was compared with The Girl on the Train, The Silent Wife, and Gone Girl. This book is like none of those books at all.

Let’s start with the way that every women in the book falls all over herself when they lay eyes on Edward. They all comment on how incredibly handsome he is. Really? I won’t get into all of the reasons why it is incredibly unrealistic that every single woman would be attracted to this guy, but I do feel like its worth noting. First impressions aside, he’s also completely weird, controlling, judgmental, and all around awful. Delaney describes the intense chemistry between Jane/Edward and Emma/Edward without providing any believable details. Saying someone has the best sex of their life is not the same as writing believable sex scenes.

I also almost lost my eyes to the back of my head due to the eye rolling that happened while I was reading the details of Jane’s pregnancies. It’s like Delaney went to a pregnancy forum, took all of the details there, and made them all into hyperbole. For someone who has never been pregnant or been close to someone that has been pregnant, this may not be an issue at all. For me, it was a constant source of annoyance that detracted even more from the plot. I read an interview with the author about his use of a pseudonym for this book. He talks about one of the reasons he liked it is because it makes the gender of the author ambiguous and he had a number of women tell him that they thought a woman wrote the book. NO. Just, no.

One of the worst things about this book, other than the cheesy dialogue and terrible sex scenes, are all of the smoking guns. Delany creates a whole table full of smoking guns, and then WALKS AWAY FROM THE TABLE. There’s a reason that everyone is so shocked that Simon is actually the murderer. It’s because it is completely outside of his character! That doesn’t make this a good story. It makes it an example of terrible writing.

And what about Edward and all of his crazy trying to recreate the relationship with Jane that he had with Emma? We never touch on that again, except in the very last paragraph where the reader is led to believe that more women would continue to move into this house and fall for this bag of cats. I wondered on more than one occasion while reading, if the author just hates women and/or just considers them all incredibly stupid.

Deep breaths.

Screen Shot 2017-07-28 at 9.46.29 PM.png

Final Thoughts: If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you know that I basically NEVER write negative reviews. But in this case, I felt like I must. I truly do not understand the hype. If you want a good psychological thriller, read all of the other books this one is compared to, and skip this one. Who else has read this? Did you love it or hate it? I’d love to hear your thoughts here.

Rating: 2 crowns

Favorite Characters: None

Memorable Quotes: There were several memorably bad quotes, but I did not make note of them.

 

June Wrap-Up

I’m FINALLY caught up with these monthly wrap-ups! Woot! Only six books for the month of June, but some really great reads overall. June is also my birthday month, so I added some fabulous new books to my collection and ever growing TBR. I got The Hate U Give, Ramona Blue, and The Six of Crows duology!!

Some of my favorites from this month were…

30134847

Waking Gods is the second in The Themis Files series. If you haven’t already read Sleeping Giants, you should rectify that immediately. These are epistolary novels and because of that I highly recommend the audio version. I listened to Sleeping Giants when it first came out and didn’t want to wait for Waking Gods so I read it in print. The story really comes alive in the audio version and is a more immersive experience. Despite the format, I still found it very enjoyable and after that ending, legit cannot wait for the third one to come out.

 

 

Scorpio-paperback-website

 

I’ve already written a love letter in review form for the Scorpio Races, which you can read here. This book is wonderful in every way. Another audio recommendation, but I have no doubt it will be incredible in any format. Maggie Stiefvater is my spirit animal.

 

 

 

10015384._SY540_

 

Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda is a really sweet story and yet another audio recommendation. I listened to this one all the way through and immediately started it again. It’s touching and funny and the relationship Simon has with his family is seriously goals.

 

 

 

The whole line up…

 

 

The Scorpio Races – 5 crowns

Dreams of Gods and Monsters – 5 crowns

Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda – 5 crowns

Into the Water – 4 crowns

Waking Gods – 4 crowns

My Life With Bob – 5 crowns

May Wrap-Up

I’m almost completely caught up with these posts! Woot!

I read 9 books in total for May, and all but one of them were part of a series. This was an exciting month due to the fact that the final installment of the ACOTAR series was released!! I discovered these last year and absolutely loved them. A Court of Mist and Fury is on my list of top all-time favorites and I was so incredibly anxious to see how this story ended for my beloved characters.

Some of the highlights this month…

Unknown

After pre -ordering this 500 years in advance, I made a deal with my wife and took the entire day to savor this book. I had my kleenex ready and a tub of my favorite ice cream and I snuggled up in my comfiest clothes and got lost in it. This got such mixed reviews, but I was really happy with it. There were a lot of threads left open, but that was intentional, as Maas has decided to write 3 more books in this world. As soon as I finished these, I re-read the rest of the series again and loved them just as much as the first time. Rhysand is my book boyfriend for life.

 

 

8490112

I’ve been meaning to read The Daughter of Smoke and Bone series for a while and was very excited to find an audio version on Overdrive. Khristine Hvam is a MAGICAL narrator! She slips effortlessly between accents and I got completely lost in the world she helped bring to life. I’ll likely do a full review for this series because I just loved it so much. Definitely check them out.

 

 

 

 

514XGcRc9SL._SY346_

The Tearling series is another I’ve had on my shelves for a while and have been meaning to start. I read the first two installments this month and am on a waitlist for the final one from the library. These are very creative and genre bending and unlike anything I’ve ever read. They are sort of a mash up between epic fantasy and dystopian sci-fi, which is just not a combination I’ve ever tried before. I have high hopes for the last one and recommend these for sure!

 

 

I also read Caraval this month and feel the need to call it out because of how incredibly disappointed I was. Someone in marketing thought it would be a great idea to compare this one to the Night Circus, and just… NO. This book does not even come close to the magical unicorn of a book that is the Night Circus and I HATE finished it. If you want to read it because you’ve heard this comparison, save yourself the time and disappointment.

Ok rant over.

The whole line up…

 

A Court of Thorns and Roses – 4 crowns

A Court of Mist and Fury – 5 crowns

A Court of Wings and Ruin – 5 crowns

A Million Worlds with You – 4 crowns

The Queen of the Tearling – 4 crowns

The Invasion of the Tearling – 5 crowns

Daughter of Smoke and Bone – 5 crowns

Days of Blood and Starlight – 5 crowns

Caraval – 2 crowns (Hiss! Boo!)

 

Have you guys read any of these series? What did you think? Any recommendations to add?