Single Sundays: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:

Synopsis for The Girl on the Train (from Goodreads):
A debut psychological thriller that will forever change the way you look at other people’s lives.

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

A compulsively readable, emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller that draws comparisons to Gone Girl, The Silent Wife, or Before I Go to Sleep, this is an electrifying debut embraced by readers across markets and categories.


Author: Paula Hawkins
Genre: Adult, Thriller, Mystery
Heat Rating
: cold
Point of View: First Person, Multiple
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook


Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

There was no escaping this book this past winter. It was everywhere I looked–the library, online, GoodReads–thanks to the “Gone Girl phenomenon”. You know, the trend in popular culture when one book seems to be the next best thing and so every other book remotely similar is compared and/or you get a surge in published books that follow a similar style. It happened with Twilight, it happened with Fifty Shades of Grey and now it’s Gone Girl‘s turn. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing–it’s nice that a well crafted book is getting the spotlight for once, though I have yet to read Gone Girl. Truth be told, I probably won’t after seeing the movie now that I know what happens–it loses its mystery.

Anyways…back to The Girl on the Train. One of my good friends read this before me and said she had a hard time putting it down. And the comparisons to Gone Girl made me excited to read this one because I do love TV/movie thrillers yet haven’t really touched any literary thrillers that are of the adult variety.

The Concept / The World:

Like Rachel, I take a commuter train home from school and I totally people watch when I do. Without sounding completely creepy, I find it fascinating to watch people as they go about their business. Especially when you are on a commuter train because most of these people know each other since they travel together everyday or every week.

So, my point is, I found this book to be rooted in some deep realism because I’ve totally taken that train and thought, “hmm, I wonder what their lives are like” 😛

The Plot:

This book was exciting to read and I did find myself immersed in the story despite the fact that I had a pretty good idea how it was going to end early in the book. What I did like was that the book did have me second guessing my hypothesis until the big reveal which kept my attention on the story. I do feel like the book was 30 pages too long; however it wasn’t like I was bored reading it.

The mystery is interesting and I loved how interconnected everything was. Getting the three perspectives added an interesting dynamic to the story and kept the plot moving at its faster pace.

The Characters:

These characters were very well developed and always consistent. And I think consistency is super important in thrillers. There is nothing worse than having a character make a radical change to their approach/presentation halfway through the story for no reason. So while I might not list these characters as all time favourites, they definitely served their purpose even if they were a little stereotypical at times.

My Rating: 3.5/5


I really enjoyed The Girl on the Train. For a book that has a lot of hype I thought it lived up to it for the most part. I wish it was a little less predictable but it did keep my attention and have me second guessing my thoughts.

Read if You Like: psychological thrillers, fast paced books
Avoid if You: want more romance to your reads

  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn




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