Nicole Cutty and Megan McDonald are both high school seniors in the small town of Emerson Bay, North Carolina. When they disappear from a beach party one warm summer night, police launch a massive search. No clues are found, and hope is almost lost until Megan miraculously surfaces after escaping from a bunker deep in the woods.
A year later, the bestselling account of her ordeal has turned Megan from local hero to national celebrity. It’s a triumphant, inspiring story, except for one inconvenient detail: Nicole is still missing. Nicole’s older sister Livia, a fellow in forensic pathology, expects that one day soon Nicole’s body will be found, and it will be up to someone like Livia to analyze the evidence and finally determine her sister’s fate. Instead, the first clue to Nicole’s disappearance comes from another body that shows up in Livia’s morgue—that of a young man connected to Nicole’s past. Livia reaches out to Megan for help, hoping to learn more about the night the two were taken. Other girls have gone missing too, and Livia is increasingly certain the cases are connected.
But Megan knows more than she revealed in her blockbuster book. Flashes of memory are coming together, pointing to something darker and more monstrous than her chilling memoir describes. And the deeper she and Livia dig, the more they realize that sometimes true terror lies in finding exactly what you’ve been looking for.
Simply for the forensic pathology element, this book is worth the read. And the mystery was pretty great, too.
I absolutely adored the clinical perspective of this book. Dr. Cutty starts looking at living people and seeing how they might die, which was grotesque but at the same time terribly intriguing to read about and gave her a unique perspective on characters.
I was intrigued by the disconnect between how Megan viewed herself, how her parents viewed her, and how society viewed her. The way that the public so desperately wanted her to be okay was so heartbreaking, and it was also harrowing to see how it was hard for her to truly have her thoughts heard. Her psychologist hypnotises her in an immensely fascinating process to watch and learn about.
I thought the organisation was confusing and I found it hard to follow the separate timelines at points. There are a lot of characters to keep track of and a lot of girls that are hurt. I think it would have benefitted from seeing fewer points of view.
The ending was highly satisfactory, though sad and not at all what I expected. This book had my emotions going and the mystery led me in several different ways, yet the ultimate resolution was not as I expected, though it made total sense.
The relationships that the various characters form was the icing on the cake for this book. I didn't expect them to evolve as they did, yet all details were satisfying to hear about.
This book is definitely worth the read.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.