Huge thank you to Megan Miranda and Atlantic Books for the opportunity to take part in the #BlogTour for #AllTheMissingGirls by Megan Miranda. I’m not going to lie – the blurb completely grabbed me – a psychological thriller told in reverse….this was something different! So of course I said yes! I’m also delighted that Megan has written a special guest post for this spot on the #BlogTour around the development of characters in her novel.
Guest Post: Megan Miranda
Before writing All the Missing Girls, I had been thinking for quite a while about the idea of telling the unwinding of a mystery, where the reader would be working back through the pieces, day by day. I hoped that, with each new day, a new motivation or understanding could be uncovered, revealing another layer of the story. And I wanted the structure to be tied to the theme of needing to go back into the past for answers.
But it wasn’t until I discovered the main character that all the pieces finally clicked together. I first got a sense of the main character, Nicolette (Nic, to old friends), on a very long car ride.
A little backstory: I grew up in New Jersey, and I moved south to North Carolina about ten years before writing this book. The drive takes about 9-10 hours, and since I have a lot of family still in New Jersey, it’s a drive I take with my husband and kids a few times a year. It’s also a drive where the scenery changes so dramatically as you go—from rural areas to cities, mountains to forests, with the highway widening and narrowing as you go.
It was in this moment, on one of these drives, that I first heard Nic’s voice. She was describing the scenery on this long drive, seeing pieces of her past as she drove. This was the first full scene I wrote for All the Missing Girls. Nic’s character had moved in the opposite direction: she grew up in North Carolina and moved north a decade earlier. Unlike me, she doesn’t like to visit home often. So I started to think about her past, what she was running from, what she was hiding from. It was the backstory, ten years earlier, that developed first.
From there, the story, the structure, the characters, and the theme all started to develop alongside one other. But it was Nic herself who pulled it together. It was always her story, though it grew from a piece of my own.
The funny thing now is that I can’t take that drive anymore without thinking of Nic. And how sometimes, the place you think of as home can change, too. I’ve lived in North Carolina for over a decade now. My children were born here. When we cross the state line and see the sign that Nic sees on her own drive in that opening scene—Welcome to North Carolina—my kids say, “Almost home.” And I think the same.
What the blurb says:
Like the spellbinding psychological suspense in The Girl on the Train and Luckiest Girl Alive, Megan Miranda’s novel is a nail-biting, breathtaking story about the disappearances of two young women—a decade apart—told in reverse.
It’s been ten years since Nicolette Farrell left her rural hometown after her best friend, Corinne, disappeared from Cooley Ridge without a trace. Back again to tie up loose ends and care for her ailing father, Nic is soon plunged into a shocking drama that reawakens Corinne’s case and breaks open old wounds long since stitched.
The decade-old investigation focused on Nic, her brother Daniel, boyfriend Tyler, and Corinne’s boyfriend Jackson. Since then, only Nic has left Cooley Ridge. Daniel and his wife, Laura, are expecting a baby; Jackson works at the town bar; and Tyler is dating Annaleise Carter, Nic’s younger neighbor and the group’s alibi the night Corinne disappeared. Then, within days of Nic’s return, Annaleise goes missing.
Told backwards—Day 15 to Day 1—from the time Annaleise goes missing, Nic works to unravel the truth about her younger neighbor’s disappearance, revealing shocking truths about her friends, her family, and what really happened to Corinne that night ten years ago.
Like nothing you’ve ever read before, All the Missing Girls delivers in all the right ways. With twists and turns that lead down dark alleys and dead ends, you may think you’re walking a familiar path, but then Megan Miranda turns it all upside down and inside out and leaves us wondering just how far we would be willing to go to protect those we love.
All The Missing Girls focuses around the disappearance of two girls and tells the story in reverse chronological order, filled with tension and twists as we work our way backwards with Nicollete (Nic} Farrell, her brother Daniel and her old boyfriend, Tyler.
The novel has a dark and atmospheric feel about it that gives it a slow burning but tense pace as the reader takes the jouney from day 15 all the way back to the beginning. It serves to build a sense of fear and of being watched as you read through and the woods close to Nic’s house certainly provide the suspense filled backdrop the author was looking to create.
I struggled to connect with Nic the main protaganist – I didnt really like her that much, I found her cold and almost selfish I deinitely warmed more to Tyler her ex boyfriend and her brother Daniel. I felt sorry for their dad, who was in later stages of dementia, in the care home but in moments of lucidness able to recall events of the past but never quite clearly enough to give Nic the answers she was looking for. I just felt that Nic had kind of abandoned everyone and left them to deal with the mess of ten years ago and her return home heralded a new set of events. However, I also believe that it is a skill to create a main character who is unlikeable but still manages to keep the reader reading. I felt real malevolant undercurrent of fear and mistrust between all the characters and at times you wondered who you could really trust.
All The Missing Girls explores the dynamics of relationships and friendships in small towns where everyone knows everyone else and little lies become huge whopping lies and the ripple effect of them can carry on dripping their way through inhabitants lives forever.
In theory, I liked the idea of the reverse chronogical order and I know it worked for many but it left me slightly confused which may have detracted from my enjoyment. I loved the beginning of the book and I loved the end of it and eventually felt as though it had all tied up and explained itself to me. However the middle left me feeling slightly confused and kind of wishing I had started the book from the back page and read backwards. This is just my experience of this style of writing and I know others enjoyed it immensley – so I would recommend that you give it a go and read it with an open mind! I’d love to hear your thoughts!
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