I know there's been a trend toward titles with "The Girl" prominently featured, but this cover was so striking, I had to add it to my TBR.
Up front: I loved this book. Prepare for a lot of positivity.
Olivia wanted nothing more than to shed her identity as The Girl from Widow Hills, the one who survived an unfortunate accident, being swept into the sewers and surviving three days before she was rescued. She changes her name, starts over, and everything is manageable until she receives a box of belongings from her deceased mother. Sleepwalking is something she hasn't done since the incident, but Olivia finds herself not only taking up her old habits, but tangled into the middle of a murder investigation when she wakes up outside standing over the body of a dead man.
Told in the present tense with flashbacks to transcripts of interviews, book excerpts, and 911 calls, Miranda's writing style is effortless. I loved the quick blips into the past, because while they were short, they were wrought with subtle clues and insight into the characters. Building on the tense relationship Olivia--born Arden--had with her mother, we see how a miraculous feat can affect the lives of everyone involved for better and for worse. Miranda highlights the trajectory of someone thrust into the spotlight by improbable circumstances. Olivia didn't ask to be swept into the sewers, nor did she ask for the celebrity that came with her rescue. The money her family received, the interviews and specials that came with anniversaries of the date, she had her life, but she also discovered that people can be cruel, calling her a liar--a perpetrator of a hoax--and demanding for truth she can't give. I appreciated this underbelly of fame take. Even feel-good community stories are subject to public scrutiny in our world of social media anonymity, and while you expect Olivia to have a happily ever after, the once-in-a-lifetime event turns out to be anything but. It's like when people win the lottery and blow the winnings in six months., but the stakes are much higher.
In terms of twists and unexpected turns, The Girl from Widow Hills delivers. I found myself trying to put the pieces together but also enjoying being in the dark about who was responsible for the murder. This was my first read as we enter our first week of Covid school closings here in Upstate NY, and I finished this in a single sitting. I could put it down, but I didn't want to.
Big thanks to Simon and Schuster and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC in exchange for honest review consideration. The Girl from Widow Hills is a must-read for the 2020 season. Look for it in June, you won't be disappointed.