The Girl With No Past, by Kathryn Croft

10 Nov
THREE of FIVE stars

THREE of FIVE stars

Wow, this one is really difficult for me. The last 25% of this book is GREAT. It’s a story I haven’t seen before, it really does have some surprises, and everyone behaves as you would believe. Then we have one final flashback and another surprise which was also original and I loved. It was a fantastic ending all the way to the last page.

But the first 75% I did not enjoy at all. This story moves back and forth from present time, when Leah is an adult, back to when she was a teenager and “something happened”. This part is done very well, there are no real difficulties with following along, and in many ways it was great learning what happened little by little.

But it took too long. Getting through 75% of a book with no real idea of what it’s about is just way too long. And Leah is the most frustrating character I have experienced in a very long time. Now that I’ve finished the story I can see the reasons for why she had ZERO self esteem, but it’s a long time to spend with a character who believes people have turned against her the minute they’ve walked out a door or hung up the phone – and that’s not hyperbole. The second someone leaves the room she believes they hate her and are leaving forever. UGH.

She felt like a very emotionally stunted character, as if she were still the unconfident 15 year old. But we also spend half the book with the actual unconfident 15 year old, so again, for that first 75% I felt like this was more appropriate as a YA novel. Adults don’t behave this way, but if one does I would not choose to be around them no matter what their sad story is. And there were other weird character developments that were hard to buy: the chemistry between Leah and Julian, the issues with Sam that neither one actually discusses, the fact that Maria was way more attached to a co-worker than is normal but this was not made out as something unusual in the story – and whatever was the point of Dr. Redfield?

I am glad I stuck with it, because that last 25% was really great. But if I not had a responsibility to NetGalley (who provided me with a copy for review) I am not sure if I would have stuck with it. And it would be unfortunate if other readers put this book down early, because they will indeed miss out.

So do I rate it based on 75% of my experience (a solid 3)? Or do I rate it on how I felt at the end of the book, which was a solid 4? I’d even give this a 5 if it was being sold as a YA novel (and there is nothing that would make this not age appropriate). It deserves all those ratings, but since the majority of the book left me wishing that I really could cut Leah out of my life, and the reveal was just too slow, I’m going to stick with a 3.

I would not recommend against reading it, but I would warn anyone who wants to that they’ve got to stick with it to get to the reward at the end.

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