The Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins

the girl on the train cover


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?

Compulsively readable, The Girl on the Train is an emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller and an electrifying debut.

My Thoughts

This book is a roller coaster, to say the least. A good roller coaster. A thrilling roller coaster. The kind of roller coaster you’re super glad you got on and rode it, but you’re not sure if you’d do it again, because it’s so intense, it leaves you high-strung for the remainder of your day. This is what Paula Hawkins made me feel with this book. (I’m fairly certain my partner can attest for the mass-use of expletives and creative, bilingual, foul-language I uttered while reading this book.)

This book is a thriller and mystery that reminded me of Gone Girl, in all the right ways. I was riveted from the very first word. Not only was I transported to this world, I was masterfully watching it, trying to put the pieces together myself. And I never could – not until the very end. And that makes me so happy. I was kept on the edge of my seat, just so close to solving the mystery, and it gets ripped out from under me. I love it when books do that. (I also love the shocked look on my partner’s face when I curse out loud in two languages.)

I love how the characters are all inherently morally ambiguous. There isn’t a “good” one in the bunch, which makes it all that more real. These characters have their own flaws, their own hang-ups, and their own nonsense going on. They’re relatable. They’re real. They’re hateful. I love it! That doesn’t mean they don’t have redeeming qualities, just that they’re more human than some other book characters I’ve read before. And that’s what makes or breaks a good book for me – real, relatable characters versus likeable characters. I much prefer real to likeable – but that’s a discussion for another time.

Once I hit the final climax of this book, I was so enveloped in the lives of these characters, and so drawn in, that I honestly thought I knew them – that I was in their lives, I was involved, and it was my job to know the truth. I haven’t been that sucked into a plot in what feels like a long time.

This book felt so good to read, and so good to be obsessed with. This is a book that will stick with me for a long time to come.


~ by Aubrey Smith on March 21, 2016.

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