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Rated 3.88
1,261,003 ratings

The Girl on the Train

By: Paula Hawkins

Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group

Imprint: Riverhead Books

Format: Hardcover | ISBN: 9781594633669

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A debut psychological thriller that will forever change the way you look at other people's lives. 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. Shes even started to feel like she knows them. Jess and Jason, she calls them. Their lifeas she sees itis perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost. And then she sees something shocking. Its only a minute until the train moves on, but its enough. Now everythings 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.
For nearly its first quarter, “The Girl on the Train” reads like contemporary chick-lit, but with a creepier edge.... Ms. Hawkins sentences are simple and seamless. She doesn't try to be clever and there are few attempts at artfulness — which is an art in itself.... Slowly the novel reveals itself to be not just a confessional, but a highly suspenseful mystery.... It's tempting to say that it accelerates with the speed of a train, but chugging Amtrak wishes it could move with “Girl” power.
—Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“The Girl on the Train,” Hawkins's first thriller, is well-written and ingeniously constructed — perhaps a bit too ingeniously. The first-person narrator is now Rachel, now Anna, now Megan, and some of Megan's soliloquies date from long before her disappearance — yet are strategically inserted between present-day chapters related by Rachel and Anna, making the reader feel a bit manipulated. But the portrait of Rachel as a chronic drunk who just might save herself by playing detective is rich and memorable.
—Washington Post
It's difficult to imagine any way these events could be rendered credible, but “The Girl on the Train” is further impaired by its narrative structure, which shifts from Rachel's discounted chronological impressions to the missing Megan's unhappy story and back to an account of Anna's growing frustration with her husband's unstable ex-wife. The fact that Rachel's first-person voice is so maddening — alternately imprecise and overtly declarative — doesn't mitigate the reader's frustration... Readers sometimes conflate the “likability” of characters with a compulsion to care about their fate, but with a protagonist so determined to behave illogically, self-destructively and frankly narcissistically (someone even refers to her as “Nancy Drew”), it's tough to root for Rachel.
—New York Times
A compulsively readable nail-biter set in a London suburb that turns out to be anything but cozy, the book may actually have more in common thematically with the Hitchcock film Rear Window: It's a psychological thriller that examines the perils of voyeurism and evaluating events to which you're only a spectator.... Hawkins carefully sets up this intriguing premise, one moment playing on our empathy for the grieving Rachel, the next stirring new suspicions of her.
—Miami Herald
Notwithstanding all of the deceit, deception and general out-and-out fraud one will find in THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN, each and every word in this engrossing debut thriller by Paula Hawkins has the ring of truth to it. Those of us who have used public transit will identify and, to some degree, sympathize with the book's very troubled protagonist. We either are her or know someone very much like her. So be warned at the outset: that chill you will feel running up your spine after reading the first few pages is well-earned.... You might want to set aside enough time to read THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN twice --- once to enjoy, and another to appreciate how well Hawkins has crafted the twists, turns and sleights of hand that make this Hitchcockian thriller such a pleasure to read and wonder at.
—Bookreporter.com
The plot revs up when Megan goes missing, and Rachel, Anna and Tom all become entangled in the mystery of what happened to her.... Hawkins, a former journalist, is a witty, sharp writer with a gift for creating complex female characters. Rachel, who is alternatively maddening and sympathetic, stands out; Hawkins' dive into her alcoholism is frightening and deeply sad. Hawkins appears to have less interest in her male characters, however, which turns out to be a fairly big flaw as the plot chugs along to its resolution. It's unexpected - as expected - but also unsatisfying, leaving me feeling a bit cheated.
—Cleveland Plain Dealer
With lookalike mystery blondes (think Vertigo) and voyeuristic observations from a train (think Rear Window), The Girl on the Train marries movie noir with novelistic trickery.... A la Gone Girl, Girl on the Train is populated with characters who veer between unlikable and repulsive.... Train takes a while to get rolling, but once it does, hang on tight. You'll be surprised by what horrors lurk around the bend.
—USA Today
In Paula Hawkins' powerful thriller, “The Girl on the Train,” you must wait for something awful to happen, and it's worth it.... Hawkins' tale of love, regret, violence and forgetting is an engrossing psychological thriller with plenty of surprises.... The book, set in 2012 and 2013, cleverly jumps back and forth in time to first reveal the mystery, and then to eventually unravel it. The story gets much of its power from alternating first-person narratives, not unlike Gillian Flynn's bestselling thriller, “Gone Girl.” In “The Girl on the Train,” three female characters recount the events of their lives, which intersect in creepy ways. The novel gets harder and harder to put down as the story screeches toward its unexpected ending.
—Minneapolis Star Tribune
“The Girl on the Train” has more fun with unreliable narration than any chiller since “Gone Girl,” the book still entrenched on best-seller lists two and a half years after publication because nothing better has come along. “The Girl on the Train” has “Gone Girl”-type fun with unreliable spouses, too. Its author, Paula Hawkins, isn't as clever or swift as Gillian Flynn, the author of “Gone Girl,” but she's no slouch when it comes to trickery or malice. So “The Girl on the Train” is liable to draw a large, bedazzled readership too.... One sign of this book's ingenuity is the way key details are effortlessly omitted. And you're not apt to miss them until the denouement, when it is pointed out that certain characters never appeared and supposed facts were never explained. Another appealing thing about the book is that while Ms. Hawkins's writing is more serviceable than stylish, she gives her thinly drawn women some brainpower.
—New York Times
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