I received this book free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Good as Gone by Amy Gentry
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on July 26th 2016
Source: the Publisher
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Thirteen-year-old Julie Whitaker was kidnapped from her bedroom in the middle of the night, witnessed only by her younger sister. Her family was shattered, but managed to stick together, hoping against hope that Julie is still alive. And then one night: the doorbell rings. A young woman who appears to be Julie is finally, miraculously, home safe. The family is ecstatic—but Anna, Julie’s mother, has whispers of doubts. She hates to face them. She cannot avoid them. When she is contacted by a former detective turned private eye, she begins a torturous search for the truth about the woman she desperately hopes is her daughter.
Propulsive and suspenseful, Good as Gone will appeal to fans of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, and keep readers guessing until the final pages.
‘It’s so easy to forget how terrible the world is. Tragedy reminds us. It is purifying in that way. But when it starts to fade, you have to return to the source, over and over.’
When Julie Whitaker was just 13 years old, she was walked silently out of her house by knifepoint. The last person to see her alive was her 10 year old sister, Jane. Eight years have gone by and the time for hope, hope that Julie could ever be found, has long since passed. A knock on their door one night just may prove that there is always a reason to keep hoping: Julie finally found her way home. …or did she? The girl at the front door is about the same age as Julie would be and looks like how they imagine she would, but after 8 years, how do you really know? She tells stories of being held captive, of being raped, of being kept at a drug lords compound in Mexico. But something about her entire story rings false and as the story continues unfolding, more suspicions arise. If this isn’t Julie, who is it and what could she possibly gain from pretending to be someone she’s not?
‘If there is something missing—if I am afraid to love her quite as much as before—it is only because the potential for love feels so big and so intense that I fear I will disappear in the expression of it, that it will blow my skin away like clouds and I will be nothing.’
It’s clear that the inspiration for this story came from Elizabeth Smart’s tragic story, but Gentry’s debut novel impressively builds off inspiration and stands strong on its own merits. To me, the definition of a good mystery is one that continues to keep you riveted while also keeps you guessing. Good as Gone seems to reveal far more than it should early on, however, nothing is simple and straight forward about this mystery. Gentry throws continuous curve balls, introducing many girls all with heartbreaking stories like Julie’s. Of the experiences they endured just to survive and how those experiences altered their very being making it near impossible to remember a time before. Before their lives were irrevocably obliterated.
Good as Gone was a surprising read that stood out in a sea of mediocre mysteries with an abundant amount of effectively written plot twists, keeping the reader hypothesizing. The ending felt mildly flat only because there were so many diversions, I was on the edge of my seat expecting a final one to end it on a shocker. Good as Gone is a tangled family drama with an outstanding mystery from a promising debut author.