Where I Left Her by Amber Garza
8/24/21; 304 pages
Where I Left Her by Amber Garza is a recommended psychological thriller.
When overprotective mother Whitney drops off Amelia, her 16-year-old teenage daughter, to spend the night with her friend Lauren, she has reservations about not going to the door with because she has never met Lauren's parents. The next day Whitney calls to see if Amelia is ready to come home, but there is no answer. She tries to track her phone, but it's off. When she returns to the house where she dropped Amelia off, an elderly couple lives there and they know nothing about Amelia. Whitney then begins to frantically search for her daughter and uncovers secrets and lies she has been told.
While this is certainly an intriguing novel, it also requires you to
set disbelief aside several times. There are plenty of secrets and lies
going on between all of the characters. The narrative jumps between the
relationship of Whitney and Amelia before and after the drop off, her
present day search for her daughter, and Whitney's childhood and her
experiences. Additionally there are excerpts from another teens diary
about a friend named Millie who is a bad influence on her. While this
plot structuring can be successful in some novels, once I reached the
ending it was clear that the structure didn't work for me in this
The search for Amelia will hold your attention, in spite of the fact that Whitney isn't very likable. It might have helped the novel if she were a more sympathetic character. There are twists, but too many coincidences. I stuck the novel out to the end, suspicious about the direction it was going to take, and, although others seem to be shocked by the ending, I wasn't. I liked the novel. It is a decent read for escapism but doesn't stand out above others in the genre.
Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of MIRA Books.
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