Reading is one of my favorite hobbies. As someone who loves to write myself, I love seeing a story told through another person’s point of view and being transported to a different place and time. Having lived in multiple states, I have spent more than my fair share of time in airports. For a time, it was sort of a tradition to head straight for the airport newsstand directly from the security checkpoint. I would peruse through the floor to ceiling bookshelves, looking for the perfect read. Sometimes it was the title that drew me in; sometimes it was the cover. I’ve discovered some of my favorite authors through this ritual and actually found myself looking forward to time spent waiting to board a flight.
However, most of my travel these days is between Saint Paul and Chicago. Although I am originally a Wisco girl, I also consider these two cities home and often find myself planning last minute trips from the Twins Cities to the Windy City. Since they do tend to be more spontaneous with ever changing schedules, I find myself driving more than flying these days, which lends little time to travel reading. As fate would have it, my last trip was temporarily derailed by a blown tire and I found myself with an extended amount of time on my hands while waiting for the repairs that would set me back out on my journey. I found myself once again scanning titles and covers, searching for the perfect book to salvage this setback. Although my choices were much more limited than at the airport newsstand, it didn’t take me long to settle on The Good Girl by Mary Kubica.
The Good Girl is the story of Mia Dennett, a young woman from a wealthy family who rejects and resents everything they stand for. The story starts in her family’s English Tudor home in a suburb along Chicago’s North Shore. Mia’s mother Eve answers the phone to find Mia’s friend Ayanna on the other end of the line. Mia hasn’t shown up for work and she’s not answering her phone. With the help of Detective Gabe Hoffman, it is soon discovered that Mia was supposed to meet her boyfriend at a bar but he never showed. She soon finds herself leaving with a stranger and disappears without a trace…
The Good Girl is one of the most riveting books I’ve read in a while and here’s why:
Although Mia is the main character, the story is told almost entirely in first person accounts of her mother, the detective, and the stranger she met at the bar the last night anyone sees her. Through their stories, we get to know a more complete version of Mia and who she was. Each of these characters is less than perfect but you grow to care about them, root for them, and through them, care more about Mia.
I didn’t know it when I chose the book but the entire thing takes place in Chicagoland and northern Minnesota. The author does an incredible job of describing both the bitter cold and yet, the beauty of Northern Minnesota, something only Minnesotans can truly appreciate. If you aren’t from the Midwest, Kubica does a great job of taking you there. In turn, her small but important details of Mia’s Uptown neighborhood and the Dennetts’ wealthy community make me feel as if I’m back in Chicago with them (which I actually was for half the book).
Alternating between past and present accounts of three different characters, this story could have been a confusing mess. However, Kubica does a masterful job of weaving the stories together in a way that tells Mia’s story in, not only chronological order, but a way that makes perfect sense. By the end, you completely understand why the characters made the choices they did and how they ended up where they are.
At just over 400 pages, this book is a long read but I found myself devouring most of it in three sittings. The chapters are short, most under 6-8 pages, which kept me wanting to know more. At the end of each narrative, I found myself saying one more, just one more, then just one more…
Because of work, I find myself with less time to read lately and I was less than thrilled to have a five hour setback on my way to Chicago. This psychological thriller was definitely the silver lining.
What are your favorite thrillers? Have you stumbled upon any books recently you just couldn’t put down?