Everyone loves Summer Ryan. A model student and musical prodigy, she’s a ray of light in the struggling small town of Grace – especially compared to her troubled sister, Raine. Then Summer vanishes.
Raine throws herself into the investigation, aided by a most unlikely ally, but the closer she gets to the truth, the more dangerous her search becomes.
And perhaps there was always more to Summer than met the eye . . .
Okay, I have to start by admitting that I haven’t read Chris Whitakers debut novel Tall Oaks! The reason being that someone recommended it to me by saying if you liked ***** (title of rather popular book) then you will LOVE Tall Oaks! Unfortunately though, I HATED ***** (probably one of the few who didn’t like it as I know it was a favourite for many readers and reviewers!) so I decided not to buy and read Tall Oaks, a decision I have now come to regret BIG TIME!!! Because after reading All The Wicked Girls, I have fallen head over heels with this authors style of writing and want to read everything he has ever written! And I am also kicking myself as I got my copy of All The Wicked Girls at Harrogate in the summer and ended up standing behind Chris Whitaker in the queue for the Dennis Lehane signing WITH MY COPY OF HIS BOOK IN MY HAND but I was way too shy to ask him to sign it even after we had been introduced by his lovely fellow Bonnier author G.J Minett! My fellow blogger Emma “damppebbles” Welton, who was with me, told me at the time I would regret my decision but I had no idea just how much until I finished what has now become a top contender for MY FAVOURITE BOOK OF 2017. And regular followers of my blog will understand just how much I loved this book-all they have to do is look at all these CAPITAL LETTERS I’m using and count all the exclamation marks!!!
Although drawn in by the stunning cover I have another confession to make in that I actually started this book a couple of months back but struggled to get past the first few chapters. I realise now that it was due to the large amount of information and colourful characters that jumped so vividly out of the pages that I found it too much for my senses to cope with, it completely overwhelmed me, and so I put it down again until I started to see a few reviews popping up on my Twitter timeline and that prompted me to give it another go. And this time I made the RIGHT DECISION!!
I can’t even begin to explain to you all how much I adored this book but I have to try! After getting past the first few difficult chapters I found myself adapting to this authors style as he delved deep beneath the surface of some very difficult and tough to read plot threads. His vivid descriptions magically transported me to live amongst the inhabitants experiencing the small town mentality of a Southern community and all the problems, secrets and lies that hide within it. My second surprise after that was to find out that Summer, the missing girl, and her sister Raine were in fact twins. Now I have been there, written the book and got the tshirt when it comes to those difficult years of living with teenage girl twins so straight away I knew that Chris Whitaker was spot on with his observations of the relationship between these girls and how the people outside of their twin connection saw them. But even twins have secrets from each other and sometimes those secrets can lead to decisions that can never be undone but surely uncovering the truth can’t divide that twin bond…can it?
There were some very dark and sometimes deeply upsetting scenes here but I was spellbound by this thriller with its all consuming build up taking over my entire life. I was on a rollercoaster of emotions, unable to put it down but then my reading speed slowed right down as I prepared myself for whatever awaited me at the end. And that final sentence had me sobbing. Yes real tears and unable to breath sobbing and then when I turned the page and realised that it really WAS the last paragraph I would read in this book, I cried even more! But then I pulled myself together and I actually reread it, savouring the whole wonderful experience again right from the very beginning! Even now my heart aches when I recall the complex nature of those finely drawn characters and the way their lives entwined around each other as the plot developed and revealed itself.
Heartbreakingly perceptive, this deserves to be on everyones “must reads” list this year as it comes highly recommended by me! One of the best books that I have featured on my blog since I started it and definitely a contender for my book of the year! This book is STUNNING, it’s MAGNIFICENT and it broke my heart into a thousand tiny pieces…BUY IT NOW!!
All The Wicked Girls: The addictive thriller with a huge heart, for fans of Lisa Jewell is available to purchase now from Amazon UK (affiliates link) My thanks to the publisher for my review copy.