To Be Published Jan 24, 2017 by Ballantine Books

From Goodreads

Please make a list of every possession you consider essential to your life.

The request seems odd, even intrusive—and for the two women who answer, the consequences are devastating.

Reeling from a traumatic break-in, Emma wants a new place to live. But none of the apartments she sees are affordable or feel safe. Until One Folgate Street. The house is an architectural masterpiece: a minimalist design of pale stone, plate glass, and soaring ceilings. But there are rules. The enigmatic architect who designed the house retains full control: no books, no throw pillows, no photos or clutter or personal effects of any kind. The space is intended to transform its occupant—and it does.

After a personal tragedy, Jane needs a fresh start. When she finds One Folgate Street she is instantly drawn to the space—and to its aloof but seductive creator. Moving in, Jane soon learns about the untimely death of the home’s previous tenant, a woman similar to Jane in age and appearance. As Jane tries to untangle truth from lies, she unwittingly follows the same patterns, makes the same choices, crosses paths with the same people, and experiences the same terror, as the girl before


I almost didn’t add the Goodreads Blurb because I think it’s misleading in a couple different ways but nothing I can really address without giving away spoilers; suffice it to say I don’t find the blurb totally accurate. Also, this might be the hardest review I’ve wrote since I started blogging as my feelings are just very mixed. There are things I really liked and some that just don’t sit well with me.

I’ll start with what worked for me. The story is told in short, quick chapters that alternate between the viewpoints of Emma and Jane. This technique worked brilliantly for keeping the pace fast and the pages turning quickly. It was like consecutive mini cliffhangers because just when I got to a certain point with Emma it switched to Jane. And let me tell you, I stayed up late Saturday as I kept telling myself I’d stop when I got to Jane’s chapter but then I’d have to keep going because Emma’s life seemed to be unraveling and I had to find out why. A big reason this was so intriguing is because Emma and her boyfriend Simon moved into the house on Folger Street a year before Jane so you’re left wondering what happened to Emma? Little by little we get to know the train-wreck that is Emma and her life of dysfunction. Jane, on the other hand, seems to be an intelligent woman who’s still grieving after a very traumatic loss in her life. She’s looking for a change of scenery, has a tight budget and along comes One Folger Street which I have to say was really too good to be true and you know how the saying goes about that!

Let me back up a bit. One Folger street is a modern, technologically advanced house built by Edward , an aloof, handsome architect with control issues. He has many, many rules for whomever rents One Folger Street such as: No pets, no children, no rugs, no photos, etc and a very lengthy contract that the renter must follow. The women find all this out after they have submitted photos of themselves and filled out long, ridiculous questionnaires riddled with inappropriate personal questions in the hopes of possibly being asked in for an interview. And this is all just to rent a house. I found it to be unbelievable that neither of the women were bothered by this, saw no red flags and were willing to go along with living like that. Especially for Jane’s character who I thought was intelligent and level-headed. The character motivations were just off for me. On another note, is Edward reminding you of anyone? (umm..Christian Gray?) I would’ve preferred a more original main character.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how I could’ve kept turning the pages so fast, finishing it within a day but then feeling ambivalent about the whole thing. One thing I can say is that I really liked Jane and almost think the book could’ve went in a different direction with her and her story. I was rooting for her even though it didn’t make sense that she agreed to those terms of living and then continued staying in that house, especially after she started questioning Edward’s possible (criminal) past and his current motivations.  There were a couple twists at the end, one I wasn’t surprised by and the other I was and thought was a good way to end that particular storyline. Overall, I think the ending was just a little too neat and tidy with things falling into place too easily. All that being said, I think this is going to be a big hit in 2017 as it has already been optioned for a movie by Ron Howard.

3.5/5 Stars 

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24 thoughts on “2017 BUZZ BOOK REVIEW: THE GIRL BEFORE By JP Delaney

  1. I’ve actually started this book twice and set it aside. It wasn’t as suspenseful as I was lead to believe, but it has received so many great reviews that I thought maybe it was my mood. I’m sorry it didn’t live up to the hype for you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad to hear it’s not just me! I didn’t love The Girl on the Train either and felt the same way about this one. I’m going back to my self-imposed ban on reading anything with Girl in the title:)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I always hate reading a book and feeling meh about it at the end. It would keep my attention and then loose it.. that’s annoying. You did a really good job of pointint out the good and the bad 😀 great review!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I was very into it but I have a hard time when the characters do things completely unrealistic and then there’s also the 50 shades stuff I could’ve done without. I can’t wait for all you guys to read it so we can discuss

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Well you’ve written an excellent review and even though I haven’t read this book, I completely understand your sentiments. For me, having unrealistic events to drive a story forward makes me question the plot far too much to really enjoy the overall experience… this sounds as if this book may be one of those.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ron Howard? :/ That doesn’t make much sense.

    Anyway, I read the excerpt and requested the full book but… no news 😦 It was so addictive! I hope I can discuss it with you when I read it!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would love to discuss this when you’ve read it. I’ll be super interested in your thoughts. In terms of originality and plausibility of plot I think Tall Oaks was so much better.


      1. You see, my “problem” is that I have a weakness for psychological-domestic thrillers haha Which means that even though I know they are not original and there are too many nowadays, they’re still like my go-to read when I don’t want to do anything. I just find them so addictive and gripping haha I read a few pages of The Girl Before and I was already addicted 😛 Maybe I keep reading and the ending will disappoint me, who knows. But I have no doubt that Tall Oaks is better ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I hope you get approved so we can discuss:) I feel like I try to avoid psychological thrillers for the most part so I was probably skeptical going in. Oh I got Distress Signals yesterday on Netgalley, very excited to read that!!


  5. I have been seeing this book around. I requested it on NetGalley but didn’t get it so I have been looking for reviews in order to decide whether I will read it or not. Its sad that the blurb is misleading. I really don’t like that because it sort of feels like false advertising.The unrealistic plot is also not so good. However, since you’ve rated it 3.5 stars and have also mentioned he fast-pace then I will check it out someday if I get a chance.

    As always, great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Diana. You’re it is a little like false advertising. This was a weird one for me as it did keep my interest and I finished it fast but a lot of the plot and character motivations just weren’t realistic to me. I’m sure others will have different takes on it and I can’t wait hear what everyone else thinks


    1. I agree, and when they put Girl in the title and compare it to others I’m usually always disappointed. My first hint on this one should’ve been the comparison to The Silent Wife which I didn’t like at all:)

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Fab review Renee I loved the sampler which left me desperate to read the WHOLE book, so now I’m left wondering if it will live up to my expectations. I did request the book from NetGalley but haven’t heard anything x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts and discuss! I’m in a super picky reading mood currently and psychological thrillers, especially with Girl in the title, haven’t been meeting my expectations. I’m sure others are going to love it though


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