Keep on going for September!
Thanks to Mira Books for the free copies in exchange for our honest reviews
A GIRL NAMED ANNA – Lizzy Baker (Released September 3rd, 2019)
A compulsive suspense debut for fans of Megan Miranda, Wendy Walker and Kimberly Belle, about two teens–one sheltered by her strict and reclusive mamma, one living in the shadow of the missing sister who was snatched from a theme park as a toddler–and their search for the truth about their families and each other.
If your whole life is a lie, who can you trust?
Raised in a quiet rural community, Anna has always been taught that her Mamma’s rules are the only path to follow. But, on her eighteenth birthday, she defies her Mamma for the first time in her life, and goes to Astroland. She’s never been allowed to visit Florida’s biggest theme park, so why, when she arrives, does everything about it seem so familiar? And is there a connection to the mysterious letter she receives that same day—a letter addressing her by a different name?
Rosie has grown up in the shadow of the missing sister she barely remembers, her family fractured by years of searching without leads. Now, on the fifteenth anniversary of her sister’s disappearance, the media circus resumes as the funds dedicated to the search dry up, and Rosie vows to uncover the truth herself. But can she find the answer before it tears her family apart?
Winner of the Daily Mail First Novel Competition, A Girl Named Anna is a psychologically riveting read that introduces Lizzy Barber as an outstanding new voice in suspense fiction
Chandra’s Thoughts: 3/5 stars
If you like psychological suspense, then this debut novel by Lizzy Barber is the book for you. I rarely reread the synopsis before I got into a new read – I figure if I have it, there was some reason I wanted it so I just go in blind. For some reason, I decided to reread the synopsis on this one (I think because I have about 3 different books on my TBR with the name Anna in the title) and I’m glad that I did because knowing this is suspense fiction definitely made a difference rather than expecting the typical faster paced thriller.
From the synopsis we pretty much see we are going to be getting Rosie and Anna’s stories and the chapters vary back and forth between their POVs. You already know where the book is going, it’s the journey to why these things have happened that will keep you riveted.
Admittedly, this book burns slooooowly. It wasn’t until around the halfway point that I was feeling slightly hooked. It’s pretty obvious where this book is going but I have to say – Barber does a fantastic job in really making you feel for these girls. Rosie, who is always in the shadow of her sister Emily, who has been missing for 15 years. Anna, whose mother is overly protective, is extremely sheltered and has a weird feeling about her past, something her mother hates to talk about. A plot line gets in, which is similar to ones we’ve seen before (you’ll have to read this to know what I’m talking about), but it is always one that fascinates me.
Ultimately, as an avid suspense/thriller reader, there’s nothing really new here. HOWEVER, Barber writes exceptionally well and I applaud how well she pulled these all together and I did feel my heart strings pulled a few times at that ending.
My Thoughts: 3/5 stars
I really enjoyed this story and the premise, I just think this book fell victim to being mismarketed. When you go into a book expecting a thriller and it turns out to be a slower burn suspense, then that kind of takes away from the reading experience. That doesn’t mean that the writing wasn’t great and that the story wasn’t intriguing! I was expecting more of the sinister cult elements, but we don’t get into that until closer to the end. As a warning, there is some content that involves abuse.
Make sure to go into this book knowing its more of a mystery at its core than it is a thriller. If I had anticipated a slower burn then I feel like I would have enjoyed it more, but in this case it felt like it was dragging in some places. We alternate between the perspectives of Rosie and Anna – two girls that are somehow connected despite being thousands of miles apart. How will their stories converge?
I thought the characters were well-developed and you really got a feel for the girls and the lives that they lead. One living in the shadow of her long-missing sister and the other sheltered by her religiously fanatic mother. I always love the alternating perspectives in mystery novels, but I think this kind of gave away some of the suspense and the reveal.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this to those looking for a slower burn mystery. It was a binge-worthy read and while you’ll probably see the twist coming, it was still very enjoyable! I will be keeping my eyes peeled for more from Baker in the future.