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Friday, September 28, 2018

The Elizas Tells a Strange Little Tale

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Eliza Fontaine has tried to commit suicide several times, so no one's all that surprised when her unconscious body is fished out of a hotel swimming pool.  When the 22-year-old comes to in the hospital, however, she claims she didn't try to kill herself this time.  Someone pushed her.  With no witnesses or security camera footage, there's nothing to prove her story true except her own memory.  It soon becomes clear, however, that her recollection is the last thing she can rely on.  With some major holes in her memory, Eliza's not sure what to believe.  

Things become even more confusing when Eliza's associates—her family, her agent, her editor, etc.—keep mixing up scenarios from Eliza's about-to-be-published debut novel with the events of her own life.  Her book is pure fiction.  Right?  The more perplexing her life gets, the more uncertain she becomes.  If she can't trust herself, who can she trust?  Will Eliza ever know what really happened the night she almost drowned?  Is someone trying to kill her or is her own damaged mind playing a cruel, cruel trick on her?

I'm still not quite sure what to think about The Elizas, a thriller by Sara Shepard.  It's an odd little tale with a heroine who's strangely intriguing but not all that likable.  Alternating between Eliza's story and chapters from her book, it's got a compelling setup, although I'm not sure it worked all that well in this particular novel.  The Elizas gets confusing and far-fetched, although it's also twisty and entertaining.  Overall, then, I'm kind of on the fence about this one.  On the whole, I found it to be just okay.

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of The Weight of Lies by Emily Carpenter)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for language, sexual content, violence, disturbing subject matter, and depictions of illegal drug use

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find


  1. Another unlikeable MC? This is getting ridiculous. Just because the need to be unreliable doesn’t mean they need to be jerks.

    1. Eliza's not a jerk exactly, she's just not very sympathetic or relatable. I agree, though, a character can be flawed and/or unreliable but they don't have to awful! I have to relate to an MC on at least one level to care what happens to them. Otherwise, I'm out.

  2. Hmmm...I'm interested, but not really compelled to run to pick it up. Maybe if I come across it at the library.

    1. I'd be interested to see what you think. I just thought the book was weird. It was compelling, though, just odd and not satisfying like other psychological thrillers I've read.

  3. I took this one off my TBR, because I had head so many meh things about it. If I read a book with an unlikable character, the story needs to be really well done.

    1. Probably a good idea. I put the book down more than once when I was reading it, but I did finish. In the end, though, I'm not sure it was really worth my time.

      I agree -- I don't mind an unreliable narrator, but I have to relate to them in some way or I won't care what happens to them.

  4. It's so difficult when the main character isn't likable and doesn't work for us as readers. The concept can be compelling, but it still doesn't work.

    1. Exactly! I don't have to LIKE a character, but I do have to understand them or relate to them at least a little bit. Otherwise, I don't care enough about them to be invested in their story.

  5. It does sound like it gets a little confusing. I probably wouldn't make it through this one.

    1. I did want to know what really happened. Otherwise, I wouldn't have kept reading.

  6. I had similar feelings on this one. There were good things like it being twisty but I remember being confused. Great review!

    1. Exactly! I'm not really sure what to think of it overall.

  7. I just came upon your blog and I like how you give the "If it were a movie" rating! I just read a very inspiring and enjoyable historical non-fiction book in September called "We Can Do It: A Community Takes on the Challenge of School Desegregation" by Michael Gengler. In it, Gengler shares facts and accounts of the desegregation of schools in back in the 50’s and 60's in Gainesville, Florida. it gives a really great perspective on how a community can come together to achieve a shared goal, and there were so many challenges to get there that it is a very motivating read in dealing with challenges of today. The author's website is and the book has a page as well:

    1. Thanks, Nick! I always appreciate recommendations of great new books to read. I'll look this one up for sure.

  8. Far-fetched, but entertaining. I'm intrigued... Wasn't a big Pretty Little Liars fan, but I'll put this on my list.


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