Saturday 28 March 2015

Review ~ The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins.

Title: The Girl On The Train.
Author: Paula Hawkins.
Publisher: Transworld.
Genre: Psychological Thriller.
Publication Date: January 15, 2015.
Source: Netgalley.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Purchase: Amazon UK

Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She’s even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. ‘Jess and Jason’, she calls them. Their life – as she sees it – is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough.

Now everything’s changed. Now Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she’s only watched from afar.

Now they’ll see; she’s much more than just the girl on the train…

The Girl on the Train has had great publicity and even now, two months after its release, people are still always talking about it. I love it when everybody is excited about a book and knew this was one I had to read. Honestly, it probably wasn’t as amazing as I thought it would be but it was still a very, very good thriller. It’s a hard book to write a spoiler-free review for but if anyone out there still hasn’t picked up a copy, The Girl on the Train is well worth a read, even if you’re not prone to picking up a psychological thriller. It’s tense, disturbing and consuming.

At the beginning of the book we meet Rachel – commuting on the train, observing the world outside. My favourite part of the book was the descriptions of what is seen through the train window, how Rachel takes things in and picks up on every little detail. The little things she notices are creepily realistic and I think a lot of people who travel on the train can identify with how she paints a vivid picture of the lives outside – though maybe not to the extremes of naming and obsessing over strangers like Rachel did with ‘Jason and Jess’. It’s all very intriguing and atmospheric. There’s something quite fascinating about people-watching and that’s written well here – Rachel can tell us a lot about the lives of ‘Jess and Jason’ all through looking out on them. It was eerie but very compelling and Rachel soon finds herself involved in their lives more than she could ever possibly have imagined.

The novel is told split between three women, Rachel, the woman Rachel observes from the train and occasionally Rachel’s ex-husband’s new woman. Each came across as difficult to trust, unreliable and a bit strange, which left me second-guessing every little thing that was said or done. I loved how challenging the characters were, especially Rachel. She didn’t do herself any favours with all the drinking and all the lies. She was a hard character to understand and yet one that I really wanted to believe in. It’s easy to doubt most of the characters in this book and that makes it interesting trying to piece them all together – there’s so much to learn about each and every one of them. You’ll be suspicious and you’ll be thinking about the novel every moment you put it down (which probably won’t actually be that often). I found it twisted my mind just a little – some parts felt so intrusive to the characters, yet it was so engrossing too.

There are a lot of twists in The Girl on the Train, as with all good thrillers. Unpredictability is a must and normally I’m quite good at being fooled and can never guess the truth. With this book, I did guess it quite early on but despite this, the suspense was still there. It was never lost and the tension intensified as the story unfolded, building up relentlessly and at an addictive pace. It’s a book that won’t take you long to finish and will leave you with so much to talk about – a gripping story, original and startling, which has made sure I will never choose to live anywhere near a train line!

Review also posted on Goodreads | Amazon UK


  1. I still think I won't read this but glad you enjoyed it. I often wonder if because everyone was talking about it we expect more!

    1. I think so, loads of publicity is great but then I think it's easier for us to feel more let down!


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