On My Bedside {Girl on the Train & Into the Water}

I started this post intending to write solely about Into the Water, but soon realized I never did a post on Girl on the Train. Both are by Paula Hawkins in the suspense / thriller genre.

The Girl on the Train

I love psychological thrillers and was so excited to read The Girl on the Train a few years ago soon after it was released. I found this one to be very much like a train wreck – I didn’t love it but I kept on reading to the finish because I couldn’t look away. Overall it was a good mystery, but overshadowed by dysfunction, alcoholism and very sad, unlikable characters.

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. Jess and Jason, she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation but in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

Into the Water

I read Into the Water by Paula Hawkins over our ski trip and, much like The Girl on the Train, I really, really wanted to love it. I struggled through it, and did finish it, but it fell flat for me. The story was told by way too many points of view, and just never fully engaged me.

A single mother turns up dead at the bottom of the river that runs through town. Earlier in the summer, a vulnerable teenage girl met the same fate. They are not the first women lost to these dark waters, but their deaths disturb the river and its history, dredging up secrets long submerged.
Left behind is a lonely fifteen-year-old girl. Parentless and friendless, she now finds herself in the care of her mother’s sister, a fearful stranger who has been dragged back to the place she deliberately ran from—a place to which she vowed she’d never return.
With the same propulsive writing and acute understanding of human instincts that captivated millions of readers around the world in her explosive debut thriller, The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins delivers an urgent, twisting, deeply satisfying read that hinges on the deceptiveness of emotion and memory, as well as the devastating ways that the past can reach a long arm into the present.
Beware a calm surface—you never know what lies beneath.

So my overall rating here is “meh”. I am never sorry that I read something. I’m just not sure I’d reach for Paula Hawkins again. If you have something GREAT you’ve read, share it in the comments.

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16 thoughts on “On My Bedside {Girl on the Train & Into the Water}

  1. Couldn’t agree more! I thought GOTT was slightly better than Into the Water, which I put down after 30 pages. I was so lost!

  2. Verity by Colleen Hoover was very good. I agree with you on Paula Hawkins. Thumbs down on both of those books from me, too.

  3. I could never get into either of these books and didn’t finish either. I read A LOT (benefit of being in my 70s and retired) so felt like the odd-man-out when I didn’t care for either. Glad I’m not the only one! I just finished “Someone Knows My Name” by Lawrence Hill; it was turned into a mini-series several years ago. I have Civil War great-grandfathers who were in both the Union and Confederate armies so historical fiction books of this type are always of interest to me.

  4. I truly believe if as a woman you are struggling with depression, issues with your mom or a sister Into the Water is a book that should be avoided. I found it very dark and depressing. I do not suffer from depression or with relationships in my own family. But, I definitely felt like it would be hard on a few of my friends who do!

    Like you Amanda, I never regret reading a book. But, I was disappointed. I loved Girl on the Train. I read it in two days. But, this latest book from Paula Hawkins was not my favorite.

  5. I recently finished A Curve in the Road by Julianne McLean and really enjoyed it. I’ll be 55 this year and in the vein of your birthday bucket lists, I decided to read 55 books this year. Well, it’s the 14th week of 2019 and I started book number 27 this week. If I keep up this pace, I’m going to have to rethink that goal number. Keep the book review/suggestions coming!

  6. I have a bunch I can recommend that I have loved lately~ go to my bookstagram. :)

    Top recs: Where the Crawdads Sing, Verity, Daisy Jones & the Six, Nevermoor, Wundersmith (the last two are middle grade books for kids), When Breath Becomes Air, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, Beartown was pretty good too! Also, I just finished The Proposal and it was a cute, light read. Let me know if you have a Kindle account, and I can loan you a few of the ebooks I have if you want!

  7. “Into the Water” was my book club read for the month of April and the majority of us did not like it. Also, “Girl on the Train” was also one of our books when it fist came out and most of us were like “meh.” Not one of my favorite authors. Last month we read “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens……a great read….LOVED IT.

  8. You should try JK Rowling’s Cormoran Strike series – he’s a British detective and very much NOT Harry Potter, but just as well written. I think Cuckoo’s Calling is first and there are four now.

  9. Thank you for all of your reading suggestions! Try The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah… it will give you another perspective for your Alaska trip!

  10. Definite read is “Where the Crawdads Sing”. My husband bought the book for me, I do not have a Kindle, and INSISTED that I read it. Well I did, loved it!!!

  11. I really didn’t enjoy Girl on The Train at all. I heard SO many people talking about it that I bought it shortly after it was released and was so disappointed that I had wasted money on it (I am cheap when it comes to spending on things like books and movies). A few days ago the movie was on TV and it was just as disappointing and confusing as the book. I definitely wouldn’t read any other Paula Hawkins books.

  12. Yup, just finishing “Water” finally got bearable about 30 pages ago. Meh.

    Did not read Girl on the Train, but did see the movie, loved it.

  13. I felt the same exact way about GOTT. I thought I must be alone because of everything I had read about it then the movie being made. So glad to read your perspective and the other comments and know I’m not alone.

  14. talking about it that I bought it shortly after it was released and was so disappointed that I had wasted money on it (I am cheap when it comes to spending on things like books and movies). A few days ago the movie was on TV and it was just as disappointing and confusing as the book. I definitely wouldn’t read any other Paula Hawkins books.

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