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Book Review: The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda (4/5)

29 Nov

This was a book I felt like I’d never get to. My sister in law gave it to me for Christmas years ago and I’d never found time to open it. I realized my library had an eaudiobook and I decided to give it a try. I started right before Halloween which seemed like a perfect time. It may have taken me a while to finish it, but the autumn weather was still a great backdrop for a spooky mystery.


Cover image via Amazon

The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda

Summary from Amazon:

When Leah Stevens’ career implodes, a chance meeting with her old friend Emmy Grey offers her the perfect opportunity to start over. Emmy, just out of a bad relationship, convinces Leah to come live with her in rural Pennsylvania, where there are teaching positions available and no one knows Leah’s past.

Or Emmy’s.

When the town sees a spate of vicious crimes and Emmy Grey disappears, Leah begins to realize how very little she knows about her friend and roommate. Unable to find friends, family, a paper trail or a digital footprint, the police question whether Emmy Grey existed at all. And mark Leah as a prime suspect.

Fighting the doubts of the police and her own sanity, Leah must uncover the truth about Emmy Grey—and along the way, confront her old demons, find out who she can really trust, and clear her own name.

I was so pleasantly surprised by the twists in this book. I’ve read a few thrillers and I find I’m often underwhelmed by the way the plot is twisted and the shocking moments that seem to fall flat. This one took a big turn about two thirds in and went in a direction completely different from what I expected. It had me speeding through the end of the book and enjoying the ride I was on. 

Leah and Emmy seemed believable to me. They’re about my age and I felt I could understand their struggles and where they were in their lives for the most part. Of course, they had some struggles very different from anything I had ever gone through, but that’s what makes for some good fiction! I liked the small town setting Miranda chose for this book and how it was woven together with Boston to give the story a large scope and also ground it in our reality.

Kyle was a great character. I was very skeptical of him when he was first introduced and was convinced he’d been part of one of the crimes. The way his story unraveled and his motivation started to make him sympathetic and I grew to like him more and more. By the end, I trusted him more than Leah most of the time.

I think there are a lot of people in their early 30s who feel like their careers didn’t start off the way they wanted. That part of Leah’s identity, the way she was starting something new and trying to remake herself, was very relatable. I changed careers once early on and I’m glad I did, but it was a little bit of an identity struggle for me. I sympathized with Leah’s feelings of hiding from something though mine was a lot less literal.


Megan Miranda Image via Amazon

The twist in the story was my favorite part. I won’t go into too much detail of that here to keep this spoiler free, but as we learn more about Emmy, it seemed like the story was going nowhere fast until a big revelation hit Leah and she realized exactly what was going on. There were still more twists after that, but the reveal hit me like a ton of bricks and I loved it.

I felt the book started off a little slow. Leah’s backstory takes a lot of attention at the beginning of the book and I felt like it ended up not being too big of a deal. It didn’t affect the ending too much, at least. I would have liked to see Miranda jump into the action and spend less time with Leah dwelling on her past.

The audiobook was narrated by Rebekkah Ross. I thought she was a good choice to give a voice to Leah. She expressed surprise, concern, suspicion, and many other emotions well without seeming overdramatic. Her voices for other characters were different enough to be distinguishable without being distracting.

Leah’s story makes you think about who you can trust and how well you know the people in your life. As well as she knew Paige, she couldn’t talk to her about some of the most important things in her life. As little as she knew Emmy, she spilled her guts. I tend to be trusting but I’m not sure I would have trusted Emmy the way Leah did. She was manipulated in a way we all hope never to be and figured out what was happening in a way we all wish we could.

Writer’s Takeaway: Miranda was masterful in how she revealed this story. We start off by learning something central to the plot but while have no idea how important it is. I won’t say more than that as to not give away the ending, but I found myself slapping my forehead when I realized how things had shaken out. This is something you can only do in revisions and I think it’s great how well she hid something in plain sight.

I enjoyed this book and the twists it took. Four out of Five stars.

Until next time, write on.

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