Buddy Read: And Then You Were Gone

Hi, all! Shalini and I decided to delve right back into another buddy read to get some more TBR off of our shelves! We had tremendous success with the last one (both with the buddy read and the book itself), but this time around I think we were both underwhelmed with the book. That being said, I still loved doing the buddy read with her! She’s a great reader to tackle books with (and she’s really fast!). Anyways, here’s our thoughts (:


Synopsis:

After years of learning how to manage her bipolar disorder, Emily Firestone finally has it under control. Even better, her life is coming together: she’s got a great job, her own place, and a boyfriend, Paolo, who adores her. So when Paolo suggests a weekend sailing trip, Emily agrees—wine, water, and the man she loves? What could be better? But when Emily wakes the morning after they set sail, the boat is still adrift…and Paolo is gone.

A strong swimmer, there’s no way Paolo drowned, but Emily is at a loss for any other explanation. Where else could he have gone? And why? As the hours and days pass by, each moment marking Paolo’s disappearance, Emily’s hard-won stability begins to slip.

But when Emily uncovers evidence suggesting Paolo was murdered, the investigation throws her mania into overdrive, even as she becomes a person of interest in her own personal tragedy. To clear her name, Emily must find the truth—but can she hold onto her own sanity in the process?


Shalini’s Mini-Review

Rating: 3.25 stars

Thanks the skies for Brittany… She sure helped in bringing down my TBR by another book. I don’t think I would have read the book otherwise. A different book to review. An unlikable, unreliable main character made my job so difficult. Did I like her or did I hate her? Or did I love to hate her? These questions swirled in my mind as I read the book. There were a lot of discrepancies in the the story.

A good concept and a swift pace but a confused hypo-manic main character made this book barely worthwhile as I wanted to get it done and get on with my life.


My review

Rating: 3 stars

Note: Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher to sending me a free advanced reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

In this novel, Emily finds herself in a fast paced, live or die situation. Her boyfriend is missing and the town of Nashville is undoubtedly convinced she’s the reason why. On the surface, Emily is a calm, well-collected child psychologist helping children through traumatic situations. But lying just below is her own unsolved problem that she can’t escape: she has Bipolar 2. Emily is great at handling her mental illness as an adult, but her spotty past and inability to remember what happened the night Paolo disappears adds credibility to the police’s suspicions. Emily know’s that she is innocent, and she refuses to accept that Paolo is really dead. But what else could be going on here?

Answer: So. Much. More. 

As sad as I feel about not loving this book, I’m going to have to agree with Shalini on a lot of things.

I felt like R.J. Jacobs came up with a really good idea for his first novel. I mean, this was not at all what I was expecting per the synopsis (be forewarned), but it wasn’t a bad plot either! The story moves fast and even though I could kind of see some of the ending come (AKA who the bad guy was), it didn’t feel like a bad story to read.

The issue here was more in the characters. This was most definitely a character driven tale, and that made the book less enjoyable because Emily (the main character) was also less enjoyable.. to put it nicely. I was immediately glad to see some mental health rep go into this book, and I truly applaud Jacobs for tackling such a hard topic early on in his writing career. However, Emily suffering through her hypo-mania (though completely realistic and not at all the problem) while trying to solve numerous murder mysteries made the story a bit chaotic. Not to mention the fact that Emily was a suspect from the very beginning of the book yet the police never detained her while she was clearly (at the least) a danger to herself.

The other characters were woven in and out of the book for convenience. Novels like that are always harder to feel enamored with, because you feel like you’re never actually getting to know the people in the book. It’s even harder when the one person you do get to know is someone you don’t even like.

There were a lot of discrepancies throughout the story, which Shalini mentioned. There was one obvious one to me that I won’t write out because I don’t want to ruin it, but it stuck out like a sore thumb to me. Let’s just say it has to do with mixed up timing. Another, which I can tell you without ruining anything, places Emily and another character on a rooftop for quite some time. They are sipping from coffee cups and suddenly the other character leans against Emily’s desk. Outside. On the rooftop. A whole floor above her office where her desk is actually stationed. I know a lot of people don’t care about little details like that much, but they drive me absolutely insane.

Overall, I struggled with how to give this a final rating. It was definitely a quick read and I was eager to prove myself right in the end. The story itself was good, but the execution lacked, making it less than it could’ve been. I’m really not sure what it was that it feels like it was missing, but it’s like I just know that if it was in there then the book could be a good 4-4.5 stars for me. I think it’s just better characters, honestly. So yea, I’m settling on 3 stars because I don’t dislike it enough for 2 and I don’t love it enough for 4. I’m basically just… indifferent.

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