By Megan Miranda
Rating: 4/5 Stairs
Meet Leah Stevens. She’s run away from a terrible mistake she made as a reporter in Boston to start over as a teacher in a small Pennsylvania town. Leah is renting a house with her old friend Emmy. Emmy too was looking for a fresh start, having recently broken up with her boyfriend. Leah hadn’t seen Emmy in years, but ran into her in Boston right when she needed to get out of town.
As the novel begins, a woman who looks like Leah is found almost dead at the lake near the house Leah is renting in western Pennsylvania. Leah has been getting threatening phone calls and emails. She thinks someone is watching her house. And she hasn’t seen Emmy in several days. In fact, it seems that no one in the town has seen Emmy. Ever. There’s no evidence that Emmy even exists.
The story weaves back and forth between the past and the present, slowly revealing both Emmy and Leah’s friendship and Leah’s reasons for leaving Boston as Leah searches for clues to Emmy’s current whereabouts. It was hard to determine if Leah’s recollections could be trusted, or if she was an unreliable narrator.
Now I should probably state that I haven’t (yet) read Ms. Miranda’s All the Missing Girls, so I went into this novel with no expectations. (My understanding is that All the Missing Girls is told backwards, so it is very unlike other suspense novels. It’s definitely on my list.) The Perfect Stranger was a page turner, but definitely in a more traditional telling, and Ms. Miranda had me guessing from beginning to end. There were so many questions. Was Emmy real, or some figment of Leah’s imagination? Who was harassing Leah? Was any of this tied to the woman found at the lake? And why exactly had Leah left her life in Boston so quickly?
The Perfect Stranger is a fun, suspenseful read, full of twists and turns along the way. I was sure I had the answers, but in the end, it turned out I was wrong.
Many thanks to NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.