Tuesday, 25 August 2015

"The Night Sister" by Jennifer McMahon | Book Review

"The Night Sister" by Jennifer McMahon
The Tower Motel has a dark past. In the summer of 1989, Amy (whose family owns the place), Piper, and Piper's sister Margot bonded as they explored the grounds, searching for the mysterious 29th room at the 28-room motel. What they found ruined their friendship.

In 2013, they've all tried to move on and build their own lives. But one day, Piper gets an upsetting call from Margot: Amy's husband and son have been murdered, allegedly by Amy herself. But that's not all...Amy had written a message to them: "29 rooms."

Knowing that only they can find out the truth about what really happened to Amy and her family, Piper and Margot are forced to recall the summer that changed their lives.

First off, I want to say that the opening scene in The Night Sister was so intense and crazy. It really set the scene for the rest of the story. After reading that scene, I wondered how the sense of eeriness could possibly be sustained through the rest of the novel...but I was pleasantly surprised. Throughout, the story retained that creepy feeling that something was "off," and I really value that in a horror/thriller novel. When I had to do things other than read, I found myself constantly wanting to go back to the book and the characters so I could learn what they'd found that affected their friendship so deeply.

The story is told in three different time periods: the 1950's, from Sylvie and Rose Slater's (Amy's aunt and mother, respectively) perspectives; 1989, from the view of adolescent Amy, Piper, and Margot; and in 2013, when adult Piper and Margot are trying to figure out what really happened to Amy.

I really liked the use of Sylvie's letters to Alfred Hitchcock (she admired him and wanted to run away to Hollywood to become his next big star) because the way she writes, the honesty and darkness she writes with, really add to the atmosphere of the novel and make you wonder about Sylvie's secrets.

I also like that we get multiple perspectives, so we get to see several different takes on the same events. It makes us question whether any particular perspective is all true, and whether we're interpreting the events the right way or receiving biased information from the characters.

My only criticism is that the big reveal (no spoilers!) was written in a way where I picked up on the clues and was able to guess what was coming, so the last couple of chapters kind of sputtered out for me.

Having said that, the vast majority of the book was so, so eerie and creepy, which I love. It's definitely one of my favourite books of the year so far!

The Night Sister by Jennifer McMahon is now available at Indigo.

*This book was sent to me by Penguin Random House Canada in exchange for an honest review.

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