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  • Writer's pictureCaitlyn Lynch

Book Review: Where I Left Her by Amber Garza

Whitney is living every mother’s nightmare. Dropping stroppy teenage daughter Amelia off at her new friend Lauren’s house for a sleepover, she expects nothing more than a quiet night at home. But when Amelia doesn’t call for a pickup the following morning, and her phone is switched off, Whitney begins to worry. And when she goes back to where she left her daughter, the unthinkable happens… the couple who live in the house have no idea who she’s talking about.

The story is told in several different timelines, with events from a few weeks before Amelia’s disappearance and a third timeline featuring a girl called ‘Millie’ and her friend… which turns out to be Whitney, over twenty years earlier. There are a few red herrings thrown in as Whitney desperately searches for answers, but the other timelines slowly reveal what’s going on, and that Whitney’s past is coming back to haunt her.

When we eventually catch up with Amelia and Lauren and discover what they’ve been up to and why, Whitney’s forced to reveal some truths to her daughter she’s been hiding for a very long time. I admit I totally saw the final twist coming, and there was just enough of an open end to the story to leave me feeling deeply creeped out about what might happen next.

I’m not entirely sure that sixteen years ago, it’s really plausible that Whitney could have pulled off what she did. That’s post-millennium. The age of security cameras. She had to pull off not one but two significant actions with absolutely nobody noticing or questioning what she was up to, all while she herself was in a shocked and traumatised state. I don’t think I quite buy it, though it is truly an intriguing concept, because Whitney would have to be a sociopath to pull it off and that’s not really how she’s portrayed in the rest of the book.

Readers should be aware that trigger warnings apply for domestic violence, drug overdose, sexual assault and sudden infant death syndrome.

I enjoyed the read, but the implausible nature of the actions which laid the foundation for the story did get to me a bit. I’ll give it four stars overall.

Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this title via NetGalley.

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