Book Report: The Girl On The Train

The Girl On The Train by Paula HawkinsWhat’s The Buzz?: What’s the buzz you say? This book is racking up all the buzz it seems these days. After seeing it pop up in multiple magazines and websites, I knew I had to review it for y’all – after all, they are calling this one of the best contenders to be the next Gone Girl. A debut novel by journalist Paula Hawkins, don’t be surprised if someone tells you about The Girl On The Train sometime soon, and you can follow up by saying you already know all about it!

What’s The Plot?: The Girl On The Train is told in three interweaving narratives – primarily through the eyes of Rachel, a slightly chubby, depressed, divorced woman who takes the train into London every day, too embarrassed to admit to her roommate she got sacked months ago after one too many liquid lunches…which haven’t exactly stopped either, as Rachel knocks back any liquor she can get her hands on. Part of the torture of this daily train ride is going right past her old home, where her former husband now lives with his new wife Anna and their child. To distract herself, Rachel often peers into the yard of a couple she has nicknamed ‘Jess and Jason’, imagining an idyllic life for them. One day, on a particularly harsh bender, Rachel thinks she sees ‘Jess’ in her yard – but kissing someone who is most certainly not ‘Jason’. This ultimately prompts Rachel to get off the train at her old stop. When she wakes up the next morning, everything is a chaotic blur. Horrifyingly however, she also discovers that ‘Jess’, real name Megan, has gone missing – and Rachel can’t shake the feeling she may have been involved in some way. As Rachel tries to puzzle out the whereabouts of Megan, she heads down increasingly dangerous and convoluted paths, all of which are thrown even further askew by her inability to give up the drink.

So Is It The Next Gone Girl?: I can see where people would draw comparisons between the two books. There’s the question as to whether Megan is really missing. The idea that we never really know someone’s life behind closed doors – or even behind their own facades. The themes of adultery and vices we have difficulty giving up. And of course, quite a few brutal shocks throughout. I would say that The Girl On The Train unfolds much more like a traditional thriller, whereas Gone Girl was structured and written in a very unique, odd way. While the alternating viewpoints and timelines for The Girl On The Train help you build a composite picture as to what’s going on (like Gone Girl), they’re plotted in a more linear, straightforward fashion. I’m not throwing shade on that, as the story still provides plenty of twists and shocks and many, many cringe-worthy moments. But in terms of defying genre in the way Gone Girl did with its structure and purely mental head games story, The Girl On The Train definitely follows conventions a little more clearly.

Will I Be Scared?: There are definitely a few heart-racing passages throughout The Girl On The Train…naturally, the closer Rachel gets to the truth, the more frightening the story becomes. But on the whole no, it’s not like Rachel is being stalked by a psycho killer by way of a 90s slasher flick – it’s not that kind of thriller. If you enjoy puzzles and stories of ‘fill in the missing blanks’ then you’ll eat this dishy novel right up. I will say that I felt repeatedly sad and uncomfortable for Rachel and what she goes through – the alcoholism portrayed here really weighs heavily on the story, in a harsh, realistic way.

Who Should Read This Book?: I do think it’s fair to recommend this to those who enjoyed Gone Girl. It’s not quite the same reading experience, but for the thrills, chills and twists alone, you’ll probably dig it. The Girl On The Train is also a good pick for anyone that doesn’t have much time for reading – the chapters are relatively short, making this a quick, easy-to-follow read for anyone looking to squeeze in 5-10 minutes here or there.

Finally, I’ve got three copies of The Girl On The Train to give away! Interested in winning one? Here’s how to enter:

1) First & foremost: you must be a subscriber to the Canadian Gift Guide to enter this giveaway. It’s as simple as finding ‘The Gift of Gab’ box in the righthand column and dropping in your email or clicking follow. Then, tell me in the comments below by February 16, 2015 – why are you interested in reading The Girl On The Train?

2) Entries are limited to one per person / per email address / per household (or more if you score bonus entries). A random draw will be conducted on or around February 17, 2015 to select the winner, who will have 48 hours to respond before another winner is chosen in their place.

3) Entries are limited to Canadians that have reached the age of majority in their province. Quebec is not eligible for this promotion.

4) Bonus Entry: Follow Random House of Canada on Twitter, tag them and me (@cdngiftguide) in a Tweet about why you want to read this pulse-pounding series! Post a link to your Tweet below in a separate comment to earn yourself an extra entry into the draw.

5) Bonus Entry #2: Add this book to your to-read list on GoodReads, and leave a link back to the page it’s on below in a separate comment to earn yourself another bonus entry.


83 Responses to “Book Report: The Girl On The Train”
  1. Karen says:

    Sounds like a really interesting thriller, i love a good book.

  2. Jennifer L. says:

    It sounds like a book that would be hard to put down once I start. I love books like that.

  3. Lori says:

    Paula Hawkins is amazing! I look forward to reading this!

  4. janicour says:

    I have read Gone Girl, and although the comparisons a little different. More twists and turns.Hawkins? The author seems to have a remarkable understanding of the limits of human knowledge, and the degree to which memory and imagination can become confused.Can’t wait!!!

  5. Lori says:

  6. janicour says:

  7. Leah says:

    I’m interested in reading this because this type of book is one of my favorite genres

  8. Heather Swanson says:

    I like to have a bubblebath & relax with a good book

  9. CLC says:

    I’ve just finished Gone Girl and this sounds like the book for me.

  10. Leslie says:

    Would love to read The Girl on the Train. Halfway through Gone Girl now, so need a new book soon!

  11. dorcontest says:

    I subscribe by email. I would love to read this. I love the twists and turns it has and love that it is not a super long read.
    Doreen lamoureux
    dorcontest at gmail dot com

  12. Cheryl A says:

    I haven’t read Gone Girl. I did see some spoilers online and think I ruined it for myself… waah.
    I do like a good mystery-especially if it ends well. Not a happy ending, but a fulfilling ending. So, ya I’d love to win this book! 🙂

  13. Corinne says:

    I am always looking for a fun thriller to read. I love to read mysteries, both scandinavian and those based at home.

  14. Tracy says:

    Well, I am pretty sure I personally will not be reading it -unless it is not as scary as it sounds -but my teen is all over the scary books right now and would love it I am sure 🙂

  15. Anne Derkat says:

    I loved Gone Girl and I’m pretty sure I would love this book too. And so would my best friend.

  16. Joan G. says:

    I love a good thriller and ready for another good read.

  17. Caelin W says:

    Lots of buzz around this book- I want to see what the fuss is about!

  18. Aimee says:

    Reveiws are good

  19. Tara says:

    Sounds like a fantastic read,and I love a good thriller

  20. The Queen says:

    Looks like a fantastic read and I love a good thriller

  21. Vicki H says:

    It’s being compared to Gone Girl. but I’d like to read it and judge it on it’s own merits. Gone Girl was good, even though I was saying it looks like the character is being set up. Kind of knew the ending from the start. so I was so so on it.

  22. Lindsey says:

    I’m always looking for new books to read!

  23. I’ve been hearing a lot of buzz about this book since early December and I’d love to read it!

  24. Sherry K says:

    I love a good mystery and The Girl on the Train sounds great.

  25. Laura says:

    Have been hearing so many great things about this book and would love a new thriller! I subscribed.

  26. Sherry K says:

  27. lgranger1 says:

    I’ve been hearing such great things about this book, and I’m always looking for a new thriller, would love to read

  28. Annie Demill says:

    I’ve been reading reviews of this book and it sounds fantastic. Would love to read this as part of the Reading Bingo group I’m involved with.

  29. Annie Demill says:

  30. CL Chin says:

    I love a good thriller and I’ve seen this book promoted everywhere so it sounds like a must read!

  31. kittypride says:

    I am #7 on the wait list at the library for this book, totally intrigued by all the reviews I’ve read, so want to read it!

  32. Angela Mitchell says:

    I’m really looking forward to reading this book. It’s on the top of my list of books to buy. I love it when I read a book and I’m genuinely surprised and this sounds like it might be one of those books.
    I’m an email subscriber.

  33. debbie f says:

    I would like to read the book as it sounds very interesting.

  34. Suzanne Ciprian says:

    i have heard a lot of good things about this book and am interested in winning a copy!!

  35. Susan Patterson says:

    I would love to read the Girl on the Train – it is a must read for sure – thanks!

  36. Jocelyn H says:

    I really want to read this book! I keep hearing great things about it. I could use a book that hooks me right from the start and doesn’t let go! Can’t wait to read it.

  37. Jocelyn H says:

  38. LINDA says:

    It looks like it would be a thrilling read.

  39. Audrey Skinner says:

    I want to read this book because the story line is intriguing.

  40. cookie3 says:

    Having known an alcoholic & tis being a thriller as well would be a great read for me.

  41. GARRY S says:


  42. Susan says:

    I have heard a ton of buzz about this book as well. I would like to read it for its unique premise, the story it tells, and the chance to read about the struggles of another person.

  43. mousecat says:

    I’m interested in reading this novel because a couple people from my book club have already told me about it and they say its incredibly good. I am going to have to read this for myself!

  44. Lori P says:

    See this book all over the place and have heard and read good reviews. Love to read this to discover it for myself!

  45. Chantelle says:

    I am interested in reading this book because I love to read, no topic or genre is out of my scope. Finding new authors that I love is always a good thing

  46. intensev5 says:

    I need a new book to read and this looks like a quick read. I also like thrillers.

  47. Julie G. says:

    I just finished reading Gone Girl and am on the lookout for a new read. This one sounds interesting.

  48. the cover looks good would love to read it thank you.

  49. Susan T. says:

    I already have read it as an ebook and it definitely was suspenseful and awesome! I read it in two nights. I would like a copy for my best friend. With two small kids at home she doesn’t get much time to read but she really, really wants to. With her own copy she wouldn’t have to worry about getting it back to the library on time. 🙂

  50. Susan T. says:

    My Goodreads shelf:
    I’ve read it and want to gift it to a friend!

  51. sschool2010 says:

    I’m already a subscriber. 🙂

    I want to read this book because I’d already read reviews of it and then I read yours and it just sounds really good! (Suzi)

  52. I want to read The Girl On The Train because I’ve heard so many great things about it (and thanks for your review!).

  53. S.Hirano says:

    I haven’t read Gone Girl or The Girl on the Train. If I win this terrific prize, I could scratch one off my list! They both sound like good reads.

  54. Cairine says:

    I love to read anything that has a mystery attached to it!

  55. Debra says:

    Sounds like a great way to spend a cold winter afternoon by the fire, reading a fast paced thriller! Love to get this book.

  56. Michelle says:

    It sounds suspenseful and a real page-turner.

  57. Donnas says:

    I’m a subscriber to CGG. Right now I’m about half way through Gone Girl (and loving the book) so I’d be willing to read this novel for comparison.

  58. Kelly says:

    I would be interested in reading this because i love to read, and i like a good thriller.

  59. diane says:

    This sounds like an interesting book and perfect for me since I don’t have much time for reading.

  60. diane says:

  61. Alison K says:

    I’m a subscriber. I’m interested in reading The Girl On The Train because of all the hype

  62. Alison K says:

    Bonus Entry: FOLLOWING Random House of Canada on Twitter & TWEETED

  63. andrea4444 says:

    Perfect book for winter!

  64. aly3360 says:

    I’d love to read this book because the plot sounds like a good one. I can see me getting pulling right into this story!! Plus it’s had so many great reviews that it’s got to be worth the read.

  65. bcbarbara says:

    I love a good thriller, this is just the type of book that I enjoy.

  66. Holly says:

    I really enjoyed Gone Girl and this sounds very interesting.

  67. Laura F. says:

    I am interested in reading The Girl On The Train because I am curious about how the woman was murdered. It also reminds me of Gone Girl.

  68. Grace says:

    I’ve seen this book popping up in everyone’s recommendations! Definitely want to give it a read.

  69. Megan Young says:

    My friend from book club said this is similar to Gone Girl but better! This has intrigued me!

  70. Sandi B says:

    Love a good thriller

  71. Taps says:

    I am hooked.. What happens next???

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