Two Books That Were Not Gone Girl

America’s Test Kitchen Radio has this great feature where they test kitchen gadgets and tell you one that’s hot and one that’s not. So I’ve got two Gone Girl knockoffs, one that’s hot and one that I read anyway.

You: A Novel has an irresistible premise, in which a stalker narrates his growing obsession with a troubled young woman. He addresses her using the 2nd person, but within the context of a first person narrative. Author Caroline Kepnes had to use a teeny bit of contrivance to say that her girl preferred text to email, but otherwise the plot moved well and hung together. I mostly admired how well it manipulated my feelings about all the characters.

I was really disappointed by Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. It started strong, with an alcoholic protagonist obsessed with her cheating ex and his seemingly perfect neighbors. But its first sin was introducing a new POV character after the 1/3 mark, and then having a hackneyed climax complete with a full confession by the villain. This one is the thriller equivalent of these pinch bowls that ATK Radio warned us about. So appealing in presentation, so disappointing in execution.

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