Book Title: Only Daughter
Author: Anna Snoekstra
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Mystery
Date Read: 10/10/16
Pub Date: 09/20/16
4 STARS (rounded from 3.5 on Goodreads)
In 2003, sixteen-year-old Rebecca Winter disappeared.
She’d been enjoying her teenage summer break: working at a fast-food restaurant, crushing on an older boy and shoplifting with her best friend. Mysteriously ominous things began to happen—blood in the bed, periods of blackouts, a feeling of being watched—though Bec remained oblivious of what was to come.
Eleven years later she is replaced.
A young woman, desperate after being arrested, claims to be the decade-missing Bec.
Soon the imposter is living Bec’s life. Sleeping in her bed. Hugging her mother and father. Learning her best friends’ names. Playing with her twin brothers.
But Bec’s welcoming family and enthusiastic friends are not quite as they seem. As the imposter dodges the detective investigating her case, she begins to delve into the life of the real Bec Winter—and soon realizes that whoever took Bec is still at large, and that she is in imminent danger.
So this is one of those tricky books to review, because it runs so deep into extreme spoiler territory I’m afraid to use words. Or signs. Or even pictures. Maybe interpretive dance would be best. Really, the less you know the better, and I almost wish you couldn’t read the summary on the back of the dang book. There have been a multitude of girl-related psychological thrillers to flood our bookstores and kindles over the past few years, and most of them are part of a same, basic plot with minor changes. Point being, it takes quite a bit for something to stand out from the masses; while I did have some issues (mainly toward the end) with this one, I’ll admit it stood out and drew me in to the point I was sneaking around the house because I HAD TO FINISH IT. This book’s main selling point is it’s compulsive readability. If you are looking for a book to grab you from the beginning and can read through quickly (as its only 288 pages), you might want to pick this up. I think it would be a fantastic book for someone stuck in a reading slump.
When I first began reading this, I thought it was extremely well-done for a debut novel. The rights have already been sold for turning this into a film, so clearly this is and will continue to be a high demand book this season. We follow along, floating between past and present, while we slowly unravel both characters named “Bec”‘s story(ies?). I found myself equally drawn into both storylines, as the chapters were tight snippets that gave you just enough to want more. There is such a high level of suspense and tension throughout the story, and it was very well written. The author had me just were she wanted me until about 80% into the book, but I’ll get back to that in a minute. For some it was an issue, but I really thought the short length of the book and style of writing was perfect. I was hooked completely from beginning to end. The next paragraph will not contain actual spoilers, but may hint at a few things spoiler, so if you’d like to skip it this is your warning.
The ending is clearly where I had my issues with this book, and while they might not be warranted as some people didn’t have an issue with it, I felt the ending just didn’t quite flow with the rest of the book. It just seemed to not quite fit with the rest of the story, not because of the who, but the why and how. It got a bit graphic toward the end in an unexpected way, and those who have issues with violence toward animals will want to steer clear of this book. I actually liked who she chose as the villains of the story and felt the ending had potential, so I’m really excited to read what the author comes out with next. I know some people were disappointed with the last few pages, but I felt neutral toward it and liked how she kept our modern day Bec anonymous.
Overall, I went into this book with low expectations due to many poor reviews I’d seen, so maybe that altered my experience, but I actually enjoyed this for the most part. I had to think on this one for a few days as I really was all over the place with my thoughts on this one. I’d say if the summary interests you, give it a try. It’s a fast read and a compelling read with extremely fast pacing and a suspenseful plot.
*In case you skipped the paragraph above, I’d like to warn those with triggers that there is a significant scene featuring the abuse of an animal that is pretty graphic. It’s not really a part you can skip over as it’s crucial to the conclusion, so just a fair warning to expect it.
*I’d like to thank Emer Flounders at MIRA for providing my copy in exchange for a fair and honest review.