Book Review

The Girl On The Train

Author: Paula Hawkins
Name: The Girl On The Train
Released Date: January 13th 2015
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Pages: 336
Genre: Thriller
Format: Hardback

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Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She’s even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy. And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she’s only watched from afar. Now they’ll see; she’s much more than just the girl on the train…

My Thoughts

Out of all the books I’ve read, this is the first thriller I have read and I can tell you now it won’t be the last. The suspense throughout the book from the very beginning all the way till the end grips you in a way no other book will.

Rachel, the unstable, alcoholic character may seem a mess but you can’t help but love her. It’s weird really because if you knew or saw women like this in real life, you would want nothing to do with her. Yet Rachel manages to capture my attention from the first page. She commutes every day 5 days a week to London on the train. She sits in the same seat, at the same time, looking at the world around her and the people she passes. Especially this one couple, ‘Jess’ and ‘Jason’ who she has taken a very big interest in.

Every morning on the 8:04 train to Euston, she sees Jess sat out on the terrace drinking her coffee, followed by Jason coming out to give her a kiss before he sets off to work. I love how her character pays so much attention to detail. As if her own life isn’t good enough, she has to try and involve herself in someone else’s. Which is exactly what she does throughout the book.

The Story

‘There is a pile of clothing on the side of the train tracks.’ The first line. Who do they belong to? How did they get there? Knowing this book was a thriller before I started reading it. The first line delivers this genre nicely, hooking the reader in. Making them think that there may be more to be said about that pile of clothing. The little things make a big difference in books. When that pile of clothing was mentioned again, I quickly jumped and hurried to read on to see if it had any significance to the first time. It did not. But that didn’t stop me from reading on, in fact, it made me want to read on to see if she mentioned them again.

The story goes on about her repetitive life on the train. Until she’s going past Jess and Jason’s house and she sees Jess with another man out on the terrace. With her being the unstable, alcoholic character that she is, this must trigger something into her mind. Causing her to have some kind of meltdown and get ‘blind drunk’. Resulting in her not remembering anything of that Saturday night. This is a huge problem for her as she is involved in a murder investigation and terribly wants to find out what has happened.

I love how Paula Hawkins knows how to excite the reader to carry on. But also frustrate them in so many ways that they want to finish the book to find out the ending. This is exactly how I felt. Hurrying to finish but at the same time, trying to savour the story that was unfolding in front of me. As well as the main problem Rachel faces about that night, there are other issues that build up her personality. Such as her ex-husband Tom, leaving her for a woman called Anna.

The Characters

Anna is a tricky character for me as I never really knew if I liked her or not. In my opinion, she is meant to be the character that you’re not meant to like. She ‘stole’ Rachel’s husband from her. She has an arrogant way to her, thinking and knowing, in this case, that’s she’s better than the opposition – Rachel. Although, there’s always this fear connected with her which shows this arrogance and condescending attitude is all for show. Halfway through the book, I took my strong disliking to her character. When she’s admitting to herself how she likes the idea of getting caught.

“I enjoyed it, loved it, in fact. I never felt guilty.”


Tom, on the other hand, has always had a soft spot for Rachel. Even after all the late-night drunk calls and abusive texts night after night. In some ways, he tried to keep her close, as well as trying to get rid of her so he, Anna and his daughter Evie can have a peaceful life.

Jess, or her proper name, Megan. Where do I start with her? This character I never took an interest in her story. One, I know you can’t force yourself to love someone, but the way her husband Scott loves her is enough to make anyone jealous of how devoted he was to her. How selfish it was for her to let him suffer and grieve for her after she had several affairs and left without glancing back, for him never to see her again.

What she doesn’t see but what the reader sees is how he changes after finding out she’s missing. You find out a lot about Megan’s past life and what drove her towards the things she did, hoping that you feel sorry for her. But the more I read about her the more I came to dislike her character and that she would find distraction instead of finding help.

Overall Thoughts

Out of all the characters my favorite has to be Anna because she is so unique, how she always tries to be one above Rachel but she still feels below her. Slowly throughout the book, you see her starting to relate to Rachel and how her mistrust in people have left her the way she is.

This book overall is a 10/10 for me, I have nothing to complain about. This certainly will not be the last thriller book I read! I love how it has you questioning all the way through it, thinking you know a single detail what’s happening and then BAM! The unexpected happens. This is what I love about reading, not being able to see the outcome, so when you’re finished you’re just like wow, wishing so hard you could forget what happens and read it all over again.

Rating: 5/5

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Manchester blogger with a passion for reading, writing and travelling. I always have a book or a cup of tea in my hand.

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