I wanted to share this whilst it was fresh in my mind, and seeing as I finished reading it at 3am thia morning, it seemed appropriate to type this up with a very large mug of coffee.
The Missing Years is a fantastic read for many reasons. A large amount of praise has to go to Lexie Elliott for managing to write a book that slips seamlessly in and out of different categories; general fiction, “chick lit”, thriller, paranormal, sci-fi…. That all sounds a bit of a jumble, and if I had read all those things associated with this book before hand, I’d be hesitant too. But that’s the wonder of it. It’s built up around you so easily and beautifully that you suddenly find yourself, like I did, at 1am in the morning, simply knowing you are not going to sleep until you have finished the book.
Also due for huge amounts of praise is the way the author has conjured up the characters. They feel like physical people that you could recognise in the street and interact with easily. They feel solid in a way that a lot of authors struggle to accomplish, and seeing such solidity contrasted with the building uncertainty for the main character is brilliant.
I do like thrillers, but it’s probably the genre I’m most cautious about, as some add a few “BOO!” moments in and count their job as done. This, again, hits the nail on the head perfectly, and slowly but steadily builds up a stream of slowly rising terror until you are scared for and as the character. Again, a skill that many authors fail to match.
Yet another balance that is struck perfectly is the combination between believable real life, and the strange things that keep occurring. It builds up, and, combined with my above points of increasing tension and believable characters lead you from the beginning to the end of the book almost wondering how you got there. The main character does normal things like have a glass of wine or drive to the station, whilst also being terrorized, and, as the author so brilliantly puts it, these “splinters” of a personality struggle to align themselves with one another as the story goes on.
From a perspective of complicated families, The Missing Years has both it’s own clever layout, and that realistic quality to back it up. We all have family secrets and stories that bring up difficult emotions, and whilst they might not be the same scenarios the main character is facing, it is easy to emphasize with what she’s facing, what it brings up, and how hard it is when you want answers, but don’t know what to do with them.
Lexie Elliott is still quite new to the world of literature, but I both think and hope we’ll be getting to know her name a lot more over coming years. She gives something to modern literature that is generous in its capabilities, and personally I can’t wait for her next book already. No pressure, Lexie.