Here is the publisher’s blurb, then I’ll continue with my thoughts.

The breakout novel from the critically acclaimed author of the short story collections Who I Was Supposed to Be and Why They Run the Way They Do—when a middle school girl is abducted in broad daylight, a fellow student and witness to the crime copes with the tragedy in an unforgettable way.

What happens to the girl left behind?

A masked man with a gun enters a sandwich shop in broad daylight, and Meredith Oliver suddenly finds herself ordered to the filthy floor, where she cowers face to face with her nemesis, Lisa Bellow, the most popular girl in her eighth grade class. The minutes tick inexorably by, and Meredith lurches between comforting the sobbing Lisa and imagining her own impending death. Then the man orders Lisa Bellow to stand and come with him, leaving Meredith the girl left behind.

After Lisa’s abduction, Meredith spends most days in her room. As the community stages vigils and searches, Claire, Meredith’s mother, is torn between relief that her daughter is alive, and helplessness over her inability to protect or even comfort her child. Her daughter is here, but not.

Like Everything I Never Told You and Room, The Fall of Lisa Bellow is edgy and original, a hair-raising exploration of the ripple effects of an unthinkable crime. It is a dark, beautifully rendered, and gripping novel about coping, about coming-of-age, and about forgiveness. It is also a beautiful illustration of how one family, broken by tragedy, finds healing.

It took me a while to get into the book. I couldn’t figure out where these first chapters where taking me.  Trust the author I told myself — there is a story here!   I continued on.  I continued on to learn more about this family, I continued on just like they did.

I loved that Susan Perabo explored the things no one wants to say but are continually thinking.  I was frequently saying to myself: did she just say that?  I can’t believe she thought that out loud!  Only to come to terms that I’d possibly have the same thoughts and feelings if I were in the same situation.

Perabo defines that *season* (wink) just before people start to move on with other news. She thoughtfully and caringly pens about how life keeps spinning, how we carry on…. or, how we chose to carry on.  Ultimately, how we get up, dust off our clothes and take the next step.   I identified mostly with the mother; the helplessness and the pressure of trying to keep it all together.   Sometimes subtle, sometimes really in your face… each of the family members is going through something.  I found that the close call with the abduction adds yet another layer to the tower that is already on the verge of toppling. 

How could you categorise this novel ?  It’s definitely not a “who done it”. You won’t be lining up the clues to find out who the kidnapper is.  What you will read is the deep, rich characters within the book. It’s like being a fly on a wall.  You experience their intimate thoughts, thoughts that are taboo, thoughts that you wouldn’t want to say out loud.  If you are picking this up expecting a thrill at every turn of the page, this may not be for you. But if you love getting to know characters, if you love putting down a book and those characters stick with you for a while, then The Fall of Lisa Bellow is your next read. 

The Fall Of Lisa Bellow by Susan Perabo
Published by Simon & Schuster | 352 pages | ISBN 9781476761466

A copy of this novel was generously provided by the publisher in exchange of an honest review.

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