Don't You Cry by Mary Kubica
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Quinn and Esther are roommates trying to get by in Chicago. When Esther disappears without a trace, Quinn is confused and worried. It's not like her friend to just vanish. As Quinn starts looking into things more, she finds some disturbing papers and items among Esther's things. Quinn begins to wonder: how much did she really know her roommate? Was she really the sweet, kind person she thought her to be? Meanwhile, in a Michigan town on the outskirts of Chicago, Alex is working his life away while his high school friends live theirs miles away. Saddled by caring for his alcoholic father, Alex feels trapped by his job washing dishes in this small town. However, his life becomes more interesting when a lovely young woman appears in town and catches his attention. Alex watches her and names her Pearl, due to the bracelet she wears on her wrist. As Quinn becomes increasingly worried about Esther, Alex simultaneously gets drawn more into Pearl's web.
Kubica's novel catches your attention right away, but for me, it really picks up about halfway through. The second half is a thrilling roller coaster ride full of suspense and plot twists. It keeps you guessing and surprised. The beginning dragged a bit; I found Quinn frustrating and was irritated by her lack of initiative in finding Esther. Why doesn't she call Esther's cell phone immediately? Or look at the whiteboard the roommates share that details their comings and goings? Combined with some of that, her jump to conclusions about Esther's personality seem a bit implausible.
However, the second half really does make up for a lot. Alex and Pearl's story is pretty mesmerizing, as it weaves in a ghost story from his small town, passed on through the townsfolk. By alternating between Alex and Quinn's point of view, Kubica does an excellent job of constructing her story, while still drawing out the twists and turns. I kept thinking I'd figured out parts of the plot, only to be surprised or proved wrong. The last half of the book will keep you up reading, desperately wanting to find out what happened to Esther. Overall, 3.5 stars.
I received an ARC of this book from Edelweiss (thank you!); it is available everywhere on 5/17.
You can read my review of one of Kubica's earlier novels, "Pretty Baby," here.
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