Dear Amy by Helen Callaghan
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars
Margot Lewis is a harried teacher who also works as an advice columnist (Dear Amy) for the local paper. She's going through a divorce and rattled by the fact that one of her students, Katie, has gone missing. The police think Katie ran off, but Margot isn't so sure. When Margot receives a letter for her column purporting to be from Bethan Avery, a young girl who disappeared years ago, Margot thinks it must be a joke. But she also thinks of Katie and takes the letter to the police. When more letters show up, Margot is immersed upon a journey that will change her life forever--and endanger it in ways she could have never foreseen.
I have mixed feelings about this novel. It was in no way terrible, but the character of Margot was a tough one to relate to and empathize with. Unlike some other reviewers, I didn't immediately see the novel's twist coming, but I found much of the plot implausible and hard to stomach. While the twist wasn't clear, the connection to Katie seemed to be, and parts were easy to work out. Further, it seems as if Margot is ridiculed and undermined for having a history of mental illness, without given any support or understanding. The novel really does a bit of disservice to those with mental problems. Some of the characters are more enjoyable than others and I really enjoyed parts of the novel, so I hesitated on such a low rating. However, other pieces are just so crazy and out-of-this-world that it was tough to really buy in. Margot grew on me a bit, but the plot didn't, and I found it hard to reconcile how all of this would come together just so by the end.
In the end, bits and pieces of this thriller are interesting and well-done. The idea and structure are there, but it's not quite pulled off completely. I truly did enjoy some of it, and I don't really regret reading it, but I was left wanting a little more, or wishing it was better executed. It may speak to other thriller fans, it just didn't to me. Overall 2.5 stars.
I received a copy of this novel from the publisher and Edelweiss (thank you!).
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