Gone Girl and We Were Liars // Book Reviews

I read a whopping two books in March. Which isn’t a lot, a know, but it’s like 200% more than I’ve been reading since I entered graduate school. So yay!
But, if we’re being honest here, I only got through the second so quickly because it was an audiobook. (My first one ever!) More on that later.
The books:
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
(clicking on the cover should direct you to the Goodreads page)
 
Because apparently I read popular books years after everyone else has read them.
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So, lets talk about Gone Girl.
I’ll admit: I saw the movie first.
I had seen this book in every book store for years and years, but something about it didn’t draw me in. I knew pretty much nothing about the story, but the cover didn’t look inviting. I typically don’t like it when the author’s name is bigger than the book’s title. I didn’t like the red text on a black background. And even though the title is alliterative, it made me think that this was just going to be some kind of murder mystery story, which isn’t what I typically read.
So I never even picked it up.
But then.
I saw the trailer to the movie, which I thought looked really interesting. 
And then I found out they filmed the movie in Cape Girardeau, MO, which is only about an hour and a half south of my hometown. 
So I saw the movie. And I absolutely loved it.
I bought the book on my Kindle short after that, put it off for a few months, then dove in and still absolutely loved it.
Things I liked about Gone Girl:
1) It’s set in Missouri, particularly in a fictional town close to Hannibal, which is where I went to college. I know that doesn’t say much about the quality of the book, but you don’t see a lot of great, modern novels set in Missouri. 
2) It’s really well-written. Each chapter switches between Nick and Amy’s perspective, and the reader can definitely see the switch in the language they use. They are both educated people, but they speak and think differently.
3) The first 2/3 of the book is really well-paced. You begin thinking you know that Nick is innocent, then slowly, you begin to have doubts. It’s so gradual that you might not even see it happening. If I had not have seen the movie first, I would say the same about suspense–it doesn’t hit you all at once, but is gradual over time.
4) I have never seen another character like Amy. I loved her character. Not in the I-want-to-be-your-best-friend way, but in a wow-this-character-is-so-unique-and-intriguing way. I can’t say much more without spoilers, but I even kind of admired her, in this weird and twisted way.
5) It’s surprisingly closer to a psychological suspense story than a murder mystery. You don’t have to wait too long before figuring out what happened, but the story doesn’t stop there. It’s about motives and how the characters think, which is what I really enjoy in a book.
Things I did not like about Gone Girl:
1) Incorrect navigation. I live in Missouri, so I know how long the drive is from Hannibal to St. Louis and from the Ozarks to St. Louis. At one point, one of the characters is driving and states that they could drive an hour in any direction and be in Illinois, Hannibal, or the Ozarks. Um, no.
2) The title. It really doesn’t capture the story or the feel of the novel at all, in my opinion. 
3) The ending. The events were fine, but the ending was too long. I think they could have just kept the first two parts and expanded the third part into a sequel. Very rarely do I recommend or want a sequel, but I think it might have worked better in this case.
And how did the book measure up to the movie?
The movie was a really, really good adaptation of the novel. They had to change a few things, but these were only minor changes that helped speed the plot along. In fact (and I never say this), if you don’t have time to read the book, you’d probably be just as fine with watching the movie. It complements the story so well, and I think some details and scenes even work better in the movie.
Also, I like the movie adaptation cover more than the original:
Final verdict: This was one of the best books I’ve read in a long time, and maybe on my top 10 list of best books I’ve ever read. Maybe. At least top 15. I give it four stars because I judge books really harshly. I only give out five stars if the book is flawless or gave me really intense feels.
~~~
I finished reading Gone Girl in the car on the way back from Florida, and though I had brought Paper Towns with me in case I finished it, I started thinking that an audio book would probably be the way to go because reading in the car gives me a headache. So I decided to get We Were Liars by E. Lockhart from Audible with the online credit I had. 
I ended up not having enough time to listen to it in the car, but it worked out because I needed to spend a few hours editing photos. But because this was the first experience with an audiobook, you should know that my review might not be entirely accurate.
Things I liked about We Were Liars:
1) The cover, even though I’m not sure which characters these people correspond to. I especially like this sharpie version:
2) The writing. The language was fresh and rich. There were metaphors and other figures of speech that blew my mind because they were so beautiful and painful all at once. There is so much emotion in this book. And I think the narrator on the audiobook did a great job at conveying that. HOWEVER. After seeing pictures of the physical copy, I think I would have enjoyed this more without the audiobook. The book is written in short, choppy sentences across the page, which always appeals to me as a reader. That doesn’t quite come across through the audio.
3) Suspense. The book has liars in the title, so you know from the beginning that something here is not to be trusted. Add that to a narrator with a possible brain injury and you’re never quite sure what to believe. Every review that you will read tells you absolutely nothing about the actual story. They tell you its best if you know nothing. (which is really frustrating! I like to know what I’m getting myself into.)
Things I did not like about We Were Liars:
1) Its a book about summer. And romance. And I typically hate summer and romance and novels about summer romance. The exception to this was The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants when I was 13 years old. I might have really liked this book then. But now, it’s not my thing.
2) The characters are all rich and have their own private island but oh no, their lives are so horrible. Ugh. I didn’t feel connected to any of them. I didn’t really like any of them…except for maybe Mirren. I was not emotionally invested at all.
3) The ending was too long and raised more questions than it answered. 
(I’m supposed to lie about this, so I’m going to say I really liked this ending it was so cheerful and helpful and made me feel full of life.)
4) I hated the narrator’s voice for Gat. He sounded like a frog turned into a boy. I think I was supposed to fawn over him, but it was really hard when his voice was so annoying.
Final verdict: I just…didn’t really like this book. I settled on three stars because I realize that it was written really well and I might have liked it more if I hadn’t listened to it on audiobook. It took me awhile before I realized that the physical copy comes with a map of the island and a family tree, which I didn’t have for the audiobook, so I kept having to look it up online to keep everything straight. There was an omg! moment at the end, but it went on and on after that and it seemed like it was just trying to make you cry. Which I didn’t. 
~~~
Next up: Paper Towns by John Green
I bought this book at a fair in high school and it has been sitting on the shelf ever since. But the movie is coming out soon and I really want to have it read before then. 

Let me know if you have read any of these and what you thought of them! Did the ending of We Were Liars surprise you? Did you find Paper Towns too close to Looking For Alaska? Did you like the movie or book version of Gone Girl more?
–Emily
currently listening to: Next Year by Two Door Cinema Club

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