Book Review: The Girl on the Train

22557272The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Published by Riverhead Books on January 13, 2015

Genres: Adult, Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Crime, Fiction, Mystery, Suspense, Psychological Thriller

Pages: 325

Rating: ★★★★

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository


A debut psychological thriller that will forever change the way you look at other people’s lives.

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

Compulsively readable, The Girl on the Train is an emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller and an electrifying debut.



Critical Review: ★.25

Entertainment Review: ★ .75

Overall Rating: ★★★★

Plot: Hard to get into at first | Goes back and forth in time | Speeds up towards the end

Characters: Unreliable | Realistic | Unlikable (kind of the point!) | Complex

World Building: Simple | Imaginable | Modern

Writing: Multiple POVS | Third person limited | Smooth | Clear



I am probably one of the only people left that still hasn’t read or watched Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I really want to, but I’m just not sure how scary or thrilling it would be. (I’m a total scardey cat if you didn’t know XD) To test myself out, I decided to read The Girl on The Train by Paula Hawkins, an adult psychological thriller that has numerously been compared to the infamous Gone Girl. I was quite nervous you see, since I have never read a thriller before, much less an adult thriller. To my surprise, I managed to finish the whole book within 2 or 3 sittings, and I ended up quite enjoying the twists and turns this book takes.


The Girl on the Train is told by three unreliable women. One is an alcoholic, another a liar, and the last a cheater. Basically, you cannot trust any of them, and quite honestly, none of them are likeable to say the least. The main perspective comes from Rachel, who is a recovering (or trying to at some points) alcoholic. She rides the same train everyday, passing by the same houses, and the same people. As she is at her lowest point in her life, she has nothing better to do then make up stories about the people she sees. Her favourite couple is “Jess and Jason” as she calls them. She imagines their perfect marriage, filled with happiness and sweet romance. Little does she know, no one’s life is really as it seems. She is soon swept in a mystery that turns her world upside down, and makes her question everything she has known.

“I have lost control over everything, even the places in my head.”

The first 50 pages or so is quite hard to get into. It was honestly very difficult for me to read from the perspective of an unlikable character. I couldn’t relate to Rachel at all, and though I felt bad for her at some points, some of the things she did made me downright furious. The story then starts to change perspectives, going back in time to Megan’s perspective, and then back to the present to Anna’s. The switching back and forth kind of confused me at first, but as soon as I got the hang of it, the rest was smooth sailing. The pacing is steady with some twists and turns that the typical mystery has. It speeds up quickly towards the end, and that’s when I really kept the pages turning. The only problem I have is the fact that the ending kind of fell flat for me, it felt as if it was really building up intensely and then just fell face first. The big reveal really didn’t cut it for me, and the motive behind the crime seemed way too convenient.

Other than those minor issues, I really enjoyed the diversity of characters. Their personalities, and backgrounds were complex, and I liked how I could finally read from the perspective of someone who isn’t “perfect”. Their problems seemed real, and made my heart tightened with fear and regret. Some of the things the women explained made me continuously question their motives, and pulled me in all sorts of directions. I actually really love reading from unreliable characters because it makes you question everything and anything the novel tells you. Around 80% of the story, I did figure out “who did it”, but it really wasn’t obvious, and Paula Hawkins did an excellent job at throwing some misleading clues here and there. I actually wavered between three characters, until I finally made my decision, and thankfully, I was right!

“The holes in your life are permanent. You have to grow around them, like tree roots around concrete; you mould yourself through the gaps.” 

The writing and the world building of this book isn’t anything special, but it isn’t necessarily bad either. Hawkins’s writing was clear and straightforward, with no evident plot holes or smudges in between. It really surprised me to find out that The Girl on the Train was her debut novel, as her writing was very eloquent, and her characters well thought out.

Overall, I really enjoyed The Girl on the Train. It was a suspenseful and thought provoking read, though it didn’t necessarily capture my attention from the very first page. I would recommend it to readers who haven’t read many thrillers and would like to get into that genre, starting with a softer but still intriguing read.


First off, I was quite mad at the ending. I can’t believe that the reason Tom killed Megan was because of her calling him some insults. Sure, it’s infuriating, but it’s not a typical reason to want to murder someone. Also, I expected him to have a deep, dark secret that only Megan knew or something along those lines so that it made sense that he wanted her gone. The murder seemed like such a last minute decision, and all the build up towards it was definitely not worth the result. I was clenching tightly onto the book through the last couple of chapters, flipping the pages furiously because I wanted to know “why?”” why did Tom do it?” and then I get there, and it just fell flat on it’s face. Maybe it’s just me, but the motive really didn’t satisfy me or gave me a reasonable enough conclusion to what could have been a much more developed psychological thriller. Now I’m off to find Gone Girl!



Have you read The Girl on the Train? What were your thoughts? Please don’t leave spoilers below for those that haven’t gotten to it yet 😀 I would love to know what you thought about the ending though, so if you could do a spoiler free version, I would much appreciate it!

Thanks for reading xoxo,

-Jenna <3-

Find me here!



8 thoughts on “Book Review: The Girl on the Train

  1. thebookcubbyblog says:

    I never reviewed the book since I read it before I started blogging but I gave it 1 star. Lol. I made myself finish it in hopes that it would get better. I think I would have been more forgiving of Rachel if the ending was a total knockout.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. thebookcubbyblog says:

    I couldn’t stand this book. I think it was because of Rachel. She was too much of a baby and she blubbered all the time. I was like get it together. And then the ending climax of the story was literally like three pages and that was it. I feel like it was built up so much and then it was over in mere moments. I think I’m the minority on my feels for this book. Lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lostwithinwordsx says:

      Haha I totally agree about Rachel XD She was so whiny and annoying! But I did still prefer her over the other two women, they were even worse! How many stars did you give this book?


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