Book Review // The Girl Before by JP Delaney

The Girl Before Book Cover The Girl Before
JP Delaney
Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
Ballantine Books
January 24, 2017
Hardcover, Paperback, Digital, Audio
352 (Hardcover)
NetGalley, Publisher

Please make a list of every possession you consider essential to your life.

The request seems odd, even intrusive—and for the two women who answer, the consequences are devastating.


Reeling from a traumatic break-in, Emma wants a new place to live. But none of the apartments she sees are affordable or feel safe. Until One Folgate Street. The house is an architectural masterpiece: a minimalist design of pale stone, plate glass, and soaring ceilings. But there are rules. The enigmatic architect who designed the house retains full control: no books, no throw pillows, no photos or clutter or personal effects of any kind. The space is intended to transform its occupant—and it does.


After a personal tragedy, Jane needs a fresh start. When she finds One Folgate Street she is instantly drawn to the space—and to its aloof but seductive creator. Moving in, Jane soon learns about the untimely death of the home's previous tenant, a woman similar to Jane in age and appearance. As Jane tries to untangle truth from lies, she unwittingly follows the same patterns, makes the same choices, crosses paths with the same people, and experiences the same terror, as the girl before.

This is going to be a quick review! I really wanted to LOVE this book, but it just fell short of expectation for me. When I was reviewing titles on NetGalley the description of The Girl Before stood out and I really wanted the opportunity to read it, but I think for me the hype was placing this read on the same pedestal at Gone Girl and Girl on the Train, which for me it was not.

My likes:

I really did like the story! Yes, even after only a 3 star review. I was drawn to the mystery of this pristine home where rules applied to applicants that wanted to live within its white walls. The synopsis offered mystery and suspense – everything I love in reading. I was carried and enveloped by this unfolding mystery; I wanted to understand what happened to the girl before – Emma – and how Jane almost falls into the same trap.

And a side note on what I like… this book is being made into a movie. This is one time where I hope the visual is more interesting than the book.

My dislikes:

I wasn’t hiding my eyes! You know how when you’re hiding behind the pillow or blanket while watching a scary movie? I want to feel that when reading a mystery novel and really wanted to feel that while reading The Girl Before, I just didn’t. The story itself had mystery, however, while reading I was never in suspense turning the page. The Girl Before was a flat read.

Final thought:

I’m sad that I’m split for The Girl Before because there’s not a lot to say. I really wanted it to live up to my expectation, it just fizzled for me. I think two things may have made this read better – 1) Allowing it to stand on it’s own – meaning others not comparing it to Gone Girl or The Girl on the Train, and 2) Listening it to as an audio-book. I really do think this is a book that would be served better listening to it be brought to life! For me 3 out of 5 stars.

The Girl Before is the first psychological thriller from JP Delaney, a pseudonym for a writer who has previously written bestselling fiction under other names. It is being published in thirty-five countries. A film version is being brought to the screen by Academy Award–winning director Ron Howard.