Digital Reads Reviews

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This book left me so disturbed to the point that I am unable to sit down to write this review.

The story was a gripping suspenseful thriller, with 18 year old Alex and Rosie going on a trip to Thailand and returning in body bags. What happened in the hostel they were staying in? The story added another mystery when reporter Kate’s son, Jake, was found to be a part of the girls’ life in Thailand. What did happen on that night? And what was the Thai Police covering up? And where was Jake?

This whirling mystery written in multiple POVs by Fiona Barton narrated the story through the eyes of the characters. Each chapter revealed and discarded one layer of the mystery, while connecting the story to the other layers. I felt like a blind addict who wanted nothing more than the fix of a chapter, peeling away the pages to reach to the crux.

Ms. Barton’s writing was so smooth that I constantly felt like I was being thrashed by the waves on the rocks. She ingrained her subplots so insidiously that it had me scampering on the rocks to hold on. The book had me in its swirl from the first line to the last.

I truly and solemnly admit that I read the book while cleaning my room, sometimes sitting down right in the dirt in between my mop and bucket of water. I couldn’t seem to let it go!!

What made me so restless

The kids went to Thailand on a backpack trip. The parents didn’t know a thing about their itinerary or where they were staying or how they were traveling in the new country. And they knew no one there.

My questions

  • Would you allow your kids to do that even if they are adults? (18 years)
  • Would you insist on them calling you everyday?
  • If your kids have gone on such a trip, did they have a safety plan ready in case they fell into a trap?
  • What would be your advice?

In this book, Alex could have made one phone call to her parents, and this wouldn’t have been the outcome. I was so stressed reading this part… One phone call and her parents would have saved her. Though this was fiction, I still cried for her!!

I received an ARC from NetGalley and publisher Transworld, and this is my journey into its pages, straight from the heart!!

My review of The Child by Fiona Barton can be read here

All my reviews can be found here

When two eighteen-year-old girls go missing on their gap year in Thailand, their families are thrust into the international spotlight: desperate, bereft and frantic with worry.

Journalist Kate Waters always does everything she can to be first to the story, first with the exclusive, first to discover the truth – and this time is no exception. But she can’t help but think of her own son, who she hasn’t seen in two years, since he left home to go travelling. This time it’s personal.

And as the case of the missing girls unfolds, they will all find that even this far away, danger can lie closer to home than you might think . . .

Publication Date: 24th January 2019

Publisher: Transworld

83 Responses

  1. I have sons and the thought of them travelling to Thailand without me scares me to death! But once they are 18 they are legally adults so if they have the money there is nothing you can do to stop them! Luckily, I don’t think mine will be doing anything like that. Great review – I’m reading it now…about 100 pages to go

    1. I am not a mother but the whole thing scares me.. I am from India and I know that the tourists who come to visit are led astray if they don’t know the tricks of the land..
      Our children are not allowed to go, 18 or not, and parents always know their itinerary is but the trend is changing… The backpack culture is happening here too

  2. I think I would go crazy if the kids didn’t call or message once a day at least. Apron strings or whatever!! Your review is chillingly good, and this is one book I’m not reading!

  3. Yay! I have this one but have held off as I have been seeing mixed reviews – so glad to see you liked it.

    1. I liked it… But it is slow.. Somehow DJ I was caught in it.. I felt like telling the girls – call your moms… They never did and returned home in body bags… Sighhh

  4. I really wish that you had put “this book left me so disturbed I could not sit down to write this review” … And thats it. 😂😂😂 That would have been so funny!
    One of the reasons I won’t have children is because I couldn’t handle my children out in this world. There is an oversaturation of INFORMATION, but no KNOWLEGE out there. Kids think they know everything because they can look it up on Wickipedia (the biggest bane to the existence of knowledge). No one has to go to a library and put in the effort learning when you can just take what some random jo blo wrote about something and take it as truth and gospel.
    The world is such a dangerous place, but kids think they’re immortal…. I will never be a mother or I would lock my kid in the basement and never let them out…

    1. Very true Nicole, I couldn’t believe kids thought Thailand was a safe place… Haven’t they heard of the dark underbelly of a city? Why didn’t they do research? They stayed in roach infested hostel… Yuck.. What was the need to come to Thailand then?
      I couldn’t believe these were intelligent kids, they could have just gone to the embassy but no!! One wanted to party, one didn’t want to leave friend so she too stayed back in that shitty place… They had cloth separators instead of rooms.. Gawd

      1. Ha ha! I can’t really say much. I’ve known people who have gone backpacking in foreign places and stayed in hostels or air B&B’s (before it was actually established). I didn’t do it, myself… I was too much of a scary cat…. And poor. Lol!

  5. This is definitely a parent’s worst nightmare. As a mother, I don’t think I could read it, though it does sound intense. But you have to agree, young people think they’re invincible and tend to do stupid things. Trying to convince them that the world is dangerous often falls on deaf ears. I used to be invincible, but age and experience has taught me otherwise. 🙂 Great review, Shalini! It’s nice to see another 5 stars from you. Enjoy the rest of your Wednesday! 🙂

    1. I know… It scared me too… I wish kids used internet to learn everything about a country and culture, plan everything carefully, make a back-up plan, find trustworthy contacts and then travel…

  6. I hate it when kids take thoughtless decisions but they cant think of consequences as adults do.. theres no way am going to let my son go somewhere without giving me the details and contact info. When I think of my growing years I shudder to think how carefree I was and understand my moms concerns now. My advice would be to always share location information as that is available today unlike pre-technology times. I feel like I have heard of this author before..hmn. Great review!

    1. Yes, you might have heard of her and I agree to your way. I was always careful and I always told my mom everything. I am one of those who would search for a phone booth to inform home or relatives… I knew and understood what my mom went through.. I still do… And I always will

  7. I love your review! I felt exactly the same way! My kids have traveled and we did have back up plans but so did one of these girls and her parents. I think what disturbed me most were all of the cracks that were revealed in these families “perfect lives” that perhaps they weren’t aware of before the trip which, really, makes all of us, as parents, feel vulnerable.

    1. Oh that is scary… No family is perfect but travel plans can be made safer… I get chilled at the idea of things that can happen even in my country..

    1. It is great. Hope you can get to to read it some day since you have the least number of books in TBR 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂

  8. She ingrained her subplots so insidiously that it had me scampering on the rocks to hold on…. Girl, this review alone is giving me the chills so I can’t imagine how you felt reading it!

  9. Your review is outstanding as it sounds like the author’s writing is. Not a book for for me and I totally agree that it is crazy for young people to take off without leaving an itinerary.

    1. I was chilled too…. I kept screaming at my kindle when the kid took all wrong decisions… Sighhh… I felt bad for the parents… They couldnt call their kids, just email.

  10. Wow, a wonderful and emotional review. I agree with the idea that most parents would not let their kids go off to Thailand without conditions, safety plans etc. Certainly, they would have an itinerary. However, with fiction we must suspend belief and it looks like Fiona Barton was able to make you do that easily. I must read this book soon.

  11. I’m just a year younger than them and I can’t imagine going to a foreign country with a friend and not telling anyone where I’m going or what I’m doing. You’d expect everything they did and saw to be all over social media.

    1. They did post on the social media but it was all a lie. The drinks drugs party and living in the shitty place and later being caught in the web of people were never told. I felt one phone call could have helped all of them.
      There is a saying in my country in our teens and twenties, we think we have the world in our control like sand in a fist. But later as we grow up, we realize just like sand always slips, life too slips and us not in our control. We need to think sensibly.
      I think the book was set before whatsapp and whatsapp phone calls because they kept saying no balance to call home.

  12. Australians travel a lot I think, so parents get used to it. I’d probably ask my kid to keep in touch on Facebook but most kids travel around having adventures and nothing terrible happens. This is fiction..real life isn’t so scary, at least for Westerners.

    1. Well since I know what happens in the underbelly of things and how crime happens in my country, so I know Westerners are the perfect targets.
      It all depends on where you are traveling too. If you are going to a developed country, probably it is safe. But if you are coming to a developing country, then keeping touch on Facebook wouldn’t be enough. So real life is scary if you don’t know which parts of the city to avoid. I have seen Westerners being targeted well. So kindly take care.

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