Here is the review I posted on my channel, in Portuguese:
Goodreads rating: 3.55
Date published: May 2nd, 2017 (USA)
A single mother turns up dead at the bottom of the river that runs through town. Earlier in the summer, a vulnerable teenage girl met the same fate. They are not the first women lost to these dark waters, but their deaths disturb the river and its history, dredging up secrets long submerged.
Left behind is a lonely fifteen-year-old girl. Parentless and friendless, she now finds herself in the care of her mother’s sister, a fearful stranger who has been dragged back to the place she deliberately ran from—a place to which she vowed she’d never return.
Trigger warnings: bullying; suicide; domestic abuse; depression; misogyny; rape; pedophilia (consensual, but pedophilia nonetheless)
This is the first thriller I’ve ever read, and let me tell you, I really want to read more now!
Into the Water follows a generous amount of characters – there are, I believe, over 10 points of view – after Nel’s death. She drowned in the river that runs through the little town, just like many other women before her.
The most recent death, just a couple months before Nel died, was Katie’s, who was her daughter’s best friend. Nel has been obsessed with the deaths in the river for most of her life and was in the midst of writing a book about the subject before she turned up dead herself.
When Jules, Nel’s sister, hears the news that her sister drowned, she knows she has to return to Beckford – a place she tried her best to forget – to take care of her niece, Lena.
When she gets there, everyone is saying that Nel jumped to her death, even her daughter, but she is sure her sister would never commit suicide.
Throughout this book, Jules, as well as other characters, try to find out what exactly led to Katie’s and Nel’s deaths, and a lot of secrets are revealed…
“Beckford is not a suicide spot. Beckford is a place to get rid of troublesome women.”
This story is so incredibly intriguing that I spent one and a half days reading it anytime I could. I felt the need to keep reading, to find out what happened to Katie and Nel. At first, the story is confusing, because it starts with Jules on her way to Beckford and you have no idea what is going on. Another thing that confused me a bit were the different points of view because I basically didn’t know who any of the people were – but you definitely understand everything the more you get into the book!
I believe this book would be AMAZING as a movie, or even as a mini series, since there is a ton of stuff going on.
“I don’t understand you. I don’t understand people like you, who always choose to blame the woman. If there’s two people doing something wrong and one of them’s a girl, it’s got to be her fault, right?”
I thought the author did a great job addressing some real-life issues, such as rape and depression because she shows how it is viewed and handled in society, vs. how it should be, which I very much enjoyed.
“It’s, like, when someone has an affair, why does the wife always hate the other woman? Why doesn’t she hate her husband? He’s the one who’s betrayed her, he’s the one who swore to love her and keep her and whatever forever and ever. Why isn’t he the one who gets shoved off a fucking cliff?”
Can I get an Amen for these quotes? Perfect examples of how Paula Hawkins is spitting out all kinds of truth in this book!
As far as characters go, I thought they were well built and thought-out, and I feel like the author took a reeaaaally long time creating all of them. Usually, in books, your main character(s) is/are the only ones you REALLY get to know, and everyone else is just like the tip of an iceberg. Since Into the Water doesn’t have one or two main characters – it’s more like 12 -, everyone has to be fully created and developed, if that makes sense. You do see more of some characters than others, though, because they sort of are the key to solving the mystery.
Another thing I really liked about the characters was that we see how everyone has faults and makes mistakes – some more serious than others -, all of them are human, therefore it is inevitable that they make mistakes. Realistic characters are something I really like in books!
Judging the writing is a bit tricky when you’re reading a translation, but I did really enjoy the writing, it flowed really nicely, which helped me fly through the book even faster! I really enjoyed the feeling of the book, it was very eerie and creepy, which definitely fits the story like a glove. Kudos to Hawkins for making me shiver and shudder with the atmosphere she created!
The pacing, which, in my opinion, should be one of the most important elements of a thriller, was on point. Nothing happened too slow or too fast – except for the ending -, which I really appreciated.
Okay, so what was my issue with the ending? Basically, it’s too sudden. Towards the end, you are convinced that you finally know what happened. Then, you get all of these tiny chapters of everyone’s point of view that show where they are after a few months, so you think “alright, we have some closure, great!”. And then, there’s a huge reveal that I never really saw coming – although something felt iffy about the previous reveal -, literally on the last line of the book… WHAT?!?!?!?
In conclusion, I really loved this book, it was a great first experience with thrillers. I definitely wish the ending wasn’t exactly the one we got, but I still really loved it, and I want to read Paula Hawkins’s other book, The Girl On The Train – which people say is way better than Into the Water, so I’m excited about it!!
Do you usually read thrillers? What was the first one you read? Let me know in the comments down below ♡
I hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts on Into the Water and if you’d like, check out my other book reviews!
Thank you so much for reading,
I’ll see you on my next post ♡