Title: Where I Left Her
Author: Amber Garza
Publication: August 24, 2021
SYNOPSIS: (From Goodreads)
Whitney had some misgivings when she dropped her increasingly moody teenage daughter, Amelia, off at Lauren’s house. She’d never met the parents, and usually she’d go in, but Amelia clearly wasn’t going to let something so humiliating happen, so instead Whitney waved to her daughter before pulling away from the little house with the roses in front.
But when she goes back the next day, an elderly couple answers the door—Amelia and Lauren aren’t there, and this couple swears they never were, that she’s at the wrong house. As Whitney searches for Amelia, she uncovers a trail of lies her daughter has told her—from the Finsta account to rumors of a secret relationship. Does she really even know this girl she’s raised? And Amelia’s not the only one with secrets. Could Whitney’s own demons have something to do with her daughter’s disappearance, and can Whitney find her before it’s too late?
**A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**
Having read Amber Garza’s first novel, When I Was You, and giving it five stars had me excited to read Where I Left Her. I knew it was going to be a psychological mindgame with me trying to figure out everything that was happening and I was ready for it.
This story follows Whitney as she drops her daughter off at a friends and then isn’t there when she returns she instantly panics. As she digs deeper she finds a lot of shocking information that has her delving into her own past mistakes. I like Whitney. She reminds me of myself. Single mom. Working multiple jobs in a flexible manner to be home more with their kid. A bit overprotective. Maybe a little needy for attention from her daughter. Her manner of handling her daughter missing was very realistic to me. She searched for a short time and then called the police. I felt the storyline was very believable and that was a relief. A lot of times I see stories that end up being so unrealistic it makes it hard to see. Amelia’s personality had my teeth grating, but also was very realistic. So much like my own daughter I felt myself rolling my eyes with Whitney.
My biggest issue with this story was the flow of it. There were multiple storylines happening at once. I was convinced I understood what viewpoint I was getting in each, but as I neared the end of the story I realized I was completely wrong. This made the last thirty percent of the book quite confusing to me. I was trying to figure out all the stories I had read throughout and where they belonged in the timeline. Usually when I read a story like this that is broken up, as I read little puzzle pieces fall into place. This made me feel like someone was tossing around the puzzle pieces until the end and hoping I could figure out how to put it together very quickly, and it didn’t work like that. It was a bit frustrating and really brought my opinion of the book down.
I did really enjoy the storyline, I just wish the telling of it was a bit more cohesive. I don’t mind the jumping around if it is done really well and smoothly, but this left me a bit disappointed. The characters were interesting. The side characters didn’t really play too big of a role in this story, so I didn’t build too big of an opinion about them. The ending was even an interesting one, although I wish there was an epilogue telling me how it all wrapped up. There were a few strings left untied.
Overall it was a good story. I can’t say great because of the confusion I suffered while reading. I am still a big fan of Garza and her ability to have a shocking ending. I would have never guessed that outcome no matter how the book was written. I encourage all psychological thriller writers to pick it up and try it for yourself!
STAR RATING: 3/5
Pick up your copy of Where I Left Her by Amber Garza August 24, 2021 on Amazon, Barnes and Noble or check your local bookstore. Also make sure to add it to your To Reads list on Goodreads and leave feedback for the author when you are finished. You can check out more books from author Amber Garza on her social media account HERE. You can check out our review of Garza’s other novel, When I Was You, here.