Review: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins


Published: January 13th, 2015 by Riverhead Books | Series: N/A | Length: 336 pages | Genre: Adult fiction, thriller, suspense| Source: Borrowed from library

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Summary from Goodreads:

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

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. 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 goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation but in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

With all the hype surrounding The Girl on the Train and a new film adaptation, I really wanted to read this book. Although I think this is a slightly over-rated book, I do think it’s a good one worth reading… if you can look past its problems.

The strongest thing about this book were the characters. None of them are likable. That would usually be a problem, but it works perfectly for a thriller. I spent the whole time reading trying to figure out who could and could not be trusted (and I was wrong on at least a couple of characters).

I have to admit, though, I did have a hard time separating the POVs for awhile. It took me around 100 pages to finally be able to keep Rachel and Megan’s stories and backgrounds straight and not confuse them. A couple of times I stopped reading in the middle of the chapter and then couldn’t figure out whose chapter it was without looking. I usually don’t have a problem with mixing up POVs, so it was frustrating for me.


The book was really addictive too. After a certain point, I didn’t want to put it down because I was so desperate to see what had happened and figure out the truth. Another sign of a well-written thriller.

The biggest problem I had with this was the fat-shaming. Throughout the book, there are several characters who talk about how “fat and ugly” Rachel is and, given the fact that no actual “ugly” characteristics are talked about, every time it is implied that she’s ugly because she’s fat. In fact, one character talks about how beautiful Rachel used to be until she gained weight. Every time it happened, it made me cringe. I ended up knocking a half star off for this because it really bothered me (and now I’m wondering if I was too nice…).


I’m not sure what else I could say about this without giving away too much, so I think I’ll stop here. This is a good read worth picking up but only if you’ll be able to look past the problems. I’m definitely looking forward to checking out the movie and Paula Hawkins’ new book, which was just recently announced.

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9 thoughts on “Review: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

  1. Great review Kourtni! Girl On The Train is on my TBR & I had every intention of picking it up this season but it didn’t quite work out that way. I haven’t watched the movie yet because I really do want to read the book. It’s interesting that you say you had a hard time telling them apart. Some of my favorite books are told in multiple POV perspectives but if the characters aren’t given their own individual voice, I agree that it can be utterly frustrating. It’s happened to me before & I am not a fan, keeping this in mind though 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve heard several times about how the POV in this can be confusing at times. Even my mom, who I asked to read it before me, told me it threw her off a few times too. I’ll definitely have to keep in mind about the POV thing when I do finally pick it up for myself. Great review as always, Kourtni! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha I completely understand, I’m the same way! Hype gets to me so much. Luckily the fat-shaming didn’t happen TOO often but it did pop up several times. I felt like given the character who was being fat-shamed, there were so many other insults that could have been used lol


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