The Girl from Widow Hills

by Megan Miranda

“Whatever he was after, I didn’t have to speak – I knew that by now.

But how easily he could topple everything I’d built. The comfort of anonymity. All that I’d run from in Widow Hills. Here, the scars just scars – surgery after an accident, I always said, and that wasn’t a lie. My name was my legal name now. I stuck to the truth. Moved here from Ohio for college; fell out of touch with my family; came into some money when I was younger.

None of these things were lies.

People tended to fill in the blanks however they wanted. It was not my job to correct them.”

Ratings & Reviews

Book Grade: A

The Girl from Widow Hills was so good! I loved that the mystery stemmed from something unexpected: Olivia had been lost for three days and to this day has no recollection of the events. Twenty years later, though, Olivia is haunted by a past she thought she left behind. I so appreciated that this was not a typical murder mystery. Yes, there was a dead body, but with unexpected twists, this story definitely left me guessing.

I appreciated Olivia as a character – she is strong and self reliant, but is keenly aware of the fact that she has weaknesses and scars. Olivia works to unravel the past in order to understand how it might be influencing her today, and while dealing with some difficult memories and some truths that she was never told, she comes to better understand herself and the mystery that surrounded her disappearance. I respected her for her strength and tenacity, even when it put her in danger.

Additionally, I liked how real this story felt. Olivia is just a woman who has worked hard to leave her past behind her and forget how manipulative her mother was in taking advantage of her (as young Arden) for profit with book deals, interviews, and television spots. I followed along as Megan Miranda told a story that I could absolutely picture being relayed on the evening news. The interjection of news reports from the time of Arden’s disappearance in the midst of Olivia’s modern life made for an intriguing story and an addictive mystery.

Movie Rating: PG

The Girl from Widow Hills is pretty tame by mystery/suspense standards. There are only a few swear words and no steamy scenes. Olivia does reference a relationship she had with an older professor during grad school, but she acknowledges that it was a poor choice all around and doesn’t pursue anything when he tries to reach out again. She almost kisses a different character, but that is as romantic as the book gets.

When Olivia stumbles upon the body in her yard – literally – she is injured and there is blood on her hands. There is no graphic description of the murder, though. Megan Miranda does a wonderful job of keeping the mystery engaging without any of the distractions that cloud a typical suspense book. This is a great choice for YA fans who are ready to take the leap to more intense mysteries, but aren’t looking for any of the distracting adult content. The Girl from Widow Hills is a captivating mystery with twists and turns galore, but no really mature content that younger readers will be offended by.

Would I Buy This for My Library: Yes

The Girl from Widow Hills is a thrilling read. It is perfect for students who are on the verge of YA mysteries and are ready for something a little more mature, but aren’t looking for anything inappropriate. This book has twists and turns galore, but nothing that I have to worry about when referring it to my teen readers. I am excited to offer something a bit more sophisticated in my library, but not worry a bit about adult content.

Summary:

Arden Maynor was only six when she disappeared after sleepwalking at night just as a terrible rainstorm began. A national search for Arden (Olivia’s birth name) found the little girl in storm drain stuck against the grate after three days of flooding. She was rescued and hailed as a miraculous survivor. Now, all grown up, Arden has changed her name to Olivia and distanced herself from her past; she is no longer The Girl from Widow Hills.

Olivia believes that her past is behind her and her sleepwalking has stopped until she hears that her mother passed away. Suddenly, she is having episodes again, waking outside and unable to remember how she got there. When she sees a mysterious main who claims to know her and have news for her, she fears that after 20 years, her past has caught up with her. When she finds the body of the same man in her yard after another sleepwalking episode, she knows that she can’t run from who she once was.

Olivia must question everyone and begins to fear that there is no one whom she can really trust. When her friend mysteriously disappears and the son of the man who died on her property shows up to get closure, and her neighbor’s secret past comes to light, Olivia is terrified that she is caught up with more than she can handle. This fast-paced thriller is terrific with a didn’t-see-it-coming ending that totally took my breath away! Get ready to root for The Girl from Widow Hills.

Book Talk Questions:

  1. What was the story of Arden’s disappearance? Why has Olivia always struggled with it and how her mom approached it?
  2. What is Olivia’s relationship with Rick? What does she learn about his past?
  3. Olivia has a hard time believing that Elyse just disappeared. What does Bennett suspect happened? What does Olivia find out actually happened at the end?
  4. What is the piece of evidence that could link Olivia to the body? What does she do with it?
  5. Who is the dead man? What really happened to him and when does Olivia begin to suspect that he was there to help her and not hurt her?
  6. Who is Erin and why does she come to Olivia’s house? What is her secret?

A Perfect Read for Fans Of…

  • Come Find Me by Megan Miranda
  • Sadie by Courtney Summers
  • The Twin by Natasha Preston
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