Title: Bring Me Back
Author : B.A. Paris
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: 06/19/18
Dates Read: 02/26/18 – 02/27/18
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Finn and Layla were on their way home from a holiday getaway when he stops at a rest area. When he returns from the restroom, Layla is nowhere to be found. Finn rushes to the nearest service station and phones for the police, who search for Layla with no luck. She has just disappeared. No one knows if she was murdered, if she left of her own accord… she’s just gone.
Twelve years later, Finn is engaged to Ellen, who happens to be Layla’s sister (scandalous!) and has moved on with his life (as much as possible anyway). That’s when strange things start happening… the strangest of them being the random appearance/delivery of tiny Russian dolls, behind which there is a story that only Finn, Ellen, and… Layla.. know about.
Torn between thinking that someone is playing a cruel joke on them, and believing that Layla really has returned, Finn begins to spiral into a lot of pent-up emotion and conflict. Lies are told, secrets are kept, and people are broken in the turn of events that unfold… all led along by the presence of these little dolls..
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Oh my gosh, guys… this was such a FUN read. The underlying premise and themes of this novel were brilliant and they really reminded me of one of my favorite books of all time… which I cannot state in this review because if you have read it, then it will ruin the twist for this one for you! (DM me if you read it and want to chat about that)
The novel starts out with two alternating time lines, both from Finn’s point of view. One timeline is taking place when he first met and fell in love with Layla… the other taking place in current day where he is living with Ellen (Layla’s sister) and is engaged to be married. That little bit of scandal alone is enough to cause some emotional turmoil and conflict in a relationship. So when the Russian dolls begin to show up, possibly signifying that Layla is back, the strength of Ellen and Finn’s relationship begins to be tested.
About halfway through the novel (give or take), you get a second POV from a character other than Finn (sorry, can’t tell you who.. because, spoilers!).
Everything in this novel seems so black-and-white and surface level, but with just enough mystery and conflict for you to know that it isn’t that simple. You can feel that big twisty moment approaching but it’s hard to really pinpoint what about it is so strange and what you think the truth may be. There is even some really fun symbolism that you can look back on after you have completed the novel (I would also love to chat about this with you if you have read the novel, so DM me if you want to talk Bring Me Back with me!)
B.A. Paris is really a fantastic author. I have loved every one of her novels. She creates flawed characters with twisty story lines and really has a way of constructing this dramatic flair that I haven’t really experienced with other novels.
There were really only two things that I did not like about this novel:
★ Solved too soon: I had a pretty solid theory on what was going on/how the book would end, and once I figured that out, it was so baringly obvious that I spent the last 25% of the novel dying (with excitement though.. don’t get me wrong!) to get to the end to confirm my ideas. Other than a few little tweaks, I was pretty spot on. This was really just a personal factor for me and this may not be the case for everyone! Keep an open mind 🙂
★ The ending–> Now… the ending was not bad, by any means. I enjoyed every bit of this book and the premise was so creative and engaging. If you have read B.A. Paris’ Behind Closed Doors and loved it, then I think you will be satisfied with the ending as well… Paris has a way of creating these theatrical scenarios and endings that require a little suspension of belief in order to truly enjoy. She takes an already interesting and exciting concept and always finds a way to amp it up to a little larger of a proportion than what I would call realistic. I thought about docking a star or so on this one for the ending…. but in all actuality… it’s part of her writing style, so I should have expected that and I really can’t complain too much on that front because it didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the novel.
Thank you to B.A. Paris, St. Martin’s Press, and NetGalley for providing me with a DRC of this title in exchange for an honest review!