Review: The Fall of Lisa Bellow by Susan Perabo

The Fall of Lisa Bellow
The Fall of Lisa Bellow
The breakout novel from the critically acclaimed author of the short story collections Who I Was Supposed to Be and Why They Run the Way They Do—when a middle school girl is abducted in broad daylight, a fellow student and witness to the crime copes with the tragedy in an unforgettable way.

What happens to the girl left behind?

A masked man with a gun enters a sandwich shop in broad daylight, and Meredith Oliver suddenly finds herself ordered to the filthy floor, where she cowers face to face with her nemesis, Lisa Bellow, the most popular girl in her eighth grade class. The minutes tick inexorably by, and Meredith lurches between comforting the sobbing Lisa and imagining her own impending death. Then the man orders Lisa Bellow to stand and come with him, leaving Meredith the girl left behind.

After Lisa’s abduction, Meredith spends most days in her room. As the community stages vigils and searches, Claire, Meredith’s mother, is torn between relief that her daughter is alive, and helplessness over her inability to protect or even comfort her child. Her daughter is here, but not.

Like Everything I Never Told You and Room, The Fall of Lisa Bellow is edgy and original, a hair-raising exploration of the ripple effects of an unthinkable crime. It is a dark, beautifully rendered, and gripping novel about coping, about coming-of-age, and about forgiveness. It is also a beautiful illustration of how one family, broken by tragedy, finds healing.

Expected publication: March 14th 2017 by Simon & Schuster

My review:

The Fall of Lisa BellowThe Fall of Lisa Bellow by Susan Perabo

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was kindly sent to me from Simon & Schuster Canada for an honest review.
Although her name is in the title, this book isn't really about Lisa Bellow. Lisa is the most popular girl in the eighth grade and unfortunately for her she is at a local deli when a robbery occurs. Lisa ends up being taken by the robber when he leaves. Also at the deli is Meredith Oliver, who is not amongst the popular kids at school and is often bullied by Lisa Bellow. Meredith is left behind after the robbery and this is where the story really begins.
We follow the lives of Meredith and her family and the consequences that follow her escape from being kidnapped. The story is told in alternating chapters between Meredith and her Mother Claire.
Through Meredith we learn more about Lisa Bellow and her life. There are scenes where Meredith seems to be talking with Lisa after her kidnapping. Is this real or only in Meredith's imagination? You have to read the book to find out of course. No spoilers.
In Claire's chapters we learn more about the Oliver family, including past tragedies that have had a profound impact in their lives.
The author also focuses on the somewhat strained relationship between Meredith and Claire, that as the reader you're hoping will be resolved by the end.
I enjoyed the writing style. It definitely flows and keeps you turning the pages. Susan Perabo is very good at expressing emotions and getting it across on the page. The characters are amazingly written and you feel that you know them and care about the. Especially Meredith and Claire who we get to know the most.
I would recommend this book to anyone that enjoys family dramas with a touch of suspense. This was my first Susan Perabo and I hope it won't be my last. She is a terrific writer. Highly recommended

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Cover and synopsis from goodreads.

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