Thriller Mini Reviews: More Than You’ll Ever Know & I’m the Girl

Posted January 23, 2023 by Cristina (Girl in the Pages) in Books, Reviews / 1 Comment

Thriller Mini Reviews: More Than You’ll Ever Know & I’m the GirlMore Than You'll Ever Know by Katie Gutierrez
Published by William Morrow on June 7, 2022
Genres: Adult Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
Pages: 448 •Format: E-BookSource: Overdrive

Lore Rivera was married to two men at once, until on a baking hot day in 1986, one of them found out and shot the other. A secret double life, a tragic murder. That's the story the world knows.

It's not the story that fascinates Cassie Bowman.

Carrying the weight of her own family tragedy, true-crime writer Cassie wants to know more about the mysterious woman at the heart of it all, Lore. How did one woman fall in love with two different men? How did she balance the love and the lies?

To her surprise, Cassie finds that Lore is willing to talk. To finally tell her heartbreaking story - about how a dance became an affair; how a marriage became a murder.

As the two women grow closer, Cassie finds she can't help but confess her own darkest secrets. But when she slowly starts to realise that there might be more to the night of the murder than anyone has realised, can either woman face up to the thing they've been hiding from: the truth?

I honestly can’t remember how More Than You’ll Ever Know ended up on my radar- probably a Goodreads email or round up post. However, I do remember the striking cover and vaguely knowing that it was a thriller/mystery. When my library hold came in, I didn’t rush to read it, and almost let it slip through the cracks. I’m so glad I didn’t, because it ended up being one of my favorite reads of 2022!

Told in a dual POV with alternating timelines, More Than You’ll Ever Know centers around Cassie, an aspiring true crime writer, and Lore, an infamous woman who was outed in the 80s as leading a double life with families in both Texas and Mexico, which led to the murder of one of her husbands at the hand of the other. Cassie, trying to find the story that will cement her as a serious writer in the true crime world, wants to tell Lore’s story again, but truthfully, as she suspects the original outcome of the murder trial wasn’t the truth. As Cassie gets closer and closer to Lore, she is confronted with a lot of hard truths about her own family issues, and grapples with dissecting truth from fiction as Lore is an unreliable narrator of her own story.

Though I’m an avid reader, this novel stuck with me, especially around the moral questions it asks (often through Lore, who leaves Cassie -and the reader- grappling with them). Is it possible that there’s more than one “soul mate” out there for everyone? Was Lore a bad person for living a double life if it made her a better wife and more present mother to each of her families when she was with them? Is loving two different people in such whole, different ways truly a bad thing? Of course, many of these questions were posed by Lore to manipulate Cassie/the reader and justify her own actions, but she presented them in such a bold manner that while I did not agree with Lore’s actions, they posed interesting philosophical questions. I also thought it was an interesting premise to have a woman living a double life with multiple families, as that stereotype often falls on men.

Overall: It’s not as “thrillery” of a novel as many in the same genre, as the indiscretions happened in the past. However, I found it a very unique story unlike anything I’ve come across, and I’m excited to read more by the author in the future!

Thriller Mini Reviews: More Than You’ll Ever Know & I’m the GirlI'm the Girl by Courtney Summers
Also by this author: Violent Ends, Sadie, The Project
Published by Wednesday Books on September 13, 2022
Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Young Adult
Pages: 352 •Format: E-BookSource: Overdrive

When sixteen-year-old Georgia Avis discovers the dead body of thirteen-year-old Ashley James, she teams up with Ashley's older sister, Nora, to find and bring the killer to justice before he strikes again. But their investigation throws Georgia into a world of unimaginable privilege and wealth, without conscience or consequence, and as Ashley’s killer closes in, Georgia will discover when money, power and beauty rule, it might not be a matter of who is guilty—but who is guiltiest.

I’ve been a fan of Courtney Summers’ novels since reading Sadie a few years ago, so picking up her latest book was an easy choice, even if it wasn’t a very easy read. Known for her gritty thrillers that don’t hold back, in some ways I found I’m the Girl the toughest of hers to read yet.

Set in a small town that revolves around a prestigious resort, the novel starts out with the brutal murder of a young teenage girl and how it has spooked the community, especially Georgia, who’s parents are gone and she is often on her own while her older brother works to keep a roof over their heads. Yet Georgia has dreams of being special, being noticed, and has recognized at a fairly young age that her natural beauty can get her places- especially dark and powerful places. As is easy to do as a teenager, Georgia gets tunnel vision about working as an “Aspera Girl” at the resort, a companion to the rich and famous visitors, while constantly ignoring the warnings of others about the sinister implications of the role.

After Georgia suffers a near-fatal attack, the owners of the resort (who find and rescue her) take her under their wing and allow her to work as an assistant for the summer. What starts out as her absolute dream ends up slowly eroding day by day, as she slowly (and reluctantly) starts to see the inner workings of Aspera and how there’s likely trafficking going on. There were many times as a reader I was equal parts frustrated with Georgia, as she slowly lost herself and was victimized yet continued to cling to the lens of “moving up” in the company/world, etc. Her thirst for acceptance, approval, and acknowledgement of her beauty is hard to read but also extremely vulnerable. All the while the lingering question of who the murderer of that young girl was hangs over her head until things start to click and collide.

Overall: There’s so much more I could say about this one, however I don’t want to spoil too much. It’s definitely a heavy read, and in true Summers’ fashion has a pretty ambiguous ending (which I have mixed feelings about). If you’ve read Summers’ other novels you will probably know what you’re getting in to, but I would definitely look into trigger warnings if you think you may find some of the topics difficult.

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