Book Review: When the Lights Go Out by Mary Kubica

When the Lights Go Out by Mary Kubica

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Title: When the Lights Go Out
Author: Mary Kubica
Publisher: Park Row
Publish Date: September 4, 2018

Jessie Sloane is on the path to rebuilding her life after years of caring for her ailing mother. She rents a new apartment and applies for college. But when the college informs her that her social security number has raised a red flag, Jessie discovers a shocking detail that causes her to doubt everything she’s ever known.

Finding herself suddenly at the center of a bizarre mystery, Jessie tumbles down a rabbit hole, which is only exacerbated by grief and a relentless lack of sleep. As days pass and the insomnia worsens, it plays with Jessie’s mind. Her judgment is blurred, her thoughts are hampered by fatigue. Jessie begins to see things until she can no longer tell the difference between what’s real and what she’s only imagined.

Meanwhile, twenty years earlier and two hundred and fifty miles away, another woman’s split-second decision may hold the key to Jessie’s secret past. Has Jessie’s whole life been a lie or have her delusions gotten the best of her?

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Jessie is on her own after her mother’s death. As she grieves the loss of her mother, Jessie moves into her own place and adjusts to life on her own. Unfortunately, Jessie soon learns something that makes her question everything. To complicate matters, Jessie has suffered from insomnia since her mother was dying in the hospital. Due to her lack of sleep, she starts having difficulty distinguishing fact from fiction.

Told from the alternating viewpoints of Jessie and Eden. Jessie is a young woman who suffers a great loss when her mother dies. Eden is her mother. Jessie’s story takes place after her mother’s death. Eden’s story takes place twenty years earlier, before Jessie.

Both stories are interesting. Eden’s story is about her desire to have a child, and the trouble she and her husband have with conceiving. Jessie’s story is about her starting out on her own, moving to a new place, applying to college, but also grieving the loss of her mother. When she learns something that makes her question everything, an intriguing mystery follows.

I’m not a big fan of alternate points of view, especially when they involve alternate timelines. It is nice to see how the pieces come together in the end, but the ending isn’t spectacular enough to make this a great read for me. I’ve seen a few reviews that complain of the ending for this one, but I felt it fit with the story being told.

A slow burn psychological thriller. Dark, tragic, and suspenseful.

I received a free eARC of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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