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text 2019-04-13 17:00
Review: When The Lights Go Out
When The Lights Go Out - Mary Kubica

I received a copy from Netgalley.

 

The premise of this one caught my attention and made me want to request it. A girl’s identity is called into question when she finds her name is on a record of deceased people. With an alternate story of a woman’s decision some 20 odd years ago that might be the cause of it.

 

For the most part, this was actually a pretty good book. Jessie Sloane has lived with her single mom her whole life then mom gets sick and dies. Jessie has spent most of her life caring for her. She suffers from terrible insomnia which plagues her for days at a time during this difficult period.

 

I liked Jessie as a character, she was tough and seemed fairly smart and logical given her terrible circumstances. She knew how to look after herself. Applying to college for financial aid she discovers Jessica Sloane is deceased. Bringing on a whole host of panic and desperate search for answers as to what the hell her mom was hiding and where it all went wrong and how could she have never known this before?

 

The second story line follows Eden and her husband Aaron. The one thing Eden wants more than anything is a baby, but Eden seems to be unable to conceive. Which puts a huge strain, both emotional and financial on what was otherwise a perfect relationship.

 

Eden’s story was hard for me to relate to, as a woman who has no interest in rearing children, her obsession was just something I couldn’t get my head around as a reader. Yet as the novel progressed and Eden’s chapters went on I did find myself empathising with her. No matter what this poor woman tried nothing was working. And her best friend who came to visit has two or three noisy children she always brings with her and is pregnant again. It was heart-breaking for Eden. But as things go on and get more difficult Eden’s desire for a child becomes all consuming. She works at a hospital and is often going to the new baby ward. She drops hints that she did something terrible and it doesn’t take a genius to figure it out. At least that’s what the story seems to want you to think, anyway.

 

Meanwhile Jessie is struggling to find out what happened and why “Jessica Sloane” is deceased. And how did she get this girl’s social security number? Made worse and worse by the fact that she just can’t sleep and her mind is going round in circles. She doesn’t know what’s real or what’s not anymore. It’s all pretty compelling stuff. And definitely becomes a page turner.

 

This is a huge spoiler but it pissed me off so much and ruined the whole book for me and I need to rant about it.

 

It gets to the point where Jessie can’t cope anymore and you start thinking dear god what else can go wrong for this poor girl, how is this ever going end? And then the book does what every English teacher told me in school was the poorest way you could end a novel ever. “And then I woke up and it was all a dream!” At the start of the novel Jessie is with her mother in the hospital on her death bed. She won’t leave her mother’s side and has been there for days. A kind doctor gives her something to help her sleep. Understandable. But then the combination of stress and drugs give Jessie this epic nightmare. And that’s all it was. A nightmare.

(spoiler show)

 

I mean…for fuck’s sake. All of that…all of that and to have it ruined with that. It just felt like such a huge let down for what was otherwise a really good book. The truth about Eden’s story is revealed as well, and thankfully that wasn’t as infuriating. It actually turned out to be nothing like what I thought it would be.

 

Great potential but ruined by a rubbish twist. The end itself wasn’t that bad, really. But that twist just pissed me off so much.

 

Thank you to Netgalley and HQ for approving my request to view the title.

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review 2019-01-21 19:45
When the Lights Go Out by Mary Kubica
When The Lights Go Out - Mary Kubica

I was going to write a real review for this book but it doesn’t deserve it. This book made me so crazy-mad that I am not going to waste my time. Up until the last quarter or so I would’ve rated it a 3 ½. It was holding my attention even though some of the themes; the insatiable baby-lust, the absent husband who may or may not be cheating, etc. were all too familiar after just finishing up this author’s novel Pretty Baby and I may have mixed them up a time or two in my head but it wasn’t awful by any means. There were lots of secrets lurking and I really did want to keep reading to discover them all until the big reveal was unleashed upon me. It was weak, manipulative, over-used, unoriginal, and the lamest of lame-ass plot reveals. I couldn’t believe what the author had just done to me. I still can’t! I feel cheated, misled and more disappointed than mere words can say. 
And for that this book is getting a VERY generous 2.

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review 2019-01-18 19:27
Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica
Pretty Baby - Mary Kubica

This is one of those domestic dramas where the people are all slightly off and keeping secrets but you don’t know that at first. At first they all seem pretty normal. Getting to the reveal of all of the secrets is my favorite thing about these books. Well, that and reading about messed up people because that is always a good time.

 

Heidi is a do-gooder. She’s always tried to help out the less fortunate and has a decently cushy life so when she spies a young lady with an infant out in the elements she offers the girl a meal. And wouldn’t you know it, soon enough she’s offering her a warm place to stay inside her home. The home where her bratty 12 year old daughter and husband also live. She doesn’t check with either of them. She just brings this bedraggled stranger and her smelly, screaming baby into her home . . .

 

Chris, the husband is not happy about this turn of events but he travels so much that Heidi basically shrugs off his worries and does what she wants. And what she wants is to care for that beautiful baby.

 

“My eyes staring at the baby with longing, craving another chance to do this right.”

 

You know things aren’t going to end well, don’t you?

 

I’m not going to spill the details because the little details and secrets are what make reading a book like this so addictive and so much voyeuristic fun. This story kept me hooked from beginning to end and I particularly enjoyed that it was told from multiple points of view and that it flipped around in time to keep me on my toes but it never confused me. The author would you give one delectable little tidbit and then move on, leaving me desperate to read more - to read it all. I had to know ALL of the messy little secrets and messy they certainly were!

 

I recommend this story, if this is your sort of thing.

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review 2018-10-16 22:35
When the Lights Go Out
When The Lights Go Out - Mary Kubica
Nope, nada, this novel did not work for me. I have read Mary Kubica’s books in the past and I have enjoyed them but I didn’t enjoy this one. It was the ending that the upset me the most.
 
The story is basically about a woman whose mother has just recently passed away. Jesse has had sleep issues since her mother’s hospitalization and these issues still remain. These sleep issues are now causing Jesse to hallucinate. Ready to begin her own life now, Jesse finds out that her identity is not really her own. Confused and frustrated because she has no one to talk to, Jesse tries to piece together her past to figure out what her real name is and who this “Jesse” really is.
 
Enter in the story of Jesse’s mother. Through her journals, we read her tale of desperation to become a mother. Frustration, tests to become pregnant and failure all become part of the picture. Her mother ultimate goal was to be a mother.
 
I felt ripped off as I finished this novel. It was like the author wrote “the end” before the final chapter. It was all good until the very end. I guess I should have read some reviews before reading this book, I would have skipped it.

 

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review 2018-08-18 01:43
When the Lights Go Out by Mary Kubica
When The Lights Go Out - Mary Kubica

A special thank you to NetGalley, Edelweiss, HarperCollins, and Park Row Books for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

 

Jessie Sloane had been caring for her mother, Eden, and is now on her own for the first time in her life.  She takes out a lease on an apartment in an old carriage house and applies to college.  But when the college informs her that her social security number belongs to a deceased three-year-old girl, Jessie begins to doubt everything she's ever known.

 

For as long as Jessie can remember, it had only been just the two of them.  When she asked about her father, Eden never disclosed who he was.  The mystery of Jessie's life and who she is becomes further exacerbated by the grief surrounding the death of her mother as well as the lack of sleep—Jessie refuses to sleep because when she fell asleep at the hospital, her mother died, and she feels an incredible amount of guilt.  As the days go by and the insomnia gets worse, Jessie's mind starts to play tricks on her and she can't decipher what is real and what is actually happening.  

 

Twenty years earlier and two hundred and fifty miles away, Eden appears to be happily married and dreams of having a child with her husband, Aaron.  The couple is struggling with infertility and Eden's desperation for a child becomes all-consuming.  Eden makes an impulsive decision that years later has Jessie questioning her whole life—has it been a lie, or have her delusions finally gotten the best of her?

 

Told in alternating perspectives and timelines, the sharp plot is blunted by Jessie's delusions and Eden's obsessive behaviour.  The reader is stuck inside both Jessie's twisted perceptions, not knowing what is real and what isn't, and Eden's emotional breakdown.  As unreliable narrators, Jessie and Eden are the perfect vehicles to execute this psychological thriller.  

 

Kubica is at the top of her game and she pens something totally fresh in When the Lights Go Out.  I would highly recommend this book, it was a fantastic read and I enjoyed the many twists in the plot.  

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