When she was just 6-years old, Arden Maynor became a national news story because of something shocking and terrifying that happened to her.
One night, in the midst of a sleepwalking episode, she exited her house during a terrible storm and subsequently got swept away into her hometown storm drain system.
Her mother reports her missing when she is not in her bed early the next morning. Hearing of the missing girl, the entire town of Widow Hills, and even neighboring towns, mobilize to search for her.
Three days later, a man helping with the search discovers her grasping a grate at the top of a storm drain. Unable to pry open the grate lid, he holds her tight until a final rescue plan can be implemented.
It’s an unbelievable story that unsurprisingly took the media by storm. How could a little girl possibly survive in a water-logged drainage system for three days on her own!?
Riding on the wings of such attention, Arden’s mother takes full advantage and publishes a book telling her story. Along with the generosity of strangers and paid speaking events, the book royalties allow the Maynors a fairly stable income.
But Arden disagrees with her mother a hundred percent on how she wants her life to go. She wants to be as far from the spotlight as possible.
She hates the pressure, people thinking they know her, her life story, acting like she owes them something. She just wants to move on with her life and forget that horrible night altogether.
As soon as she can, Arden changes her name to Olivia, goes to college and breaks away from her mother for good.
Frankly, the woman is toxic and being as far away from her as possible, does wonders for Olivia’s own mental health and wellness.
The bulk of the narrative takes place as the 20th-anniversary of that fateful night approaches. In addition to the present-day narrative, mixed media sources are interspersed throughout that shine further light on the incident that changed Olivia’s life forever.
These include 9-1-1 call transcripts, police and media interviews, as well as excerpts from her mother’s book.
As the anniversary gets closer, Olivia discovers she is sleepwalking again and begins to feel paranoid that she is being watched. She confides in her protective next-door neighbor and even a close friend after her hand is forced.
Are the reporters back at it again, looking for another story, or is something more sinister going on? When a man ends up dead in her yard, Olivia guesses the latter.
This was a fun story. Such a quick read, I just wanted to know what was happening. The suspense was killing me, I just wanted Olivia to be okay!
There were some great red herrings, excellent plot twists and steady, exciting pacing.
This made me think of the story of Baby Jessica from the 1980s. The notoriety that surrounded her life and her family for years to come.
I thought Miranda did a great job expressing the stress and discomfort that can have on people involved in that sort of media firestorm. I cannot even imagine. As a private person, even thinking of that gives me anxiety.
This was my first novel by Megan Miranda and I really vibed well with her writing style. I will absolutely be picking up more of her work soon.
Thank you so much to the publisher, Simon & Schuster, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I appreciate it and know a lot of readers are going to really enjoy this!