Tall Bones - Anna Bailey

Abi disappears after a party in the woods. Emma, who left her to go home early, feels responsible and is determined to get to the bottom of what happened, are the people in her town hiding more than she thinks behind their shiny exterior?

I had seen Tall Bones all over Instagram and was really excited to see if it lived up the hype that surrounded it. It was sold as a thriller with secrets in abundance, but in all honesty it just felt like a small town drama that dealt with some serious topics. I wasn't necessarily "thrilled" by anything, the plot was interesting and initially that's what kept me reading. The disappearance of Abi was odd, and the cast of suspects kept me guessing for a long time, but as the narrative progressed everything that was good about the plot fell apart. The suspects, whilst well-written characters in their own respect, didn't mesh with the plot itself because they were sketchy and hid things from their closest friends but their involvement with Abi's disappearance never made sense and Emma's investigation clutched at straws.

We soon realise why the main suspects never felt connected to the plot. The rest of this review will involve spoilers, it isn't possible to give you a full comprehension of what went wrong for me in this novel without going over the big reveal.

All of Emma's suspicions fall flat because out of nowhere the reader is expected to believe that Samuel, Abi's father, who thought the absolute world of her was abusing her and inevitably caused her disappearance. And, all of this based off a lie told to him by Noah, a disgruntled teenager, that Abi wasn't his biological child. These two revelations came out of nowhere, and there was no suggestion that any of that was happening behind the scenes. We knew that Samuel was abusive to his family but the emphasis on his love for Abi was paramount, it just felt ridiculous to pull him into the disappearance. If it had been trickled in that there was a genuine concern about Samuel and his behaviour with Abi, I'd be more convinced but it was definitely a "..wait what?" moment.

The plot was dragged out just to reveal something that didn't fit. Whilst the characters were excellently written as a singular aspect, the novel as a whole just didn't rate well with me.

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