Do you remember Rachel Watson, the protagonist from The Girl On The Train? How Eleanor Oliphant (who, by the way, ‘Is Completely Fine)? Now add a splash of Joe from Caroline Kepnes’s book, You, and you have Fran, whose eyes we see through in Nicola Rayner’s latest thriller, You and Me.
Fran is socially awkward. Fran is lovesick. Fran is an outsider.
Fran is scarred from her time at boarding school, as is her younger sister, who she hasn’t spoken to in years. Her only happy memories from that time are of Charles, the most popular boy in school and the man Fran knows is the one for her. He may be married with children but she’s just biding her time until he realises they are meant to be, then she’ll be ready for him with open arms.
As Fran observes him discreetly one night (she’s definitely not a stalker… ahem…), she witnesses a tragic accident. But what if the incident wasn’t so accidental? As those involved in some way with Fran’s school ordeals all those years ago begin to encroach into her life again, Fran finds herself trapped in a web of deceit and her own lies.
Fran doesn’t know who to trust. Fran doesn’t know she’s in danger.
I loved the understated way in which Fran’s character traits and history are gradually revealed to the reader. There is little fanfare with these insights and yet they have a huge impact on the reader’s perspective of Fran. There were times when I disliked her and pitied her, but there were times when I rooted for her too.
Some readers may prefer their psychological thrillers with more of a high-octane pace but this novel is ideal for those who like the more insidious drips of discomfort leading towards the final shocking truth.
I’d love to say more about the story but I want other readers to experience the twists, turns and tension for themselves when it’s released on 1st October (thanks to the author and publisher for the eARC of this book, by the way!). I think this will be a love it or hate it novel but I am firmly in the love it camp as it’s one of my top five reads of the year!