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Top Shelf Spotlight: ‘The Girl On The Train’ by Paula Hawkins

Hello everyone, and welcome back to The Bookworm’s Fantasy! I hope you’re all well. Today I’m going to be posting the first blog in a brand new series, my “Top Shelf Spotlight” series, and I’m really excited to be sharing this with you all! As you can probably guess from the title, I’m going to be focusing in on one book that has made my “top shelf/favourites” bookshelf. I’ll be giving you some information on the book, and sharing some of my personal thoughts on the novel. I hope you enjoy this new series, and please leave any feedback below, including any posts or series you’d like to see on my blog soon! So, here goes…



The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins.

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Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She’s even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. ‘Jess and Jason’, she calls them. Their life – as she sees it – is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough.

Now everything’s changed. Now Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she’s only watched from afar.

Now they’ll see; she’s much more than just the girl on the train…


‘The Girl On The Train’ was the novel that first introduced me to reading the whole Thriller genre, so for that reason it will always be a standout novel for me. I become obsessed with reading it, and absolutely raced through to the end. I know some people don’t like it that much, and many think it has been over-commercialised, but I personally think it’s an outstanding read.


About the Author



Paula Hawkins was born in Zimbabwe and moved to London at aged 17. She studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at the University of Oxford. Hawkins worked as a journalist for fifteen years before writing fiction, working for The Times and then as a freelance journalist. In 2009, she began to write rom-com fiction under the name Amy Silver, and published four novels under that name. She then turned to dark, more serious fiction, writing the novels ‘The Girl On The Train’ and ‘Into The Water’.


About the Book



Pages: 416

Release Date: January 2015

Genre: Psychological Thriller, Mystery, Suspense.

Average Goodreads rating: 3.88

Film?: Yes – starring Emily Blunt, released 2016.

Author’s other works: ‘Into The Water’ (May 2017).

Themes explored: Alcoholism, abuse/trauma, domestic violence, mental illness.


My Thoughts



Favourite character/narrator: Rachel – my favourite by far!

What I liked/overall standout elements: 

    • I really enjoyed the unreliable alcoholic narrator (Rachel). Her narratorial voice is distinct and unique, and although it’s clear that she cannot be trusted, the reader is still left wondering if there are elements of truth to her narrative. She is unstable and unhinged, which makes her account all the more interesting.
    • The use of multiple perspectives is skillful and engaging, and all voices become essential to solving the mystery of the novel. All voices are equally valid and all bring something different and fresh to the novel, and each perspective is distinct and valuable.
    • The fast pace throughout the novel keeps the story driving forwards to the shocking end. The chapters are short and snappy, constantly switching back and forth in perspectives, all of which keeps the story moving quickly.
    • I loved the disjointed nature of the narrative – at some points the reader is deliberately left puzzled and confused, and must read on in order to make sense of the story and events. Nothing seems coherent or simple at first, and the reader must work to untangle the muddled events.
    • There are many thriller/mystery elements throughout the novel, including the use of red herringsaction-packed scenes and a big twist. Hawkins has an excellent skill in revealing information, but still leaving plenty unanswered to usher the reader on.




My overall verdict: If you haven’t read this yet – you need to!!








Happy reading 🙂



8 thoughts on “Top Shelf Spotlight: ‘The Girl On The Train’ by Paula Hawkins

  1. Great review! I haven’t read this book, but I have watched the film adaptation ad really enjoyed it. I also enjoyed the elements that you have described, when I watched the film.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great review!! So many people give negative reviews for this book, but I thought it was brilliant!! Hawkins is a master at making you work for answers! Maybe some people just don’t want to work. But TRUE mystery lovers DO!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve only just finished reading the book, and what makes it stand out from others is the structure, the alternating between three different perspectives, and the narrative. It was an absorbing read and I found it hard to put down! It’s not perfect – I guessed who the bad guy was quite early and the ending could have been a little better, but overall a great read.

    Great post, too.


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