Published by Atria Books on April 17th 2018
Format: Netgalley eARC
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When debut novelist Eliza Fontaine is found at the bottom of a hotel pool, her family at first assumes that it’s just another failed suicide attempt. But Eliza swears she was pushed, and her rescuer is the only witness.
Desperate to find out who attacked her, Eliza takes it upon herself to investigate. But as the publication date for her novel draws closer, Eliza finds more questions than answers. Like why are her editor, agent, and family mixing up events from her novel with events from her life? Her novel is completely fictional, isn’t it?
The deeper Eliza goes into her investigation while struggling with memory loss, the closer her life starts to resemble her novel until the line between reality and fiction starts to blur and she can no longer tell where her protagonist’s life ends and hers begins.
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The Elizas by Sara Shepard has been promoted as a psychological thriller and I suppose there is an element of that present since most of the characters are a bit psychotic. Eliza Fontaine is the very strange protagonist who actually allows her stepfather to call her “chicken” as a pet name! This had me shaking my head and rolling my eyes before I got through the first few pages. Despite having a very spotty memory as well as other mental issues, Eliza has managed to interest a publisher in “The Dots”, a book she has written based on the pathological relationship she has with an aunt.. This is where things get blurred in the storyline. Are the strange events in Eliza’s life memories? Are they scenes from her book? Most of all, can she even trust any of the people in her life to tell her the truth?
I’m not sure what I expected from this book. In fact, I can honestly say I had no expectations since I haven’t read the author’s other work. I chose to read and review strictly based on what I thought was an interesting premise in the book description. I finished the book still finding it based on an interesting premise. I’m just not sure the author succeeded in selling what she proposed. Maybe it’s because I just finished another book with the same literary device — book within a book — which worked very well. Sadly, from my perspective, The Elizas was mostly confusing with the back and forth between truth and fiction. I couldn’t like Eliza and, for some reason, I couldn’t even feel sad for her many problems and her basically messed-up life. So, that means the author didn’t succeed in making what should be a sympathetic character, sympathetic. Maybe it’s a personal preference, but this book was just a little too tongue-in-cheek and light-hearted to feed my inner psycho addiction. Nevertheless, I would certainly recommend The Elizas to Ms. Shepard’s fans. It is well-written and even a bit humorous . . . but I had to turn off my implausibility alarm early on in order to finish.
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