Book Review: Give It Back*

6:00:00 PM

Earlier this month I read Amy Poehler's Yes Please and I've written a few blog posts about it. First I wrote my book review and then I went on to discuss what I learned from the book

Honestly, I didn't expect to take so much away from Yes Please. The biggest tip that I learned though, was "ask for what you want." It's easier said than done, but I've been trying more often to just bite the bullet and ask for what I want. Rejection can be scary, but hearing "no" won't crush me. 

I followed Poehler's advice and contacted Danielle Esplin about her debut novel. I still can't believe she sent me her manuscript for review! If you don't know what her book is about, just read the synopsis below!

This novel follows three characters: Lorraine, Lexy, and Ella.

Not long ago, Lorraine lost her husband to another woman. She thought that was the worst thing that could happen to her, but soon she realizes it’s just the beginning of an everlasting nightmare. 

Lexy, an au pair from London, moves to Seattle to help Lorraine with her infant son. But she didn’t come for the child…she came for something else. 

When Ella receives a call from her sister, Lorraine, who begs her to leave San Diego to spend time with her, she decides to take a few days off from work to visit her. Frightened to see how much Lorraine has weakened since her diagnosis eight months ago, she packs a bag and heads to Seattle with a foreboding feeling that this might be the last time she sees Lorraine. 

But on her way to the airport, she learns that something shocking has happened since she last spoke with Lorraine and now. To make matters worse, once Ella arrives in Seattle, Lorraine’s story keeps changing, making Ella question how reliable her sister really is. 

Soon Ella is entangled in a mysterious investigation, and more so, in the lives of everyone involved. She realizes not only that she won’t go home anytime soon but also that she’ll never look at others the same way she did before.

Normally I don't read books labeled "psychological thrillers" but I was intrigued when I read about Esplin's. I also tend to steer clear of books that use multiple points of view, but the author did a terrific job. 

I really like the way that Esplin introduced her characters. There are a lot of first time writers that struggle with character building and world building, but she most definitely did not. Unlike a lot of new books, I never felt like there was a dump of information. 

Esplin used the multiple points of view to her advantage. She was able to tell you about the characters through the eyes of the other characters. She did a great job of slipping in little details here and there so her book moved along smoothly. 

I must say, Give It Back's hook is hands down the best hook I've read in quite some time! I kept hoping that there was a normal explanation for the opening, but the suspense made me doubt myself. 

At first, reading this book was difficult for me. I connected to the characters and the story line way to closely. I don't want to give away any spoilers, but I went through the same thing that Ella did with her nephew. Over a year ago it happened to a friend and classmate and a lot of the details were the same. 

I also connected very closely with Lorraine. I have multiple chronic illnesses and Esplin did a great job explaining what it's like to go through a hard medical diagnosis. I struggle every single day and Esplin described the struggle perfectly on page 33 - paragraph 2 as well as page 61 - paragraph 2. 

The author did a wonderful job keeping the reader hooked. A lot of books can get boring in the middle, but that was not the case with Give It Back! Epsilon did a great job at keeping me interested in reading onward. I'm one of those readers that has to end on a chapter. And let me tell you, I didn't want to put the book down. The first night I read 30 pages and had to force myself to stop and go to sleep. The next three nights that I sat down to read, I read 100 pages each time until I finished the book.

I definitely liked the chapter lengths in this book. I think in order to pull off multiple points of view, like this author did, it is imperative to have shorter chapters. It just makes it easier to remember who your listening to and what's going on. 

I must say though, it is incredibly important that you pay attention to the dates! In the beginning I didn't read them, because I assumed the story would take place in chronological order. I soon learned that that wasn't the case. Esplin intertwines the present chapters with chapters of the past. So it's important to know who's speaking and during what time. 

One thing that I noticed about Esplins writing is the difference in her vocabulary compared to other writers. There are the subtle differences because of her environment, such as "indicator" and "yoghurt." I also noticed that the author uses a much wider vocabulary than most writers in her genre. This may just be journalist in me, but I was always taught to "dumb things down." Not necessarily to write as if I'm writing for a child, but to write for the common reader. It didn't occur too frequently, but I did notice myself writing down words to look up later. I counted 29 to be exact. Now this definitely isn't a problem, as it encourages me to widen my vocabulary, but the task itself became kind of annoying. This may not be the case for you or other readers though. For the most part, they were just descriptive terms and you could easily move forward due to the use of context clues. 

Again, this one isn't that big of a deal, but I did also notice that there wasn't too much of a variety when it came to character names. Esplin used a lot of 'L' names which could lead to confusion (Lorraine, Logan, and Lexy). Especially with the multiple points of view. 

Overall, I am a huge fan of both Give It Back and Danielle Esplin! I normally have a hard time keeping up with thrillers or investigations since I can usually predict the ending. But in all honesty, Esplin kept me guessing the entire time. Not once was one of my guesses correct. The ending was incredible too! She lined it up perfectly for a sequel and I'm sure hoping there is one. I just hope I don't have to wait as long as I did for The Mime Order :) 

If you want to follow up with the author or purchase a copy of the book, please follow the these links: 

Have you read Give It Back? I'd love to know what you thought of it!

* Although the author sent me a copy of her book for review, all of the opinions in my review are 100% my own. * 

* This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I'll receive some type of commission. For more information, you can read our full disclosure here. *

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