Watching You by Lisa Jewell
Thank you to Atria Books for my free copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Goodreads Synopsis: Melville Heights is one of the nicest neighborhoods in Bristol, England; home to doctors and lawyers and old-money academics. It’s not the sort of place where people are brutally murdered in their own kitchens. But it is the sort of place where everyone has a secret. And everyone is watching you.
As the headmaster credited with turning around the local school, Tom Fitzwilliam is beloved by one and all—including Joey Mullen, his new neighbor, who quickly develops an intense infatuation with this thoroughly charming yet unavailable man. Joey thinks her crush is a secret, but Tom’s teenaged son Freddie—a prodigy with aspirations of becoming a spy for MI5—excels in observing people and has witnessed Joey behaving strangely around his father.
One of Tom’s students, Jenna Tripp, also lives on the same street, and she’s not convinced her teacher is as squeaky clean as he seems. For one thing, he has taken a particular liking to her best friend and fellow classmate, and Jenna’s mother—whose mental health has admittedly been deteriorating in recent years—is convinced that Mr. Fitzwilliam is stalking her.
Meanwhile, twenty years earlier, a schoolgirl writes in her diary, charting her doomed obsession with a handsome young English teacher named Mr. Fitzwilliam…
Review: Watching You is one of those books that drops all these clues and hints that’ll have you thinking you have it all figured out. By the time you get to the end you’ve done a complete 180° and you’re left wondering how you got there. (Bonus points if your jaw hits the floor!) These kinds of books are my favorite. At this point I’ve read enough of them that I almost always know not to believe what’s being shoved in my face. (And I don’t think this is a spoiler because I’m sure every other thriller lover knows this by now too.) I enjoy trying to figure out the least likely solution, sometimes I even get it right. But to be honest, I’m usually happier when I don’t, which is what happened with Watching You.
This book also uses different forms of media to tell the story (diary entries and interview transcripts) as well as chapters that each focus on a different character, which checks two more boxes in traits I love in my thrillers.
This story may have too many characters/story lines for some readers to follow, but I loved the way it all came together in the end.
I would recommend Watching You to fans of Big Little Lies.
Publication Date: December 26, 2018
Page Count: 320
Overall Rating: 4.5/5