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He Said / She Said: A Novel by Erin Kelly

He Said / She Said: A Novel

by Erin Kelly

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In the summer of 1999, Kit and Laura travel to a festival in Cornwall to see a total eclipse of the sun. Kit is an eclipse chaser; Laura has never seen one before. Young and in love, they are certain this will be the first of many they’ll share. They come across what appears to be a guy raping a girl. Laura knows that she saw something terrible. The man denies it. It is her word against his. He Said/She Said is a gripping tale of the lies we tell to save ourselves, the truths we cannot admit, and how far we will go to make others believe our side of the story.

I found the first half of the book to be a slow-read but from the middle to the end was a unputdownable page-turner. I did not see the twist at the end and it was a definite surprise and made up for the slow beginning. I would recommend this book to those who like psychological thrillers about lies and relationships. ( )
  EadieB | Jul 1, 2018 |
Actual Rating: 3.5 Stars

“Waiting for something horrible to happen is almost more draining than it actually happening.”
Erin Kelly, He Said/She Said

I had high expectations for He Said/She Said, but I felt the pace was too slow (especially at the beginning). From the reviews I've read, readers or really liked the book or not. I honestly felt it was just ok. Regardless, Kelly's writing is solid, detailed and smart. The chapters alternate between Laura and Kit over a 15-year time span and include a lot of information about solar eclipses. More than half way through the book the novel did incorporate elements of surprise and one particular moment I did not expect or see coming, which I liked. Overall, it was not a bad book but it just moved too slow for me.

I would like to thank NetGalley and Minotaur Books for providing me with an ARC of the book in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  debbiesbooknook | Apr 27, 2018 |
Synopsis: He Said/She Said follows Kit and Laura, alternating between their early days of dating to today, ten plus years’ married. Kit is a solar eclipse chaser and, at one of the first festivals where he invites Laura into the fold, Laura interrupts a rape. The repercussions of that rape and the interruption are continuing some fifteen years later when Kit breaks their years of hiding to travel for another eclipse, leaving Laura pregnant at home.

This is a book I probably should have done a bit more research on before diving in, though I’m not sure even that would have prepared me for this book. All I knew going in was that it was on Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Summer 2017 Reading Guide and it was about solar eclipse chasers—a timely choice since there was the total solar eclipse last summer in the United States. I actually tried to start the book a few times on Kindle but kept not being able to get into it before it was due at the library again. I finally gave up on reading it and reserved the audiobook.

And WOW was there a difference. Where I was feeling ambivalent about reading the book, the audiobook brought this thriller to life for me—the voices of Laura and Kit were chosen well and I’m a sucker for a novel set in Britain read with accents (really, I think any book set outside the United States is almost always better on audio for this reason). I was immediately sucked into Laura’s anxiety over her life in hiding with Kit, Kit’s near-obsession with chasing solar-eclipses now placing them at risk since the impending eclipse means he will be partially coming out of total hiding, like the sun moving out of the moon’s shadow—a metaphor that I suppose only works if solar eclipses lasted the years Kit and Laura have been in hiding.

I should probably have guessed from the title but the central action revolves around a rape accusation—a rape interrupted by Laura during an eclipse fifteen years prior. (Hence my suggestion that I probably should have done research on this one—all the trigger warnings for rape, misogyny, and gaslighting.) In an unexpected turn of events, Laura winds up befriending the victim, Beth, until that friendship places Laura and Kit’s lives in danger. As Kit and Laura tentatively step out of hiding, the events of that day and the players involved come crashing back into their lives.

I think I’ve said this before, but I’m pretty good at predicting where a book, movie, or show is going to go. It drives my boyfriend a little crazy when we’re watching something on television and I can predict what’s about to happen, sometimes down to the way the characters say whatever the big reveal is. He Said/She Said had more than one twist I found surprising—Kelly kept me on the edge of my seat and had twists that were shocking, though not so farfetched as to be implausible. Indeed, even what points Kelly was going to make—is she really going to suggest a woman would lie about rape? Is Men’s Rights really going to make an appearance in this book?—weren’t entirely clear through significant portions of the book. There were moments where I couldn’t stop myself from listening, even though I wasn’t sure if what was about to happen was going to make me angry. Kelly’s agenda wasn’t clear until almost the end of the book—something that is rare and made this book all the more gripping.

The majority of my “reading” of audiobooks is done in the car. The sign of an excellent audiobook is if I choose it over a physical book once I get home. I couldn’t put He Said/She Said down and wound up cleaning my entire house and eating meals staring into space just so I could keep the last half of the audiobook playing. I recommend this one if you can handle the triggers and may be re-listening to this one with the boyfriend if we have a long drive coming up.

Published: June 6, 2017 by Minotaur Books (@minotaur_books)
Author: Erin Kelly (@erinjelly)
Date read: February 17, 2018
Rating: 4 stars

More reviews: http://lisaanreads.com
  ImLisaAnn | Apr 12, 2018 |
While the premise was fascinating, I found that this book just didn't play out for me the way that I hoped it would.

Laura witnesses a rape in the aftermath of an eclipse that she was attending with her boyfriend, Kit. After the trial, Laura and Kit find that their lives are changed just as much as the victim's, Beth. Laura knows they made the right choice in speaking out, Yet Beth seems to stalk their family, bringing destruction wherever she goes.

I love a book about twisty women—GONE GIRL will always be favorite. I was hoping to see more of that here. Marketed as a mystery/thriller, this book was really more about interpersonal relationships and the way that you can never really know someone. While this can work well in a thriller, it didn't work well here. The constant switching in POV and in time made following the plot confusing.

I found myself often putting this book down and then struggling to remember where I left off when I came back to it. The ending was decent, full of twists, though I'm not sure it's the ending I would have liked to see. Overall, this isn't a bad book, but does move slowly for the genre, which is a negative for me.

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for a fair and unbiased review. ( )
  Haneyhh | Apr 10, 2018 |
When it comes to thrillers and mysteries we all expect twists and turns, and I must admit I rate these books based on how much they manage to surprise me. I only read this genre occasionally, so I'm pretty sure many books that do surprise me won't surprise a mystery fan. So, take my opinion with a grain of salt.

I read this more or less in one sitting, and I couldn't figure out where He Said/She Said was headed. It's not that I didn't see the twist and turns coming, I had simply no idea what was going to happen. At all.

And I think it's best enjoyed blind.

Now, the book is slow at first. Erin Kelly builds the plot with care and takes her time to add depth to her characters before things take off. Stick with it, it's worth it. And no, it's not one of those boring thrillers, but the twist makes it worth your time. Erin Kelly wrote a compelling relationship and an addictive, intricate plot with great characters that are deeply flawed.

Recommended to all fans of the genre. ( )
  Vinjii | Apr 3, 2018 |
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Prologue: A total eclipse of the sun has five stages.
Chapter One: London is the most light-polluted city in Britain, but even here in the northern suburbs, you can still see the stars at four o’clock in the morning.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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"In the summer of 1999, Kit and Laura travel to a festival in Cornwall to see a total eclipse of the sun. Kit is an eclipse chaser; Laura has never seen one before. Young and in love, they are certain this will be the first of many they'll share. But in the hushed moments after the shadow passes, Laura interrupts a man and a woman. She knows that she saw something terrible. The man denies it. It is her word against his. The victim seems grateful. Months later, she turns up on their doorstep like a lonely stray. But as her gratitude takes a twisted turn, Laura begins to wonder--did she trust the wrong person? 15 years later, Kit and Laura married are living under new names and completely off the digital grid: no Facebook, only rudimentary cell phones, not in any directories. But as the truth catches up to them, they realize they can no longer keep the past in the past. From Erin Kelly, queen of the killer twist, He Said/She Said is a gripping tale of the lies we tell to save ourselves, the truths we cannot admit, and how far we will go to make others believe our side of the story"--… (more)

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