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When the Lights Go Out by Mary Kubica
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When the Lights Go Out (2018)

by Mary Kubica

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1993693,483 (3.08)6
"Jessie Sloane is on the path to rebuilding her life after years of caring for her ailing mother. She rents a new apartment and applies for college. But when the college informs her that her social security number has raised a red flag, Jessie discovers a shocking detail that causes her to doubt everything she's ever known. Finding herself suddenly at the center of a bizarre mystery, Jessie tumbles down a rabbit hole, which is only exacerbated by grief and a relentless lack of sleep. As days pass and the insomnia worsens, it plays with Jessie's mind. Her judgment is blurred, her thoughts are hampered by fatigue. Jessie begins to see things until she can no longer tell the difference between what's real and what she's only imagined. Meanwhile, twenty years earlier and two hundred and fifty miles away, another woman's split-second decision may hold the key to Jessie's secret past. Has Jessie's whole life been a lie or have her delusions gotten the best of her?"--Provided by publisher.… (more)

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Showing 1-5 of 36 (next | show all)
When the Lights Go Out by Mary Kubica is an engrossing and suspenseful mystery that also explores obsession and the effects of grief.

Jessie Sloane is bereft when her beloved mother and only relative passes away after years of battling cancer. Attempting to honor her mother's last wishes, Jessie enrolls in college only to discover her social security number is flagged for a shocking reason that leaves her questioning everything she thinks she knows about herself and her mom. Suffering from debilitating insomnia, Jessie begins seeing and hearing things that threaten her sanity. She eventually becomes obsessed with finding her father but does the hidden picture Jessie discovers hold the key to uncovering the truth?

Interspersed with events playing out in the present are diary entries from a woman named Eden. When Eden first begins her journal, she and her husband Aaron are blissfully happy and celebrating their recent move into a lakeside cottage. The couple decide it is time to become parents, but as the months pass without conceiving, Jessie becomes more and more obsessed with motherhood. With her marriage teetering on the brink, exactly how far is Jessie willing to go to become a mother?

When the Lights Go Out is a riveting mystery that will keep readers guessing what is going to happen next. Jessie's plight is easy to empathize with but her behavior and decisions become increasingly bizarre. Eden's desperate attempts to become pregnant are understandable but she eventually becomes quite irrational the more desperate she becomes. Mary Kubica brings the novel to an unexpected conclusion with a major plot twist that is impossible to predict. Although the ending is bit of letdown, I truly enjoyed this suspense-filled and entertaining read. ( )
  kbranfield | Feb 3, 2020 |
As much as I loved The Good Girl by the same author, I did not like this book. It was from the POV of a very unreliable author. It was difficult for me to tell what was real and what was not. Sometimes that adds to the storyline, but this time it fell flat. 337 pages ( )
  Tess_W | Jan 24, 2020 |
I think I need to quit reading Kubica. This book is completely predictable. Yes people, even the "twist" at the end. But worse that that, all of Jessie's chapters are utterly boring. I almost stopped reading halfway through. Bottom line is - Don't waste your time. ( )
  bookswithmom | Dec 18, 2019 |
Please see all of my reviews on my blog at https://www.robinlovesreading.com.

My rating: 3.5 Stars

When we open the pages of this chilling tale, we read that Jessie Sloane is sitting with her dying mother. She is not sleeping and is suffering from sleep deprivation. This has become debilitating to her. She is now seeing and hearing things. In the process of trying to apply to college, she discovers several disconcerting things: she had no social security number, identification or even a birth certificate.

The story shifts to a woman named Eden set twenty years earlier. She is a happy young wife and she and her husband have moved into a new home. Although having only been married for a couple of years, Eden wants a child more than she ever could have imagined. This is a pivotal part of the story.

The story quickly shifts back and forth between Jessie’s and Eden’s first-person points of view. It is rather difficult to follow as the timelines seemed rather random. I nearly put the book down more than once, but about 100 pages in, things began to come together.

Because of this, it took me several days to read this book. I simply could not get into the story. I was relieved when I reached the “Aha” moment. I then became eager to know why Jessie had such an uncertain past and did wonder about whatever resolution would come her way. The story definitely was intriguing, as there was so much to learn about both of these women and how they tied together.

This is a book in which the term unreliable narrator really applies. Two in this case. This is because character development in When the Lights Go Out was done quite well. I felt for Jessie while she struggled with the dual battle of her identity and her extreme exhaustion and everything that went along with that. Conversely, the author did a fine job in making me truly dislike Eden. Although there were moments when I did feel very sorry for her, I also felt moments of complete disgust. This was a very nice contrast to experience while reading this book.

The ending, though... I had to read the last several chapters twice. All I can say at this point is that it was odd. It left me scratching my head. I did get the answers that I was seeking while reading this book, but it was delivered just as jumbled as the rest of the story. This is my first read by Mary Kubica. However, due to the intrigue which did manage to hold my attention for a good portion of the story, I would like to give this author another look in a future book.

Many thanks to Harlequin - Hanover Square Press and NetGalley for this ARC to review in exchange for my honest opinion. ( )
  RobinLovesReading | Oct 25, 2019 |
OMG! These characters are annoying! The Kubica twist at the end wasn't enough to make me not want to kill them both - it was just enough to keep me going because I normally enjoy her books. ( )
  DonnaB317 | Jun 18, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 36 (next | show all)
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Jessie Sloane is on the path to rebuilding her life after years of caring for her ailing mother. She rents a new apartment and applies for college. But when the college informs her that her social security number has raised a red flag, Jessie discovers a shocking detail that causes her to doubt everything she's ever known. Finding herself suddenly at the center of a bizarre mystery, Jessie tumbles down a rabbit hole, which is only exacerbated by grief and a relentless lack of sleep. As days pass and the insomnia worsens, it plays with Jessie's mind. Her judgment is blurred, her thoughts are hampered by fatigue. Jessie begins to see things until she can no longer tell the difference between what's real and what she's only imagined. Meanwhile, twenty years earlier and two hundred and fifty miles away, another woman's split-second decision may hold the key to Jessie's secret past. Has Jessie's whole life been a lie or have her delusions gotten the best of her?
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