NetGalley is such a wonderful resource for finding books that I never even knew I would love this much. An email pinged into my inbox last week advertising He Said/She Said, and I was drawn in by every aspect of it, from the electric cover art to the mysterious blurb which promised a thriller which was exactly the kind of thing I would love. And I was not even a tiny bit disappointed. He Said/She Said is a masterfully suspenseful, twisting, turning addictively engaging thriller which had me repeatedly messaging people about how good it was.
Who do you believe?
In the hushed aftermath of a total eclipse, Laura witnesses a brutal attack.
She and her boyfriend Kit call the police, and in that moment, it is not only the victim’s life that is changed forever.
Fifteen years on, Laura and Kit live in fear.
And while Laura knows she was right to speak out, the events that follow have taught her that you can never see the whole picture: something – and someone – is always in the dark…
This book was really fantastic. Electric suspense ripped through every page as the story of the 1999 Cornwall incident and the 2015 eclipse unfolded in parallel. The players in the story were revealed gradually, only as the story developed, and I spent the entire book in a frenzy of curiosity as I tried to figure out who had done what and how Kit and Laura had ended up in such a state of fear.
There were lots of really praiseworthy things in this book. Thought-provoking discourses on rape culture, flirtation, consent, and how rape victims are judged, as well as the all-too-prevalent notion that rich white boys can get away with anything were underlying the plot but never felt preachy, only highlighting some incredibly important issues in a way which was effective and intense.
Kit and Laura were fantastically engaging twin narrators – bound together by the trauma they survived and the relationship they’ve forged, their college sweetheart story is a compelling picture of what love can withstand – and what it can’t.
Beth, too, is a gloriously shaded villain – complex and nuanced, she’s every bit as crucial to the plot as Laura’s anxiety and Kit’s eclipse obsession.
If the ending is a little over the top, I allowed it, because the ratcheting tension throughout the book justified it, and it wasn’t out of tone with the brutal beginning of this epic ride.
Not only did I get a thrilling psychological thriller, I also learned some new information about eclipses, making this book both hugely entertaining and educational!
From first to last page, I never knew what was coming next – like an eclipse, some part of each character was cast into sudden darkness and new insights flared like a corona.
Electrically tense and eerily dark at times, this is my first five-star book of 2017.