Murder She Read: January Book Discussion

You’re here! Hooray!

I’m pumped that you’ve decided to join my Murder She Read Virtual Book Club (not sure what the F I’m talking about? Click here to learn more).

Olivia Shaw has been missing since last Tuesday. She was last seen outside the entrance of her elementary school in Hunts Point wearing a white spring jacket, blue jeans, and pink boots.

I force myself to look at the face in the photo, into her slightly smudged features, and I can’t bring myself to move. Olivia Shaw could be my mirror image, rewound to thirteen years ago.

If you have any knowledge of Olivia Shaw’s whereabouts or any relevant information, please contact…

I’ve spent a long time peering into the faces of girls on missing posters, wondering which one replaced me in that basement. But they were never quite the right age, the right look, the right circumstances. Until Olivia Shaw, missing for one week tomorrow.

Whoever stole me was never found. But since I was taken, there hasn’t been another girl.

And now there is.

This month, we read Girl Last Seen by Nina Laurin, and I have to say, damn, this book was quick to read. I think I read it in three sittings.



I loved how easy the text was – no long and drawn out descriptions of sights and sounds, and no words that I had to turn to the dictionary to comprehend. The whole book flows like a comfortable conversation, which for me, makes for a fast read. Do you agree?

The book hooked me right from the beginning – I loved the opening discussing how easy it can be to appear “normal.” I know I’ve definitely gone through phases in life where I feel like normal is just an act, and that helped me connect with the main character. Were you immediately engaged with the book, or did it take you a while? Was there something specific that helped you connect with the book?

I think that the author makes it easy to empathize with Laine, and almost begin to understand how trauma can reshape a person’s view of themselves. I found myself rooting for her at times, wanting her to realize that what was done to her doesn’t dictate her character. I wanted her to find meaning in it all, and to understand that she is capable of growth. So I definitely found peace in the ending, knowing that she was able to deal with the trauma and move forward in a positive manner. How did you feel about Laine as a character? Did you ever find yourself rooting for her? Was her “recovery” satisfying for you?

One thing that definitely irked me – any maybe one of you can help smooth it out for me – was the lingering question of: what did Tom Shaw do with Laine FOR THREE YEARS???

I think the author was pointing towards Laine having been kept in the basement of the summer home, but like, nobody noticed?? Where was Jacqueline in all of this? Did she have any clue? Or did she really truly not start to put the pieces together until she found out about Jacinta and Olivia being abused by him? I like things to be wrapped up nicely, and that just felt ignored to me. Do you agree?

Take a stab (haha me so funny) at the questions above, and also feel free to share your overall thoughts.

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