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Last Girl Ghosted (2021)

de Lisa Unger

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12012184,897 (3.5)8
Afegit fa poc perJFB87, Arina8888, biblioteca privada, memasmb, Kimbie1, ennuiprayer, JoeB1934, MauTinNyanko
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To all appearances, Wren Greenwood would seem to have it all. Her successful “Dear Birdie” advice column and associated blog have garnered so much success that she closed a significantly-lucrative financial deal with the New York Chronicle. Subsequently, the related podcast became a huge success in its own right and now there’s a staff to help Wren with all of it. Financially resourceful, she’s managed to purchase a dilapidated brownstone that she’s spent the last several years fixing up.

But Wren’s romantic life is essentially nonexistent. Cajoled by her best friend, Jax, into putting her profile up on the Torch online dating site, she has a couple of “meh” dates before Adam Harper comes into her life. And just when she’s certain she knows where the relationship is going, Adam stands her up and subsequently vanishes along with his online profile, his social media account, his cellphone number, and his apartment.

Ghosted.

But when a private investigator shows up asking questions about a man who looks very much like Adam and the disappearance of a young woman who’d met him through Torch, Wren sets out to find some answers.

What will Wren discover about the man who ghosted her? And what does her past have to do with what’s happening now?

=========

This is a dark and disturbing tale filled with secrets, obsessions, and revenge. Anchored by a strong sense of place [and the casual mention of a virus in China to cement the timeline], the story alternates between the present and Wren’s disconcerting, difficult childhood. A glimpse into the lives of the three missing women reveals that each of them, like Wren, survived some horrific tragedy in their childhoods. But the mystery of what happened to them after they met Adam lingers.

At the outset, Wren seems to be managing her life rather well. True, she’s not done much dating before Adam comes into her life, but it’s as if all her insight and common sense abandon her when it comes to that relationship. She continually makes questionable choices [likely to cause a severe case of eye-rolling in the reader]. Her backstory, parceled out in “Then” chapters in the telling of the tale, is complex, compelling, and harrowing.

Less a thriller and more of a powerful meeting-the-challenges-of-life sort of a narrative, the author devotes a significant amount of time to examining the characters’ feelings, leading to a disturbing denouement that is sure to create dissidence among readers. Nevertheless, the issues are authentic, the backstory of Wren’s life nothing short of gut-wrenching.

Eventually, the plot lines come together well enough to tie up the storylines adequately, but many unsettling questions remain. Mental illness, psychological trauma, survivalist living, grief, and family abuse give the narrative an undercurrent of uneasiness, but they don't play into the denouement of the story in any significant way. It's the courage to survive and the dangers of online dating that seem to be the central foci of the narrative, but the dark themes woven throughout the telling of the tale provide much food for contemplation.

Recommended. ( )
  jfe16 | Jan 8, 2022 |
Wren Greenwood, a successful advice columnist, finds herself a victim of a too common 21st century ploy: the Romance Scam. Lisa Unger introduces the lonely, lovelorn Wren in her latest: Last Girl Ghosted. Although she is capable of dispensing insightful counsel, she feels hypocritical and burdened by taking on the despair of her readers. At her best friend’s urging, she joins a dating app in hope of filling a void in her life with a relationship. Wren is particularly drawn to one profile-the owner of a security company who quotes Rilke. It seems that they are perfectly suited to each other, and Wren quickly finds herself in a romantic whirlwind. She feels safe enough with this man to share some of her closely held secrets about her traumatic childhood. When her paramour disappears without a trace, Wren devotes herself to trying track him down. She learns along the way that the man’s motives were not what she had thought. Wren is tracked down and questioned by Bailey, a private investigator who has been hired for a related case. Their attraction begins to grow as they search for answers together. Wren is conflicted because she still has feelings for the missing stranger, despite his alleged actions. When the search brings Wren and Bailey back to her hometown, she is surrounded by memories of her horrific past. It is difficult for the reader to cheer for Wren when she keeps making bad choices and sabotaging her own efforts. Last Girl Ghosted is a perfect example of a genre blend of Romance/Suspense that unfortunately fails to achieve credible balance. The romantic plot becomes more of a diversion that is both cringe-worthy and trite. Unfortunately, Last Girl Ghosted is a novel with too much romantic foolishness and too little genuine thrills.

Thanks to the author, Park Row and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an unbiased review. ( )
  jnmegan | Dec 31, 2021 |
This book was not what I expected... and not in a good way.

Going by the blurb, I anticipated a thriller about the dark side of online dating. It started like that, but then it went in a TOTALLY different direction for the bulk of the book, only to return to the dating storyline in the last third. Meanwhile, it meandered into topics such as survivalists, PTSD, alcoholism, domestic abuse... resulting in an excessively long and repetitive read.

As for character development, some were fleshed out, while others made a brief appearance and were, well... ghosted. Also, I was confused whether one of the characters, "Robin," was real or imaginary.

This was my second book by Unger. I read Fragile years ago and remember enjoying it. But this one... not so much. I slogged through only because I wanted to know who the culprit was. I'm not sure it was worth it. Maybe I would have been better off reading spoilers. The end was disappointing. ( )
  kulmona | Nov 23, 2021 |
Well done. Full review coming soon. ( )
  Desiree_Reads | Nov 6, 2021 |
Boy, is this a book for the times. Lisa Unger always writes exciting psychological thrillers, but she’s really outdone herself this time. Wren thinks she’s found the perfect man through an online dating service, but then he disappears and along with him, so does his online presence and his phone is disconnected. Then a private investigator comes looking for him. A client’s daughter has disappeared, and they think Wren’s boyfriend is involved. He may also be involved in the disappearance of several other girls. And yet, I felt this book took on so many different issues, it never really dealt well with all of them. Readers will enjoy it, but I wonder how many, like me, are left wondering at the decision Wren made about her baby at the end is realistic. ( )
  brangwinn | Oct 31, 2021 |
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