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A Trio of Sophies | Book Review

Tuesday, 25 February 2020

I always get excited when a character in a book is named after me, well not named after me but has my name. You know what I mean... So when I heard about this book A Trio of Sophies* by Eileen Merriman over on the Turning Pages NZ Goodreads group how could I not get excited? Three Sophies???

Turns out that actually only one goes by Sophie most the time, and she's the one who has mysteriously disappeared.

Mystery and unsettling revelations keep up the suspense in this page-turning novel. The last time I saw Sophie A, she was kissing James Bacon. She could have any guy she wanted, but she was kissing an English teacher who was eight years older than her. Right back when Sophie MacKenzie started primary school, she was befriended by Sophie Twiggs and Sophie Abercrombie. Although they developed different interests, the threesome have stuck together through high school. But now Sophie Abercrombie is not just The prettiest Sophie, she is also The missing Sophie. As Sophie MacKenzie confides to her diary, Sophie A went missing sixty-four days ago and, despite police investigation, she has not been found. The Trio of Sophies is no more.

The main thing I love about Eileen Merriman books is that they're set in New Zealand. I haven't really come across many books set in NZ, although I don't actually read a lot of kiwi authors to be honest, so it's quite refreshing reading a story based in places you've actually been to regularly.

This is the third book of Merriman's I've read so I've started to recognise a bit of a regular pattern in her writing. It's a little slow to get into but it definitely picks up and carries you straight to a big twist at the end. This twist is easier to guess what's going to happen in this book compared to her other two books because it's written backwards, starting in the future 64 days from the incident and then going back day after day until you reach day 0, but it doesn't stop there! Once you get to day 0 the book flips to the future and goes from day 64 to day 151, and again it doesn't stop there. The backwards and then forwards storytelling was hard to follow sometimes as they also included flashbacks to before day 0 so you had to concentrate to make sure you knew what day it was. But it did ensure that the suspense built at the right pace. There are actually a few unanswered questions at the end and I wasn't 100% sure what actually happened but that was the whole point of the book.

Even though the blurb talked about a girl who had mysteriously disappeared I was still expecting a fluffy YA novel. While Eileen Merriman does usually cover important topics like alcoholic parents they're usually important topics wrapped up in fluffy cotton wool coating but this was less fluffy. I was expecting romance and cute adorable moments with the missing teenager storyline intertwined but no. There were definitely some important takeaways like her other novels, mostly about abusive relationships and going to the police about those abusive relationships which teenagers and young adults would benefit from.

I feel like I'm slightly getting too old for these types of YA books, the ones based around younger teenagers and while this one was based around older teenagers I often forgot they were older than they were as they seemed to come across as younger than they were written to be. Merriman's books are perfect for teenagers and early twenties readers though, and I did still enjoy it!
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