Synopsis from Simon & Schuster:
From the author of Little Broken Things, a “race-to-the-finish family drama” (People) following a mother who must confront the dark summer that changed her life forever in order to reclaim the daughter she left behind.
Juniper Baker had just graduated from high school and was deep in the throes of a summer romance when Cal and Beth Murphy, a childless couple who lived on a neighboring farm, were brutally murdered. When her younger brother became the prime suspect, June’s world collapsed and everything she loved that summer fell away. She left, promising never to return to tiny Jericho, Iowa.
Until now. Officially, she’s back in town to help an ill friend manage the local library. But really, she’s returned to repair her relationship with her teenage daughter, who’s been raised by Juniper’s mother and stepfather since birth—and to solve the infamous Murphy murders once and for all. She knows the key to both lies in the darkest secret of that long-ago summer night, one that’s haunted her for nearly fifteen years.
As history begins to repeat itself and a dogged local true crime podcaster starts delving into the murders, the race to the truth puts past and present on a dangerous collision course. Juniper lands back in an all-too-familiar place with the answers to everything finally in her sights, but this time it’s her daughter’s life that hangs in the balance. Will revealing what really happened mean a fresh start? Or will the truth destroy everything Juniper loves for a second time? Baart once again brilliantly weaves mystery into family drama in this expertly-crafted novel for fans of Lisa Jewell and Megan Miranda.
About: Everything We Didn’t Say is a mystery thriller written by Nicole Baart. It will be published on 11/2/2021 by Atria Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, paperback, 368 pages. The genres are mystery thriller, contemporary fiction, and family. According to the publisher’s website, “founded in 2002, Atria was from the start intended to be an environment where new ideas could flourish, the best writers of fiction and nonfiction could thrive and connect with an ever-widening readership, and the best practices of traditional publishing could be integrated with cutting-edge developments in the digital world. In short, a place where great books could come to light.” Please see below for more information about the author and publisher.
My Experience: I started reading Everything We Didn’t Say on 10/5/2021 and finished it on 10/22/2021 at 3am. A fast paced page turner read, this story’s numerous secrets kept me turning the pages. I loved secrets and they were being sprinkled out slowly as the story evolved. Juniper is one main character that I dislike, both as a teenager and as an adult. As a teenager, she seemed selfish and lived inside her head all the time. She couldn’t spare any time for her brother and her mom who sounded troubled as if they were wrestling a demon of their own. As an adult, she complained why her daughter didn’t welcome her with open arms when she was the one who left. Her hot and cold feelings as she talked to Everett was weird. One moment she felt anxious being near him and the next she felt compassion for him.
This book started in the present day with Juniper, 33, as she made her way back to Jericho, a town with the population of 4,000. She used to live here 15 years ago but has been living in Denver, CO. Now she’s back and wanting to be more of a hands on mom. Her daughter, Willa who’s 13 has been living with her mom Reb and stepfather Law since she was a baby. Juniper had with her a whole collection of the Murphy murders from 15 years ago, one where her brother was accused and where she has been researching to solve the mystery. She also came back to be with her friend Cora, 68. The alternative timeline was 14.5 years ago with Juniper, 18 turning 19, waking up hungover from her graduation party the night before. She has a younger brother Jonathan, 18 who often acted as her older brother. The siblings were inseparable and were like twins because they can finish each other’s sentences. That summer everything seemed to change. Juniper planned on going away for college and her mom seemed to have secrets she’s hiding as well as Jonathan. She was left with the guy she didn’t intend to fall in love with and in the meantime ruined her friendship with Ashley for wanting him. The story weaved back and forth with lots of secrets and suspense. There’s an epilogue at the end of the book.
Everything We Didn’t Say was well written and often unputdownable. I loved the bombshell twists at the end. I didn’t expect it even though the suspense was killing me. It would have been nice to know the history of Juniper’s father. It’s odd that her family don’t communicate much. I think my family overshare sometimes, probably me more than others. Juniper’s 19 in this story but she seems younger because she didn’t know what’s going on around her until being told. I don’t know how Juniper figure out it was “him” when he mentioned about digging up the past. I read that paragraph 3x. The timeline for this story was simple, winter vs summer with 14.5 years difference. I liked the mentioned of water contamination, fertilizer, and farming. I liked the siblings relationship and how the younger brother who is close in age to the older sister acted more responsible and mature than she. Anyhow, this story was an enjoyable read and I recommend everyone to read this book!
I rate it 4.5 stars!
About the Author:
Nicole Baart is the mother of five children from four different countries. The cofounder of a nonprofit organization, One Body One Hope, she lives in a small town in Iowa. She is the author of nine previous novels, including You Were Always Mine, Little Broken Things, and The Beautiful Daughters. Learn more at NicoleBaart.com (Photo and info obtained from Simon & Schuster’s website).
More Information about Atria Books
***Disclaimer: Many thanks to Atria Books for the opportunity to read and review. Please be assured that my opinions are honest.