The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

The Girl on the Train

Paula Hawkins

A debut psychological thriller that will forever change the way you look at other people’s lives. Compulsively readable, The Girl on the Train is an emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller and an electrifying debut.

Start Reading….

Read Excerpt Now


Sign me up to receive news about Paula Hawkins.

Place our blog button on your blog to let people know you are a member of this great program!

The #1 New York Times Bestseller, USA Today Book of the Year, now a major motion picture starring Emily Blunt.
The debut psychological thriller that will forever change the way you look at other people's lives, from the author of Into the Water.
“Nothing is more addicting than The Girl on the Train.”—Vanity Fair

The Girl on the Train has more fun with unreliable narration than any chiller since Gone Girl. . . . [It] is liable to draw a large, bedazzled readership.”—The New York Times

“Marries movie noir with novelistic trickery. . . hang on tight. You'll be surprised by what horrors lurk around the bend.”—USA Today
“Like its train, the story blasts through the stagnation of these lives in suburban London and the reader cannot help but turn pages.”—The Boston Globe

Gone Girl fans will devour this psychological thriller.”—People 

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She's even started to feel like she knows them. Jess and Jason, she calls them. Their life--as she sees it--is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It's only a minute until the train moves on, but it's enough. Now everything's changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation but in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

Advance Galley Reviews

A story told from three points of view, by three women whose lives are connected in ways they can't even begin to imagine. It took me quite a while to figure out the connection, but even when I did, I didn't see the ending coming. Lots of suspense, and lots of action.

An insane and emotional roller coaster ride. I could not put this book down. Rachel's world is blown off it's rocker and the twists and tales until the end of the insane story wouldn't stop. Spine tingling suspense and good intentions blend to make a horrifying conclusion.

I don't usually enjoy psychological thrillers but I did like this one. I usually find these types of novels predictable but it actually took me about 3/4ths of the way through to figure out who the murderer was. This is a definite page turner and keeps the reader guessing. I gave it 4/5 stars.

Fantastic late night read! Thoroughly enjoyed the mystery and twists, the author keeps you wanting more. Twisted and sinister...a guilty pleasure indeed!

Comparisons to Gone Girl are inevitable so let me start there. Yes, this is a suburban suspense, with a (perhaps) unreliable narrator at the heart of it. She views her old home from the commuter train everyday. My head leaning against the carriage window, I watch these houses roll past me like a tracking shot in a film. I see them as others do not; even their owners probably don’t see them from this perspective. Twice a day, I am offered a view into other lives, just for a moment. There’s something comforting about the sight of strangers safe at home. ~Pg. 14 She imagines the lives of the people who live there now. She creates their relationships and is envious from afar. Until the inhabitants of her former house (her ex-husband and his new wife) become entangled a missing persons case. Now our main narrator has to sift through her alcohol-soaked memories for any clue to what happened. That’s just the main narrator. There are two more. This slinky, intertwined story is told from multiple perspectives, each teller with their own hangups. The reader even hears from the missing woman: I’m walking in the woods. I’ve been out since before it got light, it’s barely dawn now, deathly quiet except for the occasional outburst of chatter from the magpies in the trees above my head. I can feel them watching me, beady-eyed, calculating. A tiding of magpies. One for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl, four for a boy, five for silver, six for gold, seven for a secret never to be told. ~Pg. 70 What makes this novel so slippery is what Hawkins doesn’t write. Her narratives are broken up into chunks of time. The speaker leads the reader to a culminating moment when the story breaks. It then picks up again after the incident and we read the aftermath, which is often far different than the narrator had imagined. Thankfully, the author gives us a great ride with a definitive ending. We are not left to wonder ‘whodunit’, even if some of the details remain greyed around the edges.

This started out a little confusing for me as to who was talking and then I got used to the timing. Once I was used to the timing I got it figured out and really began to enjoy the story. This reminded me a little bit of Gone Girl and rear window. Except this was someone observing from a train. I received the ebook from FirsttoRead for a fair and honest opinion. I look forward to reading more by Paula Hawkins.

I will admit that it took me awhile to get hooked by this book. I think it was due to the changing narrator (3 different women in all), and the bouncing around in the timeline. Oh, and the fact that 2 characters were introduced by different names didn't help me either! But once I got settled into the story, I had to sit there and finish reading it. I loved piecing together the puzzle of the mystery and uncover each character's closet skeletons. I think this will make a good movie!

This is my first book review ever so please forgive any errors. "The Girl on the Train" is written from the viewpoints of three women, so you see things from each of their perspectives. Combined with their stories taking place at different points in time, it makes the suspense even greater. The buildup is intense, and the conclusion is surprising. I couldn't stop reading it.

it is getting increasingly difficult for authors to surprise me with these types of novels. the whole, multiple narrators unraveling the story slowly through their individual story, told alternating chapter by chapter. this book was very good. it is a nail biter of a story. what happened to the missing woman. how is everyone involved. who did it? but not only that. the misery each of these women endured daily was sad. it gave them each a layered quality that kept my interest past the twisted plot and storytelling convention. the characters kept my interest, had back stories that led to their present situations well. great thrilling read

This is a very exciting thriller that will keep the reader up well into the night. The promotional materials offer a comparison between this book and "Gone Girl", and it's easy to see why. Rachel is the embodiment of an untrustworthy narrator, and her skewed perception infects the whole story. There are several twists in the story that keep the reader guessing, and I look forward to reading more of Ms. Hawkins work. This is a great debut novel, and I think she's got a long career ahead of her!

Looking for a great thriller, look no further. This is definitely a thriller that kept me moving quickly through the pages. I wasn't completely satisfied with the ending, but also, loved the authors ability to keep the story bound to a short list of characters. I have no doubt this will be a big hit for thriller fans.

Deepest apologies for a late review. Especially for this book which is officially on my top 5 all time favorites! Family emergencies so I stayed so late & hope this will be forgiven. My review isn't official, however here are updates I've left in various places along the way, mostly on Goodreads...below are my extremely excited posts on GR'S: *hoping this review isn't too long for the space provided. Did some editing* After turning the last page: I need to breathe before I do this review. There's no cozy up & have a nice cup of tea with this one. There's grab the closest, strongest drink & know that being in a constant state of tension will be your best friend while you're reading. If you plan to sleep......don't plan to sleep, eat or breathe. Just read! I feel like my inside a have been twisted, pulled & tied into knots! Left sitting without mercy insanely & deliciously traumatized. Yes, I just used the word deliciously because I wanted to swallow this book whole......but I didn't have to. It climbed in & ripped my guts out page by page sentence by sentence word by every single WTH is going on taunting word......LOL, I know I've got to sound like a lunatic. I'm not.... January 12, 2015: This is incredible! Seriously, I cannot remember the last time I was completely absorbed into a story so much that the daily noises & things going on around me just didn't exist. So sorry I didn't start this sooner." January 13, 2015: Oh My FRIGGEN' *sorry* God this book is SO good! This had me on the edge in the suspenseful way which I crave & salivate for in a story. *mental note: check out ALL of #riverheadbooks Just Wow! Just bring on the heart attack now from the suspense that doesn't give you five seconds to breathe........Incredible! January 13, 2015: This is 'so' friggen' gripping, twisty, non-stop suspenseful....there aren't words for it. The read that I've been craving & salivating for, forever. This is the first in 17 years that's feeding a specific hunger. It's just friggen' incredible from page one!! No cliche. Just insanely true! OMFG! January 13-14, 2015: HEA books have made me cry, but #TheGirlOnTheTrain I can't explain. It's suspense, crime, thriller, mystery!? Why? How? Is it building up tears inside ready to burst from my eyes? I'm holding back a powerful sense of tears. My eyes want to gush! I cannot understand how a book of this genre is doing this. It's intense! Insanely intense! The build up of what's happening is making me nearly burst. I keep putting it down to breathe & because I don't want it to end! There's 'never' been a book that I've welled up with tears at the thought of it ending! It can't end, however I've got to know what happens.........How!? LOL How is this #book doing this to me. How did the #author grip me by the throat & turn my insides into twisted knots of suspense!? I don't know, but THANK YOU #PaulaHawkins January 14, 2015: I keep picking this up, reading some & putting it down. I cannot breathe. I've picked it up again, got through one paragraph & had to set it down. There has been no other in my lifetime that's made e feel like this. I'm all over the place with scenarios which I 'never' do when I read & I'm not even trying to do that now, but it's impossible not to. LOVED the story! LOVED the characters, suspense, uncertainty, the shaking & heart palpitations! All of it front to back! Don't question just buy.....Amazon purchase link:

This book was truly a page turner. It was very compelling with so many twists and turns. A wild train ride. Hawkins did very well for her first book. I think she has a bright career ahead of her if The Girl on the Train is any indication.

I have been looking forward to reading The Girl on the Train for months and was glad to guarantee my copy. This is new genre for me lately as I've started to really enjoy suspense / mystery novels. The book was definitely a page-turner and kept me guessing. I look forward to Paula Hawkins' next book! 4 stars

I just finished The Girl on the Train. Wow! Amazing book. This reminds me of Gone Girl. This is a psychological thriller that starts with Rachel riding the Train as she does each morning and evening. She watches the homes and people as she goes about her daily train rides. She imagines their lives as she believes they are. When the wife of one of the people she watches disappears, she remembers seeing the woman with a man other than her husband. Unfortunately she is considered unstable and an alcoholic. But what will happen when she starts putting herself in the midst of the entire investigation. Again highly recommended. I can see this being the next Gone Girl. 5 Stars definitely!!!!

This book slowly reveals the story of Rachel's life and her involvement in the murder at a house in the neighborhood that she used to live in. At first she doesn't seem like a very strong person who became an alcoholic when she was not able to conceive a child. She still loves her ex-husband even though he has remarried and has a child with another woman. Rachel wants to help solve the murder by telling the police what she observed from the train she takes every day. She knows that the husband of the murdered woman will be a suspect but she wants to help him. She observed his wife kissing another man on their terrace. The book had a lot of twists and turns as the truth is slowly revealed through Rachel's faulty memories and the points of view of the different characters in the novel. A great debut novel.

THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN by Paula Hawkins This book is a psychological thriller that combines the elements of Hitchcock's REAR WINDOW with Gillian Flynn's GONE GIRL. I found Rachel difficult to handle as she doesn't do much to forward her cause or credibility.This read really had no likeable characters except for baby Evie as being an infant she is too little to have an impact on th story as a whole. Along with the characters one can't help but hate there were whole sections that dragged by and then sections that flew by. I had figured out whodunit about half way through so it was just a matter of which scenario path Hawkins was going to take to get to the culprit. I was somewhat disappointed as I feel the hype was more than what the book ultimately delivered.

The Girl on the Train is a riveting story that made me feel the desperation of the main character, Rachel. Her drinking compounds that feeling. I was drawn in deeper to her attempts to figure out how to move forward with her life. The novel is very well written and I will definitely follow Paula Hawkins to read her future books.

Reading The Girl on the Train was just wonderful. It has character development that was believable, a pace that kept the words interesting, the writing style was pleasant to follow, and I had just an inkling of "who done it" by around the middle of the book. If I am going to sit down and read a book in this genre, if I can figure it out before the midway point; I get a bit frustrated with them. This book allowed me to figure it out along with Rachel; which allowed me to feel a range of emotions about what she was doing.

OMG! What a ride! No pun intended! This book seriously messed with my head. I felt like I was Rachael most of the time. I can't say the word excellent enough times. I have read over 130 books this year and this was one of the best. This book is going to be on my "Best Book Ever" list. I will definitely read more of this author in the future. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to read this book.

A page-turning psychological thriller. Reminded me of the film "Memento." The unseen cause is always a wrong belief.

The Girl on the Train blends the suspense of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl with the angst of Claire Messud’s The Woman Upstairs. Rachel Watson, divorced, alcoholic and “mentally unstable,” is the girl on the train. She rides it every day to and from a job she no longer has, past a house she no longer lives in, and looks into the windows of other’s lives. In particular, she fixates on No. 15 Blenheim Road, where Jason and Jess live, so-named by Rachel. She’s named them and given them fictional lives she covets, until one day she sees “Jess” hugged and kissed by a man not “Jason” and the next day is reported missing. Thus begins The Girl on the Train. Told in three voices, Rachel’s, Megan’s (Jess’s) and Anna’s (Rachel’s ex’s new wife), the novel, while gripping, is at its best in these characterizations, particularly Rachel’s. I was most affected by her torment, her shame, and yes, her alcohol-induced instability. The Girl on the Train makes for excellent reading and would make an equally first-rate film. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this happen.

I loved this book. It was intriguing and kept you guessing. Beautiful and terrifying. First To Read always delivers the best.

I found this to be a compelling and quick read. It didn't quite live up to the hype I've already heard about it but it was pretty good. I pretty much raced through to the end; I felt the portrayal of the thre women involved was really well done.

I don't want to give to much away about this book so, sorry, my review is going to be a tad vague... I don't really know what to think of this book. It was a very quick read. Fast paced, and little reveals here and there that made you want to read more. But then there were points throughout the book where I got bored and at one point I wanted to give up on it. For me, the big reveal wasn't very shocking. And the perpetrator giving their reasons to why they did it kind of ruined it for me. I also wasn't a fan of the writing. It felt a little disjointed and there was a lot of jumping around. I understand how it was meant that way for suspense, but it just didn't work for me. I can see why they are comparing it to Gone Girl, it's a very addicting read. But it was just an average thriller to me and not very shocking or exciting. I was hoping for something a little bit more. 2 Stars

Add this to your Wish List. Now. This will be one of the "It" books of 2015. I read this book all in one day, because I could not put it down. I even cooked family dinner while reading. (Family dinner wasn't pretty). As Rachel rides the train every day, she looks out the window at the houses that she passes. At one particular house, she sees the same couple, day after day, sitting on their porch, drinking coffee. She begins to imagine their life and even makes up names for them. As she imagines their perfect life, one day she sees something that startles her. The women is kissing someone that is not her husband. Take your shower early, put your dinner in a Crock-Pot, and put your phone on silent. This is the beginning of a twisty, exciting and suspenseful ride.

Paula Hawkins's début novel, "The Girl on the Train", was a wonderful and fast paced read that follows the lives of three women: Rachel is a drunken divorcee who is having a hard time reconciling the end of her marriage with the fact that her husband has not only moved on with a new wife but with a small child while living in the house they once lived in together. As Rachel commutes to and from work in London she passes by not only her former house but that of a young couple a couple doors down whom she has created a make believe world around in which they are happily married and named Jess and James; Megan is the woman who unbeknownst to her is referred to as Jess by Rachel from the train, although Megan loves her husband she is not content in her marriage and thus has entered into an affair prior to her mysterious disappearance; Anna is the woman who's Rachel's ex-husband left her for, a woman who is constantly haunted by Rachel who refuses to let them live in peace and who once hired Megan to be a nanny to her daughter. Although I enjoyed reading Ms. Hawkins's book, for it was both well written as well as engaging from beginning to end, I found that I had a hard time liking any of the characters. At various points throughout I felt sorry for Rachel and the fact that she had not learned to cope with the end of her marriage and thus was trying to do so by drinking all the time; but, at the same time I also found Rachel to be both pathetic and overly needed. I hated how following the disappearance of Megan, Rachel made a point of inserting herself into the life of Megan's husband all because she had seen Megan once kiss a man who was not her husband while riding the train. As the story continued though I returned to feeling sorry for Rachel for she was a woman who woke up one day to find her life ripped out from underneath her without completely understanding why, she was a woman who tried to do the right thing and only ended up being manipulated by those she thought she could trust. The character of Megan was another tragic character for she also had experienced horrible things in her past which greatly impacted her in her current life. As Megan shared more of the tragedies in her past, I really felt sorry for her and became even more intrigued about why she disappeared, if she just ran away or was killed, and if she was killed who did it and why? Anna, Rachel's replacement, I just did not like one bit or feel sorry for like I did the other two women. I found Anna to be a conniving home wrecker with no sense of remorse or regret for the fact that she had happily ended a marriage. I felt that it was only fitting that Rachel was constantly around and in the picture ruining her perfect little life and family since she had ruined Rachel's first. It wasn't until the end of the book when Anna finally did, what in my opinion was the first good thing she did the entire story, that I stopped loathing Anna as a character. Overall, I really enjoyed reading this book and I understand why it has been referred to as a Hitchcockian thriller, for while reading it I couldn't help but picture Rachel as a female version of Jimmy Stewart's L. B. 'Jeff' Jefferies from Hitchcock's "Rear Window", only instead of being laid up in bed with a broken leg watching the neighbors from her apartment window, Rachel is a woman who passes by the same stretch of houses on a daily basis as she commutes to and from London. For fans of Hitchcock's psychological thrillers this is a must read.

The Girl On The Train is the new phenomenon fans of Gillian Flynn and S.J.Watson will be obsessing over. It's the next BIG thing. It's that sort of book you want to devour at the speed of light but also slowly sip, tasting every page, every paragraph, every word... All at the same time. The writing has this addictive quality, irresistible pull, hypnotizing chemistry. It's a masterpiece through and through. I inhaled it like a junkie. There are three girls that play big parts in this story. The hopeless alcoholic who couldn't hold on to her husband and her job, and who now pretends to go to work every day because she's afraid to admit to her friend that she's now jobless - that's Rachel. Then there's Megan. On the surface she's the flawless housewife, artsy, classy and happily married to a handsome and caring Scott. In reality, Megan's life is built on lies and secrets, and her marriage with Scott is strained to say the last. Finally, there's also Anna. The "other woman" who became the replacement for Rachel, and who is now living with Rachel's ex husband in Rachel's old home, sleeping in Rachel's bed, cooking in Rachel's designer kitchen, enjoying a life she stole from Rachel. One day, on the train ride to her fake job, Rachel witnesses something. There's a couple she sees almost every day on her way to London, people she made up names for and created whole imaginary lives for in her head. They are always so perfect, so in love. She loves watching them. But then, one day, she sees the woman (who is Megan) kissing someone who clearly isn't her husband (Scott). And the next day Megan goes missing. And the story of lies and deception begins. This book reminded me of both Gone Girl and Before I Go To Sleep and I couldn't help but draw parallels. It's not that the plot line seemed similar, because it's really a completely different and original story. It's more that the writing is of similar quality, the plot is just as twisty and dark and the story sucks you in and holds you captive, demanding to be read in one sitting. It's the same kind of reading experience, and I just loved it. Such finely, artfully crafted plot line. So fresh, so substantial, so gritty! Full of blood chilling secrets and tantalizing revelations. I was obsessed with this story, with the flawed and messed-up characters and their complicated, tangled-up lives. I couldn't get enough of that stuff. The Girl On The Train is a very intense and dark story. No character is without fault here, no one is purely good and entirely innocent, but at the same time all of the characters (well, all except one!) have some redeeming qualities. They're not bad, they're just kind of lost, kind of unhinged, kind of desperate. I found their stories thoroughly fascinating to read about. The murder mystery is at the core of the plot line. The missing girl. The mysterious man kissing her the night before. The controlling husband. The disturbing past full of blood-chilling secrets. The unreliable, untrustworthy witness. It all messes with your head and keeps you at the edge of your seat. You feel that you can't trust anyone, the lead character (Rachel) included. You wreck your brain for answers and you come up empty. If I am to be honest, I figured out what happened to Megan about 2/3 through the story. It was mostly a guess, but I had a bad feeling about one particular character, and as it turned out, I was right. That didn't take away from the pleasure of reading this book at all, though. The ending was truly breathtaking and I now can't wait for Hawkin's next book to come out!

If Alfred Hitchcock and Gillian Flynn had a love child book, it would be Girl on a Train. I LOVED this book. The twists and turns were fabulous, and you couldn't help loving and hating all the characters. Such an amazing book. It is hard to believe it is a debut given how well written, plotted, and paced it is. I can't wait to be able to talk to others who have read it.

This is a first-rate thriller that starts out with the reader feeling fairly comfortable with the narrator, in the sense that the experiences described have occurred to everyone traveling through suburbia, at one time or another. And then very slowly, our protagonist suggests that her life is perhaps somewhat other than what the reader first expected. And then other characters are introduced and the ride becomes increasingly complicated and ever more tense. I don't want to offer more because the book is best met on its own terms without much further explanation. It is impossible to stop reading once begun. It is taut, exciting and incredibly well written. Save it for a day when you have enough time to finish it, otherwise you'll go nuts hiding the book while pretending to do something else.

I read this one straight through in one day, switching from my e-reader to a desktop computer reader when my battery went dead, because it was that hard to put it down! There are three narrators, all women and all deeply involved in the plot, but the main narrator is Rachel. Rachel is a very unreliable narrator, as she is an alcoholic prone to black-outs. She commutes to work on a train that travels by her old house, and has created a fantasy about a couple that lives just a few doors down from where her ex-husband lives with his new wife and child. She has watched this couple of strangers and created the perfect marriage that she did not have, but one morning she sees the wife kissing a stranger, and after that, the wife goes missing. Rachel inserts herself in the story, trying to help, though she seems to do more harm than good. Her inability to let go of her ex-husband turns his home life into turmoil. Because of her frequent drunken phone calls and visits to her ex-husband, she finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time and witness to something that can solve the mystery. Unfortunately, she is too drunk to remember all but a tiny bit of what happened, and even if she could remember, who would believe her? She knows that she has seen something important, but she can't dredge up the details, and this has her seeing danger in people who aren't dangerous and missing the true threats. Rachel has a hard time letting go of the fantasy she has created about the missing person, Megan, and see's Megan's husband Scott as the wronged party. She is so convinced Megan ran off with a lover or crossed the wrong man that she inserts herself into Scott's life, posing as one of Megan's friends. This doesn't go well. She tries to help the police, but is pretty quickly recognized as an unreliable witness and her statements are discredited. She has poor judgement, whether intoxicated or sober, and this means she puts herself into bad situations again and again. You spend much of the book hoping she'll clean up her act and stop risking herself, but it wouldn't be a story if she had! The other two narrators are Megan, the victim, and Anna, Rachel's ex-husband's new wife. It's questionable whether either of them are more functional than Rachel - all three women seem pretty damaged and don't necessarily let the reader see all the cards. Because of this, you are kept guessing pretty far into the book. I eventually figured out who was to blame, but that didn't make it any less important that I read all the way to the end. I definitely enjoyed this book. All the characters had faults, and it seemed quite gritty and real because of that. I would recommend this to anybody who likes thrillers and wants a quick escape into somewhere dark where nothing is as it seems.


More to Explore

  • Into the Water

Copy the following link