All The Way Home by Wendy Corsi Staub

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All The Way Home by Wendy Corsi Staub
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (319 pgs)
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Jasmine

For years, Rory Connelly has been haunted by the memory of her sister Carleen, who vanished from her bed one night and was never seen again. When Rory returns home to care for her ailing mother and teenage sister, she discovers a family that has never recovered from the tragic events of so long ago.

That summer, the quiet little town of Lake Charlotte was torn apart when four teenage girls vanished—a mystery that still puzzles its residents. Now, a decade later, on the anniversary of the first disappearance, another girl goes missing, and the community is consumed with fear.

Rory is forced to relive her worst nightmare . . . only this time, her own life is at stake.

There is a saying about the past coming back to haunt you. That sentiment seems to be especially true in this book. Not only did it come back to haunt Rory but it decided to meet her face to face. There’s also one about not being able to go home again. While on the surface it seems as if that one may be true, everyone knows that home is the one place that you can go back to. Cliche’s aside, All The Way Home is definitely a thriller that kept my attention and threw a couple of plot twists at me that I wasn’t expecting.

Rory left home a decade ago and hasn’t been back since. After enduring more tragedies than a young girl should have to endure, she took off and didn’t look back, leaving her younger brother to shoulder responsibilities that no teenager should have. Now, she’s returning so that her brother can escape as she did. But returning means facing the memories that she’s been running away from for ten years. Memories of an older sister that disappeared during a summer of terror in their small, New York town. Memories of her best friend that disappeared a few weeks after her sister. And memories of her father, who crumpled under the stress of it all with a killer heart attack. Now she’s returning to a mother who has retreated into herself in hiding and a teenage sister that she barely knows.

Rory is independent, determined and confident in who she is. I loved her character. The issues that she struggles with throughout the story, as well as her younger sister, were completely believable. Trust is a big issue for Rory and you could easily understand why. Confronting all the old memories as well as some family secrets along the way made for an emotional and drama filled homecoming for Rory. And just when Rory starts to connect with Molly, something unexpected happens. When history starts to repeat itself, it seems to transport the entire town back to that summer. I really felt for the people of this town. The fear and worry, the despair and the grief was almost tangible. I wanted to jump inside the book and help.

Originally written several years ago, All The Way Home is celebrating a re-release. I do think that with today’s technology, there are a couple of plot points that may not be as plausible now as they were at the point of it’s original print. It is also written in present tense. While I feel like this is probably more of a personal preference than a criticism, I missed the use of “deep point of view” that most authors use these days. The use of present tense was jarring enough for me that it would startle me out of the story quite frequently and I’d have to work to get involved again.

The plot, along with the red herrings and twists and turns throughout, kept me invested in the story that was unfolding. The suspense and the spookiness of some the events made for some tense hours in the middle of the night when I was reading it. The characters are well drawn and the subplot left me just as attached to a couple of the secondary characters as I was to Rory. I was left feeling like all the characters were going to get their happily ever afters. Well, most of the characters anyway.

When I’m in the mood for a suspenseful thriller, this is the type of book I love to grab. Just spooky enough to keep you jumping at unexpected noises, just enough unexpected plot twists and a good mystery to try to figure out before I get to the end. It was a late couple of nights reading this one. I’ll be checking out some other books by this author.

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