What happens when the line between fiction and reality blurs so much that you know longer know what’s real and what isn’t? That’s the question Eliza Fontaine must confront in Sara Shepard’s new novel, The Elizas.
On one hand, Eliza is a young, talented woman excited that her debut novel, The Dots, is nearing its publication date. On the other hand, Eliza is dealing with a hard medical condition that has left her unwell and, at times, suicidal. So when she wakes up in the hospital after nearly drowning just a few days prior, everyone in her life believes it was just another failed attempt to end her life.
Previously, Eliza had attempted to drown herself before. Back when the weight of her brain tumor was too much to deal with. Since then, she’s endured multiple surgeries and wrote her first book, a fictional thriller that loosely mirrors her life. Penning The Dots was a therapeutic experience for Eliza, and recently she’s been in a better place mentally than before. But when she tries to explain that to everyone, and is adamant that she didn’t try to kill herself — but rather, that she was pushed into the pool by someone — her plea falls on deaf ears all around.
When nobody believes her, Eliza sets out to prove her story on her own.
Though she’s battling memory loss, Eliza knows someone pushed her, she’s just not sure who. She begins her investigation by going to Desmond, the man who saved her from the pool, and the only witness to what actually happened. Desmond helps Eliza work backward through her life as the duo looks into multiple possible suspects, each of whom may have had a motive to want Eliza dead. But the deeper she investigates, the more things start playing out like the plot of her book, which is about a girl dealing with a brain tumor and the aunt who cared for her. Soon, she can’t tell what’s real and what’s not, and Eliza realizes that her book might not be completely fictional after all. . . or is it?
Smartly plotted and full of suspense, Sara Shepard’s latest offering is a trippy ride from beginning to end. The best psychological thrillers have a way of playing with readers’ minds, forcing them into thinking one thing before pulling the rug out from underneath them and making them question everything they thought they knew. Shepard doesn’t just pull that off, she makes it look effortless. . .
The Elizas is well-written, full of surprises, and the main character is compelling and unique. . . but nothing tops Shepard’s prose, which grabs readers by the throat and doesn’t let go.
Author: Sara Shepard
Pages: 352 (Hardcover)
Publisher: Atria Books
Release Date: April 17, 2018
Book Spy Rating: 7.5/10
Praised as “one of today’s finest book reviewers” by New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, Ryan Steck has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.