The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

Book 5/30.

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This was adapted into a TV show in 2022 by Apple TV+, and while the book is almost always better than the movie/TV show, I am quite sure The Shining Girls is one of the few AF exceptions to the rule.

The Shining Girls is a story about a serial killer in the Depression-era Chicago who finds a key to a house that opens to other times. It comes at a cost though as he has to kill the shining girls: bright young women, burning with potential. But one of his victims, Kirby Mazrachi, survives and starts hunting him back. The story is told in alternating chapters from multiple POVs: Harper, the serial killer; Kirby; Dan, a reporter Kirby works with on her hunt for Harper who ends up falling for her; as well as a number of the victims and other secondary characters e.g. a junkie. Each chapter is headed with a character’s name and the date, and I enjoyed all the POVs except for Harper’s. Which was quite unfortunate because as one of the MCs he has a lot of chapters. Chapters I had to plow through to get to the good stuff and is the one of the reasons this was a 2 star read for me.

The main reason I rated this 2 stars is because while the premise of The Shining Girls is quite interesting, I didn’t find it to be well executed and, structurally, the time traveling is difficult to follow. Even though each chapter is headed with a character’s name and the date it took a while for me to understand the intricacies of Harper’s sojourns back and forth through Chicago, and for the first third or so of the book I was so confused as to what was going on.

I will definitely maybe watch the TV show starring Elizabeth Moss as Kirby (though I don’t understand how and why Ms. Moss is playing a 23 year old 😐🤷‍♀️) just to test my theory that The Shining Girls is one of the few AF exceptions to the rule that the book is always better.

View all my reviews

** A guide to ratings **
1 star – did not like it
2 stars – it was okay
3 stars – liked it
4 stars – really liked it
5 stars – it was amazing

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