The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

February 2nd, 2015 Kimberly Review 103 Comments

2nd Feb
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
The Girl on the Train
by Paula Hawkins
Narrator: Clare Corbett, India Fisher, Louise Brealey
Length: 10 hrs and 59 mins
Genres: Thriller
Source: Publisher
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Narration: 4.5

A debut psychological thriller about a woman who becomes emotionally entangled in a murder investigation because of something she witnesses on her daily commute. Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and every night. Every day she rattles over the same track junctions, flashes past the same stretch of cozy suburban homes. And every day she stops at the same signal and she sees the same couple, breakfasting on their roof deck, living the perfect life that Rachel craves for herself—a lifestyle she recently lost. She looks forward to observing this household every morning, even makes up names and narratives for its residents. Then one day Rachel sees someone new in their garden, and soon after, the woman who lived there disappears. Unable to keep this information to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and in the process is drawn into the lives of the couple she thought of as Jason and Jess but whose names—she has learned from the news—are really Megan and Scott Hipwell. But the police accuse Rachel of being unreliable, and it’s true that her memories can’t always be trusted. Plus there are the stories that her ex-husband’s new wife has been spreading about her. By the time Megan’s body is found, Rachel is in over her head, intricately entangled in the details of the investigation, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she put others in danger? Has she done more harm than good? A compulsively readable, emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller that draws comparisons to Gone Girl, The Silent Wife, or Before I Go to Sleep, this is an electrifying debut embraced by readers across markets and categories.


The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins is an addictive psychological thriller that held me captive with its flawed, fleshed out characters and spellbinding tale. Folks liken it to Gone Girl and Before I Go to Sleep and I whole-heartedly agree. This is Hawkins debut thriller and I get goosebumps just thinking about where she will go from here.

As I sit here trying to write my review, I keep referencing the synopsis. I make it a point never to reveal anything that is not mentioned in the synopsis. There is nothing I hate worse than spoilers that rob the reader of discovery. The Girl on the Train is best revealed as events unfold. It is what gives it that Hitchcock thriller vibe. Filled with twists and turns these characters will repulse you as quickly as they will make you feel for them.

Five Caffeinated Reasons to grab your ear-buds and listening to The Girl on the Train

  • You love psychological thriller and figuring out the players and pieces. Hawkins does a fantastic job hooking the reader, and dropping red herrings. Her use of an unreliable narrator as the main character is brilliant.
  • The characters are complex and as you listen, you suffer a range of emotions from distaste to understanding. Hawkins slowly reveals their stories allowing you to gain understanding even as you want to shake them and say, “Enough, don’t do this.” The tale unfolds from three distinct characters and is broken out in chapter form. Chapters are dated so you are able to connect perspectives and timeline. Rachel our unreliable narrator is the main perspective and we get bits of Anna, her ex-husband’s new wife, and that of Megan the woman whose been murdered.
  • The Girl on the Train is addictive from wondering what outrageous thing Rachel will do next to who killed Megan. Hawkins makes you think about what we see when we catch glimpses of others. Have you ever envied a neighbor whose life and family seems picture perfect from those glimpses? Only later you find out things were dreadful. Hawkins will make you as the listener think, as you crave for more answers.
  • When done right the audio edition of a brilliant novel can add another layer to the characters and story. Clare Corbett, India Fisher, and Louise Brealey brought these characters to life allowing me to feel their frustrations, taste their fear and become completely immersed in the events that took place. I enjoyed their interpretation of the characters. I listened to the last part as I cooked and my hubby was sitting nearby and he became curious.
  • The Girl on the Train is the perfect buddy- read or book club read because you will want to talk about it. It has been five days since I listened and I can still hear the characters in my head. I still cringe when I think of things that happened and the way in which characters behaved. When I drive with my husband in the car and gaze out the window at others ..I cannot help but wonder.

I highly recommend the Girl on the Train in any format. Read it, and then come chat with Caffeinated on Twitter,  Facebook or Tsu.

Photo of kimbacaffeinate
About Kimberly
Kimberly is a coffee loving book addict who reads and listens to fictional stories in all genres. Whovian, Ravenclaw, Howler and proud Nonna. She owns and manages Caffeinated PR. The coffee is always on and she is ready to chat. Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

103 Responses to “The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins”

  1. Fran

    I JUST wrote about wanting to read this book today & I took a chance and checked to see if you reviewed it.
    Glad I did! I’m stoked to begin reading it

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Enjoy it Fran, I loved the audio and hope this becomes a movie as well.

  2. Olivia

    Definitely reading this book! First of all it was a five star read and nearly every reason to read it is one I would like to do it for. I love the sound of a great thriller that keeps you awake and turning the pages as you wonder what will happen next. I love the sound of characters that will have me experiencing all the feels. Bring this book my way!

  3. benish khan

    I’ve heard a lot about this book – It sounds intriguing and you’re the second positive review I’ve seen – thanks for sharing!

  4. Cyn

    Yes! So happy to see this is a 5 star for you! It kind of reminds me of Agatha Christie’s Orient Express and really who doesn’t love a good psychological thriller!
    Thanks for the review, can’t wait to pick it up!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Yes it does,the characters were so fleshed out and original.

  5. Red Iza

    A woman witnessing a murder while she’s on a train reminded me of a book by Agatha Christie 🙂 It’s been a long time since I read a thriller, I should pick this one when I’ve finished “Gone girl”. Great review, you made me want to read it now 🙂

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Ooo I know which one you mean..totally different but I loved that one too

  6. Teddyree

    I skimmed your review as I’ve just started listening to this one. I’m not far in but the narrator is great … yay for the 5 rating. Now back to it for me 😉

    • kimbacaffeinate

      No worries, I kept it spoiler free but totally get it. Enjoy!

  7. Stacy (StacyHgg)

    WOW this one sounds fantastic! i just added it to the TBR!
    The “unreliable narrator” is intriguing and I’m due for a thriller!
    Great Review!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Enjoy Stacy. I think this is one folks will be talking about

  8. Lark

    I’ve heard so many good things about this book. Your review is great – no spoilers, but you laid out exactly who will like the book and why. I can see potential for this to be a problem book for me, though, so I think I’ll hold off for a bit.

  9. Sarah

    I probably wouldn’t read this, but it sounds like something I’d like to watch on the big screen!

  10. Pieter

    I’ve saw a lot about this book on Twitter, and was really getting curious about it. Seeing this review pas by, I had to know if it is really that good as people say. Your review really wants me to read the book, although its not one of my usual genres. Probably gonna add it to my to-read shelf!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I love that you are going to try something out of your usual genre, and look forward to to your thoughts Pieter.

  11. Ramona

    Ooh, psychological thriller…! And I loved Gone Girl! This sound right up my alley. Also, I’ve always been into debuts, so I have an extra reason to spend on this one. Beautifully comprehensive review, Kimba, thanks for sharing!

  12. Alreem

    sound like a good book, but not really my type of book, glad you enjoyed it 😀

  13. Lily B

    humm I am very curious about this one, I love a good thriller but lately I feel like I have had more misses then hits

  14. Kay

    I’m so glad you loved this one! I got to briefly meet the author at ALA Midwinter and get a copy of her book. I am excited to read this but I am just so nervous it won’t live up to the hype. I think I am ready to read all the twists and turns this one has to offer!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      So cool you met her Kay. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Thank you, I use different formats depending on the book or genre.

  15. Ro

    Love thrillers and this one sounds like a good one! Thanks so much for sharing. Hugs…

    • kimbacaffeinate

      *hugs* right back at ya. Thanks Ro, hope you give this one a try

  16. Braine Talk Supe

    Oooh, I will add this to my pleasure read pile then. I know how hard reviews for this type of book can be. YOu get so excited and you want everyone else to read it and wait for them to go cray like you did whilst reading it. Good job! You made it tantalizing 🙂

  17. Lily

    Limbs you’re killing me. I’ve heard so many things about this one so I’ve had my eye on this one for a while! Love that this one impacted you so much, and that your still thinking about it five days later! I’ll have to pick up a copy!

  18. Melissa (Books and Things)

    Oh I do like psychological thrillers! I haven’t listened to one yet so I may have to see if the library has it.

    *just checked* There is a book available but no audio. 🙁 Oh and there is a movie with the same name and it’s a thriller too. It was made in 2013. Hm… curious. 🙂

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Oh wow, now you have me curious. I hope you listen or read it Melissa

    • kimbacaffeinate

      LOL, I listened to the audio in a day and my house shined it was so clean!

  19. Mary

    It is now on my list. I never really wanted to read Gone Girl (over-hyped…and then I read a summary of the whole thing. Oops!) but I think I want to read this one! Your mysterious review intrigued me. 🙂

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I hate when that happens, but I am excited you are trying this one

  20. Megan McDade

    This sounds so good! It is not usually type of read but I am so intrigued. It sounds like th TV shows I like though. I listened to the sample and am hooked I have never listened to a book before but really want to try.

  21. Sarah's Book Shelves

    I agree that this one is best enjoyed with as little info as possible! I wrote a spoiler discussion post b/c I really didn’t have much to say about it otherwise! I loved the psychological aspect, but thought the thriller part wasn’t as great (mainly because I guessed the ending correctly even though I’m not usually good at that kind of thing).

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I did as well, but thought it was all brought together so well, and the characters were brilliantly portrayed.

  22. Heidi

    I devouredt this one when I read it last week. It was such a head trip and I hated all the characters. Such a good mystery with an interesting premise. I definitely think this is the book people will be talking about this winter.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      The characters were so well done and totally agree you hate them but cannot stop

  23. Lupdilup

    Excellent review Kimba! Thank you for recommending this listen! At first I wasn’t sure, but Oh boy! It quietly grabbed me and it didn’t let go until I finished. I thought the narration were excellent too, which is different from the norm, I love English narrators in Historicals, but I normally don’t enjoy them in a contemporary setting, but I really enjoyed them here. All it kept coming to my head was the image of Renée Zellweger for Rachel from the Bridget Jone’s Diary.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Yes, I am so glad you ended up becoming caught up. The narration rocked for me and added that extra bit of magic to keep me enthralled.

  24. Katherine

    I’m so excited about this one but didn’t figure it would work on audio. Glad to hear they did such a good job with it and I love the idea of the multiple narrators. I will be reading this soon!

  25. em

    ive just bought this book today on a whim as its half price for a hardback at the moment and i cannot wait to start it, i may have to re jig my tbr in order to read it sooner! xxx

  26. Rita

    I read, reviewed and loved this one! One of my faves of the year so far, and even as the year goes on it will remain on my faves list. I know there is somewhat of a backlash against this one, but we all have different tastes. I loved this for being different, so important to me when I read a steady diet of thrillers, mystery and suspense. The plots start to sound alike, but this one was refreshing. I too used to look at folks’ yards and windows as we drove by and wondered what their life was like. Thanks for a great review for those who haven’t read it yet.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I still cannot believe this is her debut novel and yes it was so fresh. I won’t be at all surprised if this makes my top ten audio for 2015.

  27. Kathy

    I’m reading it now & really enjoying this book. It really gets into the characters minds & lets you know what they are thinking.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Agreed, she did such an excellent job developing them and making them feel genuine.

  28. Laurel-Rain Snow

    I have this one in e-book format, and can’t wait to start reading it. I have some other books to get through first….but I might not be able to wait! Thanks for sharing.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Me too it is a high I chase. Girl on a Train delivered 🙂

  29. Stormi

    I have been waiting for someone I trust to review an audio of this book to see if I wanted to put it on my list. I keep looking at it on audible but I just wasn’t sure..I have heard good things about the book, so glad to hear the audio is good to. 🙂

    • kimbacaffeinate

      If you listen then I totally recommend the audio, the narrators nailed it.

  30. Valeria

    More and more reviews of this book have been popping up in my news feed and suddenly I’m feeling very excited about it. I want it!

  31. Nick

    I like psychological thrillers and the description of it being similar to Gone Girl has me excited. I must check this one out!
    Great review, Kim!

  32. Pat

    Great review. It is a challenge, writing reviews and not revealing too much. There has been so much positive buzz about this book. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I agree Pat and with this the discovery adds to the suspense

  33. Christy

    I LOVE psychological thrillers and I’ve been hearing great things, so I’ll definitely be picking this one up! Great review 🙂

  34. Jeann

    This sounds freaking brilliant and totally up my alley with an unpredictable psychological thriller! So glad to hear you loved the twists and turns Kimba, I’m definitely adding to my TBR.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I hope you love it as much as I did. This is one folks will be talking about and I smell a movie 🙂

  35. kindlemom1

    This sounds really good! I read a thriller the other day and remembered why I loved them so much. I really should add more of them to my reading list for 2015.

  36. Cynthia

    I can’t wait to read The Girl on the Train. I have heard such great things about it. It sounds great!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Enjoy Cynthia. I loved it and hope it ends up on the big screen

  37. Melliane

    Oh I love a good thriller and this one sounds so perfect! I’m curious about the story and the characters now, it’s quite intriguing. thanks for the discovery!