At the beginning of this
To be honest, I am sure I can read more than 30 books in a year, but I decided this was a decent place to start! I decided to start with a few books that I own, and Watching you was my first choice. Here is my review of Watching you:
Watching You by Lisa Jewell, published July 12, 2018.
The description of this book on Goodreads says:
“Melville Heights is one of the nicest neighbourhoods in Bristol, England; home to doctors and lawyers and old-money academics. It’s not the sort of place where people are brutally murdered in their own kitchens. But it is the sort of place where everyone has a secret. And everyone is watching you.
As the headmaster credited with turning around the local school, Tom Fitzwilliam is beloved by one and all—including Joey Mullen, his new neighbor, who quickly develops an intense infatuation with this thoroughly charming yet unavailable man. Joey thinks her crush is a secret, but Tom’s teenaged son Freddie—a prodigy with aspirations of becoming a spy for MI5—excels in observing people and has witnessed Joey behaving strangely around his father.
One of Tom’s students, Jenna Tripp, also lives on the same street, and she’s not convinced her teacher is as squeaky clean as he seems. For one thing, he has taken a particular liking to her best friend and fellow classmate, and Jenna’s mother—whose mental health has admittedly been deteriorating in recent years—is convinced that Mr. Fitzwilliam is stalking her.
Meanwhile, twenty years earlier, a schoolgirl writes in her diary, charting her doomed obsession with a handsome young English teacher named Mr. Fitzwilliam… “
This description from Goodreads gives a mostly accurate idea of what you will get from the book, but it does feel a little off to me now that I have finished reading the book. I would add the following information for you on this book, without giving too much away!
The book is read from several different viewpoints, including Jenna, Freddie, and Joey. Each story intersects, while also going its own direction and revealing different parts of the story. Most of the book comes from Joey’s point of view, and she is deeply entangled in the crime that we read about in the prologue and then again at the end of the book. Joey is struggling in her life after the loss of her mom, a quick marriage, and moving in with her brother and sister-in-law. As she becomes obsessed with Mr. Fitzwilliam, things become stranger and stranger. Freddie is extremely bright and likes to spy on his neighbors, putting together a book on their comings and goings. He doesn’t appear to have any malcontent, but has he seen too much? Jenna is suspicious of her teacher Mr. Fitzwiliam and his relationship with her friend. What interest does he have in a girl so much younger than him? Is he the man that she saw attacked by a hysterical woman on a vacation several years ago, and why is her mom so sure that Mr. Fitzwilliam is stalking her? And then there is the biggest question of all, where did the red tassel come from?
This book has a 4.1/5 rating on Goodreads, and I am giving it a 3/5.
There are two reasons I gave this book got 3 instead of 5 stars. The first is that I found the writing a little choppy. Each character viewpoint seemed to jump around, and sometimes I found this hard to follow. For example, there is a character that is introduced in the prologue of the book, when she is investigating the crime that was committed. The rest of the book is prior to the crime, so we don’t meet the character again until the end of the book after the crime has happened. While the character herself seemed fine, she isn’t given much attention and I found myself asking, “Why is this character even important?” On top of this, even though I did enjoy the story, I found the writing a bit slow. I often found myself skimming and I would have to refocus on what I was reading.
Despite my negative thoughts on the book, I did really enjoy the deception of the book. This book had an interesting plot and conclusion that kept you guessing the entire book. The author does a great job of making your mind go one direction and then having the story shift a completely different way. I liked that I didn’t immediately know “who done it” since that is something I often guess pretty quickly. With each shift in character viewpoint and each bit of information that was given, I found myself second guessing who the culprit could be.
Could it be the new girl on the block with an infatuation with her older neighbor, the young boy frustrated with his dad, the neighbor girl that is worried about her mom and friend, or one of the several other characters? I often wondered who I was underestimating, and I wondered if we would find out that there was another player all along. There were several times I wanted to skip to the end and find out the answer! I did decide to push through the slow parts and was ultimately glad I allowed myself to put the entire story together.
Lisa Jewell is amazing at putting a mystery together, and I found that she had even added an additional mystery into the main one! You’ll have to read the book to find out more on that, though!
I read this book in two days, about half each day. If it hadn’t been for the slow parts I probably could have done it in one!
Overall this was a good book, full of mystery and deception, without being scary! If you like a book that makes you think, this is a great choice!