Book Title:
When the Lights Go Out
Book Author:
Mary Kubica
Page Count:
Publishing Date:
September 4th 2018
Park Row
Date Read:
January 13th, 2020


A woman is forced to question her own identity in this riveting and emotionally charged thriller by the blockbuster bestselling author of The Good Girl, Mary Kubica.

Jessie Sloane is on the path to rebuilding her life after years of caring for her ailing mother. She rents a new apartment and applies for college. But when the college informs her that her social security number has raised a red flag, Jessie discovers a shocking detail that causes her to doubt everything she’s ever known.

Finding herself suddenly at the center of a bizarre mystery, Jessie tumbles down a rabbit hole, which is only exacerbated by grief and a relentless lack of sleep. As days pass and the insomnia worsens, it plays with Jessie’s mind. Her judgment is blurred, her thoughts are hampered by fatigue. Jessie begins to see things until she can no longer tell the difference between what’s real and what she’s only imagined.

Meanwhile, twenty years earlier and two hundred and fifty miles away, another woman’s split-second decision may hold the key to Jessie’s secret past. Has Jessie’s whole life been a lie or have her delusions gotten the best of her?

My Review

…What did I just read?

I’m absolutely baffled by this book, blown away by the huge twist at the end.

I don’t mean it in a bad way, either – I’m just so…wow. Just when I think thrillers can no longer surprise me, along comes a twist that I never could have seen coming.

This is the first book by Mary Kubica that I have read. I have several of her others, but I haven’t read them yet. I really enjoyed it, and I pretty much flew through it, and then insisted my mom read it, as well (we pretty much both read nonstop), so I will definitely be picking up more books by her and reading them soon.

It took a while for me to review this, and I’m still having trouble with it, because I honestly don’t know how to put into words how I feel about it. I really liked it, don’t get me wrong, but those emotions that it had me feeling – how on Earth am I supposed to sum those up without giving away that mind blowing ending? I honestly can’t. So I’m going to briefly talk about the plot and then some of the things that I liked about the book.

Jessie Sloane has had rough time caring for her mother, who was suffering from a terminal illness. While she loved her mother so much, so very, very much, she also felt as though she lost herself along the way.

Find yourself, Mom told me. One of two wishes she had for me before she died.
Find yourself, she said, because Jessie Sloane isn’t you.”

After her mother passes, she moves out of their shared home and into a new apartment where she can start applying for college and doing something else with her life, something that will help her get over the loss she is feeling. Unfortunately, however, when she applies to college, she gets a phone call about her social security number being flagged – as in, it’s someone else’s number. Someone who is no longer alive.

Confused, with absolutely no idea what is going on, Jessie is forced to unravel the mystery of why her life is essentially not her own – and what happened that led her mother to keep such secrets from her. The grief she feels over the loss of her mother is immense, and her insomnia is completely preventing her from sleeping, causing her to become delusional and eventually unable to tell the real from the hallucinations that she sees – the ones that are messing with her mind and making her question her sanity.

So, I loved the whole plot. I loved the creepy factor that this book had going on (because it was oh-so-delightfully creepy). I loved the relationship that Jessie had with her mother, and I’m going to tell you right now that I cried several times while reading this book, and it’s definitely going to stay with me for a long time because of how it played at my emotions so heavily.

I loved Jessie’s character. She was grieving and dealing with her insomnia and her mind was all confused and she was essentially delving into this mystery about who she was, and what was going on – all while trying to maintain her sanity. It was difficult for her, but at the same time, it was so obvious that she was trying to hold on. She was trying so hard.

I love books like this, ones that leave you wanting more after you’ve finished, but also end in a place where it just seems fitting, you know? Like, I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and after that explosive ending, I kind of wanted to read more, but at the same time, I was happy with how it ended. It suited the rest of the book.

This is one of those books that I’ve read and I enjoyed it so much – especially the uniqueness that it has about it – that I will probably purchase so I can read again in the future sometime.

If you like books that have thrilling twists and conclusions that you will never see coming, don’t miss this one. It’s thriller gold, seriously.

4 stars
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