Rachel Grate
August 13, 2015 11:19 am

Fellow fans of Gone Girl, we’re in luck! There’s a new psychological thriller for us to get addicted to. The novel is called The Girl on the Train, and it has a claim to fame all its own: it’s breaking sales records left and right.

The story, by previously unknown British novelist Paula Hawkins, takes place in a London suburb. (I may be unfairly judging based on all the J.K. Rowling novels I read, but I always think an English setting is always a good sign.) The girl on the train is an unemployed, alcoholic woman named Rachel, who has idealized the relationship of a couple she sees from the train window each day. When the woman she sees goes missing, she thinks something she witnessed the day before may hold the key to finding her.

Rachel is just one of three equally unreliable narrators promised to keep us guessing until the last page. We also hear from the missing woman herself, as well as Rachel’s ex-husband’s wife, who just happens to be the neighbor of the mysterious couple. As a writer, I can’t wait to see how the stories of these three women overlap to clarify and complicate each other.

If you’re like me and feel yourself relating to Rachel’s voyeuristic tendencies, don’t feel bad. Hawkins herself got the idea for the novel from her own morning train commute. (I just need to find a better creative outlet for my nosiness.)

Perhaps equally as enticing as the plot is the seeming mystery of the novel’s rapid rise to fame. Only seven months after its release in the U.S., it’s the most searched for book on Goodreads this year, with five times the ratings than any other book published in 2015. 

To put that astounding growth even more in perspective, Riverhead (part of the Penguin Publishing Group) originally planned a print run of 40,000 copies. In the first week, 115,000 copies sold. They’ve had to do 27 more printings since then.

“That velocity on a debut novel is not something we have ever seen,” Madeline McIntosh, president of Penguin, told The New York Times. “We attribute it to the nature of the book itself. You’ve got an addictively propulsive story, and it’s the kind of story that people want to talk about.”

If you’re more of a film aficionado than a book worm, you have something to get excited about too. A feature film is already in the works from DreamWorks, and Variety reports that big names are involved. There are reports that Emily Blunt could play Rachel, and the director of The Help will helm the project.

I’m ready to buy my ticket to the midnight premiere — right after I download the book to my Kindle and stay up all night reading.

(Image via iBooks)

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