The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney


image via Goodreads


Please make a list of every possession you consider essential to your life.

The request seems odd, even intrusive—and for the two women who answer, the consequences are devastating.

Reeling from a traumatic break-in, Emma wants a new place to live. But none of the apartments she sees are affordable or feel safe. Until One Folgate Street. The house is an architectural masterpiece: a minimalist design of pale stone, plate glass, and soaring ceilings. But there are rules. The enigmatic architect who designed the house retains full control: no books, no throw pillows, no photos or clutter or personal effects of any kind. The space is intended to transform its occupant—and it does.

After a personal tragedy, Jane needs a fresh start. When she finds One Folgate Street she is instantly drawn to the space—and to its aloof but seductive creator. Moving in, Jane soon learns about the untimely death of the home’s previous tenant, a woman similar to Jane in age and appearance. As Jane tries to untangle truth from lies, she unwittingly follows the same patterns, makes the same choices, crosses paths with the same people, and experiences the same terror, as the girl before.


Wow! Book slump averted! A thriller has not made me this excited since Megan Miranda’s All the Missing Girls.

The story is told in alternating chapters between Emma, the girl before, and Jane, the current tenant of a very unique flat. While both women are searching for a living situation within their budgets in expensive London, their brokers both mention a possible solution. One Folgate Street has been designed by an architectural genius, Edward Monkford, but in order to live there, one must pass a series of vetting including a multi paged questionnaire and interview. This is where things just begin to get weird. I fear saying much more will give away the twists and turns within these pages.

(As an aside, Emma’s chapters are told without any quotation marks in the dialogue. While it takes some time to getting used to, it is very effective in differentiating between the two women’s chapters. However I am completely curious as to why the author chose to use this device, if anyone knows, fill me in.)

I thoroughly enjoyed how the author portrayed One Folgate – the apartment itself takes on a life of its own and becomes a central character in the story.

There are multiple triggers within this book. I feel if I mention them here, they would be spoilers. So. Pretty much, if it’s a trigger you can think of, it’s here. Reader be warned!

I’ve heard this author is writing under a pseudonym, and I am completely curious as to who masterminded this intricate story.

If you need to have likable characters to enjoy a book, pass on this one. If you are very sensitive in nature and have some triggers, pass. If you want a wild roller coaster ride of ups and downs and rights and lefts, pick this one up! You won’t be able to put it down.

5 out of 5 stars.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


  1. bookbumzuky · January 11, 2017

    Totally stalking your blog hehe, I can’t wait to read this. I’ve got it on my Netgalley shelf, really need to get me ass in gear!


    • thebookcollective · January 11, 2017

      People seem to be really divided on this one, I was in a book slump at the time and I really enjoyed it! Then again, I don’t mind unlikable characters which a lot of people seem to have a problem with:)

      Liked by 1 person

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