The Outliers by Kimberly McCreight

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3 Stars (3 / 5)

The Outliers #1
This is not the kind of book I’d normally choose, but after meeting the author at a book event I decided to give it a shot. I don’t usually go for suspense novels. While I like the genre well enough in movies, it seems to lose its sense of urgency on the page. Actually, the fact that I listened to this book on audio probably increased my enjoyment of it.

At its heart, The Outliers is a suspense thriller where a girl seeks to discover what happened to her missing friend. This is complicated by the fact that our heroine, Riley, has crippling anxiety. In fact venturing out to search for Cassie is her first time leaving the house in months. Throw in a snarky sidekick, Cassie’s boyfriend Jasper, and set them against increasingly strange and dangerous obstacles, and you have the story in a nutshell.

What I liked about this novel: Riley’s anxiety is a different and interesting story mechanic. It kicked the narrative to a new level, and by dealing with mental illness brought to light something not often dealt with in YA literature. The first half of The Outliers was right on point for me, building mystery and suspense and leaving me curious and wanting more. But then the story turns downright unbelievable at the midpoint, and the novel just kind of lost me there. From that point, the plot gets increasingly predictable. There is, however, one decidedly dark moment towards the end that I did not see coming, which was a pleasant surprise. Overall, I give the the story a solid “ok” for losing me in the second act, but it gets a little bonus for the addition a complex mental issue.