All the Missing Girls

All the Missing Girls

by Megan Miranda


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781501107979
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 01/31/2017
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 3,758
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 7.70(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Megan Miranda is the New York Times bestselling author of All the Missing Girls. She has also written several books for young adults, including Fracture, Hysteria, Vengeance, Soulprint, and The Safest Lies. She grew up in New Jersey, graduated from MIT, and lives in North Carolina with her husband and two children. The Perfect Stranger is her second novel of psychological suspense and The Last House Guest is the latest. Follow @MeganLMiranda on Twitter, or visit

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for All the Missing Girls includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q & A with author Megan Miranda. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


When Nicolette Farrell receives a phone call from her brother, Daniel, with the news that their father is declining, she immediately heads back to her hometown of Cooley Ridge. Although she has established a new life elsewhere and is engaged to a successful young attorney, her homecoming causes memories of her adolescence and the mysterious disappearance of her friend Corinne Prescott ten years earlier to come flooding back. As Nicolette runs into the people from her past—her ex-boyfriend Tyler, her old friend Bailey, and Corinne’s high school boyfriend Jackson—she ruminates on the fateful days that changed the course of each of their lives and realizes that she is inextricably tethered to the people and place she thought she had left behind. When the woman that Nic’s ex-boyfriend has been seeing suddenly goes missing during her stay, Nicolette can’t help but search for the connection between the two disappearances. In a mind-bending twist, the story of Nicolette’s return to Cooley Ridge is told in reverse, keeping readers on the edge of their seats until the very last page is turned. This tale of buried secrets and a “town full of liars” cleverly explores the distance that people will go to protect those they love and poses haunting questions about the powerful grip the past can have on us and how well we can really know other people—and ourselves.

Topics & Questions for Discussion

1. Consider the epigraphs printed ahead of each part of the story. Why do you think the author chose these epigraphs? What do they reveal about the major themes of the book, and how do they help to unify the various sections?

2. Who narrates the story? Is he or she a reliable narrator? Why or why not? How do the choices in narration support a dialogue about how we come to understand or believe the stories we are told and how we determine what is or is not the truth? For instance, how might our understanding of the story be different if the author had chosen to employ more than one narrator or a different narrator?

3. Why does Nicolette Farrell return to Cooley Ridge? What is her experience of homecoming like? What seems to be the same about the town and the people in it and what seems to be different? How has Nicolette changed or not changed since her time growing up in Cooley Ridge?

4. Consider the motifs of myth and superstition in the story. Who is the monster in the woods? What does the story seem to suggest about how myth and superstition shape our fears and sense of what is—and is not—menacing?

5. Who is responsible for the disappearance of Corinne Prescott? Explain. How are the victims of each disappearance treated? How do the people in town react to their disappearances? What roles do reputation, gossip, opinion seem to play in the investigations?

6. Why do you think the author chose to tell the story in reverse? How did the reverse telling of the story affect your interpretation of the situation and your assessment of the characters therein?

7. Evaluate the theme of truth in the story. What lies do the characters tell, and why do they tell them? Do you feel that any of the lies were justified? What role does perspective seem to play in the determination of what is true and what is not?

8. Everett says that people can change, but Nicolette seems to believe that people do not change in any substantial way. Does the book ultimately suggest who is right? Do you agree? Explain.

9. How would you characterize the relationship that Corinne had with the other characters? How did each of the characters seem to feel about Corinne? How do we know this? What does Nicolette reveal about Corinne that gives us insight we might not otherwise have? How does this point of view—and the point of view of the other characters—shape or influence your assessment of Corinne’s fate?

10. Evaluate the themes of morality and the dual nature of humans. Can readers distinguish who is a “good” or “bad” character as the story unravels or at the book’s conclusion, or is a more complex view of morality presented? Explain. What motivates the characters to make the moral choices they each make? Do you feel that they made the right choices? Discuss.

11. What does the book seem to suggest about how well we can know others? What does the story indicate about the way we come to “know” another person? What influences our assessments of others and what prevents us from knowing other people—and ourselves—better?

12. What does Nicolette say is most necessary and essential to our survival? Do you agree with her? Why or why not?

13. At the conclusion of the story, what does Nicolette say defines home? Is her concept of what makes a home surprising? Do you agree with her definition? Explain.

14. Evaluate the theme of memory in the book. Are the memories of the characters reliable? Why or why not? What does this suggest about the way that time influences our perspective and how the past affects our future?

15. Since the majority of the action takes place in Nicolette’s memory, how does the author create suspense and tension? What are some of the most surprising elements of plot and character and why are they surprising? Were you surprised by the conclusion of the book? Why or why not? How did your opinion of each of the characters change by the story’s end?

Enhance Your Book Club

1. Read and evaluate All the Missing Girls alongside Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl. What do these books have in common? How are the characters alike? Who narrates the stories in each, and what points of view are represented? Does one point of view stand out over the rest? What common experiences do the characters share? What overlapping themes appear in these works? What role does genre play in treating these themes?

2. Use All the Missing Girls as a starting place to discuss victimization and the portrayal of victims. Nicolette gives us a sense that there was a feeling in Cooley Ridge that Corinne may have “deserved” and “brought on” what happened to her. Discuss how reputation and gossip affect an investigation and shape how we perceive crimes and their victims.

3. Consider an event from the past that you feel shaped or heavily influenced the course of your life. How has your perspective of this event changed with the passage of time? What do you understand about the event now that you did not then?

4. Write a story about your adolescence. Then write the same story in reverse beginning with the conclusion and working back to the beginning. How does it change your perspective?

A Conversation with Megan Miranda

Can you tell us about your inspiration for All the Missing Girls? What were the novel’s origins? Where and how did you begin, and why were you interested in telling this story?

When I first began writing All the Missing Girls, I called the draft Disappear, because thematically, that’s what I was really interested in exploring. The ways in which people can disappear—not just literally, but the other versions of themselves as they grow and change over time. I wanted to explore how things that happen in adolescence can change and define people. How we are equally shaped not just by how we see ourselves, but by how others see us. And I’m fascinated by memory—the pieces we hold on to, and why we hold on to them, and how those pieces can shift and change over time.

The heart of the story idea actually began with the backstory, where I first got a sense of who the characters were, and the mystery that haunts them. But when I sat down to write, the scene that first came to me was ten years later, with Nic returning home. So I knew I would be playing with two stories, that the theme and the story would both become integral to the structure, and that they all would need to develop alongside each other.

Why did you choose to write the story in reverse rather than in a linear fashion?

I knew I wanted to tell a story about a disappearance where the “reveal” of the mystery would not only be the narrator discovering what happened, but the reader experiencing it for themselves. And I wanted that structure to be there for a reason. So I thought a lot about why a narrator would choose to tell a story in reverse, which is how the idea finally came together for me: that Nic, who is recounting the story, is (as she says at one point) working her way up to something, back to something, giving pieces of both the past and the present as she does. And, for me, the structure was also linked to the fact that she’s going into a much deeper past to pull all the answers together, unearthing memories from ten years earlier that she’d rather leave alone.

When you began writing the story, had you already decided what the ending would be or did the story lead you to its own conclusion?

Partly. I had worked through a bit of the backstory first, so I knew where I was generally heading in the past storyline, about what happened ten years earlier. But the present story, with Annaleise’s disappearance, led to its own conclusion as I wrote, which then changed a bit of the past as well. The story evolved a lot as I wrote—I had a few pivotal scenes in mind, but other than that, I let the story and the characters lead the way.

How did you decide upon the narrator of the story?

For me, this was always Nic’s story—she came to me first, and the story filled in around her. I started to hear her voice clearly on the drive she describes in the opening section, on her way back home. While Nic grew up in North Carolina and moved north, I did a bit of the reverse: I grew up in New Jersey, and now live in North Carolina. And it’s a drive that I, like Nic, now know by heart. The route itself feels like a character shift as the scenery changes around you, how you can feel the person you are become the person you were as you go—with all the people who know you that way, waiting for you there.

What kinds of sources did you consult in order to prepare for writing a book of this kind?

One thing I’ve done for the past several years is attend a hands-on workshop for writers run by former and current members of various law enforcement branches, where we can ask specific questions, learn about protocol, but more important, listen to their stories. I also spoke with an attorney who specializes in elder law to get a grasp on the logistics of Nic’s father’s role in the story. But I connected most strongly to place. I spent some time surrounded by the mountains, letting the setting take over while I wrote.

Everett and Nicolette seem to disagree over whether a person can really change in any substantial way. Where do you stand on this?

At first glance, I’d have to agree with Everett: Yes, I think people can and do change. But what I see in Nicolette’s thoughts is her belief that, change as you might, the other versions are still there. It goes to her feelings of being unable to escape the past. How place and people can tie you to time. And how Nicolette herself can almost slip back to the person she was when surrounded by all the people and memories of the past as well.

How has All the Missing Girls influenced your current writing projects or changed the way you write? Do you think that you will revisit any of the characters or themes from this novel?

It has made me more willing to take risks. Writing this book involved a lot of trial and error, but when I finally reached the end of the first draft, it was probably my highest writing moment to date.

As for revisiting these characters, my first instinct when finishing a book is that I’ve left the characters as I hoped to leave them. Anything I write about them afterward is going to alter the whole balance of who they are for me. But inevitably, down the line, I’ll start thinking about them and wondering how things have turned out. So I won’t say never, but I don’t have any plans for them right now.

Themes, on the other hand, yes. I see themes as questions to explore—not necessarily with an answer in mind. And I think there are many, many ways to explore the same themes that seem to particularly resonate for me.

As a reader, who are some of the storytellers you find inspiring and why?

I am a big fan of Gillian Flynn, Tana French, and Megan Abbott—they write sharp-edged character-driven stories, with haunting prose, brimming with tension. I love the mysteries they construct, but even more than that, I’m always so fascinated by their characters.

What do you think the suspense or thriller genres offer that other genres do not?

I think there’s something particularly revealing about suspense or thriller stories due to the immediacy of the action, and the urgency. Morality is put to the test in single moments that force characters to reveal themselves in split second decisions. That sense of danger, or ticking clock, elevates every emotion and puts even the seemingly mundane under a microscope for closer inspection. Every phrase or interaction can carry the meaning of something else, and I think these types of stories can bring the reader even closer, into a more active role.

Are there any significant events from your own adolescence that you feel ultimately shaped the course of your life and your identity?

I think the moments that have most influenced my life happened later for me. Though I am struck by how much of our outer lives seem to hinge on decisions we’re supposed to make when we’re sixteen, seventeen, eighteen years old. I had been thinking a lot about this, how we make these decisions in adolescence that really do affect the trajectory of our adulthood. I was thinking that there are the decisions people expect you to make—if and where to go to college; where to live; what field to pursue—but that there could be all these hidden ones as well, that no one else bears witness to. Or, if they do, that it somehow bonds you all closer, tying you to each other, regardless of time and distance.

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All the Missing Girls 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 82 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A little confusing at first due to it working backwards in time, but overall I loved it. Picked it up every chance I got.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very well written! I wanted to shake some sense into the main character! The author wrote the story backwards which was different than most books but worked well for this story!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
At First I thought this book was going to be just like Girl On The Traim and frustrate me. It did but I was more intrigued than I was frustrated lol. I loved the psychological side of this book the way one would mess with others, the lies you tell yourself about a person you wan to believe is a good person but is actually harming to you. I loved the plot twist, enjoyed the ending it was better than Girl On The Train. A must read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Intelligent and carries the reader through
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Didnt even finish. The backward story telling is just confusing and i lost interest. Would not read this author again. I gave it one star because 0 wasnt a choice
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book was great. But you do have to read a little carefully because of the inversed storyline
ScotsLass More than 1 year ago
All The Missing Girls is an exceptional, unique thriller written by Megan Miranda. After the introduction into the story, it jumps 2 weeks ahead and is told day-by-day forward until reaching the beginning again. Oddly this works to keep you off-balance and guessing at the conclusion until the very end (or the beginning.) The story begins with Nicolette Farrell receiving a cryptic letter from her father who has dementia saying that he saw “That girl”. Nic had left her hometown of Cooley Ridge ten years ago after the disappearance of her friend Corrine and rarely visits home. Corrine has never been found and the case remains open. Does her father remember something about the night Corrine goes missing? Can she get him to remember again? The next day another woman disappears, Annaleise Carter. Did she know anything about the first disappearance? Are the two related? Why does Nic feel she is being watched and who is the monster in the woods? Through all the twists, turns and secrets kept, Nic tries to fit together her memories of that night with what her former high school friends and brother tell her. Can she solve the disappearance of Corrine and Annaleise? Are they still alive and part of a larger joke? If Corrine is dead, why hasn’t the body been found despite an exhausting search and investigation? Or will Nic become the next victim? This was a very fast book to read. Once started, the reader is hooked into the story and unable to stop reading until finding out what happened to the girls. I enjoyed the unique set up of the book and felt that it added tension to the story. With all the twists, it was a gripping story well worth the time to read. By all means add it to you to be read list I received a copy of this book from NetGalley and Simon & Schuster in exchange for a fair and honest review
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I never leave a book unfinished! First one in a number of years that I completely was over halfway through. Backwards storyline was weird... Would definitely not recommend or buy again
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A little slow to start but loved how the storyline went backwards with a nice twisty ending.
NovelKnightEMc More than 1 year ago
I'm on a bit of a mystery kick these days. I've got a few rather "heavy" books I'm working on, but I'm not always in the right headspace or environment to be completely engrossed in a book. When that's the case, I go to my comfort food: mysteries and espionage for a read that I know I'll finish easily. This one came courtesy of a local librarian. Librarians are great friends to cultivate. They'll put books on hold or ask if I've read something they think I'd be interested in, and this one -- in particular -- always makes sure I have some lighter reading handy when I leave the library. My only real regret is I don't need to go to the library as much out now that various digital formats are available at a touch. Oh well, on to the book. I had no preconceptions. All I knew was the title. I'll confess I didn't even read the blurb until just now, after I finished it. You don't need to know much more either. Two girls go missing from a southern, insulated town, and the cast of characters is stuck in the middle of a town drama for the second time in a decade. This is a fairly straightforward whodunnit with a slight twist -- it's told backwards, day by day. The narrator tells us at the end why she "had" to do it this way. I believed her. It also made for a more interesting book. The audience knows things before the characters, including our narrator Nicolette Farrell. There's a messy love story and a fractured family at the heart of this mystery. Both seemed quite possible -- especially given Nic's ability to rationalize behavior and don a facade for each new situation. The ending of the love story was much easier to predict that the whodunnit parts of the book. I had no idea what would happen with the family. All in all, I wasn't trying to figure things out. I was very content to simply fall into the story and go with the flow. Given that, I'd say the writing felt rather effortless. It was easy; like I was just hearing the tale from rather than reading a book. That's a nifty trick when the author is using a backwards chronology and feeding us new pieces that need to fit within the puzzle. A few times I stopped reading wondering exactly what the process is for writing a book like this, but I quickly got back to reading. Whatever the work for her, I'm glad she did it. The book would have suffered if it had been told beginning to end. Back to Nicolette Farrell... she's trying at times, but I don't need to like characters in a book. Good thing -- I was highly peeved at her a good deal of the time. She's young. She's stuck emotionally. I found it tough to give her a break as she ran headstrong through everyone and everything. Possibly the most effective parts were the way she managed to make the small town feel just on the verge of strangling the characters and me at times. I vowed aloud never to be romantic about small towns again aloud at least once. They all felt stuck, and they were in many ways, but perhaps it wasn't the town so much as their actions. Not a life-changer, but a pretty good comfort food snack.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mystery about the tensions and ties between friends and family in adolescense, and how those feelings never leave us in adulthood. They can be buried but they don't die. Good depiction of the differences between small town country life and big city life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was one of the best books I've read since Gone Girl by Gillian Flinn. The book had everything I enjoy; suspense, mystery, and some romance. This book kept me on my feet, I didn't want to put it down. I was worried I wouldn't be able to keep up with it because it's told in reverse, but that was not the case. The reverse order of the plot made it that much more suspenseful, I wouldn't have wanted it any other way. Great read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There's something for telling a story in sequence. Things of consequence to the story often made sense as I followed the story in the author's reverse order, but more often than not, important details were often forgotten.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book.
TeacherErin More than 1 year ago
I had such high hopes for this book! I was intrigued with its format. Reading the story backwards but it was so choppy that I was constantly having to go back due to confusion. I hated the characters. There was no development and couldn't make a single connection with any. I didn't understand the relationship between the main girl character Nic and her brother Daniel. She was boring and whiny. A lover of psychological thrillers like Gone Girl and Girl on a Train I was hugely disappointed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Author MM did an outstanding job creating this suspenseful world. The storyteller Nic is intriguing and complex while being real. Great book! It will have you up late?
Lisa-LostInLiterature More than 1 year ago
I’ve found that I really enjoy psychological thrillers lately. When I first saw All the Missing Girls out and about, it immediately caught my attention with that gorgeous cover! I waited to read it though because I wanted to wait and see what others’ reviews were saying about the story. For me, thrillers can be hit or miss. This one was definitely a hit! I really enjoyed the way this story was told. We are given a look at the present, when Nic receives a call from her brother saying she needs to come “home” to deal with issues with their father. From there, the 15 days prior to “the incident” are told backwards, starting with Day 15 and ending with the dreaded day. I really enjoyed getting hints and glimpses into things on a backwards basis like that. My only slight issue with being told this story in this fashion was that I never really got to know Nic. I believe that’s part of the story too though, so it didn’t take away from the book at all… I just personally like to really get to know the characters to connect with them on a deeper level than I did here. It’s a total personal preference though. Overall, a great thriller that kept my attention throughout. I would definitely recommend this for one of those nights that you’re curled up with a warm blanket and a mug of hot chocolate in front of the fireplace. Audiobook Impressions: With a narrator like Rebekkah Ross, I knew this one would be a hit for me. I adore Rebekkah’s narrations. She always performs the characters so perfectly, and this one was no different. (Thanks to Simon and Schuster Audio for the review copy!)
KrisAnderson_TAR More than 1 year ago
All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda is a story told in reverse (the writer does not pull it off). Nicolette Farrell has returned to Cooley Ridge to take care of her father’s affairs (clean out the house and put it up for sale) now that he has been moved into an assisted living facility (dementia) by her brother, Daniel. Nicolette has not been home since she was eighteen and her friend, Corinne Prescott disappeared. Corinne was never found and no one (except the killer) knows what happened to her. Nicolette is not home long with Annaleise Carter disappears. It is happening again. Are the two cases connected in some way? Join Nicolette, Daniel, and Tyler (Nicolette’s high school boyfriend) as they set out to get answers. All the Missing Girls was just too confusing. It starts out in the present day. After the disappearance of Annaleise Carter, the story speeds ahead to Day 15. The story is unfolded in reverse (day 15, 14, 13, etc.). It is confusing. Information gets repeated a few times (because of the reverse order). It did not feel like a suspense or thriller book until I was about 85% of the way through the book (I was bored and kept yawning). Then it gets a wee bit more interesting (and a little icky). I found the novel to be slow paced and the majority of the characters are unlikeable. All the Missing Girls did not hold my interest (and I really did not want to finish it). At the end of the book we are still left with unanswered questions (which made me really dislike this book). The story is told in the first person (which did not help it). I give All the Missing Girls 1.5 out of 5 stars (it was a clever idea to tell a book in reverse order). This book was just not for me. I received a complimentary copy of All the Missing Girls in exchange for an honest and fair review.
Anonymous 3 months ago
booklover6460 5 months ago
This book was a little of a struggle as an audiobook. I enjoyed the basic story, the mystery involved, but it was difficult to follow a storyline that went in reverse. I imagine it would flow better if I was reading the book because I could stop and read sections again. The mystery and how things are resolved keeps you guessing. So, the author does a great job of keeping you guessing and going back and forth about what happened to the missing girls and/or who could be the guilty person/people. I would give this author another chance...but I would definitely read a copy of the book instead of listening to an audiobook.
alliwoods 7 months ago
While reading this book, I was thinking, "I know exactly how this will end". But man, was I wrong. It is a great book, full of twists and turns, misleading clues and suspects. It is written in a backwards time format too, making this book so unique and unforgettable.
JanetJam 12 months ago
An interesting story, told backwards. It was confusing at times, but an intruiging way to tell the story. Easy to read, and easy to become immersed in the story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great story that makes you think and makes you feel as you are going the motions of the charactors. Fascinating story line with an unbelievable twist
sciencexcharm More than 1 year ago
In a small town where everyone knows everyone else, can someone really get away with murder? Miranda has an interesting story, filled with deception and mystery. What you think that you know can be changed in a heartbeat, leaving readers with a sense of intrigue and a need to finish the story to its end. A story told backwards from the disappearance of another girl is quite an unorthodox way to share a story, but Miranda nails it. Nicolette has been away from her hometown for ten years and for good reason too. After the disappearance of her best friend, she didn’t want anything to do with getting caught up in the same gossip and never-ending drama that seems to linger in the air. When her brother calls to inform her of their dad’s condition worsening, she decides that it is finally time to head back. With a fiance and a new life, she knows that should hold her steady through the rough water that she is about to wade into. Upon arrival, the death of her best friend seems to be just as fresh as the day that it happened and it is suffocating. She can’t pretend like it didn’t happen and no one else can do anything, but look for the person responsible. Will this case take away everything that she has built up for the last ten years? Can she uncover what happened to her best friend all those years ago after looking at it again with fresh eyes? Can the murderer be closer to home than she realizes? Miranda has a beautiful thriller, one with creativity, originality and superb character development. If you are a sucker for a plot twist, this will draw you in and keep you guessing to who the real perpetrator is. Is it family? Is it a friend? Is it a stranger? The pace is great, allowing the reader to capture scenes vividly and without interruption. Since this was an audiobook that was purchased, the flow of the story was relayed very well and the story seems to be well-written in order to flow as well as it does. Ross is virtually impeccable with her audio relay talent. This narrator makes the story come to life, more so than imagery that the readers can come up with through description alone. The only quip that may make the reader feel misled is the title of the book, if they judge a book by its cover. The phrase “all of the missing girls” would entail a vast amount of missing girls, but this wasn’t the case. If you are a reader of thrillers, mysteries, and psychological crime fiction, you may be interested in picking up this book for a read. A copy of this book was purchased by Turning Another Page. We provide a four-star rating for All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda.