Review: The Girl Who Never Came Home by Nicole Trope

Title: The Girl Who Never Came Home

Author: Nicole Trope

Published: 4th November 2020, Bookoutre

Read: November 2020 courtesy Bookoutre/Netgalley


My Thoughts:

“Zoe was sixteen. Zoe was beautiful, precocious, flirtatious, clever, funny, angry, defiant. Zoe was her baby and her baby is gone.”

It takes them twenty three hours to find the body of sixteen year old Zoe Bloom at the base of a small cliff, just metres from the edge of the school camp site she had been attending in the Blue Mountains. Her mother, Lydia, is devastated, and puzzled, and angry, desperate to know why her precious daughter won’t be coming home.

Unfolding from multiple perspectives The Girl Who Never Came Home is a heart rending, poignant drama about grief, secrets, betrayal, guilt and love.

Lydia is immediately a sympathetic character, the loss of a child is every parents worst nightmare, and Trope’s portrayal of a grieving mother’s volatile emotional state feels authentic. Having already lost her daughters father to cancer, this tragedy is almost more than Lydia can bear, and her grief is compounded by the questions that surround Zoe’s death.

Like most sixteen year olds Zoe was neither all one thing, nor the other – though often thought of as lively, bright, and charming, she could also be rebellious, selfish, petty, and mean-spirited. As the police investigate her untimely death they must consider all the possibilities- could it be suicide, and accident or murder?

In the aftermath, Zoe’s sister, Jessie; her best friends, Shayna and Becca; the teachers supervising the camp, Bernadette and Paula, among others, are forced to examine their conscience. Trope’s portrayal of each distinct character is convincing, and as each considers what role, if any, they played in Zoe’s demise, secrets are revealed, edging the reader closer to discovering the truth.

Trope thoughtfully touches on issues common in adolescence including friendship, bullying, eating disorders, dating, risk-taking and the use of social media, but it’s the often mercurial and complicated relationships between mothers and daughters that are in focus. With the revelations that come after Zoe’s death, Lydia can’t help but wonder if she knew her daughter at all, a feeling exacerbated when she learns that Jessie too has been keeping secrets.

The Girl Who Never Came Home is an emotional, suspenseful, and compulsive read. I think it would particularly be an excellent choice for a mother-daughter book club, sure to provoke much discussion.


Available from Bookoutre

Or from your preferred retailer via Booko I Book Depository I Amazon

Also by Nicole Trope reviewed at Book’d Out 

6 thoughts on “Review: The Girl Who Never Came Home by Nicole Trope

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