Review: The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell
Here it is - another massively popular thriller that I had such high expectations for. Following my disappointment with The Woman in the Window and The Girl on the Train, I was ready to be wowed this time around!
Libby Jones has wondered her whole life who she really is. She receives a letter where she finds out who her birth parents are and discovers she has inherited a town house in the heart of Chelsea. What follows, is the unfolding of her family's deepest and darkest secrets.
As soon as I heard this book included a cult storyline, I was on board. Since Gone Girl, I have been eagerly waiting to experience the same shock factor from a best-selling, overly hyped thriller/mystery. I have read some incredible thrillers this year, including Ruth Ware's The Turn of the Key and M. L. Rio's If We Were Villains. However, the even more hyped books such as the ones I initially stated, fell flat in every way for me. Something these best selling thrillers all have in common is they all sell millions of copies, they have short, snappy chapters, a large font and are very easy to read. As much as this can add to a readers experience, it didn't make up for the lack of thrills I experienced. Unfortunately, The Family Upstairs was no exception. There wasn't any real character development and the twists were underwhelming.
When expectations are so high, there is likely to be a hard fall. From knowing this book was about a cult, I was expecting to be truly shocked - surely something disturbing and horrifying was bound to jump out from the page; I should have known that this wasn't going to be the case when this book is vastly accessible and recommended. I'm looking for levels of grotesqueness where reviewers insist the author must be mentally disturbed to write it. Many thrillers now fail to shock me, and this one fell harder than most with it's promise of cultish content. If you don't read thrillers too often and generally enjoy the incredibly popular ones, I very much hope this will give you the thrills and excitement you're looking for! This one didn't have the right amount of shock factor for me (especially when the synopsis had so much promise for being truly disturbing).
Initial Prediction: 4.5 stars
Final Rating: 3 stars
Publication Date: 6 August 2019
Genres: Mystery, Thriller
# of Pages: 464