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Not That I Could Tell by Jessica Strawser

Not That I Could Tell

by Jessica Strawser

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Quick take

A close group of female friends gather over wine. The next morning, one of their number is missing in this page-turner à la Big Little Lies.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_FastRead

    Fast read

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_MultipleNarrators

    Multiple viewpoints

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_FemaleFriendship

    Female friendships


An innocent night of fun takes a shocking turn ...

When a group of neighborhood women gathers, wine in hand, around a fire pit where their backyards meet one Saturday night, most of them are just ecstatic to have discovered that their baby monitors reach that far. It’s a rare kid-free night, and they’re giddy with it. They drink too much, and the conversation turns personal.

By Monday morning, one of them is gone.

Everyone knows something about everyone else in the quirky small Ohio town of Yellow Springs, but no one can make sense of the disappearance. Kristin was a sociable twin mom, college administrator, and doctor’s wife who didn’t seem all that bothered by her impending divorce—and the investigation turns up more questions than answers, with her husband, Paul, at the center. For her closest neighbor, Clara, the incident triggers memories she thought she’d put behind her—and when she’s unable to extract herself from the widening circle of scrutiny, her own suspicions quickly grow. But the neighborhood’s newest addition, Izzy, is determined not to jump to any conclusions—especially since she’s dealing with a crisis of her own.

As the police investigation goes from a media circus to a cold case, the neighbors are forced to reexamine what’s going on behind their own closed doors—and to ask how well anyone *really* knows anyone else.

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Why I love it

While this book has all the great plot twists of an edge-of-your-seat thriller, what I really enjoyed was the way it develops a group of characters that I came to really care for. This is a character-driven story about the women in a suburb—mothers, loners, and one cheeky 11-year-old—left to confront a mystery that rocks their community.

After a night of kid-free wine-drinking around a backyard fire pit, the ladies of Yellow Springs wake to find that one of their number is missing. Kristin, a soon-to-be-divorcée and mother of twins, has vanished with her children. Immediately, the neighborhood gossip machine kicks into overdrive. Is she alive or dead? Did she skip town or was she taken? And is anyone else in danger? As the women seek answers while also managing their own households, they find strength in each other.

I was quickly sucked into this fast-paced, wild ride. I found the characters relatable and, although some make infuriating choices, I felt I understood them. The story of a tight-knit, small community with a dark side, it also sheds light on domestic violence, sisterhood, and the importance of speaking up.

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Member ratings (8,895)

  • Jeimmy L.

    Fort Lauderdale, FL

    Awesome read! The story of these neighbors is interesting and a great mystery. I would love to have some of these people as real friends. The story line is a bit predictable but the plot twists are mind-blowing!

  • Melissa L.

    Dix Hills, NY

    It’s an enjoyable “neighborhood” perspective of Gone Girl - I appreciate the relationships among the women in the neighborhood and rather than guess at the ending, I let myself be taken for the ride!

  • Katie S.

    Neenah, WI

    I loved it and couldn’t put it down! I’ve read some mixed reviews, but I enjoyed all the twists, I HAD to find out what would happen and finished it in less than a day. I’m so glad this was my pick!

  • Kellen H.

    Mingo Junction , OH

    The book was really educational and interesting. I learned so much about a topic I didn’t know about! It was very unique and had a great ending! I didn’t expect this book to be so darn good! Must read

  • Jen S.

    Murrayville , IL

    Loved this book! At first I thought it was going to be super predictable but I was wrong. Ya’ll the ending made me CRY. I’m sitting in a restaurant reading on my lunch break in tears! Thanks BOTM ha

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