Updated: Dec 5, 2021
The Push by Ashley Audrain is a debut psychological suspense that uses reality as a thrilling plot point. The book is written in second person which makes it so different from other books in this genre. I would refrain from calling this a thriller because I feel like you would be disappointed (at least I was).
So what’s this book about?
Blythe, the main character, has wanted a child for forever. When she finally has one, Violet, she senses something off… she doesn’t feel that instant mother-daughter connection. Is this disconnect all in Blythe’s head or is there something actually wrong with Violet? Then comes baby number 2 and the story really takes off.
I will say that I was fully drawn to the plot because it didn’t sound like anything I had really read before and the second person point of view was also something I had never read before. I will say up front I was disappointed by it. I think part of it was I was mislead to thinking it was a thriller when it is really suspense. For much of the book, you are just wondering where the book is headed. Then BAM plot twist. Then the story continues. Then BAM plot twist. The book isn’t very scary, however the scare comes from the idea that this could happen. It’s not likely of course, however the idea of what happens in the book actually happening is very scary, or at least unsettling.
As you follow Blythe, you really get to know her and her inner thoughts. But as the story goes, you start to question her reliability. It becomes easy to question whether she is telling the truth.
The pace of the book for me was slow. It took me around 2 weeks for me to read this one. This was partly because I didn’t have a lot to time to read it, but part of it was also me not really loving it and having a pull to pick it up. But I know I am in the minority on this one. The chapters are really short so this does really help keep up the pace.
The plot of the book was a little bland for me. It was not bad or anything, but I felt it needed more. This connects to the pacing of the book. For me, some of the scenes happened so fast that it almost seemed pointless. Since the chapters are so short, some of the events in the book only last a few pages. This made some scenes not have much depth or meaning (for me).
A little thing I found confusing was the timeline. This wasn’t an issue in the first half of the book, but as Violet gets older it's harder to know exactly what age she is, which is somewhat important to know. In general as well, there is one main timeline and one that is a flashback. The flash back sections are in italics so it’s not confusing at all. In total there are probably between 7 and 15 flashbacks. For me, these were interesting but if they weren’t there I don’t think the book would have been very different. In other words, it didn’t really enhance or taint my reading experience.
This is a very minor spoiler so if you are very cautious about spoilers I would skip this paragraph. As I mentioned earlier, the book was written in second person. I thought that there may be a twist with that at the end. I theorized that maybe the book was a letter from the wife to the husband or something like that and would be revealed at the end as some kind of shocking twist. However the second person perspective is just a writing choice and isn’t a plot twist.
Overall, the book wasn’t bad but I also didn’t love it like I feel many people did. The plot and writing style was definitely something I have never read before which was nice. I am interested to see what other ideas this author has and what her future books have to offer.