Review: Not That I Could Tell by Jessica Strawser

Not That I Could Tell by Jessica Strawser 
Release Date: March 27, 2018 
Publisher: St. Martin's Press 
Genre: Adult, Women's Fiction, Contemporary, Thriller 
Source: ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review 
An innocent night of fun takes a shocking turn in Not That I Could Tell, the next page-turner from Jessica Strawser.

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.

Not That I Could Tell left me with a book hangover, but I wasn't even angry. The exhaustion was so worth it, because Not That I Could Tell is something pretty darn special. 

It's suspenseful
It's unputdownable
It's heartfelt

Not That I Could Tell starts with dramatics: several neighbors return to their houses after a party but when they wake up the next morning one of them has disappeared into thin air along with her two small children. What makes matters worse? No one really remembers what happened that night. They all remember having fun, but when it comes to specific details, everyone's minds are a little fuzzy. Did Kristin willing leave, or is there something much more sinister at play? 

Not That I Could Tell contains three POVs - Clara, Izzy, and Kristin. Each of the women are in incredibly different places in life. Clara is a married stay-at-home mom, spending most of her days exhausted yet happy. Izzy's new to the neighborhood and on the run from a heartbreaking case of unrequited love. Kristen appears to be the perfect one out of the three. She's manicured, well spoken, and incredibly kind, but below the surface, she's dealing with a serious, dangerous problem in the form of a cunning ex-husband out for blood. 

In stories like this, I always have a favorite POV/character; however, in this case, I can't say I did. I loved each POV, and I also found each woman to be likable as well as incredibly easy to root for. I enjoyed getting to know each, and I found parts in each of their lives that I could relate to. For instance, Izzy's case of unrequited love? Been there done that. Not nearly as tragic - thankfully - but soul-crushing all the same. Kristin's POV was the most mysterious out of the three. Her parts were short yet to the point, and they also did a fantastic job of building up suspense and intrigue. I was dying to know what happened to her, and while I prepared for the worst, I hoped for the best. 

The plot in Not That I Could Tell primarily focuses on the mystery of as well as the fallout from Kristin's disappearance. Jessica did a fantastic job of setting the scene. The women's street seemed so perfect, so idyllic; however, as they always say, nothing is nearly as perfect as it appears. Jessica also exceeded at building up suspense as well as slowly revealing clues. What I liked the most about the plot, however, was the focus on friendship. When the book first begins, the women aren't incredibly close - they know each other but they don't know, know each other. However, over the course of the book, Clara, Izzy, and the rest of the neighbored slowly comes together. I loved the friendship as well as the girl power that resulted, and I also appreciated that we saw the women at their best as well as their worst. They had their own struggles, their own demons, which made the story all the more realistic as well as rich, in my opinion. 

Last but not least: the ending! Just when I thought the book couldn't have gotten anymore explosive, BAM another big reveal. I won't say much, of course, but I will say I couldn't have asked for a better ending. It so vastly bittersweet, and I will admit I shed a few tears, but goodness, I don't think I could've asked for better endings for the characters. 

Overall, Not That I Could Tell is yet another must-read, in my opinion. Perfect for fans of Desperate Housewives as well as Big Little Lies, Not that I Could Tell is yet another explosive yet emotionally charged story of how people aren't nearly as flawless as they appear.  

4.5 stars!!


  1. Yes, I'm so glad you loved this one! I've been seeing some mixed reviews, but I'm really looking forward to it!

  2. Ooh this sounds fantastic! I'm glad to hear it was such a compelling read for you! I'll add it to my list! :)

  3. I just saw this book on the shelf at my library and now I need to see if it's still there.


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