REVIEW: The Girl with the Wrong Name by Barnabas Miller


The Girl with the Wrong Name is one of those books that stays in your mind hours or even days after reading it. It lingers on your mind, making you think, “Did I really just read that? Was I just mind-fu*ked like that?” For certain parts of the book, I was seriously like: I expected […]

The Girl with the Wrong Name is one of those books that stays in your mind hours or even days after reading it. It lingers on your mind, making you think, “Did I really just read that? Was I just mind-fu*ked like that?” For certain parts of the book, I was seriously like:


I expected a simple mystery-romance novel, but as I got deeper into the story it became this dark, creepy psychological thriller that left me captivated for hours after reading.

The Blurb:

Ever since “The Night In Question” left her with a hideous scar and no memory of what happened, Theo Lane has been hiding. An aspiring filmmaker, she uses a hidden button cam to keep the world at bay. She spends the entire summer in a Manhattan café, secretly documenting random “subjects.”

Once school starts, Theo finds her best friend has morphed into a flirtatious, short-skirt-clad stranger. Everyone ignores the scar. As if that will make it go away. The café remains her lunchtime refuge.

Her most interesting subject is the Lost Boy, a stranger who comes in every day at the same time. When she finally gets up the courage to talk to him she discovers why: the Lost Boy, Andy, is waiting for someone who said she’d meet him there…four days ago. Intoxicated by Andy’s love for this mystery girl, Theo agrees to help him find her, and her unhealthy obsession pulls her into a perilous, mind-bending journey. But is it really Andy’s world she’s investigating? Or is it her own?

Heroine: The main character, Theodore Lane aka Theo, is a seventeen-year-old aspiring filmmaker who likes to film strangers, talk to herself, and obsess over the New York Times Wedding Announcements. I liked her. Theo has this unique, sarcastic voice that hooked me from the start. I’ll admit that she’s kind of weird, but I feel like that makes her endearing and relatable. She kind of reminds me of Peyton Sawyer from One Tree Hill.


High Points:

Unpredictability: As I stated before, I was expecting a low-key mystery with some romance. Basically just a simple story of girl-meets-boy and girl helps boy find dream girl, but then boy realizes original girl was the one for him all along. Simple, right?

But no. This book goes: girl-meets-boy and girl helps boy find dream girl. Then, girl turns into a boy to seduce and murder dream girl. Then, girl poisons boy and herself, but then realizes she can’t die because she’s been dead this whole time, and is currently in purgatory. Haha, it doesn’t really go like that, but this book takes some crazy twists and turns that shock you to your core. It was amazing. It was awesome!


Romance: This book only has light touches of romance, which I think is great because a big romance subplot would have taken away from the main mystery-thriller story-line. The author does a great job of balancing the romance throughout the book—it’s not too much or too little. Perfect.

Dialogue: Excellent! I love Theo’s inner dialogue and her sarcastic, witty lines. She had me laughing out loud many times. The supporting characters also had great lines and their own unique voices.

Writing: Overall, I just think this book was really well-written! For example, the book is set in NYC and the author does a great job of describing the atmosphere and the setting to the reader. I used to live in NYC, and sometimes I felt like I was really there, experiencing everything. It was great!

Favorite Scene:

“Max,” I said to my sneakers.

“Are you hungry?” He started walking quickly to the door. “Maybe I should make us some—”

“Max, do you think there is any possible way that I could just ask you to hold me for a few minutes? But without it evoking any of the clichés of girls asking guys to hold them, and without it being sexually suggestive in any way, or implying that it might become sexually suggestive a few hours later after I’ve passed out, which I’m about to do, and we accidentally wake up face-to-face, or in some other entirely unintentional romance configuration?”

Max took his time and considered my question. “Yes, I think I can do that.”

“Okay,” I said. I waited for him to come back to the bed.

“Oh, now?”

“Yeah, now.”

Low Points:

Beginning & Ending: The beginning of the book is sort of slow until about chapter 5, but the chapters are kind of short. Either way, it’s worth the read. In regards to the ending, there were some unanswered questions lingering that I would have really *really* loved the answer to.

Lacking Justifications: Secrets are a big thing in this book and I know people keep secrets for all sorts of reasons. But one character keeps a secret—a BIG one, but their justifications for keeping that secret weren’t good enough for me. I was like:


It was the equivalent of your doctor keeping the secret that you have cancer, and his justifications for not telling you were because he didn’t want you to be sad. Also, the justifications of how she got her scar didn’t work for me either.

Crying Scale: 4/10 – There are some tear-jerker moments, but nothing too intense.

Final Thoughts: The Girl with the Wrong Name is an underrated psychological thriller that is worth your time and money! It’s a great, well-written, and intense read. It’s unpredictable, twisty, dark and leaves the imprint that some people really are just evil. I really enjoyed this book, and would recommend to people who love thrillers.

“A shelf without books is a lonely soul.” I’m a twenty-something writer and book nerd who enjoys entertaining and being entertained by words.

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