Top critical review
Returning Readers Might Experience Déjà Vu
Reviewed in the United States on September 28, 2020
This book combines elements from Henry’s most notable works, such as Girl, Stolen and The Night She Disappeared. At first, I didn’t mind it. But after awhile, a sense of familiarity struck me. I found so many similarities between the three books that at times, the plot began to feel predictable, like a much watered-down Girl, Stolen.
In both books, the heroine is kidnapped by car or moving vehicle and taken to a place seemingly “off the grid”. Girl plots escape, girl attempts escape, and so on. But what makes Girl, Stolen so much more gripping than The Girl In The White Van relies in the main character’s disability—she’s blind.
Here, we have a heroine whose unfortunately more dull and forgettable, sucking much of the excitement out of the story. Add that in with too many POVs—most of which feel pointless—and the book feels like a bunch of recycled plot points regurgitated on the page.
However, once I was able to ignore the familiar plot, things became much more enjoyable. Jenny, in fact, is an interesting character—one who has experienced trauma and paid the price. I also enjoyed being inside the kidnapper’s head, giving an insight into such a twisted mind.
Henry’s signature is her suspense, and in the case of The Girl In The White Van, it is remarkably done. Scenes begin and end at just the right moments. Pacing is skillfully done throughout, except for a rushed final chapter.
I also appreciated the incorporation of Bruce Lee’s quotes at the beginning of nearly every scene, and how his character fueled the two captives to escape.
Verdict: Anyone new to the author will find a riveting, intense nail-biter nonetheless. But returning readers might experience a heavy dose of déjà vu.