Review: Where She Went by Kelly Simmons

I had to chuckle when I read the first sentence of the summary ‘Her only daughter has just gone away to college, and Maggie O’Farrell knows she’s turning into one of those helicopter parents she used to mock.’

Having worked in a high school for eleven years in the counseling office, I know a helicopter parent when I see one and the fact that someone used that analogy in their summary felt like this book was written especially for me.

But then things take a dark turn—and you know how I love thrilling disappearance—suddenly this book sounded a lot more interesting that I anticipated. I am fascinated by missing persons cases so when the helicopter mom’s daughter goes missing—-I couldn’t think of passing this one by!


Her only daughter has just gone away to college, and Maggie O’Farrell knows she’s turning into one of those helicopter parents she used to mock. Worrying constantly, texting more than she should, even occasionally dropping by the campus “just to say hi.” But Maggie can’t shake the feeling that something terrible is about to happen to Emma. And then, just as Maggie starts to relax, her daughter disappears.

The clues are disturbing. An empty dorm room where Emma was supposedly living. A mysterious boy described as Future Husband in her phone. Dormmates who seem more sinister than friendly. As Maggie combs over the campus looking for signs of her daughter, she learns more about Emma’s life than she ever thought possible.

Kelly Simmons delivers another gripping novel in Where She Went, an unforgettable story of letting go and the secrets that surface when the person keeping them is gone (summary from Goodreads)


I don’t know that I would outright call this book a thriller—maybe more suspense? Sure there is a mystery to solve (Maggie’s missing daughter) but there is a lot more in the way of mother/daughter relationship to examen and sort through rather than an actual murder to solve if that makes sense.

Don’t get me wrong this was a great story, I felt the pull to keep reading and the anxiety that Maggie must have felt over her daughter pushed me to keep reading as well as all the secrets she uncovered along the way.

This book is well written with characters that I sympathized with. I know that some people didn’t feel that the characters were likable, but I personally felt compassion for them and I also felt a connection with Maggie as a mother. She is living every mothers worst nightmare and that really hit home for me.

One thing that I felt really worked for me in this book was the perspectives of the narrators. This book is told with Maggie narrating the present and Emma narrating the past. I thought this gave the reader a nice balance and helped keep the converging storylines together and moving along in the timeline.

I don’t know that this one set me on fire to blame through the book, but I did savor each chapter trying to piece together what was happening and I felt sad to see the story come to an end. In a way I thought this one was more along the lines of women fiction rather than thriller but I was satisfied with the conclusion and enjoyed Simmons writing very much. As this is my first novel by her, I am left looking forward to reading more by her in the future.

Book Info and Rating

Kindle Edition, 304 pages
Expected publication: October 1st 2019 by Sourcebooks Landmark
Free review copy provided by publisher, SourceBooks Landmark in partnership with Tall Poppy Writers/Bloggers, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and in no way influenced.
Rating: 3.5 stars
Genre: womens fiction, suspense, thriller


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