When the Lights Go Out – Review

Well, dang. This book was hard to rate.



Jessie Sloane is on the path to rebuilding her life after years of caring for her ailing mother. She rents a new apartment and applies for college. But when the college informs her that her social security number has raised a red flag, Jessie discovers a shocking detail that causes her to doubt everything she’s ever known.

Finding herself suddenly at the center of a bizarre mystery, Jessie tumbles down a rabbit hole, which is only exacerbated by grief and a relentless lack of sleep. As days pass and the insomnia worsens, it plays with Jessie’s mind. Her judgment is blurred, her thoughts are hampered by fatigue. Jessie begins to see things until she can no longer tell the difference between what’s real and what she’s only imagined.

Meanwhile, twenty years earlier and two hundred and fifty miles away, another woman’s split-second decision may hold the key to Jessie’s secret past. Has Jessie’s whole life been a lie or have her delusions gotten the best of her?

First, I have to thank BookSparks for sending a copy of When the Lights Go Out to me last fall for the Fall Reading Challenge – FRC2018. I’m finally getting the chance to cross it off my Beat the Backlist TBR for this year and that alone feels like a great accomplishment. I’ve been in the mood for Thrillers lately and this seemed like a great one to get lost in, especially after hearing the great reviews around the time of its release.

For the first half, I couldn’t seem to unglue this book from my hands. It was everything I was looking for, and I especially loved the eerie feel of the story. It had a dreamlike quality from the get-go, making me question Jessie’s sanity and the things she was dealing with in life. I didn’t know if the story would end up being slightly scary or something entirely different. My favorite thing to experience while reading is uncertainty. I love when an author can keep me guessing from the beginning until the very end, and that’s exactly what Mary Kubica did.

Usually, in a book with alternating perspectives, I have one point-of-view I prefer to read about and the others tend to be pages I want to rush through. With When the Lights Go Out, I couldn’t choose who I liked reading about more – Jessie or Eden. Both characters underwent huge transformations. Eden’s desperation was written in the most realistic way, making me feel every ounce of it myself. I understood her choices, no matter how terrible they seemed, and at times was rooting her to do things that would have been out of character for me. I loved how Mary Kubica was able to fully envelop me in her characters.

“Insurance won’t cover these costs because, of course, some high-and-mighty insurance company doesn’t give a darn whether Aaron and I ever have a baby, and so the procedure is considered elective. We are electing to waste thousands of dollars to try and conceive a baby, while other parents, far less capable or worthy parents, are given one for free.”

Towards the end of the story I was ready for a change in the plot, anxious to see something besides sleepless nights and desperate Eden. However, I still didn’t have a clue how the story would end. When I finally reached the answers I was craving, it was one of the biggest let downs I’ve felt while reading a book. The conclusion felt like a cop-out, a tidy wrapping of a story that could have gone in countless directions. Almost as if the writer reached her limit and had to finish the book. Despite that immense disappointment, I realized this will be a book that sticks in my memory for quite some time. It was an addictive reading experience and even though I hated the ending, the writing was delicious. For the overall reading experience and unforgettable story, I decided to rate this one 4 stars.

Purchase on Amazon.


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10 Comments Add yours

  1. Totally understand. I struggled with this one too and was so disappointed by the ending. But I still love Mary Kubica!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. She’s a great writer and I definitely want to catch up on some of her older books. I’ve read this one and The Good Girl.


  2. bookishinbed says:

    I need to check this out.I have the arc of it but it’s taken me some time to read because I’ve heard mixed things. I am interested to see how the ending is.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Despite the ending, I really enjoyed reading this book. You should give it a try. 😀


  3. csidlo says:

    I liked Mary Kubica’s The Good Girl but I haven’t read this one yet. Sounds interesting, I am going to add to my TBR!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Good Girl is the only other book of hers I’ve read too. This was a pretty good read. I definitely want to check out some of her backlist books in the future.
      I’d love to hear your thoughts on this one!


  4. I did like this story but yes the ending was a letdown.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. this sounds good – but I HATE cop put endings!!! >.<



    Liked by 1 person

    1. Me tooooo! 😭 The worst!


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