Cover Image: What Happened to Nina?

What Happened to Nina?

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

For an honest review, I received an ARC.

This is my first book by this author and may not be my last. What Happened to Nina? is a story about exactly that - what happened to Nina? Young, in love, hard-working and dedicated to family and boyfriend. Nina works hard for her Mom, works hard to keep her often overprotective boyfriend happy and continue her studies - until.....Nina decides one day, out of her character, to go on a week's vacation at her boyfriend's family new house. The week gives us various stories of fun and some fights but the big question, what happened to Nina? Nina does not return.

This is not a whodunnit...this is a slowly peel aware the layers to get the whole story. A mother's love is strong and protective. Who is telling the truth and who can you believe?

The story will keep you engrossed and hoping.

Was this review helpful?

"'What happened to Nina?" I said, loudly..."That should be our hashtag.'" What happened, indeed? I'll just go ahead and tip my hat to the Gabby Petito case. I can't even imagine how frustrating and terrifying and helpless a parent might feel in this situation, with a missing adult child...thinking you know, thinking someone is lying, thinking the police aren't doing the right thing or enough.

I've enjoyed every single one of Ms. McTiernan's (@dervlamctiernan) books, and Nina is no exception. At times, it was gut wrenching, and like watching a train wreck...everyone's past affects their actions, beliefs and thoughts when faced with this most devastating event. And how things fall apart...

Highly recommend.

P.S. Thanks to #netgalley for the ARC.

Was this review helpful?

Many of us had the opportunity to wonder what we would do if our child was suspected in a disappearance as the Gabby Petito case riveted the nation.

This novel is a wonderful examination of how far parents will go to know what happened to their child, and how far another set of parents will go to protect their own. It casts a special focus on the hell that social media rains down on the families who are experiencing hell on Earth already.

Every McTiernan book is a 5/5 for me, and this novel is no exception with its blazing plot and unflinching eye on our culture.

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing this ARC in exchange for an unbiased review.

Was this review helpful?

Nina and Simon are high-school sweethearts who are continuing their relationship now that they are in different colleges. As avid hikers, they decide to spend some time together on the trails while vacationing at Simon’s parent’s house in Stowe. When Simon comes home without his longtime girlfriend, everyone is left wondering What Happened to Nina?

Told from the perspectives of Simon’s parents, Nina’s parents and the detective investigating Nina’s disappearance, the author does a great job of developing the characters and digging in to each family dynamic. While all of the characters aren't necessarily likeable, I did find them believable.

Not only is the story about Nina and what has happened to her, it’s about blame, how social media can influence perception and the way people are treated differently depending upon their prestige or the amount of money they possess. It’s also about how far a parent will go to save their child and/or their family.

It’s an easy read with a very satisfying ending. I highly recommend!

I had never heard of this author but after reading this book, I’ll be looking for her others for sure.

Thank you to NetGalley and William Morrow for the advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for this eARC.

Dervla McTiernan has once again provided us with an outstandingly engaging mystery and domestic thriller in What Happened to Nina?

This was one of the best books I have read in the past year, and as you follow Nina's family as her loss is investigated you will find this to be a well-rounded book that isn't only a mystery, but a study into human behavior as the innocent family of a lost loved one is unaccountably suspected and almost ruined in the wake of their very personal tragedy.

Justice can take many forms, I won't break from my policy of providing "spoilers" which will ruin the surprise for you - however I will say that if you enjoy police procedurals, domestic and psychological thrillers, and mysteries that cover a diverse range of authors, you need to do yourself the favor of purchasing a copy of this outstanding novel, you won't be able to put it down!

Was this review helpful?

I received this as an advanced reader copy from NetGalley

Nina and Simon are a young couple who have been dating and are in love. They go on a trip together and only SImon comes home.

So, where is Nina? No ones knows and Simons explanation does not make sense. Something is not right. Ninas family go to the police, Simons family go to a PR firm to ramp up his good attributes.

So then everything goes to social media.. good things, bad things about both of them. Various stories of what could have happened. Both famines are stressed and trying to find the truth! How far will they go for the truth? Simons family has a lot of money, how much can that buy?

Very intriguing and a good story! Made you think a bit!

Was this review helpful?

I read the blurb and immediately thought of Gabby Petito. A story we only heard about in the news.


Nina and Simon are young, and in love. Or are they? Because when they leave for a weekend at a cabin in Vermont, only one of them comes home.


Her parents want answers, and his are more interested in protecting him. They hire a PR Firm and an expensive attorney and proceed to run Nina through the mud.
OF course sides are chosen. The media runs every tiny thing they can find, including wild theories.


But her parents know exactly who to blame and wow! Did I love them. How far will they go to get justice? As far as we would.


This was such a thrill ride!


NetGalley/ William Morrow March 05, 2024

Was this review helpful?

Dervla McTiernan’s new mystery novel, What Happened to Nina, is a page turner. The missing girl with the suspected boyfriend theme is similar to a true crime that America's media was obsessed with over the 2020 pandemic but with different twists and turns. This talented author spotlights how a family with wealth can hire PR firms to twist the narrative with social media and conspiracy theories. Although the plot is fictional, it’s gets you thinking deeper into how the present day media is making a mess of today’s society. You don’t want to miss this one!

Was this review helpful?

I really enjoyed The Murder Rule so was eager to read this one.

Simon and Nina are the childhood sweethearts who've stayed together into their college years. They leave for a weekend at his family's cabin but only Simon comes home.

The facts of what really happened are laid out early, and it's a bitter battle of wills between their parents, as one side tries to get to the truth and the other side tries to protect their child.

Their are multiple perspectives from both of Nina's parents, both of Simon's parents and the lead detective on the case being the main ones. We often get alternative views on the same events, or overlap between their stories, it's very cleverly handled.

It's not the fastest book, but it is deeply involving with plenty going on and real emotion from the characters. There an empathetic quality to the writing that reminded me of vintage Gillian McAllister and Kia Abdullah, with the parents versus parents structure of some of JP Delaney's best thrillers.

It's a very good book, compelling and highly recommended.

Thanks to Netgalley and William Morrow

Was this review helpful?

I will be thinking about this book for a long time. It was raw and emotional at times, but wow what a fantastic story. I loved the multiple POVs and I couldn’t wait to see what happened next. The ending was absolute perfection.

Was this review helpful?

Wow. This was a fantastic read - experienced all the emotions from disbelief to rage to schadenfreude. It's a hyper-realistic portrayal of what I imagine families of missing women/girls go through - under scrutiny from the press and add in all social media speculation. Excellent book . Well written. Highly recommend.

Was this review helpful?

I loved the The Murder Rule and couldn't wait for this new book from Derla Mctiernan.

In McTiernan's new book, as you might guess,, Nina is missing. During a college break she visits her boyfriend Simon's family's winter cabin but never returns. At first he police do not take it seriously but when they do, Simon's wealthy family shut them out. McTiernan allows us insight into multiple family members including Simon's parents. It's gripping and painful to watch each character wrestle with their feelings of helplessness

What might be more interesting is the role of social media as the families both wield it as a weapon. McTiernan does a fabulous job of layering all of the conflicting points of view and emotions while continuing a thread of the police investigation. I enjoyed this novel, but felt that too many points of view muddied the actual objectives of the author.
#NetGalley, #WilliamMorrow #DermalMcTiernan #Whathappenedtonina

Was this review helpful?

I read this book in one night because I just had to find out what happened - it’s not really a whodunnit, but it is still so taut and suspenseful. All of the characters surrounding Nina were well drawn, from her parents Leanne and Andy to her ex boyfriend and his family - I don’t know that we needed the perspective of the detective on the case to be honest, but that was well done too. I wasn’t fully sold on the ending twist, but I loved everything up to that point and would still recommend the book.

Was this review helpful?

Dervla McTiernan never ever disappoints. Never. And What Happened to Nina? is no exception. While I generally dislike multi-character narration, in McTiernan's capable hands, it worked seamlessly and believably. Similarly, while I wish the best mysteries and thrillers did not always have a missing young woman at their center, McTiernan broadens the gaze outward to the get inside the mind of the young woman's parents as well as the parents of the "under suspicion" boyfriend in this ripped from the headlines mystery. McTiernan also demonstrates the many ways the internet and social media no longer serve the search for justice when a crime has been committed and how easily the narrative can be artificially and cruelly manipulated. This is a "cannot put it down till the very last word" type of mystery. I hope McTiernan is gearing up to give readers a new series with Detective Matthew Wright and his partner Sarah Jane Reid. Thank you to William Morrow and NetGalley for the ARC.

Was this review helpful?

Very early on in the book, I was under the impression that this was a fictional retelling of the Gabby Petitio case. After finishing the book, my feelings haven't really changed. I thought that some of the details were coincidental, but I am fully convinced that this was inspired by the disappearance and death of Gabby Petito. I liked the book. I read it very quickly, and it keep me intrigued from page 1. However, this is not a book I will be recommending to friends, family, or groups I am in on social media seeking book recs. I feel like this is just another way for the media to profit off a real case and not caring about the impact it will have on the victim's family.

Was this review helpful?

McTiernan has outdone herself. This is her best book yet! I already can't wait for the movie to come out.

Nina and Simon are the perfect couple, or so they seem. After a vacation, Simon returns alone and Nina is never seen again. What happened to Nina? Nina's parents are desperate to find out the truth and Simon's parents will stop at nothing to protect their son from wrongful allegations. The families tear each other apart and social media comments wreak havoc as the days pass on.

Although this is a work of fiction, it portrays a view into the public's virtual obtrusion into a missing persons investigation that feels devastatingly real.

Was this review helpful?

Ripped straight from the headlines, WHAT HAPPENED TO NINA is a slow burn suspense story that explores the lengths parents will go to protect their children.

Nina and Simon are a young couple who take a hiking trip that results in Simon returning home alone and the launch of a missing person case for the disappearance of Nina. While Nina’s parents are desperate for the truth, Simon’s parents are focused on clearing their son’s name.

The story held my attention fine but I don’t feel it offered anything new or unique to the myriad of stories about missing white women with their well-off boyfriends suspected of murder. I don’t feel like I got a great sense of who Nina was before she went missing and I think a bit more character development would have added to the emotional impact of the story. I love the new trend of novels that give voice to the victims and I would have liked a bit more of that here.

I am eager to discuss the story with Dervla McTiernan through the Thoughts From A Page Early Reads program.

RATING: 3.5/5 (rounded up to 4 stars)
PUB DATE: March 5, 2023

Many thanks to William Morrow for an electronic ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

Ooh this book was sooo unexpectedly good. I found myself forming a connection Nina from the very first page. I could feel the tension and the growing fear and terror of Nina’s parents as if I was right there with them. Its rare for me to get emotionally invested in thriller books but this one managed to do that too. What happened to Nina was quite evident from the prologue but even still the author managed to keep me hooked to the pages till the very end and that’s what I consider a five star read. The ending reminded me of a movie but if I mention it it will be spoilerish but oh my god I loved it soo sooo much. Dervla Mctiernan has proved once again why I count her among my top favourite thriller writers of all time . Highly highly recommended

Was this review helpful?

Thanks to NetGalley for providing a free advance copy of What Happened to Nina? by Dervla McTiernan in exchange for an honest review.

Just when you think this author can't get any better, she somehow does. What Happened to Nina? is a tightly plotted and propulsive novel that begins with high school sweethearts Nina and Simon vacationing at Simon's family's mountain home in Stowe, Vermont and ends with Simon back home and Nina missing. Simon says they broke up and Nina has run away to cool off, but is he telling the truth? Part mystery, part family drama and part police procedural, McTiernan explores themes including class difference (Simon's parents are wealthy and powerful, and Nina's are neither), the weaponization of the Internet and the media to portray a stories for consumption and entertainment rather than news, and more.

I literally could not put this down (I finished the final 20% when I had been planning to do other work, but could not tear myself away). Five enthusiastic stars for this terrific novel.

Was this review helpful?

What Happened to Nina? is a mystery thriller that seems to be based off of the case of missing person Gabby Petito. Nina has been on vacation with her longtime boyfriend but doesn't return on the date when she's expected. Her concerned parents contact the police and truth slowly starts to come out, but not without some twists and turns.

I really enjoyed this book. I do not like reading about violence toward women, but this book was written tastefully and there was nothing graphic that I could not handle. It kept me on the edge of my seat. I really appreciated that each chapter was told from the perspective of a different character in the story, slowly shedding light on what had really happened. The actions of the characters will have you guessing what happened. Even when you get the reveal of what happened to Nina, there is still a lot to unpack and the story just keeps picking up.

I read this book in one day. Yes, I could not go to sleep at night without finding out what happened. I felt like reading this was watching a really good movie.

I highly recommend this book.

Was this review helpful?