Cover Image: What Happened to Nina?

What Happened to Nina?

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Member Reviews

The plot of "What Happened to Nina?" will be fairly familiar to anyone who remembers what happened to Gabby Petito, the 22-year-old American woman who went missing while on vacation in August 2021 and was subsequently found to have been murdered by her fiancé Brian Laundrie. When Brian returned to his parents' house without Gabby, her desperate parents pressed him and his parents for information about their daughter but the Laundries refused to provide any answers--even after Brian himself disappeared and was later found to have committed suicide. (A civil case filed by the Petitos against the Laundries was later settled out of court.) In Dervla McTiernan's riveting take on this case, Nina and her boyfriend Simon leave to spend a weekend at his family's Vermont cabin, and when only Simon returns home, his wealthy family circle the wagons to protect him, leaving Nina's parents to search for answers on their own. I'm a fan of all McTiernan's Cormac McCarthy books, so this story felt like a real departure for the author, with its Vermont setting, but she handles it brilliantly, nailing the social and political dynamics of small town American life in a way that felt completely authentic and that really sent the story in interesting directions. Nina's parents were compelling characters and I couldn't help but feel for them, but what really elevates the book is the way McTiernan also made me feel sympathetic towards Simon's mother--there is more than one victim in this story. This book clearly isn't going to have a happy ending, but when we finally find out what happened to Nina, it is no less shocking and devastating for being expected.

Thank you to NetGalley and to William Morrow for providing me with an ARC of this title in return for my honest review.

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What Happened to Nina is a riveting domestic suspense about a young woman who doesn't return home after a weekend away with her boyfriend, Simon, at his family's cabin in Vermont. Told from the prospective of the parents (both Nina's and Simon's) as they work to uncover what really happened to Nina, this is a fast-paced, binge worthy read with a surprise ending! Clearly inspired by the real-life, Gabby Petito case, those who enjoy "ripped from the headlines" stories will definitely enjoy this one.

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I enjoyed this book a lot - "What Happened to Nina?" was clearly inspired by the real life Gabby Petitio case, in which a girl and her boyfriend go on a vacation, and only the boyfriend returns back home. It book switched perspectives between mostly the two sets of parents and the detective on the case. I enjoyed that through these perspectives, the reader wasn't kept in the dark about the "mystery". The book is less of a "what happened?" but rather a "how does one react to what happened?" which I find way more interesting.

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I really wanted to like this book more than I did. The story was similar to the Gabby Petito case and centered around Nina and her boyfriend Simon and both sets of their parents. The story was told from multiple perspectives which I would normally like but in this case there seemed to be no order to it. For example, sometimes one character would be featured in two back to back chapters which I thought was strange. I also did not like how all the parents narrated from the first person perspective and none of them seemed to have a really unique voice. The chapters all kind of blended for me. I think it would have been better if it was told from the third person perspective. This book is really about the parents and their relationships. I know it is getting great reviews but it was just an ok read for me. One other thing - I hated the cover. Unless I missed something this is not how I pictured Nina at all!

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Thank you @netgalley for the Advanced Reader Copy of What Happened to Nina by Dervla McTiernan. Nina and her rich and privileged boyfriend Simon go away hiking for the weekend, and Nina is never seen again. Who is at fault, and what happened to her? Nina’s parents, Simon and Simon’s parents are all part of the story. It’s a fun mystery, and I have to say had some twists I did not see coming!! #whathappenedtonina #dervlamctiernan #bookstagram #netgalley #advancedreadercopy #lovetoread #mystery #missingwoman #fictionreader #readersofinstagram #bookloversofinstagram

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A young couple in love go to his parents cabin for a weekend getaway but only he returns-have you heard this scenario before? Needless to say something’s very wrong after he says they broke up and he left to give her space. Her parents will stop at nothing to find her and his parents hire the best lawyers to keep their son safe.As the story progresses the media becomes involved, there are searches going on but she isn’t found. The culmination of this story is something I didn’t expect but I felt was appropriate. All in all a good read.

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This is a thriller about a girl named Nina who goes missing. It was really good. I almost didn't read it, Im not a fan of the cover, but don't be fooled, it was a really good thriller.

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Wow! This book! A gripping mystery about a girl who has gone missing and was last seen in the woods of Vermont with her boyfriend, Simon. A little bit "ripped from the headlines" this book unfolds and we learn early onwhat really did happen to Nina. And then we get to hear how both families (and Simon) deal with trying to find out what happened to her and the investigation that unfolds. And what lengths parents do to protect their children. My top thriller so far of 2024. Highly recommend!!

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This was a very basic book that will appeal to Dateline and true crime fanatics. The characters are very cliche and one-dimensional, with a blue collar family of a missing girl pitted against a wealthy family who believes their son is a golden boy.
It was fast-paced but lacked nuance or depth.

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3.5 stars, not rounded up
“You’ve probably seen my picture online, and heard my story, and if you have I guess you’ve already judged me.”

What Happened to Nina? Is a fast-paced thriller about a missing girl. The strong opening immediately captured my attention. What makes this stand out from other thrillers is that the story is told through the alternating eyes, thoughts, and words of family members – both the missing girl’s parents and sister and the accused boyfriend’s wealthy parents. The book makes you wonder what you would do for your child in a crisis. (Hint, crimes never go away even when you try to cover them up. And the obvious, murder changes lives permanently.)

I liked the calm, reassuring nature of Detective Matthew. I would have like to know more about him and the investigation side of the missing teen. McTiernan did an excellent job of portraying what devastation the media circus can cause in a missing person’s case.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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[4.25 stars]

Australian author Dervla McTeirnan is becoming a new go-to crime fiction author for me (I also really liked her last book, The Murder Rule). What Happened to Nina was one of my Spring Break reads this year and it was perfect for distracted reading time (i.e. a busy pool or beach). Simon and Nina are a golden couple in a small town in Vermont who have been together since high school (they're now college age). When they spend a week alone at Simon's parents' vacation house in Stowe, only Simon returns. And, his story isn't adding up. This story is structured in a way that I love: the reader actually knows what happened to Nina pretty early on and readers get to watch the police and Nina's and Simon's families try to figure it out. This is also a story of class and privilege and how they influence the various characters' responses to Nina's disappearance. It's also about how the media can be manipulated when a crime is getting a lot of attention and the damage this can do to those involved. Recommended for those who enjoy well done crime fiction...and, maybe thriller readers who are frustrated with outlandish popcorn thrillers.

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This story captured my attention from the start, and absolutely refused to let it go. This book features quite a few perspectives, and yet, I never felt confused as to whose POV we were on or what was happening. The story was detailed, but still clear and concise. And the pacing was great - never dragging or lagging

🎧 If you get a chance, listen to the audio - It features a huge cast of narrators and I think, that alone, really helps to keep each of the character and their POV wholly unique and easy to follow.

Read if you like:
detective stories
true crime
great audiobooks
bingeable books

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Big fan of Dervla! This was a quick read, with great character development and a good ending. Some sad lessons about the power of social media!

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Dervla McTiernan's "What Happened to Nina?" is an exquisite exploration of love, loss, and the intricate threads that bind families together. From the very first page, McTiernan’s prose envelops readers in a world where emotions run deep and secrets lie just beneath the surface.

Nina Fraser’s disappearance while on vacation with her husband Simon sets the stage for a gripping narrative that unfolds through multiple perspectives. McTiernan masterfully weaves together the voices of Nina’s parents, Simon’s mother, and Detective Matthew Wright. Each character brings their own vulnerabilities, fears, and hopes to the forefront, creating a tapestry of human connections.

The novel transcends traditional thriller conventions by focusing on the “why” rather than the “who.” It’s a poignant meditation on grief, parental love, and the choices we make when faced with unimaginable circumstances. McTiernan’s exploration of the human psyche is both haunting and deeply moving. "What Happened to Nina?" leaves an indelible mark on the reader’s heart, a testament to the power of storytelling and the resilience of the human spirit.

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The cover of this one made me ignore it the first few times it crossed my path, but after hearing some rave reviews from trusted readers, I decided to give it a try -- and I'm so glad I did! While we know what happened to Nina (at least vaguely at the beginning and then with more detail halfway through), this was surprisingly propulsive. It very much read like a true crime podcast and I couldn't stop reading it. The focus on the differing emotions and motivations portrayed by the sets of parents, as well as a peek into Simon's thoughts, was fascinating, and kept me guessing more than I thought it would. While I haven't found typical thrillers (i.e. Ruth Ware, Stacy Willingham, etc.) to be very satisfying, literary feminist thrillers/mysteries are really working for me (think Nightwatching and The Quiet Tenant). I highly recommend.

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What Happened to Nina read like a true crime podcast. It captured me from the very start and I really enjoyed it!

Nina and Simon have dated for years - through high school and into college. When they go away for the weekend, only Simon returns. Nina's parents are confused and don't understand why they haven't heard from Nina. As they investigate the situation, Nina and Simon's family find themselves at war with each other as they each defend thier own child.

While I really felt immersed in the mystery at the heart of the story, I did find the conclusion somewhat of a letdown. I was kind of expecting more, so that's why it didn't earn a full 5-stars from me. Overall, a really great book though, and I'll definitely be reading future novels by McTiernan.

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What Happened to Nina is every parent’s worst nightmare. This story is told with grace. The emotion, panic and urgency felt palpable. As the story escalates, I wondered how the author would end and WOW. Brillance.
I highly recommend not reading reviews and jump in blind.

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Riveting and thrilling domestic suspense.

Simon and Nina had been a couple since they were 16 years old. Once both went off to college, their relationship started to change. In an effort to regain their close bond, they take a week-long trip to do some climbing and hiking at Simon's family cabin in Vermont. Only Simon returns home. So, what happened to Nina? The police get involved and the investigation explodes as both families close ranks and the news goes viral on social media. Speculation, rumor, and innuendo create a disturbing subtext that makes the truth even harder to find. Nina's family wants answers and Simon's parents stonewall every attempt at discovery.

The narrative shifts in point of view primarily between each parent -- and all want only one thing. Simon's parents want him not to be responsible for whatever happened to Nina and her parents want her to come home.

I listened to the audiobook while also reading along in the e-book ARC provided by the publisher. The production was excellent with a very talented group of narrators who gave so much depth to the characters and the story.

I could not bear to put this down as it kept me totally on edge waiting to find out what would happen next. Also, I could not help but note the disturbing similarities between this plot and the true crime events surrounding the case of Gabby Petito who was murdered by her fiancé.

This is my penultimate favorite book so far this year and I fear that everyone I know will suffer my book stalking. I definitely give this 4.5 stars. It was emotionally gripping and I am sure I will be thinking about it for some time.

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Murder/Mystery books are always a good quick read for me but this one did not do it. The story is very similar to a recent high profile missing persons/murder case and I know many other readers make the connection. The problem with this is the stories are TOO similar, whether or not that was planned or considered, I am not sure, but it made for a not so interesting read.- even with the few deviations from the similar case The saving grace of this book is it's easy to feel for Nina's family and what it would be like to go through this as a family. On top of that, the author does a good job of making you feel for the other family as well, which is a hard thing to do in a murder/mystery. Thanks for the opportunity to read!

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QUICK TAKE: a fictional retelling of the Gabby Petito murder, but told from the POV of the parents impacted and the lengths one is willing to go in order to protect their children. I found this domestic suspense extremely propulsive and unputdownable, and read the entire book in one sitting. It’s juicy and soapy and twisty, and while I didn’t love how McTiernan executed a first-act twist, I ultimately really enjoyed this one a lot and highly recommend it if you’re looking for a fast-paced slump-busting read...

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