Cover Image: The Eighth Girl

The Eighth Girl

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Member Reviews

An interesting psychological thriller telling the story of a woman with Dissociative Identity Disorder, through conversations with her therapist. Ive read a real mix of reviews for the book and i can see why, its hard to fit into any particular genre, and there are some fairly slow parts that dont really meet the 'thriller' label. Hard to pin down, an interesting but not essential read, sorry
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The Eighth Girl is told through two perspectives - Alexa, a woman with dissociative identity disorder, and Daniel, her therapist. Whilst Daniel’s POV was interesting as we learned more about Alexa and DID, I didn’t care about his life or his problems and I got bored during his chapters. Also, as Alexa has DID, there’s a lot of switching between the various personalities. It must be hard to write a character who changes frequently nevertheless, it was hard to keep up. 

I wouldn’t say I was gripped by the plot, it often feeling slow and predictable. However, Alexa was what made the book, learning about the psychology behind Alexa and her illness. I loved how the author delved into her past - showing us where the DID stemmed from. Often when you read a book including an individual with DID, their backstory isn’t explained, so it’s harder to understand why they are the way they are. 

Overall, although I didn’t like the plot that much, the protagonist was interesting enough to keep me reading under the end. I wouldn’t be opposed to checking out other works from this author in the future.
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This book was not what I expected - which is something I’m seeing a lot of reviewers say about it. I think it’s a disservice to the book for it to be called a mystery/thriller, and that’s what brought on a lot of my disappointment. I really enjoyed reading about our main character with Dissociative Identity Disorder and think it falls much more in the hard-hitting-contemporary-with-a-little-bit-of-suspense genre, but it was a little long, drawn-out, and not quite thrilling enough for me to say I loved the entire thing.
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A good read, a bit of slow starter but it does really pick up. The characters and the storyline were captivating, a great debut!
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The Eighth Girl follows Alexa Wu, who has Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) and is told from her viewpoint and that of her therapist, Daniel. Only Alexa, her best friend Ella, her stepmother, and Daniel know about her diagnosis. When Ella takes a job at a lap-dancing club, Alexa finds herself visiting there as Ella works. Drawn into the dark underworld of the club, Alexa starts to uncover a child sex-trafficking ring.   

The book felt disjointed as other personalities ('The Flock') took their place in front, although in this case, I’m not sure it’s a negative. As I tried to figure out what was really going on, I felt disjointed. I didn’t know where the story was going, and this mimicked the lack of stability I imagine Alexa was experiencing as her alters took their places. We uncover Alexa's past trauma and begin to understand the role that each personality plays in Alexa's system. 

The Eighth Girl is an uncomfortable read – the hyper-sexualisation of Alexa and the inner thoughts of Daniel, the therapist, were hard to read – but possibly have their roots in reflexivity. The author is a psychologist herself, and so I would imagine that the darker side of therapy is honestly written about, if disturbing. It was interesting to glimpse Daniel’s thoughts too as the therapeutic relationship progresses.

As the story went on, I found myself wondering about some of the circumstances Alexa found herself in, but it all became clear towards the end of the book. An unsettling read, and unlike anything I’ve read for a while, but one I’d recommend – hard reading but worth it.
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This book is really like no other I have ever read. It was completely fascinating and very well written. A terrific debut. Highly recommended for lovers of dark stories.
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In short, it's about a woman, Alexa, who starts her therapy with a new doctor (because of her DID) and simultaneously tries to investigate a sex trafficking ring. Let's get it out of the way. I didn't have any strong feelings for this book, especially at first. But I couldn't stop reading, I really wanted to find out what this book is actually going to be. 

It was very slow, so it was difficult to figure it out fast, and I was expecting anything. Murder? Some weird romance? The main character just getting better because of all the work she's done in therapy? 

Was it a thriller, as advertised? It's hard to tell. It was definitely very dark and there was a lot of suspense to it. 
 Maxine Mei-Fung Chung is a very good writer and in terms of language  this book was very well written. The author dealt with the changing POVs very well and the ideas were interesting. I would like to be able to compare it to Gillian Flynn's or Natsuo Kirino's books, but for the most part the book felt a lot like one of those early Michael Douglas movies in which he has sex with dangerous women. Y'all know what films I'm talking about. 

After I heard that the author has some 
background in psychotherapy, I was expecting a realistic depiction of the Dissociative Identity Disorder.  I haven't done a lot of research -- I watched some videos featuring people with DID and based on their descriptions of their condition the author wasn't far from reality. I know it's just fiction, but American cinema has been scaring us with the multiple personality disorder for years, and it was nice to see someone with DID try to be the good guy. 

At least the book didn't perpetuate the trope of DID = violence. On the other hand, it perpetuated the trope of mental disorder = robust sexuality. 

And from that stems a list of things I didn't like about this book:
- a therapist sexualizing his client,
- the general and constant sexualization of every female character (and the use of extremely male gaze for a female author),
- the Broken Bird trope (of course as a result of sexual violence).
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This was such a great read, enjoyed it thoroughly, i was hooked from the first page, great storyline and loads of twists and turns , highly recommend this book x
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Not for me. Too confusing and I didn't much care for the main character (s) I've probably missed the entire point of this novel  and others may well love it of course but if mental health and all its permutations is something you find interesting in a novel then this might work. I was just left feeling as if I needed a lie down myself.
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Like nothing I've ever read before, poetically phrased with a disturbing undercurrent. This book surprised me with every turn of the page, an amazing debut, well worth 5 stars.
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Maxine Mei-Fung did a wonderful job bringing to life such a fascinating mental disorder into a real perspective on paper. This is not a book to quickly read as you are continuously looking for triggers and clues to work out which personality has taken over at the time. Maxine uses separate POVs to tell this story: Alexa and her doctor. These breaks/ changes in the narrative help offers the reader a break from analysing the text while also clarify events as they transpire.

However, the overall plot of the novel doesn't live up to the expectations you gain from the books description. Although, the plot twist at the end is not one you are expecting, it won't be a novel I would pick up to read again. Throughout the writing felt stiff and unnecessary to the direction of the plot. Due to its complex nature as well it was to be continously put down to be picked up later with a clearer head. 

As Maxine Is a psychologist herself, she did a very good job representing the DID and taught the reader much throughout. Overall, it was clear it was written by someone not use to creative writing so unfortuanlty the plot let the overall novel down. I would still recommend this to anyone wishing to learn more about the disorder through something outside a textbook.
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A good and interesting read!

I would recommend this to everyone who loves a good story with captivating characters! Definitely a good read!
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"This Eighth Girl" definitely was not for me; the story did not hold any particular suspense and the characters felt absolutely uninteresting.
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Wow, what a powerful, heart pounding, beautiful, heart rending, gut punching book. This takes you on many journeys through London’s dark, seedy underbelly and makes its sharp and absolutely intoxicating. These characters you meet are so vivid and alive you feel that they are with you or out on the streets. This is one I will never forget in a hurry and I can see this one being big next year. Absolutely fantastic.
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Brilliant, twisty thriller. I enjoyed the duel narrative & found Alexa a very compelling and sympathetic character. It's also a devastating portrait of childhood sexual abuse, the exploitation of women & the consequences. Highly recommended.
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Many thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for this arc. DID is one of my favourite things to read about; its such a fascinating disorder. I absolutely adored Split with James McAvoy, and movies like Primal Fear and Identity, so when I saw that the author is a therapist herself and is trying to write an accurate portrayal of the condition I was drawn in and intrigued. However this book wasn't quite what I was expecting. I felt tonally this was all over the place. 
The beginning just failed to draw to hook me. The novel opens with a woman who can hear voices about to kill herself and wondering how she got there. Then the story rewinds back and we meet Alexa who has DID. Only her stepmother, her best friend Ella and her therapist Daniel know about her condition. When Ella gets a job at a seedy club Alexa finds herself drawn into the dark and seedy world of London...
The novel has sex trafficking and rape scenes, so trigger warning. 
I just couldn't get into this book. The writing was boring and the characters failed to engage me. There was very little suspense. The twists at the end were cliched in my opinion. I'm afraid its 2 starts from me.
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Split personalities is a concept I found fascinating and devoured thrillers that use this trope, such Sidney Sheldon's Sweet Dreams and the movies Identity and Primal Fear. Thus I had high expectations for The Eighth Girl. Unfortunately for me it fell flat. 

The book follows two narrators: Daniel, who is a therapist, and Alexa Wu his patient who has split personalities. Daniel is divorced and trying to move on, but is intrigued by Alexa, and Alexa gets a job at an erotic club called the electric when her best friend starts working there and gets sucked into London's seedy underworld scene...Alexa finds herself confronted by her traumatic past when confronted by dangerous situations...

Part of the problem with this book was that while the prose was fast to read through, the pacing was off. There wasn't much suspense and I wasn't engaged with the characters and the story. A few of the twists at the end were quite predictable and use tropes quite common in this genre. Daniel was a bland character. I cringed whenever he noticed Alexa's skirt rising up and the flash of her skin. This is definitely not The Silent Patient, which was an incredible novel. I felt that the plot was all over the place with trigger warning themes of sex trafficking, rape and assault.
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I received this book free as an ARC from Net Galley. All opinions are my own.

The Eighth Girl is a psychological thriller about a girl with DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder) who has had a traumatic past and is struggling to keep control over her life. She gets stuck in a world of seedy, dangerous dealings and must remain in enough control to get out safely. I have the most conflicted feelings towards this book and it's a bit of confusing mess. This book had me up and down like a yoyo and it's difficult to clearly display my thoughts. There are many disturbing topics in this book written in great detail, so please beware these triggers. 

Trigger Warnings: Sexual Abuse, Parental Abuse, Paedophilia, Rape, Sex Trafficking, Grooming, Suicide, Self Harm, Controlling and Manipulative Abuser, Cheating, Sexual Pressure, Alcoholism and Addiction, Racism (especially Asian) etc. 

The beginning, let's start there and talk about the pacing. I was very interested in reading a book with a DID character and was hoping it would be realistic. (I will have to do some research of reviews to see what own voices think of this.) At the start I was... bored. It didn't hook me at all and felt slow. The book had an ominous vibe throughout and I was unsure what it was leading to (not much). I had to review it though so I kept going. It started to get more exiting and really picked up. Towards the end, I felt like I was almost enjoying it, although it had it's issues. It built up and up until the plot twist where, (no spoilers) I was so thoroughly confused, let down and annoyed. It was written in a confusing way and I frequently had to go back and reread to check what the authors was trying to say. When I did figure it out pages later with more context, I felt pissed. The twist was so cheap and stupid. I didn't see it coming at all which I guess is suppose to be a good thing, but wasn't. I probably should have seen it coming, but I really thought this book wouldn't go there. It was so typical and dramatic and annoying. The author tried to explain it and I felt like I got it but I was still disappointed. My emotions were up, down, up, down. Honestly I've never been more conflicted about a book. Once the dust settled I was left with a cheap, disappointed feeling and overall was not happy with the book and its ending. 

Other than the twist I had other issues. I felt like the book had a weird vibe that never really resolved itself. Like a promise of something bad happening in one place that never came. I also felt the writing was confusing and maybe it was suppose to be, because our main character was, but it didn't help the reading experience. There were many times the characters decisions didn't make sense and there seemed to be a lack of logical thinking. The characters were suppose to be dysfunctional but it was still annoying to witness them make stupid decisions. There were subplots and character developments that went nowhere and just disappeared, never to be brought up again, let alone resolved. The main characters we should be routing for were so unlikeable at times and I never really got what their intentions or motivations were.

There were things I did like. I like the idea of representing a person with DID. (Although the ending did cheapen that for me.) Our main character has been though such a difficult past and I thought looking into that trauma was interesting and sad. Once the book picked up I was enjoying it for a short time. I liked the danger and looking into serious issues such as trafficking and the many grotesque things that accompanied that. Abusing underage girls, sexual oppression, racism, paedophilia and more. The serious topic was handled well and was uncomfortable to read (which it should be.) The racial slurs and abuse felt realistic and heartbreakingly sad.  I was enjoying the take down plot and routing for it to succeed. For a while I thought this book had tackled such an important topic well and was enjoying the plot and characters. I wish the book had focused more on that and not on the cheap thriller twist. It could have been a great story but focused on the shock value and surprise twist, devaluing the DID aspect of the book. I also like the photography interest our main character had. 

All in all, this book could have been a real look into sex trafficking, trauma and many important and vile topics in this world with a dangerous take down plot and a DID hero. That was not this book. This book was a confusing mix of things, none of which were pulled off and just left a disjointed, disappointing end. It's a real shame because there was a lot in this book that should have shone, but unfortunately this book was a cheap, shock thriller that is all over the place.
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Oh wow. I feel like I am going to need some time to recover after finishing the Eighth Girl. A novel where the main character has dissociative identity disorder is quite uncommon, a novel where the character has DID and it is done well is rare, a novel where the character having DID isn't the entire plot line is unheard of. Initially I was slightly concerned - would the different personalities be different enough to make them stand out or would they all blend into one, ill-defined 'crazy'character? I shouldn't have worried! Maxine Mei-Fun Chung writes her characters with such care and tenderness, it is almost like she is just describ8ming her real friends and the way she integrated them was perfect. Alexa, the host for all of these personalities and her best friend Ella get involved in the murkey underworld of Sex Clubs and human trafficking, making for an impressive and tense thriller with several gasp-inducing twists!

I really enjoyed how chapters alternated between the unreliable narrator of Alexa and her personalities, and her Therapist, who despite his own issues, is seemingly more reliable. The alternating voices made it very easy to read and made me want to keep going. 

This debut is a shocking and breath taking masterclass in characterisation and plot development. A dizzying thriller with a satisfying ending.
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This was an exciting thriller that started of as a literal rollercoaster and never slowed down. The characters were well drawn and the storyline flowed seamlessly. Highly recommended!
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