Nobody Is Ever Missing by Catherine Lacey | Book Review

GOD, IT’S BEEN SO LONG! I haven’t written a book review in almost a year, now. I’ve missed writing them, and I know for a fact that you haven’t.

If you read any of my older ones, you’ll know that I used to write long ass reviews. I mean, all of them are over 1,200 words. I thought I was being thorough by doing that, but now I found out that I only bored you guys. That’s why I’m trying to keep them under 500 words from now on (this one is a little over 600, but the next one will be shorter, I promise 😬)

Anyways, today I’ll be reviewing Nobody Is Ever Missing by Catherine Lacey. I wish I could say I’m starting off my new reviews on a good note, but I’m not. This might be one of the worst books I’ve ever read.

This intro is way too long, just go to the review already.



Publication Date: July 8th, 2014

Genre: Contemporary Literary Fiction

Publisher: FSG Originals

Format: Paperback

Page Count: 256

Series: Stand Alone


Without telling her family, Elyria takes a one-way flight to New Zealand, abruptly leaving her stable but unfulfilling life in Manhattan. As her husband scrambles to figure out what happened to her, Elyria hurtles into the unknown, testing fate by hitchhiking, tacitly being swept into the lives of strangers, and sleeping in fields, forests, and public parks.
Her risky and often surreal encounters with the people and wildlife of New Zealand propel Elyria deeper into her deteriorating mind. Haunted by her sister’s death and consumed by an inner violence, her growing rage remains so expertly concealed that those who meet her sense nothing unwell. This discord between her inner and outer reality leads her to another obsession: If her truest self is invisible and unknowable to others, is she even alive?


I’m going, to be frank with you, I did NOT like this book. At. All.

I’ve had this on my shelves for over 2 and a half years, and always thought it was going to be this mind-blowing novel that I just wasn’t ready for. I picked it up and read the first couple chapters last summer, but decided to DNF it and leave it for another day.

Almost a week ago, I was going through my shelf and thought it was time. I HAD to read it and get it over with.

It took me 5 whole days to read 256 pages. People who don’t usually read books would say that’s pretty fast, but for me, that’s agonizingly long to finish a book that short. I literally had an internal battle on whether I should DNF it again, or keep going. (As you can tell by me writing this review, I finished it.)

I have a couple reasons as to why this happened. (1) It’s an adult novel. Adult novels usually read a lot slower as the writing is super dense. (2) It’s literary fiction, which is mainly based on a character and their feelings. LF doesn’t interest me; I’m more drawn to plot driven books that also include three-dimensional characters.18490560

Speaking of a plot. This book doesn’t really have a plot. Even literary fiction has some type of plot. I guess you can kind of say that Elyria (the main character) going to New Zealand, leaving everyone behind and trying to ‘find herself’ (can you get any more cheesy?) is the ‘plot’, but even that was weak.


The book also ended so abruptly, I felt like we didn’t really get to see how the people around her react to her after etc.

Let’s talk a little about the characters in Nobody Is Ever Missing. Elyria is our main character; I think you can already tell I didn’t really enjoy her point of view.

She’s supposed to be this ‘broken woman who doesn’t know how to love and isn’t the same as everyone. She has a monster inside her controlling and ripping her from the inside out’. All sounds super cliche, I know, but hang in there for a second. The whole ‘broken main character’ thing is so overdone, and most authors can’t even pull it off. This was an example of one that went way too far. Elyria was whiny and mopey all around. If you want something along the lines of ‘broken main character’ then you should check out My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga (I have a review up for that too! Check it out.)

Moving on from Elyria, we have Charles, her husband. They basically got together because he was her sister’s professor before she killed herself. He didn’t really have to be there. They never really loved each other the author just put him there so we can see that she isn’t capable of loving and is only connecting with people over the loss of loved ones.

Some of the other side characters include: her mother, who’s a total bitch, but might be the most likable character in the whole book (tell you a lot); Ruby, her sister who we barely see, the only thing we know about her is that she commits suicide; Jaye, a ‘friend’ Elyria makes on her trip; and then a bunch of other forgettable people.

That’s all, I could go on, but I didn’t want this whole review to be me bashing on the book. If you liked this book, then please tell me why in the comments/replies section below (let’s have a civilized discussion about the highs and lows of the book together. Keyword: civilized.)

1 star

I think it was pretty obvious from the beginning that this was a one-star review…

Much love, Rawan 🖤 …