Review of What Has Become of You

What if a teacher’s most promising pupil is also her most dangerous? A tautly plotted psychological thriller, as intelligent as it is mesmerizing

What Has Become of You follows Vera Lundy, an aspiring crime writer and master of self-deprecation who, like many adults, has survived adolescence but hasn’t entirely overcome it. When she agrees to fill in for a private school English teacher on maternity leave, teaching The Catcher in the Rye to privileged girls, Vera feels in over her head. The students are on edge, too, due to the recent murder of a local girl close to their age.

Enter Jensen Willard. At fifteen she’s already a gifted writer but also self-destructive and eerily reminiscent of Vera’s younger self. As the two outcasts forge a tentative bond, a sense of menace enfolds their small New England town. When another student, new to the country, is imperiled by her beliefs, Vera finds herself in the vortex of danger—and suspicion.

With the threat of a killer at large, the disappearance of her increasingly worri-some pupil, and her own professional reputation at stake, Vera must thread her way among what is right by the law, by her students, and by herself. In this poignant page-turner, populated with beguiling characters and sharp social insights, coming-of-age can happen no matter how old you are.

What Has Become of You by Jan Elizabeth Watson had to be one of the most unique books I read. I really had no idea where the story was going and it took twists and turns that I was not prepared for!

  • As I said above, the storyline was unique. I would slightly compare it to Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, but that is kinda stretch.
  • Stylistically I really enjoyed the author’s writing. It flowed well, was detailed and very smart writing.
  • I really enjoyed Jensen, she was crazy but real at the same time. I was impressed with how her character developed and how smart she was. I really liked her journal entries.
  • I have never read The Catcher in the Rye, but after the class in his book was studying it, I really need to.
  • I like the setting, a smaller town in Maine. It gave the book a really dreary, gloomy feel.
  • I just could not get really comfortable with the main character Vera. She was pretty complex but I felt like she was unapproachable in and out of the book.
  • There are almost two story lines going. Vera is trying to write a book about a serial killer from her childhood, but then we jump to the present and talk about killings in Maine. It just never fully connected with Vera’s past. I see why it was there, just felt like filler sometimes.
 “See, sometimes I think it’s a fine line between being a writer and being a serial killer. It’s all about creation versus anti-creation. Building versus destroying. They both require a lot of energy, don’t they? The difference between the two vocations might as well be arrived at by a coin toss. Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one more likely to keep me out of jail.”

Disclaimer: A complimentary copy of the ebook was provided to me by the author and publisher in exchange of an honest review. The views expressed above are entirely my own and are in, no way, affected by the source of this book.


  1. Wow. This book sounds brilliant. I like the comparison to Gone Girl. I might have to have a look into this one. :) xx

  2. This sounds really intriguing but also creepy and dark. Is it told from the teachers perspective or the student? Sounds like a story that should have had dual points-of-views.

    1. It just just from the teacher's POV, but it would have been awesome a dual-POV!
      Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings

  3. oh it sounds original that's nice but I confess that it's difficult when you have a problem with the main character. Thanks for the discovery!

  4. This one sounds to unique! I am huge with connecting to the main character, so I can see where that could be an issue. The back and forth sounds a little confusing too! Still, sounds pretty good :)

  5. I saw this book the other day as that cover just completely grabbed at my attention! I'm definitely interested in reading this now and your likes just seal it for me, even your "gripes" make me want to read it more. Thanks for sharing your thoughts ( I also should read Gone Girl now too).

    Georgie @ What She Reads

  6. Ooooo! I have a copy of this. Your review made me super curious about it. Adding to my after-graduation to-read list! (That list is quickly getting a bit unwieldy! ;) )


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