Review: The Outliers by Kimberly McCreight


Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s Books
Release date: May 1, 2016
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Pages; 468
Goodreads || Book Depository

Imagine if you could see inside the minds of everyone around you – your best friend, your boyfriend, your enemies…?
Imagine how valuable you’d be…
Imagine how much danger you’d be in…
Imagine being an Outlier.

Wylie hasn’t heard from her best friend, Cassie, since their fight. That doesn’t matter when she gets a text from her, asking for help. But as Cassie’s messages become increasingly strange, Wylie has a growing sense that something is REALLY wrong. What isn’t Cassie telling her? And could finding her be just the beginning?


3 stars

Thank you to HarperCollins Australia for sending me a review copy of the book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

The Outliers is a new mystery/thriller series by Kimberly McCreight. In this first book, we follow Wylie, who receives some strange text messages from her missing friend, Cassie, asking for help. For the majority of the book, we follow Wylie and Cassie’s boyfriend, Jasper, as they go on a crazy and thrilling road trip in the middle of the night, in search for Cassie.

I don’t usually read thrillers but I decided to give this one a go because I read a sampler and was really interested in Wylie’s character and her anxiety problems in the aftermath of her mother’s car accident. Agoraphobia is something that I’m super interested in and I wanted to see how it was handled in this kind of a book. Sadly, the agoraphobia lasted for about 3 chapters before Wylie magically decided to leave the house and suddenly everything was okay again. I was pretty disappointed with how it was handled and how it was thrown to the side in favour of moving the plot forward. This is something that I see way too often in YA and I’m often left wondering why it’s even necessary for authors to incorporate mental illness into their books if it’s not going to be explored.

I also had a problem with the whole concept of the Outliers in this novel. They’re supposed to be a group of people who have heightened sensitivity to other people’s emotions – so much so that they’re able to read others’ emotions with blindfolds and headphones on. Despite the whole book centreing on this idea, it was hardly explained at all. I didn’t get the sense that the author had done a lot of research on the topic and it just didn’t seem like she had a good idea of where she wanted to go with this. Being that psychological research is my full-time job, I had lots of issues with the research that was mentioned in the book. There were lots and lots of holes and I couldn’t help but critique every aspect of the research design and cringe at how invalid some of it was. There were terms that have a very specific meaning in psychology that were misused and I had to try to ignore the whole concept of the Outliers to even enjoy the book.

As for the plot, I did find it to be exciting and thrilling but there were things that happened that were a little bit predictable. The blurb on the back of the book gives some things away and it’s definitely better to go into it not knowing anything at all. I also thought that there were some things that were kind of unrealistic and I kept finding myself being jerked out of the book because it was so hard to believe that these things were happening. Overall, even though the plot was exciting and kept me reading (in fact, I read this in two sittings), I didn’t think that it was the most amazing and exciting plot. It was honestly a little sub par. There isn’t a lot that actually happens, and a huge chunk of the book is just about Wylie and Jasper driving on the highway.

There isn’t a lot that I have to say about the characters. I disliked almost every single one of them because I didn’t know if I could trust them. I didn’t feel a connection to any of them because as soon as I felt like I knew them, there would be some sort of twist or change in attitude that would make me feel as though I never knew them in the first place. I did think Wylie was a good protagonist that I could get behind as the series progresses but I’m not sure that I’ll be continuing on with the series after this. I have no idea where the sequel is going to go but I think this book could have easily been a standalone novel if it had been better conceptualised and developed.


13 thoughts on “Review: The Outliers by Kimberly McCreight

  1. BooksatDawn says:

    Aw. It’s sad that you didn’t enjoy this one as much as I did. As I have no psychological research understanding, none of those plot points bothered me. I did like the thrilling and dangerous sequences the most. Like when they got into the car with the couple with and the baby. Overall, I enjoyed it enough to read the next one! 😀
    Great critiquing in your review Jenna!

    P.S. Your country’s cover is way better then the North American one. I’m jealous!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nick says:

    The agoraphobia completely disappearing after 3 chapters would REALLY bother me! If you’re going to include something like that in your book, don’t do your readers disservice. That makes me mad.
    I have a very love-hate relationship with YA thriller books. I’ve found one or 2 that were mind-blowing, but most have been utter failures, so I’m hesitant to try new ones. I don’t think I’ll pick this one up because the flimsy explanation of their abilities would annoy me too.
    Thanks for the great review, Jenna!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenna @ Reading with Jenna says:

      Thanks Nick! I don’t really read thrillers because my heart just can’t take it but I was really looking forward to the psych aspects of this and it was just not well executed at all! The book was thrilling but it wasn’t that great. I guess thrillers just aren’t for me.


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