Book Review: The Girl in the Van by Helen Matthews

In this next review, it’s time to meet the girl in the van.


Traumatised by events, Ellie’s mother, Laura, can’t bear to stay in the Welsh seaside town where she lives with her partner, Gareth. She escapes to London, breaking all ties with him, and refusing to tell anyone her new address.

After two years of living alone and working in a mundane job, Laura buys an old campervan and joins a singles holiday. Here, she meets Miriana, a teenage girl who bears a chilling resemblance to Ellie. As Laura uncovers Miriana’s story, she’s shocked by the parallels to her own life.

But stories can be dangerous, and someone out there will stop at nothing to prevent the truth about Ellie from coming out…


The Girl in the Van had an intriguing premise. For the most part, it kept me interested. Laura was a mysterious character and the idea of going off in a camper van was something different in a book. It also kept me guessing; and therein lies the problem.

I like to be kept guessing as to how a story will end. However, it needs to flow well and each piece of information needs to make sense and fit. My problem with The Girl in the Van was that it gave a bunch of interesting information, but then it felt like that part of the story ended and something new then started. At times, it felt like different stories with a connection between each other, but not enough that it didn’t feel I was starting something somewhat new each time.

I can’t say that I loved the characters. I certainly didn’t feel any strong affinity towards them. However, I respect that they were realistic, especially Ellie, who wasn’t as anglicised as many characters in her situation can be. You’ll know what I mean if you read the book, which can be found here.

I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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