My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐/5
An edgy and haunting debut novel about a group of friends who reunite after one of them has returned from a mysterious two-year disappearance.
Julie is missing, and the missing don't often return. But Elise knows Julie better than anyone, and she feels in her bones that her best friend is out there, and that one day she'll come back. She's right. Two years to the day that Julie went missing, she reappears with no memory of where she's been or what happened to her.
Hardcover: 304 pages
Expected publication: March 24th 2020
What do you mean she's missing?
So, I really wanted to love this book. Everything about it screamed READ.ME.NOW.! And … I did but I didn’t love it as much as I thought I would. If you read the summary, you’ll see that Julie (Jules) goes missing for 2 years and then suddenly returns with no recollection of where she’s been. She reunites with her three BFF’s on a long weekend to a remote hotel.
Let me start with the good! The story-line is well-paced and incredibly creepy; in fact, I read this while my husband was at deer camp and I actually got up and locked the doors. So, the eerie atmosphere was there and it definitely played on my imagination. I feel like the author set up a really great and compelling story that had all the chills and thrills that I love in a good horror story. I liked that until the end, I wasn’t quite sure what exactly happened to Jules, clearly something horrible was happening and frankly, I’m not positive I know now. This isn’t to say there was a cliff-hangar or an open ending, I think this is Ms. Harrison’s intent, it’s meant to provoke a certain feeling and to play on the imagination.
While the story was captivating and scary, I didn’t love the characters. There is a strange co-dependency among these women that didn’t make sense and I just didn’t understand it; their friendship felt forced and fragmented. They were friends in college and then scattered to different cities and states – it just didn’t seem like outside of college drinking shenanigans that there was much to bond them in the level of friendship that the author wanted to portray. Then there’s the fact that these women are fairly close to thirty but I felt more like I was eaves dropping on teenagers. This still didn’t take much away from the solid story-line and the terror I felt in the last 4 chapters.
All in all, this is a good horror and a great debut novel. 3.5 ⭐
A big thank you to NetGalley, Berkley Publishing Group, and Rachel Harrison for providing a copy of The Return in exchange my honest review.
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