An Edgy And Haunting Debut Novel About A Group Of Friends Who Reunite After One Of Them Has Returned From A Mysterious Two Year DisappearanceJulie 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 I have read my way through 315 books to bring you my Top 10 Books of the Year video.Now you know that this one made the cut, check out my video review to see the others Ps This one is technically going to be published next year but it was so good, I let it slide It was dread It moved under my skin like a sickness. Julie, Elise, Molly and Mae best friends since college did everything together But, then they graduated, and spread across the country And they began drifting That is, until Julie disappeared and a rift formed between the remaining three Their lives were so different and with Julie gonenothing was the same You can t erase your past when there are pieces of it scattered inside other people. Of the three, Elise was the only one who didn t think Julie was truly goneand it turns out, she was right Two years to the day she went missing, Tristian found her sitting on the porch swing. Julie is back and other than a little malnutrition and memory loss that s a cause for celebration.The three girls are now four again, and they decide reunite in a luxurious hotel but right away Molly, Mae and especially Elise notice that things seem off.Julie is still Julieexcept when she s not A symptom of being captive for two years Or is there something else happening The hotel is beyond gorgeous but there s just something about it that makes Elise uneasy No matter how hard she tries to quell it There is nothing in the walls.There is nothing in the bathroom.There is nothing under my bed. But what ifthis isn t just something in her head What if it s been real all along Holy F ck It was good I couldn t sleep because I NEEDED to know what happened nextand then I couldn t sleep because I KNEW what happened.I couldn t handle it In short, I don t think I will ever sleep again On the plus side, that WILL give me lots of time to read Rachel Harrison s next book which if it is even HALF as good as this one, will surely knock my socks off.I absolutely loved how Harrison layered all those spooky elements and how I couldn t tell fact from fiction Is there really something wrong with the hotel With Julie Or is Elise just freaking herself out I also loved the characters they were so diverse and well fleshed out I really feel like I could have a conversation with any of them.And I know I keep circling back to this the plot was brilliant Absolutely brilliant I cannot remember the last time I felt my heart actually race as I read a book.Ahhh What am I going to do with my life now that this one is over Requested an ARC of this one thanks to Tucker the Reader s review With thanks to Berkley Publishing and the author for sending a free copy in exchange for an honest review All quotes are from an uncorrected proof and are subject to change upon publication.YouTube Blog Instagram Twitter Snapchat miranda.reads I ve come back to write this review three separate times now, and I think it s best if I keep this as brief as possible The entire novel is a spoiler minefield, but ultimately this one didn t work well for me due to 2 reasons 1 The first 250 pages are mostly repetitive dialogue between the four women, and at that, mostly talking about Julie behind her back, AKA What s wrong with her This got old quickly, and caused me to want to skip ahead to where the suspense and possible action would occur 2 The final 50 pages contained a twist that felt clunky and underdeveloped for me, but this wasn t due to the fact that The Return contains a very paranormal type of twist If this one has caught your eye, whether due to the gorgeous cover or the synopsis listed above, I encourage you to try it for yourself, rather than letting my less than exceptional experience sway your opinion Many thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy. Welcome to the DISAPPOINTED BOILING READERS REHABILITATION CENTER PATIENT NAME Nilufer we couldn t get proper last name, she confused us with a waiter because she determinedly pointed the empty glass she held in her hand and shouted us to pour Chardonnay SYMPTOMS Cursing, punching on the walls, yelling, screaming give my money back and then she calms down and adds Oh thank God This is ARC COPY I didn t pay for it and she makes some undefinable, horrifying moves between caged animal s banging their heads at the bars and jumpy cat who recently lost its tail She defined this moves as her happy dance.TREATMENT We gave her Shining s signed copy and poured a big glass of wine to shout her up And of course we stole her dancing shoes so she is not gonna scare the other unhappy readers We have a huge group stopped by lately who recently read Testament and they re in big pain right now Terribly sorry for big Handmaid s Tale fans Okay, this is me again As you read my anxious reader patient report above, I had an unexpected hysterical book down it was not a breakdown I just want to put the book down forever and never want to read it again I m disappointedly leaving my two stars on the table I felt like a town sheriff who is resigning, taking to her horse to the Old Town Road Here s the thing I love horror so much I love ghost stories, supernatural, paranormal things because they make me stronger to deal with real life s suffocating problems and entertain me so much I never claimed I m a normal person but I m not gonna sing Creep in my cover version and bleed your ears, don t worry But when it comes to this book I was so excited to read a new brilliant debut author s work And the cover is magnificent The blurb is intriguing Julie goes for a hike and disappears into thin air Nobody knows where the hell she is Three besties and newly husband are so worried after one years later they arrange a ceremony for declaration of her death Two of her friends start to see shrinks Poor silly girls But Elise, who has a special relationship with Julie never believes she is dead And she is right Julie is found at her house s porch, in same clothes she wore when she disappeared She has no idea about her lost two years.So the besties arrange a trip at shabby version of Overlook located at Catskill Mountains I don t want to imagine this special place where too many legendary comedians perform their first acting experiences as horrifying place So here s my boiling points Julie came back She is thinner She had bad tooth She looks the shell of herself And surprisingly she loves meat so much It s so strange right because before she disappeared she was a vegetarian So she gathers her wits in two years, it is not a bad thing, right All her friends have no common, talking like teenagers not nearly 30 years old people, keep saying I love you s but they don t have any idea why the hell they love each other so much are really worried about their friends But they don t ask what is going with her.All the characters including best friend Elise are so boring, artificial I still don t understand the reason why Elise s afraid of her own shadow I thought she had a traumatic past but when I read the background story I found out she is a regular silly girl who made unreasonable choices and now she is penniless and suffering from Electra complex.And why these four friends came to this tasteless, kitschy place There is nothing out of ordinary with this place, instead of designing failures and creepy hotel crew This is not Overlook This is not even a creepy motel located in the middle nowhere So I did t understand the reasoning of the author to bring those girls to this place They can go to cabin in the woods and it will be effective place, fitting better with the story And the last point I waited for a good conclusion and better satisfying ending As you may understand that I m still seething and eating a big bag of Doritos Poppin Jalapeno they re freaking delicious by the way the ending didn t work well with me FINAL RESULT POTENTIALS WASTED FOR NOTHING Lately I read too many great thriller ARC COPIES Like brilliant Sun Down Motel so I was really expecting too much and so excited to read this book but you cannot find the winners every time Let s forget this book and move to the next one Thanks to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing Group to share this ARC COPY in exchange my honest review I wish I could enjoy it like the last thrillers I ve read lately. Many thanks to Elisha at Berkly Publishing Group for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review Don t let the clock scare you, she says It s only time If The Shining and Mean Girls had a baby, that baby would be The Return Holy sh t You guys this book was truly one of the creepiest books I have read since Little Darlings Nearly a week after reading this, I am still reeling This book will forever leave a mark on my soul Elise I know that there have been complaints about Elise as a character I agree with these complaints Kind of She is definitely annoying but all the main characters are Mostly, I was just generally okay with her She did say something super relatable though being alone in this city of millions of people was worse than being alone in my apartment In case it isn t clear, Elise is saying that it sucks when you feel alone even when you re surrounded by millions of people Which is so, so true I tend to feel the most lonely when I m around other people Molly I have absolutely nothing to say about this character She, in my opinion, didn t add anything to plot She s one of those characters that can be cut without any ill effect Mae Mae is the human embodiment of light She was the only likable character in this novel I think that was because the only character who wasn t a selfish b tch Also, here s a random quote that I found super funny Everyone we know is too boring, says the lump of covers formerly known as Mae Julie Goddamn, I hated her It s really hard to talk about Julie without revealing anything because, as should be obvious by the synopsis, she is the main conflict and, in the end, plot twist Let me just say that I hated her guts and we ll leave it at that As I mentioned earlier, this book was absolutely terrifying Once again, I want to avoid spoilers but the graphic details and underlying suspense in this novel were so well done Every time I started to feel a bit bored, the author would throw in a scare or twist and I couldn t help but read on I read the last fourth of this on the drive home and when I got home, I had no memory of the roads or how long the drive was because I was completely, wholeheartedly engrossed in this The author did not hold back and it shows This is the book that I could not read with the lights off This is the book that will become a movie that I will definitely see and then be jittery for the next week Also, The Return was set in a hotel which is why I compared it to The Shining but don t worry This book is nothing close to it In my opinion, it s much better and so much creepier Overall, this book blew me away It is slow at first but wait it out because the last one hundred pages move at breakneck speed with a chilling and terrifying ending Bottom Line 4.5 StarsAge Rating R Content Screening Spoilers Educational Value 0 0 Positive Messages 0 0 Violence 5 5 Gore, bodily harm and horror, blood, sickness Sex 0 0 Langauge 4 5 F k, sh t, b tch, d ck Drinking Drugs 3 5 Wine, medicinal drugs Trigger and Content Warning Loss of a loved one, Eating disorders, Anxiety, Body horror, Creepy themes and tones, horror throughout.Reps None Cover 3 5 Characters 4 5 Plot 5 5 Publication Date March 24th, 2020Publisher Berkley Publishing GroupGenre Mystery HorrorBlurb Horrifying and creepy, The Return is a book that you won t be able to stop reading 4.5 stars holy sh t the last 100 pages the amnesia trope is one of my favorite tropes in the thriller genre i have had nothing but success with it We Were Liars, What Alice Forgot, etc so i am super, super excited Goodreads Blog Pinterest LinkedIn YouTube Instagram This was, uh, interesting Julie, Elise, Mae, and Molly have been lifelong best friends Then one day they are told that Julie has gone missing while out on a hike in the Maine mountains Mae and Molly succumb to their grief but Elise is sure that Julie isn t dead She knows that Julie likes the attention too much so she holds out hope for her return Two years later and Julie does return with no memory of what happened over the last two years The four women decide that a weekend away will be the best way for them all to reunite Mae knows of a quirky inn in the Catskills that will be the perfect place Once they arrive at the mysterious inn they realize that this will be a strange weekend indeed with the obnoxiously themed decorated rooms and the less than friendly help Once Julie arrives, late as usual, they realize again that the inn is the least of their problems because something about Julie isn t quite right Something is different Julie has changed I had a couple issues folks Surprise, surprise First of all a good chunk of this book is really just these four ladies chatting with one another Like, that is it Actually it s mostly just three of them talking behind Julies back trying to figure out what s off about her These women bored me to tears and if I had to hear I m sorry or I love you I m heartless uttered out of any of the characters mouths again I was going to chuck my kindle I wish I had taken note of each time I m sorry or I love you was said during this book Hundreds of times, I d guess this may be a slight exaggeration but only very slight I couldn t understand the motivations of any of these people None of it made sense For women that claim to love each other so much they sure do tip toe around any issues with one another Next up for me to complain about was the Inn itself So much was built up around the strangeness of the Inn for no apparent reason whatsoever that I can figure out because it plays no actual part in the plot I kept thinking that maybe something supernatural was going on or that the staff was in on whatever was going on Something Anything But, no It s just a regular old Inn with really tacky taste and I found this to be a cheap trick by the author What s the reason for building this up only to go NOWHERE with it Such a huge letdown That cover is perfection but, sadly, the story between the pages could have been so much better 2 stars Thank you to Edelweiss and Berkley for providing me a digital ARC in exchange for my honest review. You can t erase your past when there are pieces of it scattered inside other people Jules goes missing and stays missing for two years, but then she reappears one day with no memory of what has happened to her over the past few years Her best friends are unsure as to how to handle this stroke of good fortune They had a funeral for her They mourned her They accepted that she was going to be a missing piece for the rest of their lives They can t decide if they are happy about her reappearance or freaked out about it It doesn t help that Jules is in some ways the same Jules and in other ways not It is like experiencing the vestiges of the past wrapped in dark forebodings of the future Mae, Molly, Elise, and Jules are all friends, but as always, with dynamics like this, there can only be one best friend, and it works out great if the same people find each other to be besties Mae and Molly have always been closer, and so when Jules disappeared, Elise, who always felt that Jules was her BFF, became the wheel on an axle missing the other wheel So either their relationship would have to evolve into an Estonian Nobe 100 or Elise was always going to feel like a teeter totter without someone to make her bounce So Mae books them all rooms in a themed room hotel out in the middle of nowhere where they will have a chance to rekindle the magic that has always made their relationship with each other so special Sometimes when we re all together, I get confused about who is who Where one of us stops and the others start We overlap, bleed together Maybe I m just paranoid, but as they take me on a tour of this hotel, I start to feel creeped out, creeped out in a Stephen King sort of way I m grinning though because this has all the makings of a modern gothic extravaganza I hear it again It s inside the walls A knocking.Pipes It must be the pipes Usually, it is the pipes or the building settling or something equally innocuous or at least we convince ourselves of that God knows how many times I ve woken in a hotel, in the dead of the night, sure that I ve heard something sinister, only to roll over and go back to sleep Somebody getting attacked in a hotel better scream bloody murder and than once if they are going to rouse their fellow travellers I was a bit leery about spending almost 300 pages with four middle aged women I certainly didn t want to find myself by page 135 hearing the theme music for Steel Magnolias My mild fears never manifested themselves other things manifested themselves, but I didn t ever feel like I was missing important components of my physiology to read this book There is only one man in the story, and he is kept off stage to be used as a minor character in the lead up to the grand reveal It doesn t matter Men aren t needed The women do a lovely job, just fine without interference from a swinging dick or two The thing is, I actually really liked them Rachel Harrison does a great job separating their characters and presenting them to us as individualistic, intelligent, and resourceful women They are also snarky love me some snarky without being excessively cruel We don t share our feelings, at least not in depth Only when we re hammered or desperate We re all repressed, and that s how we like it That s part of why we are close We have a mutual understanding In this age of confessing all to the world, it is refreshing to spend a weekend, albeit bizarre weekend, with some people who know how to carry their own water Harrison also does not resort to having a character do something completely and utterly stupid to advance the plot Thank you, Ms Harrison, thank you very much I loathe the dumb move concept in movies and books, even though I know as a species we are quite capable of doing completely moronic things when pressed to make decisions If there are miscalculations by the characters in this book, it is simply out of true concern for another So the crux of this whole matter is that Jules is enough like Jules to pass as Jules, except to people who have held her under a microscope for years Friends this close will notice any deviation, any unplucked eyebrow hair, any conversational misstep What happened to Jules Is Jules even Jules What the frill is going on And now you can t possibly resist finding out what the frill is going on, and you won t be disappointed So come along with me and the gals on a little trip, and let s all figure out together what exactly is going bump in the night I want to thank Berkley and Penguin Random House for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.If you wish to see of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit also have a Facebook blogger page at My reviews can also be seen at m always intrigued by books that deal with missing people This novel really caught my attention with its great cover and interesting description When Elise first hears that her best friend, Julie is missing, she doesn t believe it Elise, Julie, Mae, and Molly are all very close friends though Elise has always felt closer to Julie Days, weeks, then months pass Everyone else assumes Julie is dead, but Elise REFUSES to give up hope Then two years to the day she went missing, Julie returns Unfortunately, she has no memory of what happened to her or where she s been for the past two years A girl s trip is planned so the four friends can have time to reconnect When Elise, Julie, Mae, and Molly are all together, insecurities often come out Elise knows you re not supposed to be jealous of your friends but sometimes she can t help it Elise can t wait to see Julie but when she finally arrives, Elise can t believe it Julie looks awful She is emaciated, her teeth are yellow, and her eyes are bloodshot Elise, Mae and Molly all try to hide their shock at Julie s appearance The friends are further shocked by what Julie does at dinner The Red Honey Inn is VERY secluded With its creepy rooms and strange staff, weird things start happening.Things are about to get even stranger.Well That was.different A bizarre and creepy read I had a hard time connecting with this story It wasn t what I was expecting, and some of it just didn t make sense to me I m not usually bothered when things are over the top but a few parts were too much for me I was really grossed out at times and had to skip ahead I thought about not finishing it, but another part of me really wanted to see how things turned out I was also very confused by the ending I felt so much was left unanswered.However, it could just be me I ve seen that many other readers have really enjoyed this novel Unfortunately, it just didn t work out as well for me I d like to thank Berkley books for providing me with a copy of this novel All opinions are my own. Well, that took me on an unexpected journey There s definitely some problems along the way, and I find myself agreeing with almost all of the criticisms I have read in other reviews But when I finished the book, my overall feeling was I kinda liked it even if I m not able to articulate exactly why Elise, Julie, Molly, and Mae have been friends since college Julie has gone missing and well, we all know how those cases usually turn out But Elise can t help but feel her friend is out there somewhere just waiting to be found Guess what Surprise Elise returns two years after her disappearance and with no memory of the last few years So what now Well, the three women hope a getaway at a remote inn with Julie will help in getting some answers to what happened to her while she was gone But it might prove difficult as it becomes apparent to the women Julie is not exactly the same person she was before she went missing.I think this book had a solid premise and while the execution wasn t perfect, I will give points to the author for at least thinking outside the box This wasn t a typical mystery or thriller, she did get a bit creative here which is something I appreciate as I am a huge reader and anytime I get the chance to read something unusual or different, I think it s a good thing Having said that though, I do understand why some readers might find the storyline a disappointment.One of the problems with the book is it feels like nothing significant happens for a very long time It s basically four friends in a hotel with not much going on This wasn t really a page turner of a story until the end Another issue I had was remembering who was who when it came to Molly and Mae When you are reading a story about four friends and two of them basically blend into one another for most of the book, that s not a good thing I would have loved character development there and with Elise as well But like I mentioned before, I did like this book even with all of the things that drove me nuts Is this a book for everyone No, but if you are in the mood for something a bit different, consider giving this one a look.Thank you to Berkley for sending me an advance reader s copy in exchange for an honest review 4.5 starsI was NOT expecting this slim novel to be so awesome, so horror based, and so suspenseful Loved it It would have been an automatic 5 stars, but some things didn t jive for me.Suspense Pacing Setting The Return comes out on March 24, 2020 Elise is told her best friend, Julie, went missing on a solo hiking trip Two years go by, and Elise refuses to believe or accept that Julie s dead She s sure Julie will turn up again, good as new Two years to the day that Julie disappears, she returns She doesn t remember anything about her time missing, and things aredifferent But Elise is ecstatic anyway Julie came back To celebrate Julie s return, Elise and Julie s two other friends organize a girl s weekend at a lodge in the New England woods The lodge is crazy wacky think individually themed rooms, Alice in Wonderland, Tim Burton, and The Shining all in one and the girls are immediately set up for a weird time But the lodge isn t the weird part Julie is Something s wrong with Julie, and it might not be what Elise is expectingWow What a cool, unique, horrific debut This clocks in at just under 200 pages, and I devoured it in one sitting The suspense was killer at any given moment, I was on pins and needles waiting for the next creepy thing, the next reveal The girls friendship dynamics were painfully raw, honest, and full of recognizable traits that I identified with from my own friends The reveal, while easier to guess than others, was still well done and I loved the final climax.The only thing that kept The Return from being an automatic 5 stars for me was the overall pacing You can tell that this story had a killer hook and good suspense, but due to the lack of a side plot or believable red herrings its pacing suffered Lots of dialogue based scenes and not enough significant action However, as the suspense was done SO well, this was relatively easy to ignore It would have been a much bigger problem if this novel had been longer Thank you to Berkley via NetGalley for an ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review.Blog Instagram Find all of my reviews at StarsI read this book in December And then I lost it in my car Which is a Fiat Why do I tell you guys stuff like this My husband should have zero problems having me committed with all of these embarrassing confessions out there in writing Actually he won t even have to worry about it after that fucking Google ad during the Super Bowl drinks gallon of antifreeze due to inability to stop crying ever Anyway, so I was lucky enough to get an advance of this book, read it a billion years ago, lost it in a car that is about the same size as a shoe and am now finally posting this And guess what I just took a look at the cover and noticed that it doesn t come out until March so The Return doesn t seem to be a big hit with my Goodreads friends, but I dug it The premise is a reunion of four old friends at a quirky inn The twist is they are getting together after one of them was disappeared for two years You see, Julie went hiking and never came back Two years to the day she went missing she was found on her own front porch Her pals Elise, Molly and Mae get the gang back together in order to help Julie as much as they can dealing with her return But Julie isn t the same Is it a case of Or something worse The creep factor here was on eleven and that was totally enjoyable Plus, I always love a good hens weekend type of setting and watching the skeletons fall out of various closets The dynamic of friend groups intrigues me and I don t mind reading about people talking rather than nonstop action Your mileage obviously may vary, but I think this would make for a great rainy day read ARC provided by Berkley in exchange for an honest review.
- 304 pages
- The Return
- Rachel Harrison
- 22 September 2019 Rachel Harrison