Gretchen

Gretchen

The new tenants have a terrible secret. So do the landlord and his daughter…Ever since Lucy was two, she’s been on the run alongside her mother. She’s never understood the reason for a lifetime of paranoia, aliases, and lies. All she understands are the rules: never lock eyes with strangers, never let down your guard, and always be ready to move on.Finally, aft...

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Title:Gretchen
Author:Shannon Kirk
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Gretchen Reviews

  • Dennis

    Shannon Kirk is the queen of

    I fell in love with Kirk's writing last summer with her release of

    . In fact,

    was one of my top 10 novels for 2018! So when I heard the fabulous Shannon Kirk was coming out with a new novel for this summer,

    . Kirk's upcoming horror novel

    continues to follow in

    's footsteps as she ventures further into the gothic suspense genre. Both

    and

    have similar Ruth Ware vibes, so if you are enjoying Wa

    Shannon Kirk is the queen of

    I fell in love with Kirk's writing last summer with her release of

    . In fact,

    was one of my top 10 novels for 2018! So when I heard the fabulous Shannon Kirk was coming out with a new novel for this summer,

    . Kirk's upcoming horror novel

    continues to follow in

    's footsteps as she ventures further into the gothic suspense genre. Both

    and

    have similar Ruth Ware vibes, so if you are enjoying Ware's latest novels, then you'll definitely enjoy Kirk's writing.

    Although the story is titled

    , it really focuses on fifteen year old Lucy and her mother. Lucy and her mother are basically nomads hiding from their past. Lucy's mom refuses to let her get too close to people—she has to wear color contacts, she has to lie about her family life, and she can't use the internet without supervision. Lucy's mom is terrified of her daughter's father finding them due to his immense power and corruption. In fact, they have lived in eleven states since as long as Lucy can remember.

    Lucy and her mom finally settle in rural New Hampshire, hoping that the isolation of this small town will be the destination that they can finally call their mainstay home. They find a perfect cottage owned by a single father and his daughter Gretchen. They live on the ranch as well with another property nearby, and have a full listing ready for Lucy and her mother to move into. As Lucy and her mother settle into their new digs, they start getting to know their new landlord and his daughter. Gretchen is around the same age as Lucy, and is desperate for friends. Not having anyone besides her mother in her life, Lucy accepts Gretchen's intensity as genuine interest and forges a friendship with her. As the two get to know each other, Lucy begins to question her new friend's behavior. Gretchen is a very domineering friend, and she has a peculiar obsession with puzzles.

    The longer Gretchen and Lucy maintain a friendship, the more information she finds out about her own life. As Lucy begins to uncover the past about her dark family secrets, Gretchen begins to be force to be reckoned with.

    is literally the most insane book I've ever read. Shannon Kirk dives deep into the darkness with this story, and I can't get the book out of my head! The pacing is very similar to

    , so if you enjoyed how that story was told, you'll definitely be ready for

    . The book goes deeper in its characterizations than Kirk's last novel, and it sets the right formula for the reader to fully be immersed into these characters' lives. As you read the story, you will believe that you know how this story will play out, but listen,

    There were multiple moments throughout the book where I was genuinely shocked at how the story was progressing, and I legit yelled,

    multiple times (in a good way).

    has multiple story arcs that develop throughout the novel, and it allowed for each character to really play a role in the plot, which made for a really enjoyable horror novel. I wonder how fans will enjoy this story, and how they would categorize this book. I would say this is more of a horror novel than a thriller, but it really is in a league of it's own.

    will be out July 23, and I want to thank Shannon Kirk for providing me an advanced copy in exchange for a review. I can't wait to see what you all think of it, and I can't wait for you to meet

    !

  • Kimberly Belle

    Let me just say, I'm so glad I read this during the daytime, when the sun was shining and I was in a plane full of people bc OMG. This book is creepy in the best possible way, and waaaaaay scarier than what I'm used to reading. The poor lady sitting beside me had her arm grabbed more than once because we've all known a Gretchen, a strange loner who turns out to be a batshit loon, only mine was named Pamela. Pamela, if you're reading this, I'm talking about a different Pamela. 😬 Five terrifying s

    Let me just say, I'm so glad I read this during the daytime, when the sun was shining and I was in a plane full of people bc OMG. This book is creepy in the best possible way, and waaaaaay scarier than what I'm used to reading. The poor lady sitting beside me had her arm grabbed more than once because we've all known a Gretchen, a strange loner who turns out to be a batshit loon, only mine was named Pamela. Pamela, if you're reading this, I'm talking about a different Pamela. 😬 Five terrifying stars.

  • Felicia

    *sighhhhhh*

    Gretchen.

    Ohhh Gretchen.

    A lot of us knew a Gretchen back in school.

    In my case her name was Francine Sharp (please don't let her be reading this and come butcher me in my sleep). Gretchens are friendless, awkward outcasts with a tendency to glob onto anybody that shows them the least little bit of attention. Oh, and lest I forget, they are always BATSHIT CRAZY.

    As fun as Gretchen is she's not the MC. That would be Lucy and it's been awhile

    *sighhhhhh*

    Gretchen.

    Ohhh Gretchen.

    A lot of us knew a Gretchen back in school.

    In my case her name was Francine Sharp (please don't let her be reading this and come butcher me in my sleep). Gretchens are friendless, awkward outcasts with a tendency to glob onto anybody that shows them the least little bit of attention. Oh, and lest I forget, they are always BATSHIT CRAZY.

    As fun as Gretchen is she's not the MC. That would be Lucy and it's been awhile since I've loved one as much as I did her. She's

    smart and snarky and uber relatable.

    This story is rife with mystery and tension and wacko characters and everything else I love about a psychological thriller.... UNTIL IT'S NOT.

    At 74% it's like a different author takes over with a whole new plot. And it ruined what was, up until that point, an exceptional book. For that reason I had to knock off a star from my rating.

    Gretchen is a complete departure from Kirk's In the Vines, which reached a new level of madness, but equally captivating. Kirk's writing is magnetic and the true star of her books.

    Despite it's failings near the end, this book is creepy fun and I can't wait for the next offering from this author.

    Side note to Francine Sharp: please don't kill me 😬

    I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  • j e w e l s

    Are you a Gretchen or a Jenny? Sometimes a Gretchen can BE a Jenny. And vice versa. Got that?

    is an outstanding writer. She cleverly weaves together a mirrored double plot line that has the reader climbing a ladder of s/>“…Mag,

    Are you a Gretchen or a Jenny? Sometimes a Gretchen can BE a Jenny. And vice versa. Got that?

    is an outstanding writer. She cleverly weaves together a mirrored double plot line that has the reader climbing a ladder of suspense. You had best hold onto tight to each rung because when you reach the top, watch out!!! You’re about to be pushed off that ladder into a climactic scene I still can’t get my head around.

    I had a difficult time rating

    . For 75% of the book, I was 120% invested. LOVED IT. We have an astute and insightful main character, 15-yr old Lucy, who is on the run with her mom. Her father tried to abduct her when she was a baby and now that mom is in charge, she is not about to let that happen again. So, they run. And move towns a lot. Eventually, Lucy meets Gretchen. Gretchen is a weird kid with personality to spare. I loved everything about needy little Gretchen until I didn’t.

    Okay, now about that last 25% of the novel. I admit to some eye-rolling and skimming some long passages about bones. Yes, bones. (By the end of the book, you will never look at lemons, jig saw puzzles or skeletons the same ever again!) I just wasn’t crazy about the direction Kirk took with the narrative. Despite some convincing writing, it was a tough sell on this psychological suspense fan. And I knocked off a whole star for the absurdness of it all.

    I got over it. As that great American poet, Cardi B, says, OKURRRRRR!

    The ending is INSANE and scary! Pure horror and a bit supernatural. It helps me put it into perspective and look at it like a

    paperback. Gretchen could actually be a sister to King’s creepy

    .

    I promise you will be entertained and isn’t that what we’re all looking for with a summer read?

  • Chelsea Humphrey

    How do you neatly shelve a book that defies genre boundaries and stands in a league all on its own? Well, you clearly create a new genre titled WTAF! Also? I mean that in the highest complimentary way, because it made for an absolutely unputdownable read. Gretchen is the title of the book, but the story really focuses on things from Lucy's perspective of her tumultuous life thus far. While this is being billed as a psychological thriller, and it is one by all means, I think it falls neatly into

    How do you neatly shelve a book that defies genre boundaries and stands in a league all on its own? Well, you clearly create a new genre titled WTAF! Also? I mean that in the highest complimentary way, because it made for an absolutely unputdownable read. Gretchen is the title of the book, but the story really focuses on things from Lucy's perspective of her tumultuous life thus far. While this is being billed as a psychological thriller, and it is one by all means, I think it falls neatly into the horror category as well, but don't let that scare you away if you aren't typically a horror reader.

    As stated about, the story focuses on Lucy and her mother, and the upheaval that they've experienced in her short life. Things are starting to look up when they settle down in New Hampshire, where Lucy even makes a friend around her own age.

    Gretchen is like a pesky case of head lice that you just can't shake. Oh sure, it seems harmless at first, and after you treat it you think it's gone, but it keeps coming back due to some unforeseen infestation. Now, imagine those head lice are actually a demonic little child who is obsessed with puzzles and you have the disease that is Gretchen.

    Friends, I cannot emphasize enough what a wild ride this story provides. The tension is there instantaneously, but it continues to fester and roil in your gut until the explosive ending, and MY GOD SHANNON KIRK. I tip my hat to you woman, because you are a master at writing about the things we pretend are horrifying, but secretly, in our deepest and darkest of hearts, we greedily consume like rubberneckers, and tuck away to tell ourselves that at least we aren't as screwed up as those people.

    If not, I'd be happy to introduce you to each other, just know that you can't bring her back here when you're finished with her.

  • BernLuvsBooks (Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas)

    ⭐⭐⭐💫 😳

    What is it about psychotic children that is so creepy yet appealing?

    took disturbed to a whole new level.

    15 year old Lucy and her mother have been on the run for 13 years. 11 states and endless hours cross country in their car later they end up in an isolated, fortresslike place in the New Hampshire woods. Their new landlords are a pianist, and his lonely daughter, Gretchen. It would be ideal, if each of these families weren't harboring so many sec

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 😳

    What is it about psychotic children that is so creepy yet appealing?

    took disturbed to a whole new level.

    15 year old Lucy and her mother have been on the run for 13 years. 11 states and endless hours cross country in their car later they end up in an isolated, fortresslike place in the New Hampshire woods. Their new landlords are a pianist, and his lonely daughter, Gretchen. It would be ideal, if each of these families weren't harboring so many secrets.

    But Gretchen - she's the worst of them all. Gretchen is creepy, has zero social boundaries and is absolutely CRAZY! There's no other word for her, the girl is demented. I was all in for this one but the end kinda lost some of its mojo for me compared to the lead up in the beginning. Still, the book was insane and had me hooked throughout. It was like a crazy, far fetched nightmare and I couldn't look away.

  • Lyn

    Audio 5 stars

    Story 3.5 stars

    This story was weird, chaotic, gripping and again…weird! But I couldn’t stop listing to the audio because I wanted to know where the story was going. For that alone, I have to round up my rating.

  • Dita

    Wait! What?

    I'm reading along, reading along, or in this case listening along, loving this story, loving Lucy and her relatable, perfectly snarky self when...

    ...WHAM.

    Someone clearly, around the 75% mark, broke into Shannon Kirk's house, tied her up, and finished this book for her.

    Hopefully against her will.

  • Aga Durka

    Gretchen... Gretchen...Gretchen *shaking my head*...what have you done?!

    There is a SPECIAL kind of CRAZY for people like Gretchen, that’s for sure! I have read a lot of crazy, twisted, far-fetched, rolling my eyes kind of psychological thrillers in my life, but this book is on a quite different level, way over the PSYCHOLOGICAL line.

    Ok, so here is the thing: I really thought this was a pretty good read, like 4 stars good (which is very good for a book in this genre, since there is so many of t

    Gretchen... Gretchen...Gretchen *shaking my head*...what have you done?!

    There is a SPECIAL kind of CRAZY for people like Gretchen, that’s for sure! I have read a lot of crazy, twisted, far-fetched, rolling my eyes kind of psychological thrillers in my life, but this book is on a quite different level, way over the PSYCHOLOGICAL line.

    Ok, so here is the thing: I really thought this was a pretty good read, like 4 stars good (which is very good for a book in this genre, since there is so many of them out there nowadays), up to the last 1/4 of the book, and then it all just went downhill for me. The plot became just so convoluted, implausible, and oh, just so cheesy, that my eyes were rolling and rolling and rolling, and I just wanted to give up. I mean, what happened? It was going so well, and Gretchen was actually a believable character (I mean we all know some crazy and clingy people, right?), and then BAMM...Gretchen became this demented and unlikely caricature, and I just wanted to weep. And because of the last 1/4 of the book, I have to lower my rating from 4 strong starts to just 2 sad stars.

    This said I am still looking forward to reading more books by this author. I enjoyed this book up to the last 1/4 and I thought the writing style was really good. Maybe next time the ending will be more plausible and less intricate.

    Thank you NetGalley, Thomas & Mercer, and the author, for giving me an opportunity to read an ARC copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

  • Michelle

    If I wanted to be mean I'd call this book a steaming pile of horse shit but instead I'll be nice and say that this simply wasn't my cup o' tea.

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