This is an “Amazon First Reads” that I chose recently (in fact, it only officially comes out in January, but I think Prime members can buy it now), and I was thrilled by the feedback I was getting on it, ’cause it sounded right up my psych-thriller/mystery alley!! P.S. It’s actually still available to be “purchased” for free, for Prime members if you haven’t selected one yet, this month.
Mona: Hey Maryse, have you chosen your Amazon Prime First Reads for December? I picked Unspeakable Things by Jess Lourey. I was up until 1:30am reading it, fell asleep but woke back up about 3:30am thinking about the book so I picked it back up and finished it at 6:30am.
It is fiction, but was inspired by the assaults on boys in Minnesota in mid to late 1980’s and the abduction of Jacob Wetterling. It is written from the POV of Cassie, a 12 year old girl that rides the same school bus as the boys. There are other unspeakable things happening in her life but I don’t want to give any spoilers. I will say, and hope this isn’t too much of a spoiler, Cassie decides she should find out who is attacking these boys.
Maryse: Okay I just chose the one you just read!! It sounds awesome!!!
Ashley: I’m reading Unspeakable Things right now and wow. Its haunting and scary and the tiny hairs on the back of my neck are standing up. Oddly reminiscent of Judy Blume if she wrote psych thriller type books…. does that even make sense? 😂
I think I know what’s going on but then there’s something else I can’t put my finger on. The writing is amazing. Just a heads up for anyone who saw it …and wasn’t sure! For real…. I’m not going to be able to sleep. 👀
Maryse: *claps with glee*
I agree. And Ashley… I totally get what you’re saying about the Judy Blume thing.
The writing is incredible, all from the POV of a young teen (pre-teen?) girl living in the 1980s. And no worries about reading “life” through a young teen’s perspective, in this instance. It’s actually very thoughtful, articulate and wise for such a young soul. You’ll find out why. You won’t be bored through her eyes. You’ll be disturbed though.
This one is dark, and uncomfortable and certainly not for everyone.
OKAY SPOILER ALERT!! I’m going to explore some of my favorite parts of the story, so if you want to go in blind, stop reading my review here.
I don’t spoil it, per se, but I do let you in on my thoughts on certain aspects, and I went in pretty blindly (just on the adamant recommendations alone), so I was intrigued from the get-go not knowing where this was going…
Probably best you go in just as blindly for maximum effect.
Because she, and her teen sister are both on constant alert due to their alcoholic, cheating, scary-as-hell father, and their subservient mother. He’s all sorts of creepy and gross. And the mom is just as on edge as they are. Yet at first… all seems perfect.
Tasha J: I’m 23% into Unspeakable Things. I think it’s easy to connect with Cassie and it’s an engrossing read. I’m looking forward to jumping back in tonight.
I just came off a book with an abusive, alcoholic PTSD father, and jumped right into another one, without missing a beat. Though in this case, I didn’t realize exactly what I was getting into.
I could smell him from where I was standing: sour liquor, hairy morning breath, sweat. Gross. And what was the big whoop suddenly about going into the basement?
This story takes place during a true-life event back then (in fact, the author lived in the town that this happened), when young boys were being targeted and raped and one goes missing altogether.
Boys didn’t get raped. Raping was for girls. Unless maybe there was something to those alien-abduction stories? I stared at Mom, confused.
And while that event remains an integral part in THIS story, it’s just as scary within her house.
THAT is what had me riveted. The utter fear every time her dad started drinking… the phases he went through as the night wore on (fun-loving and jovial to inappropriate and embarrassing to full on scary).
I was talking too fast. Dad still hadn’t looked at me. He hadn’t spoken yet, either, which was worse than yelling times ten.
Her thought processes throughout, and the constant calculated steps she took to keep him at bay. The steps they all took to avoid his moods.
My liver felt yellow at this, joining in coddling Dad like he was a babyman, but it’s what worked.
All this going on in what should be her safe place, while the town is being ravaged by an attacker, and everyone is suspect. Ugh… her disappointment in the adults that she’s supposed to trust. *shakes head*
Not all men are like my dad and Sergeant Bauer and that raping gang from Minneapolis, I thought. There are good ones out there.
From teachers, to neighbors, to even a police officer… and I kept guessing and guessing… and never quite guessed right. Why? ‘Cause the suspected adults were all full on-creepy (at least through her eyes… and I believe her).
Though as intrigued as I was, and terrified as I was for her, the author makes it last to the very last drop. You don’t find out until the very end… and I was truly needing more. There’s just so much more to her story because… it doesn’t matter who the true villain (attacker) is in the end, because I think they all are. Villains, that is.
That was one of my handful of life rules, those lucky charms that I rattled to stay safe.
Sleep where you’re protected.
No leaving to go to the bathroom after Mom was in bed. I stored a bucket under my bed just in case.
And definitely no getting a drink of water after dark.
Ooooomph. I felt this every step of the way. *shudders*
4.5 stars! Good read, kept me interested and nervous but I wish there was more of a resolution in the matter that interested me most. It all came to a head and ended pretty abruptly and it left me wondering… things.
P.S. GUESS WHAT!!!?? The author responded to my “need of resolving things” and she wrote an epilogue!! SQUEEE! I just upped this one to 4.5 stars.