Gretchen by Shannon Kirk
A review by Tav @readswithdogs
Last year I read and loved Into the Vines by Shannon Kirk, so I was really excited and a bit nervous to receive a copy of her newest novel, Gretchen!
Gretchen is about a fifteen-year-old named Lucy who’s been on the run from her supposedly estranged father since age two, with her mother. When they arrive in their eleventh state (New Hampshire), Lucy is determined to obey her mother’s rules: don’t make eye contact with people; wear contacts; be on constant guard. She also wants to make friends, stay low-key, and hang out for more than a few weeks because she’s sick of moving. She vowed to herself to do whatever it takes, even if it means keeping secrets from her mother to stay put. What Lucy doesn’t know is that her new friend, Gretchen, and her father, the new landlord, are also keeping secrets and trying to live a quiet life. They don’t take kindly to their life being interrupted by a curious Lucy.
I knew to expect suspense galore and creepiness abound from Kirk, but Gretchen had me shivering with delight at its absolute absurdity and abnormal-ness. Kirk really is fantastic at keeping you guessing and surprising the reader with bizarre twists that click everything into place! Pretty much everything I could want in a book was packed into these almost 400 pages! There’s the ominous setting of the New Hampshire woods, a strong female protagonist, cults, murder, cat and dog characters with great names, bumbling weirdos, and even a heartwarming love story bit!
I got really strong We Have Always Lived in the Castle vibes from Gretchen, with Gretchen herself reminding me of Merricat. If you like Gothic horror/suspense and want a book that is equally chilling and amusing I’d highly recommend Gretchen! Five stars to this creepy book!
Gretchen comes out July 23rd, so get your Gothic horror fix started with her book Into the Vines; another twisted thriller with major Grey Gardens feels.
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