The Returned
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The Returned (The Returned #1)

3.32 of 5 stars 3.32  ·  rating details  ·  8,583 ratings  ·  1,877 reviews
"Jacob was time out of sync, time more perfect than it had been. He was life the way it was supposed to be all those years ago. That's what all the Returned were."

Harold and Lucille Hargrave's lives have been both joyful and sorrowful in the decades since their only son, Jacob, died tragically at his eighth birthday party in 1966. In their old age they've settled comfortab...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published March 25th 2014 by Harlequin MIRA (first published August 27th 2013)
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Faye, la Patata
I am still at a loss for words. It's amazing how the stories of fictional characters can push you to look deep within yourself, encouraging you to find your own answers to the same questions asked. Very rarely do I feel so connected that my heart bursts with emotions so raw and intense, that my soul feels broken but also warm and complete at the same time. Reading this book was a unique and uplifting experience, and I kind of understand why it had a bidding war for film rights. It's that good, f...more
Stuti (Turmeric isn't your friend. It will fly your ship
Aug 02, 2013 Stuti (Turmeric isn't your friend. It will fly your ship rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: definitely not fans of the snow child
Recommended to Stuti by: Faye, la Patata
There's this line in The Returned that can describe my mood throughout the book.

...but mostly the soldier only stood-or sometimes even sat- at the barricade, looking either very detached or very bored, depending on the lightning at that particular moment.

Depending on the POV at that particular page, I either dozed or just skimmed through the pages. No, not really. It's weird but I can never skim through anything; I just gotta take it ALL in, no matter how constipated* or uninterested I feel.

Litchick (is stuck in the 19th century)
For the first time ever, I’m giving a book I DNF three stars. This is not a bad book, it’s well written and on many levels, it’s a fascinating read. But…meh. I guess it’s just not really for me.

This book is, at its heart, a character study. The thing is I couldn’t really bring myself to care about the characters. Mostly this is because I have no desire to discover the inner secrets of a preachy elderly woman obsessed with vocabulary and good manners. Nor did I want to spend a couple of hundred...more
Lauren Henderson
I received an advance copy this book for free in a GoodReads FirstReads giveaway.

I'm slightly torn about this book. The story line idea behind this book is a great idea. Also, I love how the author switched chapters with telling the story from the view of the "True Living" and the "Returned". I also loved the ending with respect to the emotional issues of Jacob's parents. Those are the good things I can say about this book.

That being said... I never really completely got into the story. The writ...more
This book doesn't just have a sagging middle--it has an enormous beer gut.

The set up is intriguing -- what would happen if dead people started returning to earth. Not zombies, but just returning? The book takes that interesting premise and then...nothing.

Most of the story is told through the Hargraves -- an elderly couple in Mississippi who's son Jacob drowned 50 years ago. Now the 8 year old is back after mysteriously appearing in China. (This weird location problem is something else that is n...more
What happens if everyone who ever died returns? How does humanity react? Who or what are these Returned? Are they the same people they were before they died? Are they people? These are interesting questions that are addressed in this novel. Its premise sounded to me like the perfect set up to meditate on death and what happens afterward. But also to show various reactions to something some might call a miracle and others the end of days – and again others might call a scientific oportunity. It e...more
Leanne Ellis
Two and a half stars. When I began this book, I loved it. Loved the thought-provoking premise. Loved the poet-turned-author's delicious use of language. (His passage about Lucille and Harold and her use of the word flippant had me laughing out loud.) I had that deeply-satisfied-with-life feeling that comes from knowing you are reading a great book. Except then I got bored. Harold and Lucille are great characters. I enjoyed their individual quirks and the way they interacted as a long-married cou...more
If you have ever lost someone suddenly, unexpectedly, and all those feelings are still fresh and open, then the last few chapters of this book will get to you.

I love when poets write prose because the stories they tell are beautiful in both form and subject matter. Poets understand language structure in ways non-poet novelists don't (or can't). They understand the importance of a single turn of phrase or choosing the right word for the right moment to tie the whole story together. Prose is more...more
Diane S.
This book is being heavily promoted and is now in production for a television series. It is a book that raises so many questions. The dead start appearing, (not a vampire or Zombie in the bunch, thank you Jason Mott) an eight year old boy who drowned at the age of eight, fifty years before is delivered to his now 70 yrs. old parents. The dead are the same age as when they died, at first this is looked on as miraculous but this soon begins to change.

It raised many questions for me. I had been ver...more
Where I got the book: passed on to me by a friend. Well, it was offered at a book club meeting and I POUNCED.

In his Author's Note, Jason Mott tells us that the genesis of this novel was a dream in which his deceased mother was sitting at the table waiting for him when he got home--as if she'd never been gone--and they simply talked together about what had happened since her death. I too have had dreams where I engage in quite ordinary activities with long-dead relatives, and I welcome them; it's...more
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
Actual rating, since GR douchily refuses to allow half-stars: 4.5 Stars

At BEA, Harlequin was really pushing The Returned. The publicists were all really excited for it and recommending it highly. While a bit interested, I was also skeptical, because, hey, they're publicists and pimping the more highly marketed titles extra hard comes with the job description. Well, in this case, they were right. The Returned is slow-moving, but elegant, graceful and thought-provoking.

The Returned is not going to...more
Kealan Burke
Anyone who goes into Jason Mott's THE RETURNED expecting zombies, or a story typical of that subgenre, will be sorely disappointed. Nor would I call it a horror novel. What's here instead, is a beautifully told drama which just so happens to feature as characters people who've come back from the dead. There are no dodgy sci-fi explanations for this, no peculiarly colored comets or spilled barrels of mysterious chemicals--the dead just come back, and they do so looking exactly the same as the day...more
Nicole Tuttle
I really love stories whose premises involve mysterious resurrections and worldwide chaos as the result. This story is not your typical story of the rise of the undead, so if you're expecting horror or zombies, search elsewhere.

This story intrigued me from the get-go and I was committed to loving it. But the reality of my reading experience is that I was bored and the pages turned were turned in the fervent hope that something really cool that could explain the return would be there. It never w...more
One of the many joys of being a GoodReads member is occasionally winning an advance copy of a sought-after new book. So first, I’d like to thank GoodReads FirstReads for the privilege of reading The Returned before the general public.

That being said, this is a very hard review to write. How do you review a book that you strongly suspect will be a real winner for a large audience…but you do not feel part of the intended audience? I guess, with candor and honesty.

So let’s start with the good stuff...more
Scarlet Wilson
This is the kind of book that grabs you from the first page and can't put down. I read this book in one sitting and think it is truly fabulous.
This book is fundamentally about human nature. I don't want to give anything away other than what's on the back cover. An elderly couple open their door one day and find their 8 year old son standing there. Only problem is their son died 50 years ago on his 8th birthday. How they react and how the people around them react is fascinating. Other people who...more
Barbara Sissel
What would you do if, one day, you opened your door to find a person standing there who had been deceased for years. Not just any person either, but someone you loved, a child, your mother, your great-grandfather. This would not be some zombie facsimile, no. They would be real, warm, breathing, and alive in a way only the truly living can be. This is the situation that is happening when the story of THE RETURNED opens. Lucille and Harold’s son reappears in their lives just as he was on the day h...more
"The Returned" is a debut novel with an excellent and disturbing premise. What if “…all over the world, people’s loved ones are returning from beyond”? It’s a powerful idea with an immense emotional and logistical scope – from the painfully intimate repercussions upon individuals to the frightening global implications for countries and cultures. What a great notion! Regrettably, the magnitude of the premise is part of my problem with the novel.

It is a risky decision to constrain the breadth of s...more
Reading the synopsis of The Returned, you could be tempted to call this a zombie novel. After all, people returning from the dead are the essence of zombies, but even if there is that similarity, The Returned is definitely not what I would call a zombie story - and I'm completely OK with that.

Instead, The Returned is more of a study of humanity - biases and bigotry, but also love, memory and connection. The central characters, Harold and Lucille, aren't easy to get to know, but they are intensel...more
C. Purtill
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I thought it was OK.

I was really hoping for something more suspenseful. (I could have sworn he saw some creature jumping on the roof of the church at the beginning..)

I was hoping for more answers. I wanted it to move faster. I just thought it was two or three characters contemplating the meaning of life.

I felt towards the end I should have felt more of an emotional connection to these characters and really scared for what happened to them. I didn't.

I actually enjoyed Agent Bellamy and the Pasto...more
The Returned by Jason Mott has been one of the most anticipated releases of the year. With an intriguing storyline and a tv series rumoured to be starting in the new year that all add up to big news and for the most part it lives up to my expectations.

Imagine if a loved one who had died decades before suddenly returns home and is just as they were day they died. This is what happens to Harold and Lucille who have there 8 year old son Jacob reappear in there lives 50 years after his death. In the...more
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
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3.5 Stars

What would you do if a deceased loved one showed up on your doorstep? That is the question that Harold and Lucille have to wrestle with when their 8 year old son shows up looking exactly as he did when he died back in 1966. Is he truly their Jacob or is he possibly a specter? Is he pure and good like the little boy they lost or is he something dark? Is it possible for Harold and Lucille to turn this boy who looks so much like their son away and, if not, how can this couple in the twili...more
Cora Linn
To call this Young Adult will limit the audience, I think. This was fantastic, and so very different from anything else I've read this year.

The Returned is a very different book from what I'd usually pick up, but I was intrigued when I read the premise.

This book wonderfully explores what would happen if the dead returned to life, and the situations it presents are so real and so believable.

This book does have an awful lot of religion in, but it is never, not once, pushed in your face. Christian...more
Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews
Do you want to keep him?" What kind of question is that to ask a mother who hasn't seen her child for 50 years?

When Jacob showed up on his parents' doorstep after his death 50 years ago, you can imagine the shock. But was it really shocking that Jacob appeared when the dead were returning all over the world and this phenomena was the main story in the news?

No one knew what to do with The Returned. The town of Arcadia and all across America had the Returned filling up towns, and so they had to se...more
Lady Lioness
Grabbed a copy of this at BEA and read it while waiting on various lines. I left the copy there, which I regret, because I realized a co-worker of mine would really like this as he's a Stephen King fan. I'd heard of this book prior to BEA as a pilot based on the book was picked up by ABC for the 2013 fall season (it's called Resurrection). Also, I was talking to a friend about The Returned and she referenced the old Syfy show, The 4400, but it is nothing at all like that.

The premise of the book...more
Us vs. Them

Lucille and Harold Hargrave are an elderly couple who love to argue yet they’ve had a long and happy marriage, that is except for the untimely death of their young son. Jacob. Their boy is among the many dead who suddenly begin reappearing at their loved ones doors. The real behind story behind “Returned” concerns people’s reactions to these resurrections. Are they real people with the same rights as the living or poor imitations of the real people who died? Why have they returned? Is...more
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out

I first learned about The Returned when I attended the Harlequin Summit in February and I have been waiting impatiently for its release ever since. Jason Mott's debut novel poses explores a compelling premise, what if the people you once loved, and lost, come back?

Nearly fifty years after Harold and Lucille's son drowned tragically on his eighth birthday, Jacob is Returned to them having been found alongside a river bank in China. Their son is just one of many who have returned from the dead, as...more

One day, out of the blue, all the dead return to the living, as though they'd never left. For elderly couple Harold and Lucille, it means seeing their long-dead son again - or does it? Is it really their son? And does it matter? Such are the questions that create the central drama at the heart of The Returned. It's not so much about the dead coming back to life, as it is about the impact the event has on the people around them and society at large. It's about grief and hope and love and fear and...more
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The Returned was one of the toughest books that I've read this year. It was extremely difficult for me to read because it's just so emotional and poignant. Each and every page is utterly heartbreaking and heartwarming in it's own way; this book is just so bittersweet. I really couldn't muster up the courage to read this some days and so I couldn't read this book. The Returned definitely hit home hard and that turned reading this int...more
I was intrigued by this book even before I heard the hype. "Brad Pitt has purchased the rights to this book as a TV Series - It's shooting in 2014!" "All the women who have met Jason Mott have crushes and all the men want to start bro-mances, he is SUCH a great guy!"

However the only thing that tells you about the book is that people are talking. I'm here to say it's for a good reason. This book made me a bad mom...I'll make your lunch after I finish the next chapter...10 pages!"

What makes the bo...more
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North Carolina Go...: T is for The Returned 1 2 Jun 09, 2014 04:31PM  
Testing my Religous Beliefs? 8 16 Jun 04, 2014 10:43AM  
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Jason Mott lives in southeastern North Carolina. He has a BFA in Fiction and an MFA in Poetry, both from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. His poetry and fiction has appeared in various journals such as Prick of the Spindle, The Thomas Wolfe Review, The Kakalak Anthology of Carolina Poets, Measure and Chautauqua. He was nominated for a 2009 Pushcart Prize award and Entertainment Week...more
More about Jason Mott...
The First (The Returned, #0.5) The Sparrow (The Returned, #0.6) The Choice (The Returned, #0.7) The Wonder of All Things The Next Page: A Fiction Sampler for Book Clubs: The Returned\The Sweetest Hallelujah\The Mourning Hours\The Tulip Eaters\Teatime for the Firefly\I'll Be Seeing You

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“Some folks locked the doors of their hearts when they lost someone. Others kept the doors and the windows open, letting memory and love pass through freely. And maybe that was the way it was supposed to be, Harold thought.” 9 likes
“People and events of wonder and magic are the lifeblood of the world.” 7 likes
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