Strange but True
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Strange but True

3.5 of 5 stars 3.50  ·  rating details  ·  808 ratings  ·  106 reviews
After a mysterious fall from his Manhattan apartment, Philip Chase has moved home with his mother, Charlene, a bitter woman who has never fully accepted the death ofher younger son, Ronnie, five years earlier. Numb from watching too much TV and trading snipes with his mother, Philip is in stasis. But everything changes one winter night when Ronnie's high school girlfriend...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published June 14th 2005 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published 2004)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Strange but True, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Strange but True

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,456)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Nov 16, 2009 Natasha. added it
Recommends it for: young adults
Recommended to Natasha. by: librarian
The part I enjoyed most about Strange but True by John Searles was that it was more mysterious then perceived from reading the caption at the back of the book. There were various places in the book that left you hanging and made you want to read on; that “there’s one more think you’ll want to see, far more disturbing then anything so far, behind the bathroom door. But as Melissa said to the baby on the car ride home: Not yet.” Searles just gave an absolutely intriguing line that makes you want t...more
Losing a child is the most unimaginably horrible thing that can happen to any parent and my heart goes out to anyone unfortunate enough to have gone through that ordeal. But man, I am really sick of seeing movies and reading books about it. From Ordinary People to In The Bedroom to Rabbit Hole which isn't even out yet, kids are dying left and right. Reading this book, it just knocked me over the head what a lazy, cheap narrative crutch it is. Dead kids now are what the Holocaust was in the 90's...more
Erlyn Trinidad
All right so I did try to finish the book and was successful in doing so in a matter of 5 days, that in itself is an achievement. The mystery about how a young girl in her 20s could become pregnant after 5 years at the time she had an intercourse, which, she claims to be the only time, would keep you from turning the pages to get to the end of the book. There's enough twists and turns on the book, to keep one from reading, but the build up on the pacing is rather slow.

The author is OC about inc...more
I picked this up as a bargain book, and I guess I got what I paid for. It doesn't take much to keep me reading, but at the end I was dissatisfied. A girl shows up on a woman's doorstep claiming she is pregnant with the woman's son's baby, but the son died five years ago. Not sci-fi, and not really engaging characters, nor an interesting setting.
Kind of a creepy book until the ending...not really what I expected b/c description made the book sound more interesting than it was. Shallow reveals of all the characters...I wish the author delved into the surviving brother and the ex-girlfriend a little more- there was something interesting with both these characters.
Definitely one of the best novels I’ve ever read, ‘Strange but True’ by John Searles is a thrillingly eerie story shrouded in mysteries. It is full of beautiful malice and truthful criticism played out by real characters in situations that will wrench your heart out. Melissa Moody has become impregnated by, she believes, her dead boyfriend, Ronnie, although he has been gone for 5 years now. When she contacts Ronnie’s ever so critical mother and empathetic brother, they are all thrown into a jou...more
May 17, 2012 brook rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People who like Twilight
Shelves: could-not-finish gave this their novel of the year for 2004. It is a book of stereotyped characters that never escape their stereotypes:
Angry Mother Dealing With Loss
Closeted, Introverted Gay Son Who Runs Away From It All
All-Star Who Leaves The Family Stranded
Head Of The Family With A Terrible Secret
Good Girl Gone Bad

After 116 pages of what was still bland exposition interspersed with a few salacious passages put in, presumably, to keep the attention of the reader ("Oh, the author talked about the cond...more
Rachel d.
If i had the option of awarding this self important little twit negative five stars i would have done so. No imagination, no character development beyond what was easy to write, and no grasp of what strange is. It is NOT strange to me that this is was a National Bestseller. Our Nation is full of people who will go out and buy this book. Which is why i stay in my house. Reading books that don't piss me off. Or, if they do its for very different reasons than "strange but true" did.
Nicole Perez
Sometimes I read a book and think "I know exactly where this is going." This is not one of those times. I refuse to be spoilery in my reviews, so I'll say this: I love when characters who start out flawed seem to work things out. I need closure in a novel and I got it here. Not one bit of this book left me hanging. Just wish I would have read it sooner!
Had me on the edge of my seat - like a Hitchcock movie!
Heather steff
read like it was for a freshman lit class
This was a very compelling book from the start. We have a wide array of characters, and all of them come through incredibly clearly. Their voices are each unique, even though the POV is 3rd person.

I loved the flowing of the story. We knew things were happening and we wanted to know why. I was a bit disappointed with the ending. It felt a bit abrupt. I would have liked to have seen more, but that is typical of my reading personality.

I did feel like I kept waiting for the story to really start. I...more
Strange but true is a tragic teen romance part mystery. John Searles combines great writing, story, and plot to create a good read. Being a well written novel in the same threshold as James Patterson you will find yourself immersed in the book, looking for details and clues to try to solve for the mystery yourself. A key point in this book is that it uses many unexpected plot twists, that actually makes sense to the overall story line and does not seem forced or clichéd. One mystery forms into a...more
Strange But True- John Searles
This novel belongs to storytelling genre. It begins with characters’ pass and memories. But the author did not give a clear expression to it. It gives readers a mild impression. Readers know something bad happened before the story begins. At the same time of being mysterious, the author was also able to make things detailed. A little change can lead to a big change of the storyline. The characters are so vivid and lively. Just giving a brief background but massively...more
Vins Bakalli
Vins Bakalli
Mr. Best
October 25, 2010
My favourite book off all time, ‘Strange but True’ by John Searle’s is a book full of suspense and a novel that leaves you wanting much more. The book is full of dark secrets and events making you eager to turn the page. In general, this is an amazing book that I could read non-stop and I recommend this to anyone.
A girl named Melissa Moody, who is nine months pregnant with what she believes, is Ronnie Chase’s baby, but Ronnie is her dead boyfriend who die...more
Strange but True is a novel that explores the choices we must make in our lives, and their affects on the people around them. It is part mystery, tragedy and science fiction genre all put into three hundred and five outstandingly written pages that continually questions what you think you know. John Searles, national bestselling author of Boy Still Missing, brings us a story of real life, and suspenseful secrets.
It’s five years after the death of her high school boyfriend Ronnie Chase, and Mel...more
Brief Description: Philip Chase has moved back home with his mother Charlene after suffering a fall from his New York apartment. Charlene, who never really recovered from the death of her youngest son Ronnie five years earlier, has turned into a bitter overeater—filled with anger at Ronnie’s death and her divorce from her husband Richard (who is now remarried). When Ronnie’s old girlfriend, Melissa Moody, shows up unexpectedly and tells Philip and Charlene that she is pregnant and she thinks Ron...more
This book was a fascinating read from start to finish. There is a sort of supernatural component involved, which may turn some people off; but soon after that component is introduced, the protagonist presents a possible scientific explanation for it, which I think is enough to persuade a skeptic to continue on with the book.

So, here's the premise: Philip Chase has come home under mysterious circumstances to live with his divorced mother, a woman still bitter and grieving over the death of Philip...more
Strange, But True is a book about a teenager that has gotten pregnant with the thought that the baby inside of her is her dead boyfriend. This is hard to believe as well because the teenager that is pregnant got pregnant about five years after her boyfriend had passed away. Although this is a true fact, she still believes that it is his child no matter how long he has been gone. Even though I enjoyed reading the book, the ending was not my favourite. The reason for this is because I felt that th...more
: This aptly titled novel plunges the reader headlong into an improbable situation. Five years after Ronnie Chase's death in a prom-night automobile accident, his girlfriend, Melissa, finds herself miraculously pregnant with Ronnie's baby. The fractured Chase family doesn't know what to believe upon hearing this disturbing news. Mr. Chase has remarried; his ex-wife, Charlene, is a bitter, broken woman; and their remaining son, Philip, is back at home with his mother and recovering from a nasty f...more
John Searles is fast becoming another of my faves. I must take some reviews and paraphrase them to describe this novel: imaginative and compelling novel about lives splintered by tragedy and relationships corroded by secrets, richly etched characters and a delicious sense of menace, and very engaging. I look forward to shaking Mr. Searles' hand one day soon.
This book isn’t quite like anything I normally read. Phillip has a mysterious fall at his apartment in New York and moves back home with his mom. He has been gone for nearly five years. Five years ago his younger brother, Ronnie,was killed on prom night. One night during his stay at home, Melissa Moody (Ronnie’s girlfriend) shows up claiming she is pregnant with Ronnie’s child. Throughout the novel Phillip and his mother try to deal with all of the emotions this claim has brought up and they als...more
Laura Collard
Fast read. Would give it 3 1/2 stars. Enjoyed the book until the very end when I felt like everything was finished off too quickly and in too neat of a package. I also felt as if some story lines were not developed enough, such as Philip more exploring his gay side and why did Melissa and her twin sister part ways?
Oct 06, 2008 Lori rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone with an open mind who enjoys a little bit of mystery
Very enjoyable up to this point. I'm about 100 pages in and it is pretty engrossing. I can't wait to find out what happens next. Already there is a lot of unpredictable story-lines that intermingle.

A little more than halfway through now and it's got quite a bit of foreshadowing. Once you think you know where one sub-plot is going he throws in a chapter cliffhanger and then moves on to one of the other sub-plots. But, I like that and it is definitely keeping me encouraged to get to the next part...more
I had a hard time deciding between a 3 or a 4 for this book. 3.5 for sure. Very interesting with a unique plot point and a slight "mystery" bent. The "mystery" is pretty obvious about halfway through, but I'm not sure it matters that much as this was more about the characters and their situation rather than the actual mystery. The book definitely held my interest and I was anxious to know where it was going. I did, however, find some of the writing weak and some of the descriptions cliche, which...more
Eh. I feel like I picked up a book that had a promising sounding premise and got duped with a basic churn-em-out crime thriller. I finished, but I found myself skipping description paragraphs to speed it up.
The shifting point of view and changeable tense weren't always my favorite but I appreciate Searles' ability to weave together an interesting story out of seemingly disconnected pieces.
Kristen Chavis
Strange but true is the story of a young girl who finds herself pregnant with her boyfriend's baby. The only thing is, her boyfriend died a year before. She is befriended by her older landlords, she tries to convince her dead boyfriends mother and Brother that it really is his child. Searles unravels the story of the young girl that would drink herself to sleep before she found out she was pregnant. This is a book where everything is not what it seems. Searles seamlessly connects the pregnant gi...more
The masterful aspect of this narrative is in its creepiness. With every chapter the sense of impending doom advances ever so slightly, gradually building as some of the plot lines are developed. For all of its tragically flawed characters, there is redemption and reconciliation without everything feeling too tidy at the end. I loved this book, and it was an impulse buy at a used book store. I was looking for another book by this author (Boy Still Missing), which I've still not been able to find,...more
After reading Help for the Haunted, I was excited to read this book because of the author. I was disappointed. The book never quite grabbed me until the very end and abruptly ended.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 48 49 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Unfinished Child
  • A Wedding in Great Neck
  • The Gin & Chowder Club
  • Never Tell a Lie
  • No Safe House
  • Things We Didn't Say
  • Reality Ends Here
  • The Outcast: a modern retelling of The Scarlet Letter
  • What to Keep: A Novel
  • When Girlfriends Step Up
  • Danny's Mom
  • The Grand Opening (Dare Valley, #3)
  • Bella
  • The Unfaithful Widow
  • What Came First
  • A Masque of Infamy
  • The Space Between Before and After
  • The Casting
John Searles is the author of the best-selling novels Boy Still Missing and Strange But True. John appears regularly as a book critic on NBC’s Today Show and has also appeared on CBS’s The Early Show, Live! With Regis & Kelly and CNN to discuss his favorite book selections. His essays have been published in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Daily Beast and other national publication...more
More about John Searles...
Help for the Haunted Boy Still Missing Strange But True

Share This Book