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3.60  ·  Rating Details  ·  5,406 Ratings  ·  687 Reviews
"The New York Times" bestselling author of the acclaimed "Island of Lost Girls" and "Promise Not to Tell" returns with a chilling novel in which the secrets of the past come back to haunt a group of friends in terrifying ways.

Dismantlement = Freedom

Henry, Tess, Winnie, and Suz banded together in college to form a group they called the Compassionate Dismantlers. Following
Kindle Edition, 436 pages
Published June 16th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published January 1st 2009)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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i have been trying to write this review for almost an hour. in between i have eaten peanut-butter and jelly on english muffins (and now on space bar and several letters) and have drifted off-topic numerous times, and erased tons of irrelevant crap. much irrelevance remains, but the short version of this review is:

i enjoyed reading this book, but it is not good.

this is a perfect rebound book for proust - after a long relationship, you just want to have a silly fling with someone stupid - to jus
Jun 28, 2012 Kelly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm going to go out on a limb and say that Jennifer McMahon has the most disturbing covers in the book business.....real pictures of creepy children staring out at you. It's like a whole shelf of "Children of the Corn" and "Village of the Damned" at the bookstore. I told you before that I read "Island of Lost Girls" on vacation and did not want to do anything else but read. I was so anxious to read "Dismantled", McMahon's latest. Wow! It did not disappoint!

One of McMahon's strong points is going
Aug 05, 2009 Max rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Oh goodness. I feel like Dismantled is intrinsically flawed. Which is sort of a shame, because it’s a strong concept, with much potential for strong commentary on art, guilt, youth, sexual fluidity. Unfortunately, the novel reads one-dimensionally, as if the characters and plot live only to serve McMahon’s themes. Four college friends ten years ago created an anarchic secret society (the “Compassionate Dismantlers”), which blew up in all their faces when their charismatic but dangerous leader Su ...more
Lauren Fidler
this book can best be summed up as the rough equivalent of maclean's hospital's summer stock re-envisioning of the seminal brat pack flick "the breakfast club."

instead of the jock, the princess, the brain, the beauty, the rebel, and the recluse, mcmahon gives us the bisexual nihilistic arsonist, the borderline-personalitied poet sniper, the philandering closeted obsessive-compulsive frigid-artist-housewife, the extremely fertile yet slightly homicidal alcoholic sculptor, and the possibly schizo
There’s a simple truth about me when it comes to books. If you tell me that something is a lot like The Virgin Suicides or The Secret History, then I’m going to read it. I don’t care if the books don’t live up to what they may or may not be imitating. I’m just happy to have more books that are a lot like two of my favorites. So, while reading Dismantled, I was pumped about its comparison to The Secret History. Since I haven’t read the latter since 2000, I couldn’t do a minute-by-minute compariso ...more
Feb 02, 2011 Christie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was so excited to be given this book which had arrived at the bookstore where I used to work. The manager there knew I was a huge fan of McMahon’s novel Promise Not to Tell, and so she passed this along.

Dismantled is the story of the Compassionate Dismantlers, four art students: Tess, Henry, Winnie and the charismatic Suz. The Compassionate Dismantlers believe that “to understand the nature of a thing you have to take it apart.” What they really believe, it seems, is that you can ruin someone
Jun 12, 2011 Jenny rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2010
Holy cow... I had no clue what I was getting into when I started this book!! Dismantled was such an enthralling and utterly absorbing read! I absolutely loved this book and spent every free moment I could find reading more. Despite its 422 pages, it's likely one that could be read in a sitting (or a day) because of the way the story hooks the reader; (unfortunately, I literally don't have the time right now to read that much in one go so it still took me a couple days.)

Dismantled is a superbly w
Jul 22, 2016 Melisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thrillers
"Is it possible, Henry wonders, that your fears can take on a life of their own? Is this what ghosts are - things worried into existence, frantic energy manifesting itself in an almost physical way?"

This felt like a real, grown up ghost story for me. I loved the twists and turns - I swore I knew the ending more than once, but nope. Stumped me.

There has to be something said for a thriller that can freeeeeak you out without there being any graphic violence. Just good old creepy eeriness.

This was
Jul 12, 2015 Amanda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book has a complicated plot. The story keeps you guessing until the end, which I appreciate in books but when I got to the end of this one, I felt a sense of deja vu. Between the ages of 13-16 I was obsessed with Fear Street books…R.L. Stine was by far my favorite author and I couldn’t get enough of his creepy stories. This book felt like a grown up version of a Fear Street book. There are a lot of twists and turns and just when you think you have it all figured out, the author turns it aro ...more
Mar 09, 2011 Cassidy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horrible
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I am not completely done with this book but I am going to review it. I HATE it. And this isn't hate in the way I hated seeing Mila Kunis's butt in whatever that stupid movie was. This is hate as in this women has written five books, yes five now and as much as I enjoy her writing I would rate this as number six because whatever she writes next cannot POSSIBLY be this bad. I don't write out the plot of books because newsflash if you are interested and you want to know the plot you are already onl ...more
April Thompson
Jun 01, 2014 April Thompson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What. The. Fuck. That's what I've been asking myself throughout the whole book. The last time (and only time) I've felt mind-blown was while reading Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl. This started out confusing and I almost DNF; however, I picked it back up after setting it down for over a month. The confusion continued for me throughout the book, but the pull of the unknown, the fucked up, made me devour it after I kept going. This was quite the whirl wind of a book. No clue how to classify it - Thrill ...more
Mauoijenn ~ *Mouthy Jenn* ~
I'm all for a good prank, but when someone dies because of it. You. Went. To. Far. This was a crazy story of friends who like to pull dangerous pranks until something horrible goes wrong. My father would have whipped my ass if I pulled anything like they had regardless of age! If he could catch me.
Aug 28, 2015 Kylie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I ummed and ahhed about what to give this book - it is not a book you read because you love the people in it, or even relate particularly well to the story. But boy oh boy did it grab me and keep me wide-eyed reading till the early hours of the morning.

So what was it that gripped me so tightly in a book of characters that filled me with distaste much of the time?

The basic premise is one of an 'I know what you did last summer' type of story. Suz rides in to town (college) and inflicts herself upo
Apr 24, 2011 Julie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"In order to truly understand something, you have to take it apart."

The above-statement is the maxim that drove the protagonists of this novel to form a group called the Compassionate Dismantlers, a sort hippy dippy "artistic" terrorist organization that the main characters founded ten years before the actual events of the book took place. (We get glimpses of the Compassionate Dismantlers, who they were and what they stood for, throughout the novel, through a collection of flashbacks, character
Mar 21, 2010 Lori rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010march
Any book compared to The Secret History is sort of set up to fail. I mean, look at The Little Friend. Donna Tartt couldn't even match her freshman effort.

And Jennifer McMahon doesn't even come close -- disappointing me doubly, since one of my favorite authors (Stewart O'Nan) wrote the blurb in question.

From page one till literally the very last one, Dismantled walks a fine line between suspense and ridiculousness. I have to admit that it didn't quite fall off the balance beam, but the fact that
Yum, yum, yum. Let me pause a moment to wash the dripping chocolate nutella off of my hands before I type any more. Yes, I am being metaphorical, but also literal...nothing like a mid-afternoon chocolate snack.

This book is awful. Really, there are a few major flaws in the plot (Emma and Danner...okay Danner can be a ghost rather than an imaginary friend, but why is she kind sometimes and evil others?) and the whole "it was really Winnie" plot twist was one too many (a bit scooby-doo removing the
Jul 17, 2010 Terry rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I always enjoy McMahon's books and I did enjoy this one; I really am giving it 2 and half stars. Although I'm not a fan of Jodi Picoult, I think fans of hers would really enjoy McMahon's mysteries.

After reading this book, her third novel and technically her fourth book, I noticed that her endings are kind of... well, downers. I am not against that at all, and, in fact, I kind of like an author who is willing to make her main character(s) realize they have made horrible mistakes, or, they have m
Aug 22, 2011 Ken rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tess, Henry and their daughter Emma live a comfortable life in a small community. By all appearances, they are a happy couple. Emma seems to have a touch of OCD, but she is getting by and has a best friend at school. A troubled past lurks beneath the surface, though, and it is about to change all their lives forever.

Ten years in the past, Tess and Henry were part of a small group of college students calling itself the Compassionate Dismantlers. Led by a charismatic student named Suz, the Disman
Jan 18, 2016 John rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

Extraordinarily reminiscent of Donna Tarrt's The Secret History, this sees a group of people ten years after they were a college clique called The Dismantlers, whose ethos was that "to understand the nature of a thing it must be taken apart". The end point of their destructive pranks was the semi-accidental murder of the instigator of The Dismantlers' exploits, Suz, the promiscuous star around which the others orbited, reflecting her light. At the time, the death was adroitly concealed from the
Liberty Abbott-Sylvester
Jul 27, 2009 Liberty Abbott-Sylvester rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who loves intense suspense and shocking endings!
Wow! Wow! Wow! This book is un-put-down-able! It seems a little weird at first but it has to be in order to take you into the strange lives of these four friends-artist who form a club and not only create art but dismantle it to find the deeper meaning. The club starts out harmless enough but when one of them starts going too far, dismantling more than just art, someone has to put a stop to it all.
Years later, with one member dead and the others gone their seperate ways, the past comes back to v
Jul 27, 2014 Alexandra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm so confused. WHAT?! What did I just spend all day reading when I should have been studying for my midterm?
First let me just say that whatever problems I had with the story are nothing compared to how much fun I had reading it and how I was completely glued to the pages. I got a phone call earlier and I read through it, mumbling a few "mmhms" here and there. I tried studying for a very important anatomy test I have tomorrow and that lasted maybe 15 minutes and the rest of the day was spent r
Feb 18, 2013 Kim rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Awful. Ugh. I struggled to finish it, and forced myself to do so, just cause I the unfinished books. This book was too much. Too many things going on, none of the characters in the book were like able at all, not a single one. Not the daughter or any of them. Just, ugh.
Jul 18, 2009 Olena rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The writing itself if solid, but a few pieces of the narrative are unpolished, as not all the puzzle pieces fall into place at the end of the book. The ending does not satisfactorily explain all the occurrences pertaining to the Danner-Emma-Suz connection.
Sep 16, 2010 Missy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf
I loved Promise Not To Tell.....what happened with this book? I found it hard to get page 80 it was still dragging for me. I found the characters to be depressing, as well as the subject matter.
this book scared the crap of me!
Sarah Fourman
Apr 07, 2016 Sarah Fourman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
3.5 - I have attempted this review many times but I keep coming up with nothing. I was left speechless at the end of the book. I wanted so badly to love it, it had the right twists and loops that I did not see coming, but for some reason it failed to reach its full potential. The direction of the plot seemed a bit chaotic, as is the goal for many mystery/thriller novels, but it felt too forced. One minute it would seem like a ghost story, the next like some schizophrenic episode, all back to a s ...more
Living near a village in Vermont with their nine-year-old daughter Emma, Tess and Henry try to forget the past. And the disturbing summer during which they and two other college friends participated in a secret society that has had disturbing consequences.

Moving almost seamlessly between the past and the present, and told through multiple perspectives, we come to know the four college friends and their rebellions—and also learn much about what it's like to try and live down the past mistakes. Th
Jan 07, 2014 Kendra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Until the very last paragraph, I would've rated this book a solid three stars. Good but not great, but a book I definitely wanted to see through to the end. Parts of the story seemed a little implausible; the whole Winnie/Suz/Spencer triangle plodded along to the point it didn't make a lot of sense. All that aside, the story wound to a very satisfying end with most of the questions answered; loose ends tied up in a pretty cohesive conclusion. Except one part. The main character's daughter Emma h ...more
Jan 01, 2012 Tiffani rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I thought this was going to be a mystery, and I love mysteries, but I didn't love this. At the center of the novel are Tess and Henry and their daughter, Emma. Tess and Henry have a secret from their college days when they were part of a collective of five art students that called themselves the Compassionate Dismantlers. The Dismantlers engaged in vandalism and pranks, and it was fun and games until one summer night when it all went terribly wrong and one of the five ended up dead. Ten years la ...more
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I'm the author of seven suspense novels, including Promise Not to Telll, The Winter People, and most recently, The Night Sister . I live in central Vermont with my partner and daughter, in an old Victorian that some neighbors call The Addams Family house.
More about Jennifer McMahon...

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“No one sees the world like you do, Emma. Creating art is about sharing your own personal vision with the world. Taking something no one else can see and bringing it to life.” 1 likes
“But Tess always wondered—maybe people were better off with the watered-down version of life, life with blinders, filters, cars that ran and buildings that went up on time, simple, stupid, mindless jobs. Maybe they were happy.” 0 likes
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