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The Returners

3.29  ·  Rating Details ·  851 Ratings  ·  128 Reviews
London teenager Will Hodge is miserable. His mother is dead, his father's political leanings have grown radical, and his friends barely talk to him. To top it off, he's having nightmares about things like concentration camps. Then Will notices he's being followed by a group of people who claim to know him from another time in history. It turns out they are Returners, reinc ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published March 1st 2010 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Michelle
First stop on Sonia and Maree's Gemma Malley readalong roadtrip.

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I have to be honest and confess I have been scared of writing this review. I am actually going to make a big call and say it is the hardest review for me to write so far in my (short) reviewing ‘career’.

Why is it so hard to write? Because it is the most fantastic book.

Don’t laugh. I can see you snickering. Stop. Seriously. Stop it.

Let me
...more
Katieb (MundieMoms)

This is one of those books I picked up, not excepting to be completely lost in an amazing story, and yet I find I was hopelessly lost in the book. Returners was not what I was excepting at all. Gemma Malley wove together perfectly historical facts, with her amazing world of Returners. People who come back reincarnated over and over again. They serve a purpose, to remember the lives they have lived.

Will Hodge is a character who has many layers and one I felt a range of emotions for. I felt bad fo
...more
El Templo
"Hubo un tiempo en el que Will era un chico normal, alegre y divertido. Un tiempo en el que tenía amigos con los que disfrutaba de los días de sol sin ver en ellos razas o colores de piel, sin desamores. Pero ese tiempo quedó atrás cuando su madre, sin motivo aparente, se suicidó lanzándose a las frías aguas del río. Ahora Will se pasa la mayor parte del tiempo solo, en silencio e intentando asimilar la realidad que lo rodea con su sarcástica mirada; intentando comprender por qué hay personas qu ...more
Rebecca- Books
Nov 28, 2010 Rebecca- Books rated it really liked it
I was interested in reading this book purely because I loved Gemma Malley's dystopian series, The Declaration about what live could be like if we were dependent on drugs that made us live forever. It is such an interesting concept and was written so well that I felt sad when I finished the last book.
So, of course, I want more Gemma Malley, so this book appealed to me, so I grabbed it in the library the other day when I saw it.

Synopsis: London teenager Will Hodge is miserable. His mother is dead,
...more
Becky
Feb 17, 2011 Becky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-for-review
The Returners is a dark and twisted story of a not too distant future.



Will is an insular character who has spent years trying to shut out his emotions. The book begins with him sitting by a lake watching the ducks and remembering his mother’s suicide. The Returners has two strands running through it. Firstly there is Will and his troubled past. He is struggling with his life, his toxic relationship with his father, his anger at the loss of his mother and his own self-imposed loneliness. Then th
...more
Charon Lloyd-Roberts
You know what sucks the first half of this book is great and then it kind of took a nose-dive and I lost interest and no longer cared for the characters which sucked, yeah this isn't the first Gemma Malley book I've read and this book sounded so good but I was a little disappointed with this book as it had so much potential for being a great book. But it was way too short and it was rushed.

A summery for The Returners:

Will Hodge is being followed by people who insist they know him, though he does
...more
Ειρήνη
Jul 12, 2010 Ειρήνη rated it it was ok
My goodness! It took me forever to finish this book.
I really can't say that I found it intriguing or interesting enough.
Stine
Mar 28, 2010 Stine rated it did not like it
I forced myself to read the first three chapters and I couldn't even bring myself to finish the book. I've tried a couple of times, but it just didn't keep me interested.
Vanesa
Mar 29, 2010 Vanesa rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2010
Another fantastic story by Gemma Malley!! Great plot and the characters were just wonderful!! Very twisting plot and full of surprises especially at the end!
Canadian Reader
Ms. Malley deserves credit for tackling such a big question as the problem of evil and suffering--humankind's proclivity to intolerance and genocide. Will, the central character, discovers he is a Returner, a soul who returns to earth again and again, apparently to witness and absorb human suffering. There is a twist, though. Some Returners are the perpetrators in the almost ritualistic evil that seems to have plagued human civilization from time immemorial. Will's struggle is to decide whether ...more
Saskia
Apr 04, 2010 Saskia rated it liked it
’The Returner’s', the second book of Gemma Malley’s that I have read, was an interesting idea that I have never before heard of. Though the pace of the book was slow-moving (even for a book of only 257 pages), it was still an enjoyable read.

This is again one of those books that I simply cannot tell you about in detail, because it would completely ruin the plot. So, I guess I’ll just have to edge around that as best as I can.
At times, the idea of the ‘returners’ (you’ll have to read the book to f
...more
Mundie Moms & Mundie Kids
This is one of those books I picked up, not excepting to be completely lost in an amazing story, and yet I find I was hopelessly lost in the book. Returners was not what I was excepting at all. Gemma Malley wove together perfectly historical facts, with her amazing world of Returners. People who come back reincarnated over and over again. They serve a purpose, to remember the lives they have lived.

Will Hodge is a character who has many layers and one I felt a range of emotions for. I felt bad f
...more
Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books)
The Returners is a thought-provoking, interesting and surprisingly intellectual read. The premise is that Will, a teenage boy, is a ‘Returner.’ He is someone who has lived through past lives and returns again and again. These ‘Returners’ have a certain responsibility and destiny during their time in their lives. Will doesn’t remember who he was or what he is now supposed to do. The death of his mother and his father’s careless attitude toward him have left the young man beyond lonely and hurt.

Ou
...more
Jean
Apr 15, 2010 Jean rated it liked it
The Returners is a newly published novel by Gemma Malley.

Will Hodges’ life is a mess! His mother is dead, he has no friends and he thinks he is being followed by a strange group of people who tell him they know him. But Will can’t remember them …at first. And when he does, he doesn’t like what he can remember. While Will is struggling with unsettling memories, he learns that his past is a lot deeper than many people’s, and he has to find out if he is strong enough to break links with the powerfu
...more
Jodie
Apr 26, 2013 Jodie rated it really liked it
I'm not going to give a big blurb about this book because I'm not sure I could say much without giving anything away.

The Returners is an inner monologue of sorts. The main character is a teenager trying to make sense of his life and the mysterious people who he sees following him throughout his life. As you read his story, you are immersed into his conflicting emotions and his desire for and denial of the truth.

The writing was fluid and you could really feel the conflicting emotions of the main
...more
Melissa
I have to say, The Returners was a real disappointment for me. I've enjoyed Gemma Malley's other books, such as The Declaration immensely but this one just seemed to lack the magic of the other books. Honestly, I didn't see the point of this novel at all. It didn't make much sense to me. It seems more like a fictional look at societal ills.

Will Hodge is being followed by people who insist they know him, though he does not remember them, and his terrifying dreams have begun spilling over from nig
...more
Charlotte Phillips
Feb 06, 2012 Charlotte Phillips rated it it was ok
Shelves: dystopian-novels
The novel itself was a little confusing in some places because there just seemed to be a lot going on at one time, meaning that there were far to many mysteries to solve at any given time. I think there was a well thought out idea and plot here that, perhaps with a little tweaking, could make a highly thought provoking book. But at the moment, for something that is not very long, it seems like a lot of ideas crammed into one thing and I wonder if perhaps it would have been better to spread it ou ...more
Jenny / Wondrous Reads
The Returners has now put Gemma Malley in my list of favourite UK authors. The premise is original, unusual and utterly fantastic, and her writing is compelling to say the least. She's a force to be reckoned with, and her previous books The Declaration and The Resistance are proof enough of that.

The Returners confronts issues relevant to today's society, even though the story is set in an alternate future, in the year 2016. Everything from race to politics is tackled head-on, with no apologies o
...more
Christina
The Returners was a good book, and it gives young adults courage to be able to stand up for what is right. Will teaches the reader that mistreating others is not acceptable, especially if the people being mistreated are from another culture.

Yes, the book teaches teens that mistreatment and predudice are unacceptable. However, there are parts of this book that I am wary of. In Chapter 1, it talks of "sneaking a fag from the employee." In the beginning of Chapter 15, there is talk of Will drinkin
...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Karin Librarian for TeensReadToo.com

Will Hodge doesn't have many happy days, especially since his mother died and his father's political involvement has grown more and more radical. In addition to stress at home, Will's friends don't really talk to him anymore, he starts losing short blocks of time, and strange people start following him around claiming to know him.

Then, the dreams begin and he starts to think he is going crazy. He dreams of concentration camps during World War II an
...more
Karin
Nov 20, 2009 Karin rated it really liked it
Will Hodge doesn't have many happy days, especially since his mother died and his father's political involvement has grown more and more radical. In addition to stress at home, Will's friends don't really talk to him anymore, he starts losing short blocks of time, and strange people start following him around claiming to know him.

Then, the dreams begin and he starts to think he is going crazy. He dreams of concentration camps during World War II and several other atrocious events from history. A
...more
Anna Wylie
Jul 04, 2014 Anna Wylie rated it really liked it
This book was one which really struck me with it's depth of theme and metaphor. Will isn't always the most sympathetic of characters nor does the author fully explain the details of the Returners, but there remains at its heart an essence of Buddhism and truth which redeems the book.

When I say Buddhism, I am talking about the character of Will and his overarching message. In some forms of Buddhism they teach the wisdom of the Middle Way. To these Buddhists, life is suffering and this suffering c
...more
Page
Sep 25, 2012 Page rated it it was amazing
I decided to read this because I saw it and it looked really interesting.

This goes into "A book that teaches you about another time in history" on the bingo board.

I really like this book because it is so weird, it's different from other books and it does tech you a bit about Rwanda and World War ll and history really interests me, also Will is only trying to do the right thing and it's not his fault that he is doing bad things because he really means good, but he is told that's he is destined to
...more
Brittany
Aug 29, 2012 Brittany rated it liked it
I don't think i've ever been this torn about a book. In some ways I really loved it and in some ways i really really didn't.

Things I didn't like:
- The beginning. It took way too long to actually get into the story, I found myself getting kind of bored with it which is rare for me. It was long and slow and I didn't enjoy it much.
- The explanations. It took me so long to actually understand what was going on with 'the returners'. In fact, i'm still not completely sure what they are?
- Claire. So wa
...more
Erica
Dec 04, 2009 Erica rated it really liked it
The Returners was very different from what I was expecting. When I read the description, I had this idea of what The Returners would be, and it was not the same at all. Though, this doesn't mean I wasn't happy with how The Returners ended up, as I did enjoy it.

The plot of The Returners was fairly simple and rather intriguing. The first part of the book was slower and focused more around building story. This was interesting, but I do wish the plot had picked up a bit faster. The whle concept of t
...more
Barbara
May 24, 2010 Barbara rated it liked it
Shelves: book-eval-book
Will Hodges is a loner type in school with a bit of an anger management problem like his dad. He witnesses the aftermath of a murder for which a former immigrant friend is charged. Will tells this story and about the nightmares that have plagued him in recent months where horrible things are happening to people and he wakes up in a sweat. He is also being followed by people who act like they know him and stare at him with hollow, sad eyes. When they finally get close to him, they tell him that h ...more
David Cortez
Jan 15, 2015 David Cortez rated it it was amazing
David Cortez
Mrs. Myers
English 2B
15 January 2015

In the story a teenager named Will Hodge has been through a lot is being followed by a group of people who claims he is a returner. His mother died by jumping off the bridge when he was there. He classifies everyone as a freak because they look like death to him. Throughout the story the group of people still follow him when he talks to them they said he was a returner like them. He didn't know what it was and they told him that he was reincarnated
...more
Anna Xue
Nov 05, 2014 Anna Xue rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2014
The book certainly has an interesting concept: a group of beings whose sole purpose is to "absorb" and "remember" the evils of mankind in a Britain on the verge of a right-wing extremism takeover. Parts of the book offer a distressingly vivid image of a Nazi Britain that is difficult to read because of its sheer realism, yet is intriguing in the way that it imagines the future taking a morbid turn. For me this was the highlight of "The Returners", yet the book is constantly undermined by Will's ...more
Kirsty (overflowing library)


I was very keen to get my hands on a copy of this book after loving Gemma Malley's The Declaration. I must say while it was as well thought out and clever I really didn't engage with it as much as I would hope.

The returners is set in the near future. The recession is hitting hard and the extreme political parties on the far right are getting more of a voice with their racist views about immigrants as the population struggle to find work and want someone to blame. This means people living in En
...more
Diane Ferbrache
May 05, 2010 Diane Ferbrache rated it really liked it
Shelves: washyarg
Will Hodges is a “Returner”. He just doesn’t know it. After he finds his mother’s body floating in the river, an apparent suicide, he is haunted by nightmares and he begins to notice people staring at him. Not ordinary people, but people with “weird” eyes who seem familiar and apparently know him. When one of the weird girls actually speaks to him, she realizes that he doesn’t remember. She tells Will that he is a Returner, one who returns over and over again to lives that carry the weight of s ...more
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“Humans may progress. They may think that they are moving forward because they have invented clever machines and because they control the land and sea. But man's capacity to inflict and endure pain is constant. Man's desire for power, to beat down his competition - it hasn't changed in the slightest.” 11 likes
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