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Rabbits in the Garden

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3.51  ·  Rating details ·  358 ratings  ·  83 reviews
At twelve years old, Avery Norton had everything: a boyfriend who was also her best friend, the entirety of Martha's Vineyard as her playground, and her very own garden to tend. By thirteen, it was all over.The discovery of a secret crypt in the basement starts the Norton family down many unexpected avenues, including one that leads to Avery's arrest for murder and her sub ...more
Paperback, 280 pages
Published February 2nd 2011 by Post Mortem Press
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Average rating 3.51  · 
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David
Mar 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
Jessica McHugh gave her novel a cleverly deceptive title. Just what does the phrase "Rabbits in the Garden" make you think of? A children's book? A story of young love perhaps, one with a title that's just a little too "precious?"

Reading Jessica's novel is like eating what you think is a jelly donut, only to bite through the sugary batter and realize that instead of jelly in the center, there are wet and living things, now slithering on your tongue. When you're finished her book, you'll never be
...more
Stephanie
Aug 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I want to take the time to thank Jessica McHugh for giving me the opportunity to read and review her book, Rabbits in the Garden.

I read Rabbits in the Garden in less than a day! By the end of Chapter 2, you will discover the meaning behind the book title but it will also keep you guessing. I was glued to the pages. Each character was so twisted in their own way, but it all stemmed from one person, Faye Norton. I didn’t realize one person can make such a difference and affect the lives of so many
...more
Deb
May 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
I have to admit that when I first got into this one, I thought it was gonna be weird. Well, it was, and it got weirder with a nice little shock when I got to the epilogue.
Majanka
Apr 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: thriller, horror
Avery Norton is your average twelve year old girl, albeit the fact her Mom is an overprotective, meddling and slightly disturbed woman. Although her mother’s behavior stands in her way of making friends, Avery is perfectly fine with the friend she does have: Paul. He is kind, considerate and caring, and he doesn’t mind that her mother says weird things or looks at them oddly. However, when Avery and Paul follow her mother one night in the back of her car, they discover some disturbing things. Is ...more
Amanda [Novel Addiction]
May 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: for-review, blog
I always find it a little tough to review the books I really, really love. I don't want to gush, and what I love about it is always so hard to put into words. I've had that problem with the other books I have reviewed by Jessica McHugh. Her writing style is unique and so incredibly powerful - there were times while reading this book that I was physically shaking - from fear, anger, and plenty of other emotions. Jessica McHugh has a way with words, of crafting the text into something that will ma ...more
Georgina Morales
Apr 05, 2012 rated it liked it
Jessica McHugh has a way with words that other writers, like me, would kill for. Her prose is easy and engrossing, and her characters are either likable or despicable in a way that you just can't stop loving them. That's what happens with the characters in Rabbits in the Garden, whose perfect heroine, Avery Norton, is so young and innocent you can't but want to protect her from the evils that threaten her world. On the other hand, Faye is as dark a soul as they come, so egotistical and self-righ ...more
Babs
Mar 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes mystery, horror, suspense etc

My 2 Cents:

Talk about an interesting read, this is it! Avery was a sweet girl whom anyone would love to have as a daughter. Paul, Avery's boyfriend and best friend, wanted to help Avery. He knew her mom was strange and could not understand why she hated him so much. Natalie, Avery's sister, was at a nice school away from home and never visited long. She arrived for Avery's 13th birthday party. One of the gifts that was given to the birthday girl was her mom's garden. She had come of the age that
...more
Jerry
Apr 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
I've become a big fan of Jessica McHugh. Rabbits is an earlier publication and shows the wordsmith promise of a great writer. The story is intriguing and the interplay of the characters is enticing. And that's the key. Jessica paints a great backdrop and then puts interesting characters out to play with each other. When I read her work I often think that she is surprised by what her characters do. The twists and turns all seem very natural as a result, not like they were written to meet an outli ...more
Chad
May 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I have read both of the Darla Decker books to date but have not ventured into any of Jessica McHugh's non-YA stuff. Why have I waited so long? Hell if I know.

This book is one of the more entertaining I have read in a while. The premise for the story is masterfully crafted with a sympathetic situation created by a monster on an antagonist that you hate almost from the moment you meet her. A daughter is caught up in an impossible situation, only made worse by the scheming of her mother which star
...more
Catie
Mar 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
Thirteen year old Avery Norton receives a strange birthday present from her mother which is the catalyst to the rest of the girls wretched existence. The garden which Avery was given was meant to be kept clean of "bad water" which would pollute her garden and make tiny bunny sluts. (This is really the only way I have to describe this, seriously.) In a fit of rage at discovering she's a terrible gardener, Avery does something terrible. In an attempt to hide what she has done, she heads to the bas ...more
Brandon
Apr 29, 2012 rated it did not like it
I read this book based on the really good reviews that almost everyone gave, and it was on a list of "good halloween reads" and was even free for the Amazon Kindle.
It was such a waste of my time. I read the whole thing hoping that the plot would come together, or that anything interesting would happen, but nothing ever did.
The story takes place in the 50s but that seems arbitrary since the language is modern (including quite a lot of harsh swearing) and there is nothing at all to do with the tim
...more
Michael
Jan 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Rabbits had me pulled into its narrative by the end of chapter 1. For me, it's rare to read a book that can be so addicting while at the same time vaulting me through emotions that make me feel for all of the characters in a good and bad way. I don't think I've ever despised a character as much as the antagonist, while at the same time feeling for the main character and all her ups and downs, pulling for her throughout the book. Watching the protagonist learn about life in the confines of a 1950 ...more
James Jr.
Dec 20, 2011 rated it liked it
“Can I play with Madness” is a song by Iron Maiden and the title seems quite fitting to describe the dark and twisted novel, "Rabbits in the Garden" by Author Jessica McHugh. You see, the Iron Maiden was a torture device and it suits this tale well as young Avery Norton slowly descends into madness by torturous events beyond her control.

One may find this novel tough to get through, but not because McHugh isn’t gifted. Instead, it will be because the story is so gut-wrenching and dark. In the en
...more
Elaine
At a time when barbaric measures were incorporated in insane asylums, Avery was incarcerated in Taunton, Massachusetts’ and she is no stranger to electric shock therapy and the havoc it plays on the mind.

Picture yourself being admitted to an institution for the insane and hearing the distant screams echoing in the hallways. A place where zombie-like prisoners reside. That’s what Avery faced on her day of admittance.

Avery is blamed for the brutal murders of several people found in the basement
...more
Jane
Oct 14, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: to-review, 4
I had no idea what to expect when I started this book because I haven’t read any other work by Jessica McHugh. I am going to change that now because I’m going to find EVERY book she has written and read them all!

All I can say is Wow! Though the storyline was perturbing it was an absolute page turner and I really didn’t want to put it down. I felt every emotion during my read… happy, sad, scared, angry, confused and frustrated to name but a few.

There's no doubt Jessica McHugh knows how to build
...more
Bill
Aug 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This quick-moving tale was hard for me to put down. I feel like the account of Avery Norton's stay in Taunton Asylum presents a realistic view of how people seen as "crazy" were warehoused and treated in the 50's. The series of tragic events that comprise her young life seem designed to beat her down, so it's hard for her to maintain her determination to prove her innocence of the grisly deeds she's been accused of. This story is filled with compelling characters, from Avery herself, her boyfrie ...more
Nadine Larter
Feb 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
Am so glad I finally got around to reading this book - it's been sitting next to my bed for far too long!! I must admit that I was a little nervous to read it when I first picked it up since I sort of feel like I've gotten to know the author lately and I was a little bit worried that I wouldn't love it. Of course there was no need for such worry as Jessica McHugh's book was just as brilliant as I expected it to be. A whirlwind of constant suspense on every page, Rabbits in the Garden takes your ...more
Andrea
Apr 18, 2012 rated it liked it
I gave this book 3 stars because while I really enjoyed the story and characters I felt it could have been better. The writing/editing wasn't as precise as I like. Missing words and grammar errors distract me. There were some areas in the book that the prose was excellent and other areas seemed like an after thought. Also, this book had an annoying quality usually found in movies in which whole areas/ideas are left untouched or unexplained. Typically books explore more and don't leave gaps that ...more
Maja Kron
Jan 22, 2015 rated it liked it
3,5 stars

I don't even know what sane is anymore. This was very interesting and a book that made me question my own and everyone else's sanity. It was hard to tell who, if anyone, did the right thing, which was quite entertaining. My issues were that I despised almost all characters, except for maybe Paul and Flint, but the rest of them I just wanted to kick in the face or something like that, and also that I felt that it could've been a longer book. At some parts things felt a bit rushed and thi
...more
Christa
Feb 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
'Rabbits in the Garden' is one part Susanna Kaysen's 'Girl, Interrupted,' one part Robert Bloch's 'Psycho,' and a whole lotta Jessica McHugh. You know a book is good when you feel palpable outrage for the characters within it, and outrage was what I felt for poor Avery Norton, and the fate she suffered at the hands of her awful AWFUL mother.

Jessica's writing pops with brilliant imagery, nuanced characters, creative plot lines, and rich settings. I couldn't put 'Rabbits in the Garden' down, so c
...more
Katie
Nov 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The writing is absolutely beautiful. The authors word are so powerful that this book completely unhinged me. I read half of the book in one sitting and I had to take breaks in between chapters because I was physically shaking. It made me want to cry and scream and throw something at a wall all at the same time, but only a truly amazing book can do that to someone.

I got it at a convention because the people at the stand said it would be fine for my age group. THEY LIED. It wasn't content that ma
...more
Treygar
Apr 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
oh man what a great book. Met Jessica at a Horror Realm convention and only picked this up as she offered me a deal on it and Pins. Pins really intrigued me but I think this book is a better read. The story of a girl committed to an asylum after taking the fall for a host of murders that she feels she did not commit. Big time reveal in the very last paragraph makes you want to read the whole thing over again. My only knock on this book is some parts were too short, and usually I just like short ...more
Ron
Jul 15, 2011 added it
In regards to "Rabbits in the Garden", I've just been body-slammed through every emotion I'm capable of having.
I have NEVER had a book take me though that , and I've read quite a few.
Jess.....you've made me almost speechless, and that's a hard thing to do.
I've always seen you in sort of a "fatherly" way, and you just made Daddy very proud, and scared the hell out of him at the same time.
Don't put that pen down.
...more
Kenneth Cain
Apr 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Being labeled as YA, I originally didn't think McHugh's book would suit me. Boy was I wrong. As with much fiction there needs to be some level of suspension of disbelief and this book is no different. If you can accomplish this I think you will enjoy this book very much. This book has been dominating YA and women's books as of late, and there is good reason for it. Rabbits has staying power. Definitely a must read for any horror fan. ...more
Lydia Peever
Apr 21, 2012 rated it really liked it


I enjoyed the premise, setting and characters very much. Having an affinity for the insane, and justice within the justice system, the plot was what kept me interested. And hell, everyone loves a warped revenge story. The dialogue did not grab me though, and as another reviewer mentioned, there are some odd time warps. All in all, a fun read for those who enjoy a psycho soap opera - emphasis on the psycho!
Amy
May 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
This well written book will keep you hooked from page one. From the idyllic summers of childhood to the twisted psychosis of a parent who usese her seeming innocence to frame her children for her own actions. This is also an excellent look at what barbaric treatments were often used for a variety of mental conditions that are today well understood and treated with medication and psycho therapy. A truly gripping read where you root for the determined young heroine and despise her twisted mother.
Elizabeth
Mar 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Honestly, this is one of the best books I've ever read. I devoured it during my morning and evening commute, and at times I looked like one of *those people* in public, shaking my head and making gross faces and scoffing out loud at what I had just read. McHugh knows how to tell a story - and she knows how to make you care about characters just before ripping them away.

And the end is spectacular, but that's all I'll say about it. I can't wait to read the sequel.
...more
Mandy White
May 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Rabbits in the Garden is a twisted blend of graphic horror and psychological thriller. This well-written tale keeps the reader turning pages right up to the increasingly twisted and unexpected ending. I really enjoyed Jessica Mchugh's style of writing and am looking forward to reading some of her other books. ...more
Sharon
Jun 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Rabbits in the Garden is one of those books you can't stop reading for many reasons, however, more than anything, you hope that Avery gets the revenge (or justice) she so deserves.
Jessica comes through with flying colors! Revenge, justice, a few surprises, and a twist that knocks you to the ground...love it! Looking forward to more from Jessica McHugh.
...more
Sara
Jul 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
If you love disturbing fiction, horrific scenes that keep you up well into the morning, and writing that leaves you looking over your shoulder, read Rabbits in the Garden. I couldn't wait to read it, and once I got my own copy and finally was able to, I was not disappointed. I've still got cellars on the brain days later and am afraid to go into the basement. This is such a dark, fun read. ...more
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Jessica McHugh is an author of speculative fiction spanning the genre from horror and alternate history to young adult. A member of the Horror Writers Association and a 2013 Pulp Ark nominee, she has devoted herself to novels, short stories, poetry, and playwriting. Jessica has had fourteen books published in five years, including the bestselling Rabbits in the Garden, The Sky: The World and the g ...more

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