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We Now Return to Regular Life

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3.88  ·  Rating details ·  859 ratings  ·  165 reviews
A ripped-from-the-headlines novel that explores the power of being an ally—and a friend—when a kidnapped boy returns to his hometown.

Sam Walsh had been missing for three years. His older sister, Beth, thought he was dead. His childhood friend Josh thought it was all his fault. They were the last two people to see him alive.

Until now. Because Sam has been found, and he’s co
...more
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published August 1st 2017 by Dial Books
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Martin Hi Joshua, I'm so glad you picked up on this! Her therapist is indeed Sarita Rao, who is Nathen's older sister. This all takes place, I'd say, 25 year…moreHi Joshua, I'm so glad you picked up on this! Her therapist is indeed Sarita Rao, who is Nathen's older sister. This all takes place, I'd say, 25 years after "What They Always Tell Us."

Fun fact: My new book, which I'm writing (no idea when I'll finish), is going to be set a year after "What They Always Tell Us." Same high school, different characters, but there may be some cameos or supporting roles from characters you know. :-)(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.88  · 
Rating details
 ·  859 ratings  ·  165 reviews


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Chelsea Humphrey
Jul 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Chelsea by: Penguin Teen
Shelves: from-publisher
Have you ever read a book and acknowledged that, yeah, it wasn't a perfect read, but it was the perfect read for you? That was case and point We Now Return to Regular Life for me. While this story is mainly narrated from the POVs of Beth, Sam's older sister, and Josh, his next door neighbor and friend, I could sense other unspoken views being told between the lines that felt as prominent as the ones put into written word. This form of storytelling can only be mastered by a select few and it was ...more
Thomas
The first book to make me cry in a long time, We Now Return to Regular Life reaffirms Martin Wilson's status as one of the most skilled young-adult writers of our time. The novel begins with the return of Sam Walsh, a now fourteen-year-old boy who had been kidnapped for three years. Throughout the book we follow the narratives of two central characters in Sam's life: Beth, Sam's older sister who lived in the ghost of a household ever since Sam got stolen, and Josh, Sam's friend and the last pers ...more
may ➹
Aug 04, 2017 marked it as dnf
DNF @ pg 66

this book is annoying

---------------

me: [sees hate & discriminatory comments towards LGBTQ+ people]

me: well time to read a gay book!!!!
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Laura
Nov 14, 2017 rated it really liked it

Some books are just too much for me to try to describe in words on a page. I need my hands waving around and facial expressions to help. But obviously I can’t do that here, so I’m just going to pour it all out on the page and see what happens.

Powerful is not a big enough word to describe We Now Return to Regular Life by Martin Wilson. This is a raw, scary, heartbreaking read. As readers, I think we accept that sometimes over time the names of characters or details will fade—hell whole books some
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Tanya (Girl Plus Books)
Sep 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
4.5 STARS

We Now Return to Regular Life is one of those books that didn’t have a lot of feel-good moments. In fact, it was often difficult to read, caused many tears, and generally hurt my heart. But it was also incredibly impactful and one of the better books I’ve read this year.

Sam Walsh (a nod to Adam Walsh?) was abducted three years ago at the age of eleven. Now Sam has been found… alive… and is back at home. The media swarms, there’s a televised interview, and everyone asks, “How is Sam?” Bu
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Misty
Jan 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a sad book. We had two points of views...Beth (Sam's sister) and Josh (Sam's convenient friend).
Sam went missing on a hot day in July and three years later is found. Beth and Josh have had guilt over those years on what they think they could have done differently that day.
Beth feels guilty for wanting to have a normal life and Josh feels guilty for not telling anyone everything that happened the day Sam went missing. They both have no idea how to help Sam when he returns home. Beth st
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Kyle
Feb 23, 2018 rated it did not like it
This is a book about Sam Walsh. Sam disappeared at the age of 11, but turns back up three years later.

This is a book about Sam, but it follows two other narrators — Beth- Sam’s older sister, and Josh- Sam’s “friend” and next door neighbor— for the entire 370 pages.
The problem here is, both Beth and Josh’s POVs are so completely unnecessary, and honestly boring as all hell. Josh’s is only slightly more interesting because of the secrets he held regarding the day Sam vanished, as well as the guil
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Rynn Yumako
Aug 20, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: contemporary, drama
The subject matter was serious, the things that happened to Sam were beyond horrible, but the story still didn't work for me as whole.

Every single character felt weird somehow, or reacted way off in certain situations, done things that made no sense. Like in the beginning when both Josh and Beth basically lied to their parents, to the police about where they last saw Sam. Why? And how can an 11 and 14 year old kid lie so easily, to law enforcement no less? Wouldn't there be a follow up investig
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Maria (Big City Bookworm)


Initial post reading thoughts:

I had heard about We Now Return To Regular Life earlier this year and I instantly knew that it would be a book that I enjoyed based on its synopsis alone. Contemporary novels with darker and more serious elements are probably my favourite genre to read and this book fell right into that category. We Now Return To Regular Life explores what it's like for Sam, a kid who was kidnapped three years ago to return home after being found and having to adjust going back to h
...more
Jill Rigby
Nov 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Whoa!!

What an emotional rollercoaster of lives altered by one evil act (and by one, I mean 3 years of sheer Hell). The shell of a boy returns home, trying to find some sort of normalcy in the aftermath of three years of abuse by his captor.

It's hard reading about the abuse of children in any fiction; but when you know that the events in the book you're reading parallel an actual kidnapping case, it makes it that much harder to get through it (emotionally). As I read, the familiarity of Missour
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Dylan
Sep 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars.

Video review: https://youtu.be/eFW-uQPFwks
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Leah
Wow. Just...wow. That I finished this near 400-page novel in a single sitting should say something. Yes, it's extremely gripping and intense, but it's also so gut-wrenching. Three years ago Sam was abducted. Three long years his family searched and made pleas to his captor, ultimately coming to terms with Sam's death...but then Sam is discovered. Alive. He's coming home.

In countless other kidnapping novels, this would be the part where the victim goes home and essentially picks up right where th
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BB
Aug 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: m-m
I just don't know what to think of this book. It was good but it also felt that it wasn't good. In both writing and the story itself. The writing felt a little off, I missed the flow in reading. All the actions of the characters were a little bit choppy to read, they were doing this or that and it switches to next.
The story: I felt heartbroken for Sam and so much annoyance towards everybody else. What he went through must have been so confusing and traumatic. The way that Beth felt al these emo
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Dominic
Jun 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
I devoured this book! It was practically impossible to put down and felt so real and emotionally true. The premise seems outrageous, but when you stop to think about it, there's nothing fantastic about it. I was actually reminded of the Hornbeck case from a decade ago, when a boy who was abducted as a pre-teen was found in a town near my home. I remember watching the news and looking at the vacant look plastered across his face. It's sad that there are probably many cases like this that inspired ...more
Elisabeth
Sep 01, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya, fiction, 2017
I found this book incredibly problematic and unauthentic. While the story itself kept me reading until the end, it was disturbing to read sections of this book that had no follow up/no reflection. (view spoiler) ...more
PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps
Grade: A

Sam returns home after three years of captivity no longer the mischievous boy he once was. His return throws his sister Beth's life into turmoil as she wrestles with guilt. Also feeling guilty, his friend Josh, who never told all he knew about the kidnapping. Sam's recovery, through the points of view of Beth and Josh, unravels cracks in all their lives and maybe a way forward, if they can learn to trust each other.

WE NOW RETURN TO REGULAR LIFE was one of my most anticipated August debu
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J.S. Young
Jun 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: glbt
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jason White
Sep 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow, what another amazing page turner from Martin Wilson! It was nice from the perspective of Josh and Beth looking at Sam. Didn't really know what Sam was ultimately feeling, but everything came through from his sister and friend.

I gravitated more to the chapters from Josh. I liked the idea of a friend realizing his past mistakes and coming to grip with them and then wanting to be there for his friend. Sounds like Sam will always have a great friend in Josh, someone that will always be there,
...more
Vee S
Jun 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
I loved this book. It is a complex, thoughtful exploration of trauma and how it impacts survivors and the loved ones of survivors. It also digs into how we, as a society, respond to difficult experiences.

This book follows the story of Sam Walsh and is told in the dual perspectives of his sister Beth and his friend Josh. Sam was kidnapped when he was 11-- now, three years later, he's been found and is coming home.

Sam's sister, Beth, had settled with the fact that Sam was dead. Beth's mom, howev
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St. Gerard Expectant Mothers
Holy crap!!! I just finished the ARC of this and I'm shaking on the floor in a myriad of emotions from sadness to anger to just cursing some Divine Being for how unfair the world is. We Now Return to Regular Life is basically any child abduction and rescue cases all rolled into one from Elizabeth Smart, Amanda Berry, Michelle Knight, Gina Dejesus, Shawn Hornbeck, and Jaycee Dugard. If anything, it's a bit more of the Steven "I Know My First Name is Steven" Stayner case from the 80's.

The book con
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Laxmama
I have mixed feelings about this book, I listened to the audio and immediately was shocked and by the story. This is a "YA" book, for me the story was really disturbing, even as the book is not graphic about the detail regarding the kidnapping the tone of the book is quite serious. This book had my attention, the narration was well done. After finishing the story I was unclear what the author was attempt to convey through the story, it was told through alternating POV's of the kidnapped boy (Sam ...more
Eleonor
Nov 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'm an emotional mess
Te De
Feb 15, 2018 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kiana
I read Martin Wilson’s What They Always Tell Us when I was in high school and thought it was superb. His sophomore novel, published almost ten years later, We Now Return to Regular Life, is nearly as good—whether or not it is “better” than What We Always Tell Us is impossible to say, given that I read them so far apart and have a soft spot for that book—and certainly a fair sight more disturbing. Not that the depression and suicide of Wilson’s debut weren’t weighty subjects, but in this book we ...more
Vivi
3.8 stars!

We Now Return to Regular Life is a very realistic tale of the return of an abducted 11 year old kid, Sam Walsh, 3 years after the kidnapping.


"Kid missing for three years, living only a few hours away all this time. It’s crazy even if you don’t know the boy in question. And if you do know him? If you were the last person to see him? It’s unbelievable. Like a movie..."

"I don’t know where Sam has been. Where do you go for three years? Without getting in touch, without letting us k
...more
Bismah
May 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lgbtqa, ya, goat
So often we hear stories about kidnapping victims being found after years of being missing but this is one of the few instances where we learn what happens to these victims after they’re found. How parents and siblings deal with lost time, how friends feel seeing a friend after so long, and even how people who may have interacted with the victim while they were kidnapped react to the fact that the person they’ve known for years was suffering without anyone knowing. We Now Return to Regular Life ...more
Jenno
Aug 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A wonderfully written novel, We Now Return to Regular Life weaves together the story of the kidnapping and return of Sam Walsh, through the alternating perspectives of those impacted by his disappearance and subsequent return. What happened to the Sam that they once knew, and who is the Sam they've welcomed home? Why didn't he try to escape? How can his family and once-closest friend support him, even though they can't understand his experiences, and are hesitant to hear the details of what his ...more
Inn Auni
How many time did I cry? I lost count.

11 years old Sam was cocky, loud, athletic, cute and confident. And then, he went missing. 3 years later, he returned but, a diferent boy. 14 years old Sam was quiet, timid, shy and reserved.

Instead of Sam's pov, Wilson decided Beth's and Josh's pov would be better. So, we were given two people closed to Sam, a sister and a best friend, who was there on the day he went missing and who knew the truth but, chose to stay quiet.

And that's the reason for the lack
...more
Amy
Dec 31, 2017 marked it as abandoned
Shelves: young-adult, 2017
I stopped reading somewhere around page 70. I just can't anymore

Sam returns home after being missing for three years. His sister, Beth, pretty much shuts down. There are long periods of her waffling about, refusing to deal, to talk to him. To have any sort of curiosity at all. It's like the author was holding back. There was so much 'not dealing' that information told to the readers was repeated several times!

And Josh. He is exactly the same way. I have no idea if Sam traumatized him or somethin
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Heather
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
To say that this is the most touching and heartfelt novel I have ever read would be an understatement. I cried so many times throughout this book that I fear I have no tears left. We Now Return to Regular tells the story of a boy, Sam Walsh, who was abducted at the age of 11 by a sexual predator. The man kept him for 3 years and what he went through in that little apartment in Anniston, Alabama changed his life, and the lives of everyone around him, forever.

When this novel claims to be ripped-fr
...more
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