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Sycamore

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  2,553 ratings  ·  430 reviews
Out for a hike one scorching afternoon in Sycamore, Arizona, a newcomer to town stumbles across what appear to be human remains embedded in the wall of a dry desert ravine. As news of the discovery makes its way around town, Sycamore’s longtime residents fear the bones may belong to Jess Winters, the teenage girl who disappeared suddenly some eighteen years earlier, an uns ...more
ebook, 336 pages
Published May 9th 2017 by Harper
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Carrolet I was! Too many characters and possibilities. The back and forth in time didn’t help either. It did come together in the end though.
Shannon M. Under Browse and then Giveaways in the drop down menu.

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3.76  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,553 ratings  ·  430 reviews


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Will Byrnes
Jan 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The little town of Sycamore struck her as something out of a fairy tale in its smallness, in its cluster of businesses along Main Street, its small college on one side, her new high school on the other. Though it seemed to emit a gentle sigh, a sleepy breath, she thought not of sweetness but of Frankenstein: “By the glimmer of the half-extinguished light, I saw the dull yellow eye of the creature open.”
The girl, missing since 1991, has been found, well, her bones anyway. Her vanishing and the
...more
Elyse Walters
Oct 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Within a minute I was hooked. The only way I could possibly satisfy my thirst was to drink this novel in one gulp. If I had read reviews in the pass- forgive me - but I honestly couldn’t remember anything about this novel.

My library had the ebook available. I took a chance - went in 100% blind...knowing nothing about this story.

The very first page HOOKS THE READER: “You Are Here”
“Her first night in Sycamore, the girl snuck out of the house. Wearing frayed purple canvas shoes and a new puffy v
...more
Jen
Jun 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
A girl goes missing- for 18 years. A newcomer comes to town and finds her remains on a hike.

This is the story of Jess. A teenager who relocated to the town of Sycamore, Arizona. A girl struggling with losing her father to another family and suffering from loneliness, the fitting in and the other woes of teenage angst. As her life is revealed, we realize an illicit love; a poet; rejection; a girl trying to find her place in a new town.

And what we discover along with her remains, is a town of peo
...more
Pouting Always
Jun 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Jess Winter and her mother moved to Sycamore after her father leaves them to begin a new family. Jess has a difficult time fitting in at Sycamore, especially when a new friendship with a girl at school, Dani, ends out of no where. Eventually she makes another friend but things there end badly too leading to a falling out. Jess can't sleep at night and ends up wandering around since they moved to Sycamore. Now that things have gotten even more tense with her, she ends up taking more walks and eve ...more
Angela M
May 06, 2017 rated it liked it
I'm don't usually read mysteries or thrillers. I've just never liked the waiting and wondering and sometimes intense feeling - omg what happened, the suspense- just not for me. They give me knots in my stomach . I took a chance on this book because everything I read about it made me believe there was much more to this story and there is. It's a story about a small town and we come to know a cast of characters, who in some way are connected to 17 year old Jess Winters who has been missing for 18 ...more
Diane S ☔
Mar 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
After her father leaves his family for another woman, Jesse and her mother, move from Phoenix to the small town of Sycamore. Jess has trouble making friends at first, so she walls at night to try to sort out her thoughts, come to terms with her different life, her loneliness and the loss of her father. Eventually she will make a new friend, Dani, and gets a job at the local pecan orchard. Unfortunately this life will implode in a big way when a secret is revealed, leaving a scandal and Jess once ...more
Julie
Jul 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sycamore by Bryn Chancellor is a 2017 Harper publication.

'Sycamore' is an oddly entrancing and incredibly absorbing tale centered around the lives of a small, Arizona community, and how the disappearance and spirit of seventeen year old, Jess Winters, has lingered over them, haunting them all these years, until a college professor, new to the community, discovers a body, sparking speculations that finally, after all these years, the truth will finally be revealed.

The subject matter examined in
...more
Carol (Bookaria)
The novel starts slowly and it revolves around the people of Sycamore and the disappearance of one of its young residents.

It paints a clear picture of this small town from the point of view of its inhabitants.

Even though most people loved this novel I had a hard time enjoying it. Not sure if it was because I listened to the audio book and the rotation of different narrators and timelines confused me sometimes, these things are easier to visualize by reading instead of listening to it.

Most peo
...more
Brenda - Traveling Sister
I am a bit surprised I didn't enjoy Sycamore more than I did. Normally I think I would have since I do enjoy quieter character driven suspenseful mysteries that explore the emotional side of the characters like Sycamore, however, I didn't like the storyline.

The story goes back and forth in time from 1991 when we first meet Jess Winters and her mother and Jess goes missing to 18 years later as the community comes to terms with the discovery of some remains that could be Jess’s. We hear from Jess
...more
Liz
Sep 03, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sycamore is an eclectic story. It’s told from different perspectives, points in time, and styles, all of which come together to turn a patchwork into a complete and well-rounded story with the thread of mystery woven throughout.

What I liked about this book is that it made me contemplate things and ask myself questions; they’re same questions, I think, that the characters in this book are asking themselves as they look back on the years since seventeen-year old Jess Winters disappeared. How does
...more
Jeanette
May 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh my this story has some depth and also frames the town of Sycamore, AZ in heat, in rain wash, in spectacular dawn and dusk and with its critters within the glare.

Everything in the story surrounds the girl Jess who moved to town from Phoenix. For a year or so- bridging her senior year of high school (1991)- the tale of myriad characters long standing of Sycamore surround her. But it is far more than just the friends or substantial of acquaintance. It's an emotional pitch that remains heavily su
...more
Victoria
Jul 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jess Winters was their story, as much a part of Sycamore as the land itself…Jess Winters was their worst fear come true…Jess Winters was their ghost. Jess Winters was their metaphor: loss, secrets, guilt, failure, embedded in one shining, curly-haired girl.

This is a quiet story that snuck up on me with how much I ended up immersing myself in the life of a small town. Slow to start, but once I settled into its rhythm and pace I began to appreciate the characters’ distinctive voices, all rendered
...more
Antoinette
Nov 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really seem to be on a missing girls kick at the moment. My next book will change that.
I am a bit conflicted with this book- the start was slow and confusing with the jump between characters. I did have a bit of a problem getting into the flow of the book. But, by about a third through, the author did have me hooked.
We know the main character Jess went missing 18 yrs ago. In present day, human bones are discovered by a newcomer and this reignites the events and people that led up to the disap
...more
Bonnie Brody
Apr 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
'Sycamore' is that rarest of books, one that so absorbs the reader that it is difficult to come up for air. I found myself lost in Ms. Chancellor's words and story, loving her poetic narrative and fascinating characters. I dove into the novel and only regretted that I knew it would end.

Jess Winters is seventeen when she disappears from the small northern Arizona town of Sycamore in 1991. Has she run off or is there foul play involved? It isn't until the present that an answer is found when some
...more
Kristy
Apr 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Jess Winters and her mother, Maud, arrive in the small town of Sycamore, Arizona hoping to start afresh: Maud is recently divorced from Jess' father and both are reeling from the event in different ways. Maud copes by sleeping most of the day away, but a restless teenage Jess wanders the town, searching for peace. Eventually she finds a friendship with Dani Newell, the local "smart kid" at the high school, and her boyfriend, Paul, the son of Jess' employer, Iris. Maybe, just maybe, Jess thinks, ...more
Cheri
May 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, arizona
4.5 Stars

“I am peaches in September, and corn from a roadside stall
I'm the language of the natives, I'm a cadence and a drawl
I'm the pines behind the graveyard, and the cool beneath their shade, where the boys have left their beer cans
I am weeds between the graves.


My porches sag and lean with old black men and children
Their sleep is filled with dreams, I never can fulfill them
I am a town.

“I Am A Town” – Mary Chapin Carpenter

January 1991

“Her first night in Sycamore, the girl snuck out of the hou
...more
Tammy
Feb 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is an accomplished debut novel. I suppose it could be described as suspense but it's really about the characters and how they are involved with a girl who goes missing in a small Arizona town. Interestingly, the story unfolds not only from the viewpoint of the people in the community but also from the missing girl's point of view sweeping back and forth between the late eighties and the present. Nicely nuanced.
Joanne
Feb 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This beautiful, painful book has left me in tears. I cared so much for the characters, for their joy and pain, their love and loss. Simply wonderful.
Kathleen
Aug 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Chancellor explores how a community may have been passively complicit in the disappearance of a beautiful, young 17-year-old woman. Jess Winters recently moved to Sycamore with her mother when her parents divorced and was treated largely as an outsider. She was shunned by the ‘in crowd’, but found friendship with Angie—and then Angie avoids her. Huh? Jess has no clue why. Then she finds friendship with Dani. Awesome! And then Dani’s father decides he is romantically interested in Jess. [This guy ...more
Tammy
Oct 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I almost gave up on this book because something happened without warning and I thought it was going to become a sleazy romance novel. But it was actually very relevant to the story and handled well by the author. There are a lot of characters and we hear from each point of view, so pay close attention when reading! I thought this was going to be a murder mystery but it is so much more than that! Thoughtful and poignant from beginning to end, this turned out to be one of my favorite recent books.
Mel
May 29, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2017
Couldn't connect to this intellectually or emotionally for many reasons. Slow paced and felt a groundless heft was forced into the everyday events. Couldn't relate.
Lauren
Sycamore is the Bryn Chancellor's debut novel, and it ticked the right boxes for me. I really enjoy stories rooted in the landscape, where the place itself is like a character in the book. Sycamore, Arizona is a high desert town - in many ways similar to the small southwestern town I grew up in, one state over in New Mexico (my nostalgia piqued, especially with the descriptions of the pecan orchards...)

Billed as a mystery, it is a more of a character study of a town and many residents: the memor
...more
Erica
I want you to know that I was absolutely forced to read this by Mary Laura Philpott. I felt like she was threatening me with her glee and enthusiasm through the internet and that I'd probably die a horrible death if I didn't get on this ASAP.
I've got the others she recommends on my to-read list, as well.
You're so bossy and demanding, M.L.

I think this story is a bit of a letter to mothers, an ode to tight communities, and maybe a gentle ribbing to all who read contemporary thrillers and the like.
...more
Annabel Dunstone Gray
May 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: library
Great cast of characters, but a somewhat weak plot. Reminded me at times of of Mindy Mejia's Everything You Want Me to Be.
debra
Diane S wrote a n excellent review of this title.
Dianne
May 22, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: galleys-arcs
I'm not sure what exactly to say about this book. It is obvious that many people just loved this novel, but for me it was a very difficult read.

Yes this was a very literary, beautifully written and very deep novel and not something you would want to take on vacation to perk yourself up or to get lost in. The book does not really end well -or at least it doesn't end in any way other than the one which we already figured out right fro the beginning. As a matter of fact, in some ways it was a deepl
...more
Victoria
Apr 29, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I think that the idea of this debut novel is more interesting than its execution - I just really had a hard time enjoying it...

In 1991, a teenage girl goes missing and it is her story that serves as the anchor for the novel, but the majority of the chapters take place in 2009 - after her bones are found. Each chapter not set in 1991 varies its perspective to give the impact of Jess's disappearance and later discovery on the whole titular town. This is an interesting concept, but unfortunately it
...more
Lynn
Dec 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An extremely well-written story based in the small Arizona town of Sycamore, where Jess Winter and her mother Maud have come to live. At first, Jess doesn't fit in at the high school, but, gradually, she is accepted and Dani becomes her closest friend.

As the story unfolds, and Jess becomes more and more a part of Dani's family, Dani's father begins to take a more-than-fatherly interest in Jess. Totally inappropriate innuendos lead to potentially damaging thoughts and planned actions. Then, the
...more
Kate Ayers
May 05, 2017 rated it it was ok
Had to quit. Just didn't like the style of writing. Too artsy for me. Thought this was a mystery about the girl who disappeared but it's more about the characters of the town of Sycamore, Arizona. That's fine -- just not what I bargained for. Life's too short to read what you don't want to so I'm out.
Jaime Arkin
I honestly still don’t know how I feel about this story. While I found it interesting, I struggled to connect on a deeper level with the characters and plot, simultaneously enjoying the steady pace of the story and yet wanting some more action.

Eighteen years ago, Jess Winters went missing. Those in town always felt like she had run away, never to return to the small town of Sycamore, Arizona again. Her mother never believed that to be true. When a newcomer arrives and finds what appears to be hu
...more
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“She went on to say that love and all its permutations—she paused and wrote it on the board, “LOVE = permutations”—was the great question at the root of all literature. Was it Capital L Love? Or lowercase? Or lust, or longing, or loneliness, or loss? What was the difference? How did we know? A great big beating heart of a puzzle, she said. The great unknown.” 0 likes
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