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Unspeakable Things

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  48,588 ratings  ·  3,291 reviews
Cassie McDowell’s life in 1980s Minnesota seems perfectly wholesome. She lives on a farm, loves school, and has a crush on the nicest boy in class. Yes, there are her parents’ strange parties and their parade of deviant guests, but she’s grown accustomed to them.

All that changes when someone comes hunting in Lilydale.

One by one, local boys go missing. One by one, they retu
Paperback, 315 pages
Published January 1st 2020 by Thomas & Mercer
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This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Katie I agree there were some unanswered questions but I wondered if she wanted us to read between the lines. Sephie has been acting strange since December …moreI agree there were some unanswered questions but I wondered if she wanted us to read between the lines. Sephie has been acting strange since December so I wonder if she was sexually abused by her father already. And maybe Cassie was next but he kept stopping himself - but probably would not be able to keep the monster at bay for much longer. Dad is a “monster” and I guess his behavior would only get worse just like their parties had progressed from innocent fun to sex parties.
At first I thought the Mom only stayed with Dad because she wanted to protect the girls but as the book progressed I realized she was just looking the other way to ignore her daughters abuse. Cassie and Sephie probably got placed in another home after her visit with Social Services .
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Nilufer Ozmekik
Jan 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another disturbing, dark, nail biter story based on true events. And I loved to spend time at Cassie’s head and seeing events at 80’s Minnesota from her eyes. She was thirteen, smart, mature from her peers, a little quirky (but in an adorable way), coming from not so wealthy and dysfunctional family, dealing with his mostly drunk, artistic father’s mood swings and anger management problems as her mother acts like they’re perfect and exampled family and nothing is wrong about them.

They’re living
Jan 09, 2021 rated it liked it
once i read this was based on a real crime that happened in the authors hometown, a crime that was the inspiration for the podcast ‘in the dark,’ i was sold.

unfortunately, the story is more about cassie, who happens to live in a town where something strange is happening, rather than the focus being on the abducted boys. the bulk majority of the novel focuses on cassies home life, her unstable father, and how she copes with everything hes involved in (which is a lot). so its not a plot driven st
Cassie McDowell is a twelve year old girl living in rural Minnesota in the 1980s, daughter of well educated, but poor, free living, hippy-ish parents. You might think that she and her older sister had a blessed life, but there are bad things happening to boys in her area and bad things happening in her own home. Cassie lives in fear of her dad coming up the stairs to her room at night, something she tries to fend off by writing stories in her diary. And Cassie and the entire town are concerned t ...more
Jan 22, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley-arcs
1980's Lilydale, Minnesota

Twelve year old Cassie and her older sister Sephie grew up poor with an artist father and their mother, the sole provider, a teacher. Their world is rocked when boys in their neighborhood begin getting attacked by a man in a mask. These victims aren't the same after and Cassie wants to solve the mystery and catch the attacker.

The yuck factor in this book was a bit too much for me and that has nothing to do with the boys being attacked. Are swingers and sex parties rea
daph pink ♡
I finished this book a month ago I guess so I don't remember much , because it was a pretty basic read though I remember one thing , the book is very personal for the author as it is inspired from her own childhood , the fictional story was sort of her way to express that events from her childhood so that was intersting in itself and that was the only factor which compelled me to read it apart from being a small town mystery with dysfunctional families and kids.

The writing was solid and i
It is rare that I write a full review these days. I am conscious of all I wish to read yet. The clock is ticking. I am conscious of growing older. I am well aware that time is not regained. Why this review?

This title was an Amazon Prime First Read. It carries a Goodreads rating of 3.76. It deserves neither.

Perhaps this will keep you from wasting your time in reading this book. It is tragically over written. While the subject matter is so significant--child abuse and exploitation--the author exhi
Kelli Wilson
Dec 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow. This is really dark folks. Pretty disturbing things happening. And somehow the way the words are written gripped me and I needed to finish it out. I'm glad I did.

FYI: The author did not include the epilogue in the book itself. It is available only on her website:
In the summer of 1983, ‘evil’ exists in the small farming community of Lilydale, Minnesota. Boys are being abused by an unknown, almost supernatural, sexual predator, but the police and adults are not convinced he exists. 12-year-old Cassie McDowell is certain he does though. She already believes in monsters, lives in constant fear of her alcoholic, paranoid, domineering father, and his various mood swings, and dreads the ‘parties’ her parents sometimes throw. The boys who've been ‘taken' return ...more
Kristi Lamont
Dec 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow was this a really good book about some truly disturbing things. Got it as an Amazon First Read so I went into it with low expectations; whipped through it in a couple of hours this afternoon. Realized as I was getting toward the end that I was thirsty, I needed to go to the bathroom, my jaws were locked and my fingers were clenching my iPad very, very hard. The sense of foreboding Ms Lourey had going on was something else. No way in the world was I getting out of my chair until I got to the ...more
Frank Phillips
3.45 Stars. I absolutely loved our teenage protagonist, Cassie, and empathized for her as she endured the horrific circumstances at home. I did feel that the pacing may have been a bit slow at times, and perhaps the author focused a tad more on developing the characters and illustrating the insane hardships Cassie endured at home, on account of her crazy swinger parents, specifically her alcoholic pervy father. While this was very nicely done and really had me invested in her as a character, I f ...more
Jan 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: physical-arcs
Unspeakable Things is out today and man you guys, this one was such a different read from the type of book I’ve been gravitating towards lately. It’s a mix between a coming of age story and suspense and is set in 1980’s Minnesota and follows a thirteen year old girl named Cassie. She lives in a small town and suddenly a string of local boys start to disappear, but most of them return quickly. They’re all changed and haunted by whatever happened while they were gone and Cassie is terrified by wha ...more
Feb 24, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: net-galley
This book sorely disappointed me. Based on a true story, it was only about a third of the book. The crimes weren't really revealed and whodunit was easy to figure out. 2/3rds of this book was way over descriptive sentences where the author fancied herself witty. It took me far too long to read this book, dragging myself along and honestly for the synapsis it was boring. Do not recommend. ...more
Chandra Claypool (WhereTheReaderGrows)
For some reason, I glanced at this book yesterday and almost set it aside as one I'd get to later, if I had time. But then something kept drawing me to it and after picking it up and putting it down a few times, something about it just called to me and I decided to pick this up.... and once I did, I didn't put it down until I was done reading. So if you have this on your shelf anywhere, I recommend you don't pass this one up and READ IT ASAP.

I love novels based on true stories. As this one is to
The title pretty much sums up the book perfectly: everything is implied rather than clearly said out loud one damn time.
The adults are all shady af and their behavior is fucked up to say the least.
The main character(s)? Unlikable and irritating.
The plot is practically nonexistent and includes a bunch of irrelevant scenes.
The ending? A joke. Also, btw, just publish your book with the ending you want and don't publish the real ending separately.
Sheila Beaumont
This is a creepy, well-written account of the perverse goings-on behind the wholesome facade of a small town in Minnesota. The tale is narrated by a 12-year-old girl, but this is definitely not a children's book. This horrific story is based on real events from the author's childhood. ...more
Shelby Dawson
Yet another Kindle First book with a ton of five star ratings that leave me feeling very confused.

This wasn't terrible but between the writing style and the way a lot of things didn't add up to the (much too fast imo) conclusion I just don't see how this is anything more than sub par.

(view spoiler)
Natasha | readwithnatasha
3.5 stars. I devoured this book in two days.

Young boys in Cassie's small town are being molested and she doesn't think the police are doing enough to solve this mystery. The innocent 13 year old has her own handful of suspects - the creepy police chief, her gay band teacher, the scary man called the Goblin, as well as her own father.

This story is pretty dark and disturbing - molestation, incest, swinger parties, etc. and it's all told through Cassie and her innocence. A lot of the bad stuff is
Darcia Helle
Unspeakable Things is dark, intense, and so well written that it hurts to read this story.

The entire novel is written from 12-year-old Cassie's perspective, but this is absolutely not a YA novel. I almost didn't get this book because I'm not a big fan of child narrators. Fortunately for me, the premise was too tempting to pass up. Within a few paragraphs, I was hooked. By the end of the first chapter, I couldn't imagine this story being told from any other character's perspective. By the end, I
patricia tiffany
Okay but not great

Some things just didn't fit. And what Haiti the dad? And what had the dad done? And were there other victims? What did she mean about what if I had eaten strawberries? Some stuff just didn't make sense.
Annika Martin
Nov 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is emotional and intense and just so compelling - I was flipping those pages like mad with my heart in my throat. It's out of my normal genre to read, but OMG so grateful I got an early copy. Beautifully written. Definite winner. ...more
Dec 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My favorite book of 2019!!

I had downloaded this book and read just 7% at first and I knew it was going to be a fantastic story. I picked it up and read until 7:30am and it was the best all-nighter I've ever had! This story IMO seems so urgent and important for many reasons. I had to make sure the characters in the book were going to be okay. My heart broke for all the kids that were taken by the town creeper and I couldn't wait to solve the mystery. I absolutely loved the author's writing style!
Ruthy lavin
Jan 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Being an 80’s kid, I always love it when I read a book set in that era which is so wonderfully visionary that it takes me right back to being 10 again - it happened when I read ‘stand by me’ and ‘It’ and again when I watched the wonderful Netflix series ‘stranger things’.
This book gave me those same feelings and more.
It is wonderful.
A sad story based loosely on true events, the narrative is stunning. I felt like I was by Cassie’s side throughout the whole story.
I would have awarded it 5 stars bu
Natasha Niezgoda


Sooooo, you know when you took your first shot of vodka and you were like “HOLY SHIT HOW DOES ANYONE DRINK THIS?!” And then 2 years later you’re like, “Lemme try again, it’s probs not so bad!” But then, alas it is THAT bad.


Yeah... that’s this book.

So Unspeakable Things is a fictional crime novel inspired-by-true-events that occurred in a small town in Minnesota. It’s the 80s, there’s a lot of swingers, and then some really shitty stuff starts happening to elementary and
Crime by the Book
Jan 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5/5 stars for this dread-inducing, dark coming-of-age story! WOW, this book. This is one of those books that I'm sure will provoke strong opinions on both sides of the fence, but I personally loved it. This is a truly disturbing story that explores challenging themes; readers who do NOT want to read anything involving child abuse will be best avoiding this book. Unspeakable Things follows a young girl on the brink of becoming a teenager, navigating dangers within her town and within her ho ...more
Jan 12, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2021, 2021-x1f635
Unspeakable Things by Jess Lourey is a dark disturbing nail biting pulse pounding thriller of a book, it's fiction mixed up with non-fiction with characters you can imagine being in a town like the one in this book.
I love how the storyline leads you up the dark garden path of your imagination to then leave you and spin you around in another direction.
The ending was a little IS THAT IT!!! Which is why it's only 4 🌟 but it's still definitely worth reading.
I'm certainly looking forward to reading m
Bam cooks the books ;-)
*3.5 stars rounded up.

Inspired by the disappearance of young boys in a small Minnesotan town in the 1980s, this thriller is decidedly dark and creepy. The story's protagonist is 12-year-old Cassandra McDowell. Having the story told from her perspective often leaves the reader frustrated because the girl can't quite decipher what is happening in the mysterious world of adults.

Cass is the youngest of two daughters in a very dysfunctional family. She and her sister have always been told that what
Feb 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was really difficult to read. The characters in it deal with so many horrible things no child should even know exist in my opinion. Despite this, I thought it was incredibly well written and harrowing.

This isn't a particularly graphic or gruesome story. The author mercifully spares us most of the details of the child abuse and sexual abuse the characters experience, but in doing so manages to create an atmosphere of such foreboding and quiet menace that I struggled to continue reading
Dec 15, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps
Summer of 1983, boys in Cassie’s small town are being molested by a stranger in a mask. The almost thirteen year old has a number of suspects, her gay music teacher, the scary man kids call Goblin, the creepy police chief, even her own father.

UNSPEAKABLE THINGS drew me in with Cassie’s wise, yet innocent voice. Jess Lourey skillfully showed the difference between what the tween understood and what certain characters in her life were actually doing. Because of Cassie’s naïveté, Lourey skirts arou
Jan 12, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This well written suspense novel is based on a true story from the authors childhood. ‘Unspeakable things’ is a suspense novel about a small Minnesota town where nothing is as quiet or as safe as it seems. Set in 1980 the novel is about a girl named Cassie McDowell’ who lives on a farm with her family. Her parents engage in attending swingers parties and the goings on have become the norm to Cassie. The situation changes when local boys start to go missing only to return changed. The returned bo ...more
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Jess Lourey writes about secrets.

She is the Amazon Charts bestselling author of nonfiction, YA adventure, magical realism, and crime fiction. She's a tenured professor of writing and sociology, a recipient of The Loft's Excellence in Teaching fellowship, a Psychology Today blogger, a TEDx presenter (check out her TEDx Talk to discover the surprising inspiration behind MAY DAY, her first published

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