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The Reach

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  847 Ratings  ·  74 Reviews
Young Sarah is no ordinary girl. She’s been diagnosed as schizophrenic and locked away in a children’s psychiatric ward. But that’s not what makes her special. She also has a very strange—and powerful—gift. Scientists have been studying Sarah’s remarkable psychic power for years, enhancing it, manipulating it…twisting it into something evil. But their plans have gone horri ...more
Paperback, 276 pages
Published December 1st 2008 by Leisure Books (first published November 25th 2008)
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Dec 19, 2008 rated it really liked it
Many have likened this novel to King’s “Firestarter” and it is very easy to see why. We have a little girl, with unimaginable power, an evil institution trying to bend and wield her power and an unlikely hero trying to save the child. Kenyon even named a secondary character “Charlie” as if to acknowledge the similarities and give homage to King. But “The Reach” although it shares so many similarities, reads as an entirely different story.

Short Synopsis: Jess Chambers is a star student in Psychia
John Everson
Jan 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
Nate Kenyon has reinvented the "wild talent" novel with THE REACH, and it's about time somebody did! I couldn't put it down!

Kenyon has crafted the perfect melding of paranormal sci-fi with the horror trope of a wrongly (or is she?) imprisoned asylum inmate. Add to that a smattering of mystery and thriller and THE REACH is what every novel aspires to be -- a rollercoaster of plot with characters you love to ride with -- and at the end, you hope they'll get in line with you again.

Mar 19, 2009 rated it liked it
Nary a whiff of Stephen King in the writing. There are plot similarities to "Firestarter" but that's it. Every young horror writer (especially those from Maine) gets compared to King & there is just no reason for it here.

That's not to say it's not a good book...or that the writing is sub par. It IS a good read and the writing is fine. The story is a little slow to start and the medical details take up way more of the novel than anything resembling "horror." Description and characterization
I.E. Lester
Dec 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
Nate Kenyon has proved that his debut novel wasn't a fluke.

He's picked one of the few things that really unnerve me - kids who a little bit weird. I have no problem with vampires, werewolves, demons, psychopaths, witchcraft etc. gore doesn't bother me. But an odd kid is seriously spooky.

This particular strange kid is a ten year old girl - institutionalised most of her life. A psychology student call Jess Chambers, however, thinks she shouldn't be and sets off to get her released.

And just when yo
Nate Kenyon
Dec 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
My latest novel...
Jan 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2009
Well... considering I normally take at least 5 days to finish most books, I'd assume me saying I read this in 48 hours would tell people how much I enjoyed this book. It was a very fast-paced and intense read. I kept reading on as I wanted to find out how things were going to end up for Sarah. This wasn't a "scary" horror book, but had lots of action scenes as well as paranormal elements within so the book couldn't be labeled as just a "thriller" so it's definitely a horror book, just a lighter ...more
David Veith
Apr 22, 2017 rated it liked it
3.25 Over all ok read. Some of the details/descriptions are not what you would like and other times more than needed (ex. a paragraph of describing what some military guys are wearing, a brief discussion with them, and then pretty much they all die without a word). Seemed like things were missing here and there too. Still fun though with the psychic abilities and what not. Also odd that pretty much everyone was lying to each other. Also did not care for that there was an Epilogue that sounded li ...more
Oct 27, 2008 rated it really liked it
Ten years old, Sarah has pretty much lived her whole life in a mental hospital. Dr. Wasserman at The Wasserman Facility has diagnosed Sarah as being a schizophrenic. Sarah isn’t your normal schizophrenic; in fact Sarah is also a psychic. Jess Chambers has studied the extreme child psychology cases and that is why she is very excited to be able to meet young Sarah. The doctors at The Wasserman Facility have been able to control Sarah. You know the saying “Be careful what you wish for”, well Jess ...more
Matt R.
Jan 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror, 2009
I really enjoyed this paranormal thriller. I was consumed by this book from the beginning. From the first visit to the psychiatric facility to the ending, this book is a thrill ride.
Dec 16, 2008 rated it liked it
See my reviews at the Las Vegas Review-Journal's Book Nook at
I think I went in with the wrong expectation - I was thinking this would be more horror than it really is. Not spooky but still interesting.
Kevin Lucia
Jan 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Reminiscent of Dean Koontz and Stephen King with talent all its own - a novel EVERYONE can get into.
Dec 28, 2008 rated it it was ok
I read this entire book yesterday on the way to Las Vegas. Not really reminiscent of Stephen King as the cover quote claims, but certainly in that genre. Perfectly acceptable airplane book.
Dec 25, 2008 marked it as to-read
this looks, wow, i can't wait to read it!
L.D. Jacobson
Aug 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
I thought this was a really creepy, very well-done thriller with two kick-ass protagonists. Great job! I really enjoyed it.
Mary Lawrence
Oct 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
A well written horror title. A young girl with the "psi" gene wreaks havoc with her destructive psychic ability. Scientists want to study and learn to control this force and have kept Sarah Voorsanger in a Boston facility where she is sedated and kept in seclusion, often restrained in a straight jacket.
Enter Jess Chambers, a promising grad student in psychology who feels a special empathy for the girl. What follows is a well told story about trust and the struggle for autonomy, the chance to li
Jan 28, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: other
I really didn't enjoy this book and it was a bit of a struggle to finish it. It reminded me some what of Carrie in the sense of this lonely girl with unexplained powers just trying to fit in and be 'normal'. I think it was just too drawn out maybe. The book could of been shortened to leave out some of what I thought was not that necessary.

Wouldn't really recommend.
Elusive Controversé
Feb 08, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: review
In ‘The Reach’, top psychology student Jess Chambers is given a highly interesting and unusual task by Professor Shelley. Therefore, in order to study and understand Sarah – a ten-year-old patient who has been locked away in a psychiatric ward for disturbed children, she visits her whenever possible. Soon though, Jess realizes that Sarah isn’t exactly normal but does she truly possess some sort of supernatural gift or is she merely disturbed?

The initial question of what was the cause of Sarah’s
Aug 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror, print-books
It took me a long time to read The Reach, but not because the writing is bad, or scary for that matter. In fact, I wouldn't call this horror, more like a paranormal thriller. Even when the book reaches the explosive conclusion, it's not graphic enough to inspire any feelings of horror or fear. It is a solid ending, and the writing is good. It's just not what I was expecting when I first opened the book.

So to simplify the premise, it's basically Firestarter. All the same elements are here; a shad
Nate Kenyon is an author I was alerted to by the recommendations function here on goodreads. His novel Sparrow Rock immediately caught my eye, but after failing to track it down anywhere in ebook format, I settled for giving The Reach a try when it went on sale recently.

As multiple reviewers have noted, the story shares a great deal in common with Stephen King's Firestarter, as both involve a child with psychic abilities who is too powerful for anyone to truly control. In this case, the child ha
T.L. Barrett
May 05, 2011 rated it it was ok
Nate Kenyon is a relatively new horror writer. This is my first book of his I have read (his second novel). There is much to be admired about this writer's style, and there was nothing about the writing that seemed overwritten or awkward, but the plot, the characters and the suspense all seemed pretty tired.

Ten years after the strange birth of a girl and the subsequent burning of the hospital, Jess Chambers, a psychology grad student, is asked to visit with the ten year old Sarah, who is being k
Apr 05, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: misc-horror
I really enjoyed Nate Kenyon's "Sparrow Rock," and I wanted to enjoy this book too, but found it rather bland and just could not get into it.
Our intrepid young heroine is a med student studying child psychology (she is doing this because her younger brother was autistic and was not properly cared for, which led to his untimely death; after all, when studying medicine, one simply must have a dead relative to find a cure for). She is recruited by a professor to work at a mental institution where a
Katie Kenig
Feb 16, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, suspense
The blurb on the cover compared this book to vintage Stephen King, and I agree. It is extremely reminscent of Firestarter, one of my favourites from when I was a teenager. In fact, it's pretty much what Firestarter would have been, were it set in today's high-tech, genome discovering, mercenery world.

There's a young girl. She's special. And a college student has been assigned to find out why. Is she schizophrenic? Is she psychic? Jess strives to figure it out, despite constant roadblocks thrown
Dierdra Byrd
Jan 19, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
This is about a 10 year old girl named Sarah that is Psychokinesis. Jess is a student and her professor comes to her wanting her to study and befriend Sarah. The premises is very interesting but the book fell very, very flat. I did manage to get through it why the two stars but it was hard to get all the way through. There were times I felt as if I was in a college class with all the psychological and technical terminology thrown in and repeated over, and over again. It got really boring, really ...more
Oct 02, 2009 marked it as didnt-finish
Shelves: 2012
On page 196 out of 276: Just having the hardest time with this book! I'm not connecting with it at all, and find it boring, for the most part. I thought this was going to be one that I really liked. Not sure if I'm just not in the right mood for it, if I'm too distracted, or if I really just don't like the book itself. Determined to finish it, though.

update: I set the book down over a month ago, at page 210, and never felt compelled to pick it up again. Shelving it as "didn't finish".
Nov 18, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of Crichton, Cook, and King
The Reach is an enjoyable psychic thriller that is equal parts Robin Cook and Stephen King. More a science fiction thriller than a horror novel, it still has plenty of suspense and tingles. Nate Kenyon clearly did his research into psychological, medical and paranormal sciences and fitted it well into the plot. Overall, I did not find the characters that well developed and the twist at the end involving Jess was obvious from the first 30 pages. Yet I did enjoy it and recommend it to anyone who l ...more
Dec 23, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery-thriller
This was a fast and fun read. The premise of a young girl, Sarah, and her mystical powers - combined with downright eerie cover art - provided quite the hook. And while the story was not perhaps the most original, Kenyon offered some interesting sub-plots that helped to spice up the story and keep it fresh. Unfortunately, the novel ended with some rather large questions left unaddressed. So, while I did enjoy reading this book - it was more of an entertaining way to pass the evening than anythin ...more
May 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very nice read...

I was hesitant when I first saw this book, but the blurb was interesting enough to try. I'm glad I did.
There was alot of technical info in this book that I'm not even gonna try to understand. The author impressed me with the knowledge of this subject and how he managed to weave it into a very good storyline.
The characters were relatable, their feelings and despair readily shown.
All in all, a 5* read if there ever was one...I will read other titles from this author ...
Apr 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Nate Kenyon is a believer of the slow burn. The Reach starts slow and almost lost me during the first 100 pages, but after that the twists and turns just keep coming and I had to know what would happen to our young
Firestarter (Heh heh).

Comparisons to Stephen King pop up every where now, and with a book about a young woman with PSI powers, the comparisons are even more likely. On its own merit though this is a fun book that shouldn't disappoint fans of the genre.
Jun 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was a really quick read. Creepy, believable, just enough science to explain why things are happening. I may be slow, but I did not figure out how bad the bad guy was until the end, just when I was supposed to, I like that though. I try not to over think these things so I can be surprised, plus I read this in 2 evenings, so there is not a lot of time to dwell on the finer points.

I liked it.
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Nate Kenyon's latest novel is the techno-thriller Day One (Thomas Dunne/St. Martins Press). Booklist gave it a starred review, calling it "exciting and inventive." Library Journal called it a "must" and Kenyon's "scariest to date."

Kenyon grew up in a small town in Maine. His first novel, Bloodstone, received raves from places as varied as Library Journal, Fangoria, Publishers Weekly,, Ce
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