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The Return

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  237 ratings  ·  136 reviews
An edgy and haunting debut novel about a group of friends who reunite after one of them has returned from a mysterious two-year disappearance.

Julie is missing, and the missing don't often return. But Elise knows Julie better than anyone, and she feels in her bones that her best friend is out there, and that one day she'll come back. She's right. Two years to the day that
Hardcover, 304 pages
Expected publication: March 24th 2020 by Berkley (first published March 19th 2020)
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  • The Return by Rachel   Harrison
    The Return
    Release date: Mar 24, 2020
    A group of friends reunite after one of them has returned from a mysterious two-year disappearance in this edgy and haunting debut.


    Format: Print book

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    Availability: 15 copies available, 4587 people requesting

    Giveaway dates: Jan 15 - Feb 02, 2020

    Countries available: U.S.

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    Community Reviews

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    Average rating 3.71  · 
    Rating details
     ·  237 ratings  ·  136 reviews

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    Miranda Reads
    Nov 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Recommended to Miranda by: Tucker
    I have read my way through 315 books to bring you my Top 10 Books of the Year (video) .

    Now you know that this one made the cut, check out my video review to see the others!

    (Ps. This one is technically going to be published next year but it was so good, I let it slide)

    It was dread. It moved under my skin like a sickness.
    Julie, Elise, Molly and Mae - best friends since college - did everything together. But, then they graduated, and spread across the country.

    And they began
    Nilufer Ozmekik
    Nov 11, 2019 rated it it was ok

    PATIENT NAME: Nilufer (we couldn’t get proper last name, she confused us with a waiter because she determinedly pointed the empty glass she held in her hand and shouted us to pour more Chardonnay)

    SYMPTOMS: Cursing, punching on the walls, yelling, screaming “give my money back” and then she calms down and adds: “Oh thank God! This is ARC COPY! I didn’t pay for it” and she makes some undefinable, horrifying moves between caged
    Chelsea Humphrey
    Aug 22, 2019 marked it as to-read
    Recommended to Chelsea by: Berkley Publishing Group
    Shelves: from-publisher
    Me: I'm done reading plots featuring females with amnesia.

    "An edgy and haunting debut novel about a group of friends who reunite after one of them has returned from a mysterious two-year disappearance... Two years to the day that Julie went missing, she reappears with no memory of where she's been or what happened to her."

    Also me: Where do I sign the dotted line to read this one?

    *Many thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy.
    Oct 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Recommended to Tucker by: Berkley Publishing Group

    Many thanks to Elisha at Berkly Publishing Group for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review
    ”’Don’t let the clock scare you,’ she says. ‘It’s only time.’”

    If The Shining and Mean Girls had a baby, that baby would be The Return. Holy sh*t. You guys this book was truly one of the creepiest books I have read since Little Darlings . Nearly a week after reading this, I am still reeling. This book will forever leave a mark on my soul.

    Elise - I know that there have been complaints
    Oct 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
    Shelves: edelweiss-arc-s
    This was, uh, interesting?

    Julie, Elise, Mae, and Molly have been lifelong best friends. Then one day they are told that Julie has gone missing while out on a hike in the Maine mountains. Mae and Molly succumb to their grief but Elise is sure that Julie isn't dead. She knows that Julie likes the attention too much so she holds out hope for her return.

    Two years later and Julie does return with no memory of what happened over the last two years.

    The four women decide that a weekend away will be
    Dec 18, 2019 rated it it was ok
    Shelves: 2020, arcs
    My reviews can also be seen at: https://deesradreadsandreviews.wordpr...

    I’m always intrigued by books that deal with missing people. This novel really caught my attention with its great cover and interesting description.

    When Elise first hears that her best friend, Julie is missing, she doesn’t believe it. Elise, Julie, Mae, and Molly are all very close friends though Elise has always felt closer to Julie.

    Days, weeks, then months pass…

    Everyone else assumes Julie is dead, but Elise REFUSES to
    Katie B
    Jan 07, 2020 rated it liked it
    Well, that took me on an unexpected journey. There's definitely some problems along the way, and I find myself agreeing with almost all of the criticisms I have read in other reviews. But when I finished the book, my overall feeling was I kinda liked it even if I'm not able to articulate exactly why.

    Elise, Julie, Molly, and Mae have been friends since college. Julie has gone missing and well, we all know how those cases usually turn out. But Elise can't help but feel her friend is out there
    Cortney LaScola - The Bookworm Myrtle Beach
    I devoured (haha) this book in one day... Creepy, weird, and disturbing without being terrifying? That's totally my type of book! Very impressed with the fact this is a debut novel. Can't wait to see what else the author comes up with!
    Edgy and haunting debut?

    Yes, please!
    Thank you so much for my ARC, Berkley Books.

    As always, it is appreciated.
    I so look forward to this one!!!
    Rachel Harrison's debut mystery novel, The Return is a light, yet edgy, mystery-drama that encompasses friendship dynamics and the supernatural. Main character, Elise, is in conflict with her friends over the disappearance of their friend Julie. Julie mysteriously vanishes and everyone believes she has died or ran away—but not Elise. After two years, Julie resurfaces, but something is different. The group decides to go away for a friends' trip in the Catskills, but the dynamic is off. Julie is ...more
    Jul 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    I read this in 24 hours - it would’ve been more like 10 hours if I hadn’t had to do obnoxious things like “sleep” and “go to work.” This is the breathtaking next step in commercial thrillers: tipping straight over into horror. The author nails the experience of the irrational fears you make up as an anxious woman in the grip of a quarter-life crisis, and flips them over into literal fears. This is also a book about the discomforts of female friendships. I loved it.

    Read my full review and cover
    Oct 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
    So, I got a kick out of this one. I’m saying this, knowing that some folks may not. A lot of time is spent getting to know our characters – there’s a lot of patter that I actually liked, but some folks might not.

    The story is weird and eerie and it goes places you definitely don’t expect.

    No spoilers here. I’ll just say that the description of the book is bare bones compared to the actuality of the plot.

    While it take a bit to get to the meat of the story, I found the journey worthwhile. I was
    Sep 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
    Honest review... if you like horror go for it! The kind of book everyone should read in October I guess. Spooky and scary!
    Liz Barnsley
    Nov 24, 2019 rated it it was ok
    The Return started out really well- a friend disappears then reappears with no memory of what happened to her- but she's definitely not the same person she used to be....

    The author develops the friendship dynamic between all the women really well, giving you a sense of them especially Elise. Julie's return and the aftermath begins as a beautifully creepy, tense horror so much so that I didn't want to read it in the dark. The hotel they reunite in is dastardly and haunting- so far so good.

    Then it
    Nov 03, 2019 rated it did not like it
    This review won’t be a long one. Mainly because I just didn’t enjoy this book and I don’t want to be a negative Nancy. The Return wasn’t edgy and it wasn’t haunting. Sorry to ya, blurb. I really hate breaking it to you. Not only that, but the majority of the book is just three girls talking behind one girls back. That’s it. That’s not even a spoiler, it’s just hard facts.

    The other part of the book is just the author telling us things. This is definitely a book of telling. It tells you literally
    Stacey Kade
    Oct 10, 2019 added it
    Shelves: read-2019
    This book is wild. It’s not at all what I thought it would be, and I loved that. Couldn’t put it down. If you’re expecting another woman-with-amnesia thriller...well, all I’m going to say is it’s NOT that. I suspect some people may struggle with that. But one of my favorite things in a book—whether I’m reading it or writing it—is a familiar trope turned on its head. And that’s what this was, to my absolute delight. I absolutely want to say more, but I went into this completely unspoiled and I’m ...more
    Jessica Woodbury
    Oct 10, 2019 rated it liked it
    Shelves: horror, arc
    2.5 stars rounded up.
    This book has a great concept, which is half the battle in Horror. If your concept isn't good, the dread and suspense just kind of flop over because there's no real heft to it. But the other half the battle is being a good book. Having interesting characters, stylish prose, and something to say. THE RETURN does some of these things but it does not do them all, so ultimately it was a disappointment for me.

    The two biggest issues I had were the prose itself and the
    Robin Bonne
    Dec 03, 2019 rated it liked it
    Shelves: netgalley
    A group of four friends seems to have a tragedy— one of them goes missing for two years then suddenly returns with amnesia. They decide to go on a trip to the Catskills together and talk, talk, talk, talk. There is so much dialogue in this book that goes nowhere. I usually love dialogue heavy books, but these ladies just went on and on and it didn’t do much to push the plot along. They all sounded like the same character. The resort they stayed at had more personality than all four women ...more
    Wendy Walker
    Oct 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    I rarely delve into the supernatural/horror world, but this was a really fast-paced, page-turner that is I really enjoyed. Witty dialogue and edgy characters put a fresh new face on this genre,
    Nov 14, 2019 rated it liked it
    Julie, Elise, Mae and Molly have always been best friends. Even as life took them in different directions in adulthood, the four of them remained thick as thieves. Then unexpectedly, Julie one day goes missing while out for a hike. Julie is presumed dead, her fiancé has a memorial service in her honor. But Elise never gave up hope that Julie was still alive.

    2-years after her disappearance, Julie shows back up on her doorstep, with no memory of the past 2-years. Mae gets the idea that the 4 of
    Brianna Carosi
    Sep 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    I got this early as part of a panel at nycc

    I have to say I was really invested in the characters and the plot. I felt like Elise was super relateable and that all her friends could have been people I knew and would have been friends with. So A+ on the believe character front.

    As for the plot I was totally into it. It's got this atmospheric horror vibe that I dig, it the things you think about, the invasive thoughts that scare you the most. I don't want to give it away but I really liked the
    Alma Katsu
    Oct 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    A woman returns after a two-year absence, the same and yet different in ways that cannot be explained. Her three closest friends are determined to find out why, and—ensconced in a weird boutique hotel that only contributes to the escalating strangeness—they discover the unimaginable truth. Combining suspense and horror with razor-sharp insights into the nature of female friendships, Rachel Harrison’s THE RETURN is a creepy, nerve-wracking, page-turning addition to the emerging field of horror ...more
    Oct 28, 2019 rated it liked it
    I won this book in a goodreads drawing.

    A woman disappears for two years, then reappears. Her friends, straight out of central casting for a Sex in the City rip off take her on a girls' vacation. The girl has changed in the two years she's been gone. She's transforming into something else. Or is it all in the head of the protagonist.

    Pretty effective.
    Jan 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
    Thank you to Berkley Publishing Group and NetGalley for this advanced reader copy.

    Even though this is categorized as horror, the premise seemed like a classic thriller to me. Which was silly, because it's definitely horror. Definitely. Which I LOVED.

    This isn't a perfect book but it's a damn good one. I was hooked from the get-go and couldn't stop turning pages. It was eerie, unsettling, and mysterious. I loved how realistic the relationships between the four women were and the way each of their
    It's terrifying as hell, and that was exactly what I wanted from it.
    Aug 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    You won't need a bookmark for this book because you won't be able to set it down! It has relatable characters, a great setting, suspense and terror and yes, humor! The pacing was perfect throughout, culminating in a breathtaking conclusion. Harrison reels us in like an old pro, though this is her debut novel, and I can't wait to see more from her!
    Jan 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
    Shelves: horror, read-2020
    'the return' is a haunting & dread filled debut that really kept me in suspense. This book follows a group of best friends after one of them disappears. She returns 2 years later with no recollection of where she was or what happened to her. They plan a girl's weekend at a hip boutique hotel and everything gets more strange from there. The atmosphere at the hotel was excellent - the sense of dread and unease seeped through the pages and I found myself spooked reading alone at night. I really ...more
    Nov 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
    First sentence:

    What do you mean she's missing?

    So, I really wanted to love this book. Everything about it screamed READ.ME.NOW.! And … I did but I didn’t love it as much as I thought I would. If you read the summary, you’ll see that Julie (Jules) goes missing for 2 years and then suddenly returns with no recollection of where she’s been. She reunites with her three BFF’s on a long weekend to a remote hotel.

    Let me start with the good! The story-line is well-paced and incredibly creepy; in fact, I
    This was... a strange read. And I'm still very confused about some... things.

    Molly, Mae, Elise and Julie are best friends. As with most friendship constellations, there are 'cliques' within the four-mation (fun curiosa: I was looking for a more suitable alternative to quadrilogy and found that there's a page dedicated to the naming of friendship groups of four. You're welcome.): Molly and Mae and Julie and Elise.

    When Julie disappears during a hike, Molly and Mae are convinced that she's dead,
    Truebluedah ♪
    Nov 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Shelves: 5-stars
    I stole my brothers arc of this
    It was amazing
    Y’all should read it

    Ok bye
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    Rachel Harrison was born and raised in the weird state of New Jersey. She received her bachelor’s in Writing for Film & Television from Emerson College. After graduating, she worked on TV game shows, in publishing, and for a big bank. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and their cat/overlord. This is her first novel.

    Librarian note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database
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