Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Return” as Want to Read:
The Return
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Return

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  280 ratings  ·  176 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
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Return, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.69  · 
Rating details
 ·  280 ratings  ·  176 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Return
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
Jeffrey Keeten
Jan 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
”You can’t erase your past when there are pieces of it scattered inside other people.”

Jules goes missing and stays missing for two years, but then she reappears one day with no memory of what has happened to her over the past few years. Her best friends are unsure as to how to handle this stroke of good fortune. They had a funeral for her. They mourned her. They accepted that she was going to be a missing piece for the rest of their lives.

They can’t decide if they are more happy about her
Dec 18, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: arcs, 2020
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
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

3.5 Stars

I read this book in December. And then I lost it in my car. Which is a Fiat . . . . . .

Why do I tell you guys stuff like this? My husband should have zero problems having me committed with all of these embarrassing confessions out there in writing. Actually he won’t even have to worry about it after that fucking Google ad during the Super Bowl . . . .

*drinks gallon of antifreeze due to inability to stop crying ever*

Amy Imogene Reads
4.5 stars

I was NOT expecting this slim novel to be so awesome, so horror-based, and so suspenseful. Loved it. It would have been an automatic 5 stars, but some things didn't jive for me.


The Return comes out on March 24, 2020!

Elise is told her best friend, Julie, went missing on a solo hiking trip. Two years go by, and Elise refuses to believe or accept that Julie's dead. She's sure Julie will turn up again, good as new.

Two years to the day that Julie disappears, she
An 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!!!
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!
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!
Ellen Gail
Jan 29, 2020 rated it liked it
What is it with me and accidentally picking tooth-horror? First Harrow Lake, now this. That is literally my only requirement for the next thing I read - no rivers of teeth or bloody teeth falling out. I don't want any more teeth!

Somehow I went into The Return not knowing a key thing about it - this is a horror novel. I mean, it's shelved here on Goodreads as horror. Edelweiss has it listed as horror fiction. I don't know how I missed it. However, as a self described horror junkie, it was a fun
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: arc, horror
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
Isabel • The Crime Bookshelf
Feb 09, 2020 rated it really liked it

Thank you so much to Berkley for the gifted ARC of THE RETURN Can someone please tell me WHAT I just read?! I don’t read horror novels very often, but this book freaked me out so much that I definitely need to change that!

The main reason why I enjoyed this book as much as I did is because it was so incredibly entertaining and binge-worthy. While this book is definitely dark, it was also super fun and I loved the group’s dynamics throughout the story. I also LOVED how intense and
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.
THE RETURN is the first novel I have read by Rachel Harrison. To say that I was impressed is an understatement--this novel grabbed me from the start, and I didn't want to put it down until I had ALL the answers. Of course, that meant I was completely invested until the very end.

". . . being in this city of millions of people was worse than being alone in my apartment . . ."

We have a close group of friends--Elise, Julie, Mae, and Molly--each now in their respective careers/locations, but still
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Darling Rose Gold
  • Dead to Her
  • Eight Perfect Murders
  • The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires
  • You Are Not Alone
  • The Only Good Indians
  • Little Secrets
  • The Familiar Dark
  • No Bad Deed
  • The Other Mrs.
  • He Started It
  • In Five Years
  • The Better Liar
  • The Sun Down Motel
  • The Deep
  • Please See Us
  • The New Husband
  • My Dark Vanessa
See similar books…
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
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »