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What It Seems

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  1,802 ratings  ·  323 reviews
A page-turning novel of suspense about the perfect family, and the perfect lies, by the bestselling author of When I’m Gone and The Waiting Room.

Adopted by her controlling foster mother at the age of eight, twenty-year-old Tara has seen little of the outside world. Lonely, punished for the slightest offense, her only distraction comes from watching the Feely family’s onlin
Paperback, 284 pages
Published March 17th 2020 by Lake Union Publishing
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Velvet Yes, there are several triggers including repeated scenes of child abuse/torture/starvation and one incident of animal abuse. There is really no sexua…moreYes, there are several triggers including repeated scenes of child abuse/torture/starvation and one incident of animal abuse. There is really no sexual content other than a small incident of harassment. There isn't any real swearing either except one character says "f-ing" and it's spelled like that in the book.(less)

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Average rating 3.93  · 
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Twenty year old Tara was adopted by her controlling foster mum at the age of eight. She led a very solitary and isolated life, but she did what she could to get through each day. This was no life for a child, but escaping never seemed possible or was it?

I really had high hopes for this book, but unfortunately I felt there was something lacking and I just couldn’t connect with the story or the characters. Although this book wasn’t for me don’t let my opinion stop you from reading it as there are
I need to give this a 3.75* rounded down to a 3*.

The first bit was gripping. It had me wondering about the circumstances of this story. Plus the emotional impact everything was having on this girl. The girl who sits chatting to her dolls each night, the child who has to creep her use of the computer and her obsession with a live family she watches online that she envies.

Her “mother” isn’t her biological mother. She’s cruel, controlling and bullying.

The mother of her “pretend” she is pregnant.
Feb 13, 2020 rated it liked it
The description of the book sounded really interesting and I was excited to read this book. main character Tara was kidnapped at 8 years old and lives with her 'Mother'. Her life isn't great. She is a prisoner in her own home and her 'Mother' makes her stole things. Her only enjoyment is watching Youtube family that aren't really what they seem to be. When they post a video about seeking to hire an intern, Tara thinks it's perfect opportunity for her.
I found the idea of book really great but the
Feb 29, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, netgalley
Thanks to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for an egalley in exchange for an honest review.

In her latest thriller novel, Emily Bleeker gives us 20-year-old Tara, a young woman held captive by her foster mother and treated very cruelly. Tara is forced to masquerade as a pregnant woman in order to steal from stores, but late at night talks to her dolls and watches YouTube videos. One channel, in particular, that of the Feely family, has Tara dreaming of what it would be like to live in the "p
May 10, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
What It Seems is the first book I have read by Emily Bleeker and although I liked it, I didn't love it. I guess my expectations after reading the blurb of the book were pretty high and the book didn't turn out to be how it sounded in the blurb.

The strongest point about the book was 20 year old Tara and her story about the dismal life and the psychological and emotional damage she suffers constantly at the hands of her foster 'Mother' with whom Tara is living since she was 8 years old. By sufferi

So, I did that thing that reviewers aren’t supposed to admit (but we totally do). I spent the last 50% of this book hate-reading it.

I’m actually admitting that with NO SHAME WHATSOEVER because this is…kind of a train wreck.

I never believed in a single one of our characters. Our 20 year old (12 year old) main character who apparently literally stinks and who is smart enough to figure out how to fake an ultrasound photo but who can barely put a pair of pants on. Our male lead who is both unobserva
I haven't read a whole lot by Emily Bleeker yet, in fact the only other book I have read is Working Fire, so I wasn't quite sure what to expect with What It Seems. What I got was a real page-turner that I had a hard time putting down!

What It Seems had a couple of surprises, but overall I could definitely see the direction it was going. It is not a thriller, but more suspenseful and I spent a lot of the book wondering where things would end up. I didn't feel like there was too much mystery, but t
Erin Clemence
Special thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a free, electronic ARC of this novel received in exchange for an honest review.

Expected publication date: March 17, 2020

Tara was adopted by her foster mother when she was eight years old. Since then, she has barely left her house, spending most of her days locked in closets and catering to her foster mother’s nasty moods and attitude. Now twenty, Tara sees an escape through the form of The Feely’s, her favourite YouTube family, when they pos
Andrea Pole
Jan 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
What It Seems by Emily Bleeker is a tense and taut thriller that kept me fully engaged and turning the pages with a growing sense of unease. This is the first novel that I have read from this author, but I am certainly looking for more to add to my always growing TBR list.

Tara was adopted by her foster mother when she was eight years old. Never having a clear understanding of why her birth family abandoned her, Tara is a damaged young woman who has found herself the victim of emotional and psych
Kate Vocke (bookapotamus)
Mar 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, arc
OK, I’m gonna be pushy right now.⁣😆

If you have never read an Emily Bleeker book, please, please, please, go immediately and get one. Preferably this one, because it’s it’s book birthday today, but also - just get them all. Because every single one is SO FLIPPING GOOD.⁣

Emily Bleeker is one of my most favorite authors. I anticipate every new release and devour them like a ravenous lion feverishly attacking it’s prey. OK, that was weird, but no joke - I have never read one of her books that I did
3.5 stars rounded up.
TW: child abuse/torture, one brief scene of animal abuse, one brief scene of attempted sexual harassment

This is the story of Tara, a 12-year-old in a 20-year-old's body. For eight years she has been the victim of an abusive, sadistic, controlling adopted mother who has forced her to shoplift to help put food on the table. Tara hasn't attended school since she was hit by a car at the age of 8 and then adopted by "Mother." She doesn't watch television, play games or leave her
Mar 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
What It Seems was an unsettling and slightly creepy read that managed to take me out of my own head for a few hours. Tara is an awkward young woman who was adopted by her foster mom when she was eight and she lives a very isolated life. She watches YouTube families for a slice or normality and when she gets the chance to intern for her favorite family she decided to run away from her foster mom. That’s all I’ll share about the plot, but this was an entertaining tale of suspense for sure!
Deborah Blanchard
This book is a real page turner! Tara was a foster child at age eight, she is now twenty. Mother is beyond cruel to her but Tara escapes at night by watching a You Tube family, the Feelys. All is not as it seems in this book and you will be especially surprised at the ending. I was like, OMG, with my mouth hanging open! There is so much more to this story but I don't want to leave spoilers. Tara is an intensely written character and she will make you feel many emotions. Sadness emanates from her ...more
Thanks to #NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for a copy of this book - the opinion expressed is entirely my own.

I found this book to be a solid read (a 3.5 stars). Tara (Angela) is a 20 year old young woman who is totally dominated by a creepy and truly awful 'foster' mom. She has been abused physically and mentally since she was 12, so if that's a trigger for you, you might want to avoid this book. At 20 circumstances occur that allow her to try to escape. That escape is successful, but as sh
I love Emily Bleeker's books and was excited to read her latest one. What It Seems is a page turner that hooked me from the first page! ...more
Dec 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
What It Seems is about a foster child, now 20 living with her foster mother. She was 8 went Tara went to live with her controlling foster mom. Lonely Tara locked in her room all day finds happiness in a Vlog on YouTube about a real family. Something Tara never had. Fortune happens when the family need an intern for their show. Will Tara be able to escape her foster mother?
Nov 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Experimental Excellence. With this book, Bleeker does something she's never done before - writes a tale in first person. And for this particular tale, that was likely the only way to make this story as good as it is. This story involves some pretty heavy abuse, but that actually drives the reader to want to find some resolution... and drove me to complete the 304 page book in less than 12 hrs, which is a rarity even for me. An excellent take on the not-what-it-seems side of a popular cultural ph ...more
Dec 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley

What It Seems is about a foster child, now 20 living with her foster mother. She was 8 went Tara went to live with her controlling foster mom. Lonely Tara locked in her room all day finds happiness in a Vlog on YouTube about a real family. Something Tara never had. Fortune happens when the family need an intern for their show. Will Tara be able to escape her foster mother?
Sherri Thacker
I was really hoping to like this book more than I did but I just could not finish it. I could not connect to any of the characters and I wasn't able to grasp anything this book was saying. I found myself skimming through pages and pages of what I tried to read and finally just gave up. Thank you to NetGalley for the advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. ...more
Mar 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, mystery
The beginning was fantastic! The middle was just ok for me, and then the ending was fantastic again! I love Angela, and how she handled everything. This book draws you in immediately right from page 1, so be prepared!
May 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Tara was adopted by her foster mother at the age of eight when her parents decided that they could no longer take care of three children. Now twenty-years-old, she hasn’t managed to see much of the world. Mother is extremely controlling. Tara is forced to work for Mother shoplifting and reselling the items they acquire. Tara yearns for something more. She wants a life and a family like those popular accounts on YouTube. What would happen if she ran away from Mother? Could she find her own happin ...more
Guylou (Two Dogs and a Book)
What It Seems

📚 𝗛𝗲𝗹𝗹𝗼 𝗯𝗼𝗼𝗸 𝗳𝗿𝗶𝗲𝗻𝗱𝘀! I just finished reading 𝗪𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗜𝘁 𝗦𝗲𝗲𝗺𝘀 by Emily Bleeker. Although the writing was good and the plot quite thrilling, the story was predictable. From the beginning, I guessed how the book would end and I was not wrong. This tampered the excitement about reading the book. It is still a great story and a good read with an awesome ending.

🙋🏼‍♀️ Thank you, 𝗕𝗼𝗼𝗸𝘀𝗳𝗼𝗿𝘄𝗮𝗿𝗱 for sending me an ARC of this thrilling novel. 𝗪𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗜𝘁 𝗦𝗲𝗲𝗺𝘀 by Emily Bleeker is available at your favourite book
Mar 15, 2020 rated it it was ok
i was never some hulking giant with bulging muscles that pounded my way out of a bad situation. i was a frail, broken child who survived long enough to escape.

i am very confused. this is not an easy book to review. i was so intrigued by the blurb and, in some ways, it exceeded my expectations. in others, however, it fell really short.

our main character's story is tragic. it is horrifying, and it is portrayed within that tone, which is very appropriate. however, it was fairly obvious from the
Carrie Carter
Tara was adopted by her controlling mother when she was a little girl and sees very little of the outside world. One of her only joys is watching videos of families on YouTube, especially the Feely’s. The Feely’s are the perfect family and when they post a video seeking an intern, Tara jumps at this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The only problem, how is Tara supposed to get away from Mother?

Although relatively entertaining, it didn’t feel as suspenseful as I was expecting and the plot was pret
May 12, 2020 marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
This book reads like a by-the-numbers Kindle Unlimited novel. That, plus the fact that it dragged on and on and on, was enough to make me stop reading at the 25% point. I don't have time to waste on inferior novels when there are so many books and so little time. ...more
Kathleen Kelly
May 10, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"I run my hand over my ever-swelling belly. The ill-fitting maternity dress is almost too small on me at this point. And it's purple. I feel more like a love-starved singing dinosaur than a grown woman."

As this is the first look that starts the beginning of the book, sounds pretty normal, a young woman pregnant but is it really? No, she is only pretending to be pregnant so her and Mother can go and steal stuff and sell it online. Twenty-year-old Tara had been adopted 8 years prior by a woman who
Natasha | readwithnatasha
This was an interesting read! I was expecting more of a thriller type book, but this is more mystery/suspense.

The story is told from Tara's point of view. She was adopted by her foster mom at 8 years old. Since then, she rarely leaves the house and has been the victim of her mother's mood swings. Now at twenty, Tara may have a chance to get away - the Feely's, her favorite YouTube family, is looking for an intern. Does Tara have what it takes to get away?

I immediately fell in love with Tara. Sh
Apr 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow! I'll be honest, I started reading this book and thought, I don't know if I'm I'm emotionally up to this right now.

It's the story of a 20 year old girl who has basically been held captive by her physically and emotionally abusive "Mother" for over 12 years. Definitely tough subject matter, right? But it's so well written that I just couldn't stop reading! I wanted to know where Angela actually came from. And how she was going to get away from all the lies that she had to tell as she attempt
Shannon (The Book Club Mom)
Mar 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
I’ve been a fan of Bleeker’s writing for years and I’ve read (and loved) all of her novels. My very first was When I’m Gone and it still remains my favorite. I appreciate how effortlessly Bleeker can go back and forth with contemporary fiction and mystery/thrillers. She excels at writing both genres. I’m not sure if I’d classify her latest as a thriller, but it was definitely unsettling and suspenseful. What It Seems had me frantically flipping pages and rooting for the distressed main character ...more
Linda Zagon
Mar 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Emily Bleeker, author of "What It Seems" has written an intense, riveting, captivating, edgy suspenseful novel. The Genres for this story are Psychological Thriller, Thriller, Mystery, Suspense, and Fiction. The timeline for this story is set in the present and goes back to the past when it pertains to the characters or events in the story.  The author describes her colorful and dramatic characters as complex, complicated, emotionally unstable, selfish, quirky and strange. There are betrayals, s ...more
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Emily lives in suburban Chicago with her family. Between writing and being a mom, she attempts to learn guitar, sings along to the radio (loudly), and embraces her newfound addiction to running.

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