Cameron Chaney's Reviews > Suspicious Minds

Suspicious Minds by Gwenda Bond
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it was ok
bookshelves: 2019, adult, sci-fi, series

This book was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Video review to come.

Stranger Things is a little television show made by a little company called Netflix. The series aired in 2016 and became an instant hit, spawning an endless valley of merchandise. It is to the point now that you could theme your entire home with Stranger Things merch if you really wanted to. And now you can add some Stranger Things to your library with Stranger Things: Suspicious Minds, a prequel novel focusing on Terry, who you may remember is Eleven's mother from the Netflix show.

This book takes place in the late '60s to the early '70s and begins with Terry participating in a study at Hawkins National Laboratory. She and her fellow test subjects believe this study is simply for college credit and a little extra cash, but it seems there is more to these tests than what they initially expected. Hawkins Lab, as well as the mysterious Dr. Brenner, is full of secrets, secrets that Terry and her new friends must uncover before their lives are left in ruin.

Before I say anything else, let me state the obvious: Do not read this book unless you are already a fan of the show. I shouldn't even have to say this, but I read a review here on Goodreads from a woman saying that she had never watched the show and didn't get its appeal, so she picked this book up to see what the hubbub was all about. Don't be this stupid. If you haven't watched the show and are at all curious to check it out, then just go watch the show. If you read this prequel novel first, it will spoil the show for you, in more ways than one.

I, personally, am a huge fan of Stranger Things. It has absolutely everything I want from a show, and more. Aliens, monsters, kids on bikes, a small town, telekinetic powers, top-secret lab experiments, emotion, heart, characters you grow to love, and the 1980s, with all its commercialism and neon lights. I adore it. I believe it is one of the best shows on TV right now. So, I'm pretty darn excited for this new book series. Even though this first entry in the series didn't do it for me, I'm still pumped to read the others.

Unfortunately, yes, you did read that correctly. Stranger Things: Suspicious Minds was not the book I hoped it would be, and the reason is that it is simply... bland. The story doesn't go anywhere. As a fan of the show, I already knew where it was going, but I hoped it would at least answer some questions, fill in the blanks. And it did that, just not in an interesting way. It starts at point A and goes to point B. That's it.

One of the driving forces of Stranger Things is its big heart and the realistic way that the characters interact with one another. This book just doesn't have that. Also, Dr. Brenner is barely present. He was another reason why I wanted to read this book, to get in his head and find out more about him. He was an interesting character in the show, but he didn't have much time to shine. Sadly, this book doesn't give him that much time either.

Another weird issue I had with this novel is the LSD testing Hawkins lab was doing on their test subjects. Every week, Terry and her friends are pumped full of acid to uncover any hidden abilities they may have. Every week. But do any of the subjects encounter a single health complication due to the drug? Not one. I know this isn't the focus of the book, but it feels unrealistic to me.

Overall, I don't feel like this was a good starting place for the new Stranger Things book series. The next book, however, is written by a different author and focuses on Hopper and Eleven's time together between seasons one and two. I have a lot of questions about that time, so I'm hoping that book delivers! I'll request it and let you creeps know what I think. Until then, read this book if you must, but adjust your expectations accordingly.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
May 25, 2019 – Finished Reading
May 26, 2019 – Shelved
May 26, 2019 – Shelved as: 2019
May 26, 2019 – Shelved as: adult
May 26, 2019 – Shelved as: sci-fi
May 26, 2019 – Shelved as: series

Comments Showing 1-3 of 3 (3 new)

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Annika I rated this book 2 stars as well. ST is my life and I expected so much from this book but to be honest; it was terrible. I didn’t know there’s going to be a second book though :O


Cameron Chaney Yes! From what I can tell, it’ll be a whole series. There’s also a YA book about Max coming out in a couple weeks.


Annika Yes, I found out about the Max series as well. Too bad I’ve never been a fan of Max...


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