Saturday 16 October 2021

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Review: The Girls are Never Gone by Sarah Glenn Marsh

The Girls are Never Gone by Sarah Glenn Marsh

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The Girls are Never Gone by Sarah Glenn Marsh

Published: 7th September 2021 | Publisher: Razorbill | Source: Bought
Sarah Glenn Marsh’s Website

Dare Chase doesn’t believe in ghosts.

Privately, she’s a supernatural skeptic. But publicly, she’s keeping her doubts to herself—because she’s the voice of Attachments, her brand-new paranormal investigation podcast, and she needs her ghost-loving listeners to tune in.

That’s what brings her to Arrington Estate. Thirty years ago, teenager Atheleen Bell drowned in Arrington’s lake, and legend says her spirit haunts the estate. Dare’s more interested in the suspicious circumstances surrounding her death—circumstances that she believes point to a living culprit, not the supernatural. Still, she’s vowed to keep an open mind as she investigates, even if she’s pretty sure what she’ll find.

But Arrington is full of surprises. Good ones like Quinn, the cute daughter of the house’s new owner. And baffling ones like the threatening messages left scrawled in paint on Quinn’s walls, the ghastly face that appears behind Dare’s own in the mirror, and the unnatural current that nearly drowns their friend Holly in the lake. As Dare is drawn deeper into the mysteries of Arrington, she’ll have to rethink the boundaries of what is possible. Because if something is lurking in the lake... it might not be willing to let her go.
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I had been anticipating The Girls are Never Gone by Sarah Glenn Marsh since I first heard about it. It sounded terrifying, and right up my street! I mean, look at that cover! However, it was a major disappointment.

Dare has just split up from her boyfriend, who she ran Strange Virginia with, a YouTube ghost hunting channel. She's now decided to go it alone with a podcast, Attachments, after receiving a comment about strange happenings on Arrington Estate, and the suspicious death of Atheleen Bell, who used to live there. She manages to get herself an internship with a company renovating the house to turn it into a museum. She's determined to figure out what happened to Atheleen, and to debunk the hauntings. While she can't deny things are happening, she knows there's a reasonable explanation for them all. But as the strange things build up and get more dangerous, she'll have to face that maybe there is something more going on.

The Girls are Never Gone has everything you would want from a horror story. A haunted house full of weirdness. Writing painted on the walls. A girl appearing alongside Dare in the mirror. A creepy doll. Bells from the old call box ringing when their wires have been cut. Footsteps heard and doors opening, but no-one appearing. And so on. It has absolutely everything! Except atmosphere. There was never any real build up of tension and a creepy atmosphere. I think part of this might be down to Dare herself. While she's been ghost hunting for years, she doesn't actually believe in the paranormal. She knows there are reasonable explanations for things, because she's seen them before. So while she'll feel scared initially, she would immediately come up with several possibilities to explain what is happening. And it's not in the way you expect, she's not trying to convince herself that nothing scary is actually happening, that the house isn't haunted, to try and calm herself down. She's already convinced. I found it quite amusing at first, but when she absolutely refuses to believe anything supernatural is going on, even when it's staring her right in the face, and she's narrating in first person, it's hard to get worked up about it all yourself.

Then there's the characters themselves. They just didn't work for me. They never once felt natural. The way they reacted to absolutely anything - not just the haunting - was so over dramatic. They just felt really clunky the entire time. The romance wasn't believable for me because it seemed based on nothing. Dare's reactions to being around Quinn were just too much - which I know sounds like a weird thing to say, because when you're really into someone blushing and overthinking things is kind of expected, but again, it didn't feel natural. I didn't believe the friendships, either. I found them all so frustrating and unrealistic.

I did love the diversity in the book, though. Dare is bisexual, and has Type 1 Diabetes. I've never read a book where someone has Type 1 Diabetes before. It was fascinating to see how Dare lived with it, the everyday aspects of her life - having an insulin pump, checking her levels, having a service dog, having to inject herself when her pump dies. But it wasn't a story about being a diabetic; Dare is a ghost hunter, she's a junior, she's diabetic. It's part of her life, but it's not who she is. And Quinn is a lesbian, and biracial; half white, and half Puerto Rican.

But overall, I wasn't a fan of The Girls are Never Gone. That being said, many others have really enjoyed it, so do check out some other reviews before deciding whether or not to read it.

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1 comment:

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