Thriller is my favorite genre of book, ever. I like it more than I like reading romance and I will never think something is too intense or too scary for me to read. I have read some of the weirdest, most disturbing novels and I love each one. 

It's very weird since, in real life, I am a cautionary tale. I am very careful, very scared, and always looking over my shoulder. I won't even go throw the garbage out at night and will park in front of a fire hydrant if there are no spots in front of my house. 

When this book, The Children on the Hill by Jennifer McMahon, came across my email with a link to a Netgalley ARC I was intrigued. It didn't sound like anything I have ever read before and when I see something unique I tend to be drawn to it.

I immediately accepted the arc and got to reading. Well, I ate this book up and was surprised at how much I liked it since it is a step outside my comfort zone. The Children on the Hill is a modern retelling of Frankenstein so it has an element of supernatural mixed with the classic mystery thriller I'm used to.

When you combine both you get a really interesting, thrilling, and twisted story.

Publisher's Summary

1978: At her renowned treatment center in picturesque Vermont, the brilliant psychiatrist, Dr. Helen Hildreth, is acclaimed for her compassionate work with the mentally ill. But when she’s home with her cherished grandchildren, Vi and Eric, she’s just Gran—teaching them how to take care of their pets, preparing them home-cooked meals, providing them with care and attention and love.

Then one day Gran brings home a child to stay with the family. Iris—silent, hollow-eyed, skittish, and feral—does not behave like a normal girl.

Still, Violet is thrilled to have a new playmate. She and Eric invite Iris to join their Monster Club, where they catalog all kinds of monsters and dream up ways to defeat them. Before long, Iris begins to come out of her shell. She and Vi and Eric do everything together: ride their bicycles, go to the drive-in, meet at their clubhouse in secret to hunting monsters. Because, as Vi explains, monsters are everywhere.

2019: Lizzy Shelley, the host of the popular podcast 
Monsters Among Us
, is traveling to Vermont, where a young girl has been abducted, and a monster sighting has the town in an uproar. She’s determined to hunt it down because Lizzy knows better than anyone that monsters are real—and one of them is her very own sister.

My Thoughts

As I've said before, this was a very interesting story. It was super creepy, out there and kept me on my toes. It wasn't a story that I was expecting to have a major twist but that is exactly what I got. It knocked me off my chair and left me with my jaw hanging open.

I enjoyed the back and forth of the past and present and liked seeing how Lizzy ended up where she did. However, reading about the past, Gran, Iris, and Violet were super creepy. I got bad vibes from the start and knew something was up with the way Gran found Iris. 

The entire story felt very vague and I did feel like I was waiting for the other shoe to drop. I didn't understand why Iris was the way she was and then when the reveal happened, I was awe-struck. Also, when Lizzy is trying to find the monster that is capturing these women, I had a really hard time figuring out if she meant an actual monster.

That's what was so interesting to me... the line between supernatural and 'real' was completely blurred the entire time and as confusing as that was, it was also really different. 

I loved McMahon's writing style and her storytelling. She kept things vague and close to the chest but was still able to tell a really cohesive story.

The stories within the book, the secrets that were held by Gran and others were horribly sad; it was a little disturbing at times and I wish things were further explained... it feels like some things were really left unsaid. 

All of that aside, I still really enjoyed the book and I'm glad I read it. It was different, unique, and scary! If you're looking for something different, something to pull you out of a reading slump I highly recommend this one.


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