Okay, listen. I know I’ve been reading a lot of paranormal thrillers (I mean, come on, they’re so good!) and I know we’re ready for some new genres, but listen. LISTEN! This book is so, so good and it just came out on Tuesday, so you need to do me a favor and pick it up ASAP!!!
Thank you to Penguin Teen and NetGalley for providing me with an e-ARC for review. This is a spoiler free, honest review and all thoughts and feelings are my own!
The Girls Are Never Gone by Sarah Glenn Marsh
Published: September 7, 2021
Genre: YA Paranormal Thriller
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.
I read Sarah’s other YA series, Reign of the Fallen, and absolutely loved it! That book was more fantasy than paranormal, but it’s a world where the dead come back to life and it’s so eerie. This book is more paranormal fantasy, set in our world, and oh my gosh it creeped me out!
One of my favorite things about the book is the paranormal investigator main character who doesn’t believe in ghosts. Dare doesn’t believe in ghosts, but she’s willing to go into this “haunted” space to find out more about the home and the mysterious deaths of girls who have lived there, the history behind the original family, and the weird stuff that is going on. Her podcast, which I loved the inclusion of the podcast episodes, is set around this home and her experiences and it was so fun seeing her opinion change over time.
Meanwhile, there are two other girls living with her, one who is the daughter of the owner, Quinn, and another girl helping at the internship, Holly. Dare quickly becomes friends with Quinn and Holly, and even something more with Quinn. Her service dog, Waffles, steals the show – he’s just so stinking cute and don’t worry, he does survive!
Speaking of Waffles, I loved the disability rep in this book. Dare has type 1 diabetes, which if you didn’t know, is very different from type 2 and the author does a wonderful job highlighting the condition and the struggles. Type 1 is something you’re born with and lasts a person’s entire life, while type 2 is something you develop over time and it can be reversed. Waffles is Dare’s service dog and alerts her when her blood sugar drops too low or goes too high, though according to Dare, he’s hardly ever right.
With the rep in this book, we also have LGBTQIA+ rep and I loved watching the relationship develop! Dare is bisexual and Quinn is her love interest in this book. It was so sweet watching them fall for each other over the few weeks and care for each other, though I wished their experience in the house was better than it was.
Being in that house would have terrified me. As they’re working to renovate the home and spruce it up, weird stuff starts happening. Dare hears scratching by her window when there’s no branches nearby or anything to scratch it. The girls hear and see weird things that they can’t explain. Girls have died in the lake and they can feel it calling to them. The weird stuff begins to build up and if it was me, I would have hightailed it out of there after the first night!
Sarah does a great job setting up the history and the mystery for Dare to solve. I was so invested in what was going on and while I was terrified, I couldn’t wait to find out what happened next. The ending absolutely killed me and I really, really hope we get a sequel! I have some unanswered questions that I really need answered, so hopefully we get another book to figure out what’s going on.
If you love ghost stories, thrillers, disability rep, or wlw romances – this is a great book to pick up! I loved this book and I will be patiently waiting for some kind of sequel or at least answers for some of my questions.
Want more ghostly paranormal thrillers? Of course you do! Check out these books below (my reviews are linked and all are spoiler free!)