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She Never Left

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SOMETHING IS STIRRING IN THE HEART OF ILLINOIS Cousins and writing partners Jane and TJ have carved out new lives for themselves amidst the skyscrapers of Chicago, a far cry from their isolated hometown of Ketchum. Neither has returned since the night TJ’s first crush, Evie, disappeared into the woods in a flash of amber light. Along with Jane’s childhood friend-turned-stalk SOMETHING IS STIRRING IN THE HEART OF ILLINOIS Cousins and writing partners Jane and TJ have carved out new lives for themselves amidst the skyscrapers of Chicago, a far cry from their isolated hometown of Ketchum. Neither has returned since the night TJ’s first crush, Evie, disappeared into the woods in a flash of amber light. Along with Jane’s childhood friend-turned-stalker, Lincoln, they were the last people to see her alive. When TJ’s writer’s block threatens both their careers, they agree to attend their high school reunion in the hopes of reigniting her creative inspiration. But Lincoln is still waiting. He remembers the night that claimed Evie like it was yesterday and the woods have been whispering to him ever since. As Jane and TJ arrive home, the voices call to him again, hissing three solitary words… She is here. Sharp Objects meets Stranger Things in this razor-sharp small-town thriller – perfect for fans of Josh Malerman and Stephen King.


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SOMETHING IS STIRRING IN THE HEART OF ILLINOIS Cousins and writing partners Jane and TJ have carved out new lives for themselves amidst the skyscrapers of Chicago, a far cry from their isolated hometown of Ketchum. Neither has returned since the night TJ’s first crush, Evie, disappeared into the woods in a flash of amber light. Along with Jane’s childhood friend-turned-stalk SOMETHING IS STIRRING IN THE HEART OF ILLINOIS Cousins and writing partners Jane and TJ have carved out new lives for themselves amidst the skyscrapers of Chicago, a far cry from their isolated hometown of Ketchum. Neither has returned since the night TJ’s first crush, Evie, disappeared into the woods in a flash of amber light. Along with Jane’s childhood friend-turned-stalker, Lincoln, they were the last people to see her alive. When TJ’s writer’s block threatens both their careers, they agree to attend their high school reunion in the hopes of reigniting her creative inspiration. But Lincoln is still waiting. He remembers the night that claimed Evie like it was yesterday and the woods have been whispering to him ever since. As Jane and TJ arrive home, the voices call to him again, hissing three solitary words… She is here. Sharp Objects meets Stranger Things in this razor-sharp small-town thriller – perfect for fans of Josh Malerman and Stephen King.

30 review for She Never Left

  1. 4 out of 5

    Farshana ❤️rainnbooks❤️

    Phew, magic mushrooms, psychedelic drugs, abuse, stalking, She Never Left by C M Harris has lots of this and more. Sci-Fi thrillers have never been my strong point, so once the story about the thicket in the town of Ketchum began to take shape, I was in two minds about continuing the story. The expectation was a cold case of a friend missing for 20 years and how it has affected Jane and TJ, cousins as well as working partners but there are quite a lot of subject matters that characterize this atm Phew, magic mushrooms, psychedelic drugs, abuse, stalking, She Never Left by C M Harris has lots of this and more. Sci-Fi thrillers have never been my strong point, so once the story about the thicket in the town of Ketchum began to take shape, I was in two minds about continuing the story. The expectation was a cold case of a friend missing for 20 years and how it has affected Jane and TJ, cousins as well as working partners but there are quite a lot of subject matters that characterize this atmospheric thriller. C M Harris creates a spine-tingling creepy atmosphere with her vivid description of the woods and the Donzerely light so much that it is definitely gonna be hard for me to look at mushrooms again. The spider eyed mushroom had me in its clutches that I was sure I would be having nightmares. Amazingly, the author never gives off any on your face horror, coz there’s a slight fantasy element to the tale, but that gooey and under the skin itch that she crafted thru her writing was magnificent. The story is told thru Jane and sometimes thru Lincoln and flashbacks keeps the reader reeled in even though the first part of the book is slow in pace. Some parts focus on the imagination of Jane and TJ once the hallucination begins and it generates a dizzy feeling for the reader and if this was done on purpose, then hats off to the author coz those sections literally make your head take a spin. The love and intense need that TJ and Jane feel for each other was touching but knowing that they are both in their late 30’s and willingly acting immature never worked out well for me, and the behaviour repeats several times. The stalker angle thru Lincoln and his ramblings could not have been any more weirder. She Never Left is a sci-fi thriller with spooky suspense that will be gobbled up by fans of the genre. Engaging 3.5 stars 💦 💦 💦 💧 Many thanks to Net Galley, One More Chapter, Rachel Quin and the author for a chance to read and review this book. All opinions are expressed voluntarily. This review is published in my blog Rain'n'Books, ##Goodreads, ##Amazon India, ##Book Bub, ##Medium.com, ##Facebook, ##Twitter.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Louise Wilson

    2.5 stars rounded up to 3 Cousins and writing partners Jane and TJ have carved out new lives for themselves amidst the skyscrapers of Chicago, a far cry from their hometown of Ketchum. Neither has returned since the night TJ's first crush, Evie, disappeared into the woods in a flash of amber light. Along with Jane's childhood friend - turned - stalker, Lincoln, they were the last people to see her alive. Jane and TJ decide to attend their high school reunion. They come face to face with Lincoln, 2.5 stars rounded up to 3 Cousins and writing partners Jane and TJ have carved out new lives for themselves amidst the skyscrapers of Chicago, a far cry from their hometown of Ketchum. Neither has returned since the night TJ's first crush, Evie, disappeared into the woods in a flash of amber light. Along with Jane's childhood friend - turned - stalker, Lincoln, they were the last people to see her alive. Jane and TJ decide to attend their high school reunion. They come face to face with Lincoln, Jane's friend/stalker. It's twenty years since Evie disappeared into the woods they call the Thicket and Jane t and Lincoln were the last people to see her. The Thicket is a creepy place. My biggest problem with this book is that it's more sci- fi than a thriller and I don't really read sci-fi novels. There's time warps, family secrets, drugs and much more packed into this book but it could not hold my attention. I also felt a lot of loose ends were left dandling at the end. I would like to thank #netGalley #HarperCollinsUK #OneMoreChapter and the author #CMHarris for my ARC of #SheNeverLeft in exchange for an honest review.

  3. 4 out of 5

    charlotte,

    On my blog. Rep: lesbian character CWs: gore, stalking, past child sexual abuse, past paedophilia, past domestic abuse, animal death, necrophilia, suicide, self harm, past drug addiction Galley provided by publisher She Never Left is a somewhat weird book, and definitely not the book I was expecting, based on the blurb. It’s less mystery, and more mossy, swamp-like sci fi. The book follows TJ and Jane, two cousins who have made a name for themselves writing, far from the small town in which they On my blog. Rep: lesbian character CWs: gore, stalking, past child sexual abuse, past paedophilia, past domestic abuse, animal death, necrophilia, suicide, self harm, past drug addiction Galley provided by publisher She Never Left is a somewhat weird book, and definitely not the book I was expecting, based on the blurb. It’s less mystery, and more mossy, swamp-like sci fi. The book follows TJ and Jane, two cousins who have made a name for themselves writing, far from the small town in which they grew up. When a 20-year anniversary takes them back there, they find themselves confronting that one night years ago, when their best friend went missing. Oh, and Jane’s stalker. So here we come to what was tricky for me. I didn’t want to be reading from Lincoln’s POV. It’s just a preference when it comes to mystery/thrillers. I don’t want to read POVs of killers, or stalkers, or any such like. So I really didn’t enjoy the parts of the book that centred on Lincoln (and somewhat skimmed them besides). The rest of the cast though, were a bit more enjoyable to read about. Messy and human, they were, a lot of them, somewhat fucked up. But they were arguably trying their best, and they did make for a compelling read in that respect. As for the plot—well, I mentioned how I found it not quite what I was expecting. I’d come into the book expecting something more like a classical cold-case mystery. Only to find there wasn’t actually any investigating, a lot of drugs trips, and a sudden reveal at the end that the book was a lot more science fiction-y than anticipated. None of which was a bad thing, necessarily. I felt it could have been more tightly plotted, it’s true—a lot of Jane and TJ’s time in Ketchum was spent… wandering around not doing a whole lot—but it was a readable enough book, and a fairly good way to pass a few hours. So if you’re looking for that kind of creepy horror-sci fi thriller, then I’d point you in the direction of this one.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    I didn’t love this book. It’s more sci-fi than thriller and didn’t (for me) closely match what the synopsis said the book would be about. Centered on cousins and best friends Jane and TJ, the story centers on creepy woods that may or may not be killing people. Having escaped the area years ago, the 2 return for their 20 year high school reunion and face both the woods and a classmate that has been obsessed with Jane for decades. The book goes back and forth between timeframes and there are also I didn’t love this book. It’s more sci-fi than thriller and didn’t (for me) closely match what the synopsis said the book would be about. Centered on cousins and best friends Jane and TJ, the story centers on creepy woods that may or may not be killing people. Having escaped the area years ago, the 2 return for their 20 year high school reunion and face both the woods and a classmate that has been obsessed with Jane for decades. The book goes back and forth between timeframes and there are also chapters told while the characters are under the influence of hallucinogens- this made for a confusing and disjointed read where I never felt fully immersed in the story. Furthermore, I had trouble connecting with the characters. On a good note, the language used was descriptive and pretty and I could easily picture the characters’ surroundings. There was a definite creepy factor from their time in the woods. There was a big twist at the end, though I saw it coming. Overall, this was not the book for me but him sure it has an audience. I think if the description more closely aligned to what the book is really about, it will find string advocates. Thanks to Netgalley for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jazz Webb

    Publications date 25th Nov 2021. Thank you to netgalley, CM Harris and harper Collins publishers for the ARC of she never inexchange for my fair and honest opinions. Jane and TJ are cousins and best friends, they haven't returned to their home town since they left. The town has bad memories for them Evie their friend went missing and Jane has a Stalker Lincoln. With their careers on the balance they have to return home for TJs book. Will them returning home help or are they in danger? Let me star Publications date 25th Nov 2021. Thank you to netgalley, CM Harris and harper Collins publishers for the ARC of she never inexchange for my fair and honest opinions. Jane and TJ are cousins and best friends, they haven't returned to their home town since they left. The town has bad memories for them Evie their friend went missing and Jane has a Stalker Lincoln. With their careers on the balance they have to return home for TJs book. Will them returning home help or are they in danger? Let me start this by saying WOAH, I had no idea what to expect and I got far more than I bargained for. This is one of those books I think will be popular! There was so much involved where do I begin. Our lead protagonist is Jane the book is mostly told in her POV and it reads so well, it reads as if someone is telling you their story and I found I was obsessed, struggled to put it down. Jane to begin with seems quite put together but when you find out about her Stalker so many questions came to fruition. Lincoln tells part of the story in his POV he was super creepy and the chapters occasionally made me feel uncomfortable which I think is a talent in itself. We are introduced to several characters throughout the novel from present day to when Jane and TJ are teens. As the book progresses we get to learn more about their lives and this really shapes the characters and provide them with depth. The relationship between Jane and TJ is written so well and I found I could feel the love between them. The die hard loyalty was great to read, even at a detriment to them both at times. The relationship between Lincoln and Jane is super interesting, if you had a Stalker for ten years would you have done nothing about it? I don't know I found it fascinating to read it play out. The pull for their return is two gold TJ is writing a book based on their experience as children one of which was taking magic mushrooms. Secondarily they are returning to their high school reunion this is how we are introduced to the other important characters. Honestly you need an open mind reading this book, there's a bit of fantasy in the book and I was do thrown by it to begin with once you get into the story though you will quickly get used to it. The concentration around the Thicket is key to the story its where it all began. Would I recommend this book? 200x yes I absolutely loved it. I re read the final chapters 3 times and I'm still full of questions. This is one of those books you wonder where it's going and finish it and I still didn't know although I had an incline early on I cannot tell you if I was right still the book was amazing and its left me questioning everything! Strongly recommend 5 stars 🌟

  6. 5 out of 5

    J.J.

    As other reviewers have commented, the story being told here doesn't really align with the blurb. If you're expecting a thriller, you will quickly discover that this is a slow-moving, multi POV story of teenagers in what may or not be a haunted wood, their adult counterparts in a different timeline and a few episodes under the influence of magic mushrooms thrown in for good measure. After my initial disappointment, because the supernatural is not my chosen genre, I settled down to read it. TJ and As other reviewers have commented, the story being told here doesn't really align with the blurb. If you're expecting a thriller, you will quickly discover that this is a slow-moving, multi POV story of teenagers in what may or not be a haunted wood, their adult counterparts in a different timeline and a few episodes under the influence of magic mushrooms thrown in for good measure. After my initial disappointment, because the supernatural is not my chosen genre, I settled down to read it. TJ and Jane, cousins and colleagues, return to Ketchum for a high school reunion and to confront Lincoln who – suspend your belief here – has been stalking Jane for twenty years. Of course, they also visit the woods where they had been so traumatised all those years ago. I finished the book in spite of my interest beginning to wane around the 30% mark, not only because of the supernatural elements but also because of the long-winded passages which were only tenuously related to the actual story line. 'She Never Left' will find its readership, I am sure, but in fairness to potential readers, it should be made clear what genre it encompasses. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

  7. 4 out of 5

    ʚϊɞ Shelley's ʚϊɞ Book Nook

    Oh boy, there is a lot going on in this book. A high school reunion, mental health issues, a stalker and drug use. There were different timelines and many points of view...I usually love that format but I found it confusing this time around. It seemed the whole book was really slow going and the ending fell flat. With many thanks to NetGalley, C.M. Harris and HarperCollins UK, One More Chapter for the giving of the ARC.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Rekha Rao

    Wow! What a spine-chilling, bone-numbing story! Part spooky, part mysterious, this book kept me on the edge of the seat. The suspense is well-maintained throughout. The story starts on a slow note but picks up pace soon after. Some things weren't clear when I started to read the book. But as the story proceeded, a lot of missing (stray) bits slowing started falling into a pattern. We have the stalker angle, 'The Thicket' and its mysterious power, the townspeople and their secrets - phew! This wa Wow! What a spine-chilling, bone-numbing story! Part spooky, part mysterious, this book kept me on the edge of the seat. The suspense is well-maintained throughout. The story starts on a slow note but picks up pace soon after. Some things weren't clear when I started to read the book. But as the story proceeded, a lot of missing (stray) bits slowing started falling into a pattern. We have the stalker angle, 'The Thicket' and its mysterious power, the townspeople and their secrets - phew! This was a power-packed book. If you love to read stories that are creepy, suspenseful and mysterious, you might want to give She Never Left by C.M. Harris a try.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Louise

    2.5 stars I felt a bit lost from the start of this book,almost as if I'd skipped a chapter,and should have known who everyone was and their relationship to one another. Exciting at times,at others,I just had to wonder what on earth the characters were doing. 2.5 stars I felt a bit lost from the start of this book,almost as if I'd skipped a chapter,and should have known who everyone was and their relationship to one another. Exciting at times,at others,I just had to wonder what on earth the characters were doing.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Bridget

    Although sci-fi thrillers aren't always my thing I still really enjoyed She Never Left by CM Harris. It's Jane and TJ's high school reunion and the cousins, writing partners and best friends return home from their respective places in Chicago to attend the celebration. TJ is also writing a book about childhood experiences. Their hometown of Ketchum, Illinois doesn't hold some special memories for them; their friend Evie went missing twenty years ago and what is it about Lincoln Metzger? This book Although sci-fi thrillers aren't always my thing I still really enjoyed She Never Left by CM Harris. It's Jane and TJ's high school reunion and the cousins, writing partners and best friends return home from their respective places in Chicago to attend the celebration. TJ is also writing a book about childhood experiences. Their hometown of Ketchum, Illinois doesn't hold some special memories for them; their friend Evie went missing twenty years ago and what is it about Lincoln Metzger? This book is unique, so atmospheric and I found myself captivated. Even though I found the characters difficult to like they played their parts well and fitted into the story. A creepy read that makes you wonder and gets under your skin. Highly recommended. I received a complimentary copy of this novel at my request from One More Chapter via NetGalley. This review is my own unbiased opinion.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jane Hunt

    There are some complex and thought-provoking elements in this story. Two women return to their hometown for a twenty-year school reunion. It's clear their hometown is a place of strange occurrences and tragedy, yet still, they return. Jane is an unreliable narrator, and the reader finds it difficult to discern if things are as she relates them. Both women are emotionally damaged by what went before, and this is significant. Lincoln didn't leave and still obsesses about Jane. He adds a layer of c There are some complex and thought-provoking elements in this story. Two women return to their hometown for a twenty-year school reunion. It's clear their hometown is a place of strange occurrences and tragedy, yet still, they return. Jane is an unreliable narrator, and the reader finds it difficult to discern if things are as she relates them. Both women are emotionally damaged by what went before, and this is significant. Lincoln didn't leave and still obsesses about Jane. He adds a layer of confusion and menace that adds to the story's atmospheric ethos. The setting is another element that ramps up the suspense and adds mystery. This is psychological suspense with elements of horror and fantasy. I received a copy of this book from Harper Fiction via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Babs | babs_reviews

    The premise and the cover, definitely draw you in. It took me awhile to get through this one, I think once you hit 60% it picks up and moves fairly quick. There was a lot to unpack in this; supernatural elements, psychedelic trips, obsessive stalking, and mental illness to boot. All rolled up into one story that sort of disconnects at times. It felt fragmented and that we weren't getting the whole picture, which may have been the whole idea, however the ending was not at all what I thought we we The premise and the cover, definitely draw you in. It took me awhile to get through this one, I think once you hit 60% it picks up and moves fairly quick. There was a lot to unpack in this; supernatural elements, psychedelic trips, obsessive stalking, and mental illness to boot. All rolled up into one story that sort of disconnects at times. It felt fragmented and that we weren't getting the whole picture, which may have been the whole idea, however the ending was not at all what I thought we were leading up to. A bit disappointed with it. Thank you to Harper Collins, UK; One More Chapter and NetGalley for the advanced review copy.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Melanie Robertson-King

    Weird! Magic mushrooms, an intelligent fungus, and psychedelic trips are just the tip of the iceberg. Something fouler lurks beneath the surface. I can honestly say the title and premise got me, but when I got into it, the storyline left me feeling flat. Thanks NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read/review this book.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sheila

    I received an advance copy of, She Never Left, by CM Harris. I think I would of liked this book better, if it did not have the f word in it so often. The main characters are so immature, time has not changed them for the better.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Vivienne

    ‘We Thicket Kids gazed into the Armillaria and the Armillaria gazed back. Some of us could handle its attention; used it to do great things. Others got too close to the edge and slipped. I straddled its abyss. Guess I still am.’ - Jane. My thanks to HarperCollins U.K. One More Chapter for an eARC and HarperCollins U.K. Audio for an unabridged audiobook edition, both via NetGalley, of ‘She Never Left’ by CM Harris in exchange for an honest review. The audiobook is narrated by Daniela Acitelli. Sin ‘We Thicket Kids gazed into the Armillaria and the Armillaria gazed back. Some of us could handle its attention; used it to do great things. Others got too close to the edge and slipped. I straddled its abyss. Guess I still am.’ - Jane. My thanks to HarperCollins U.K. One More Chapter for an eARC and HarperCollins U.K. Audio for an unabridged audiobook edition, both via NetGalley, of ‘She Never Left’ by CM Harris in exchange for an honest review. The audiobook is narrated by Daniela Acitelli. Since leaving behind the small town of Ketchum, Illinois to move to Chicago, cousins Jane and T.J. have established themselves: Jane as a literary agent and T.J. as a writer. T.J.’s latest manuscript is overdue and Jane feels that attending their upcoming 20-year high school reunion will help T.J. overcome her writer’s block. Yet Ketchum holds dark memories for them both as their friend, Evie, who had been T.J.’s first crush, had disappeared under mysterious circumstances. Evie had been with friends in the local woods playing a game of Ghost in the Graveyard. Afterwards Evie heads home on her own across a part of the wood known as The Thicket. Something is very weird about The Thicket. The opening chapter gives an account of Evie’s fate. The only witness is Lincoln, a classmate considered a creepy outsider. Indeed, Lincoln has been obsessed with Jane since high school and has been increasingly stalking her. No further details to avoid spoilers. This was an intense and unusual horror novel. Trees and woods have long featured in horror fiction. Here the woods also contain a bioluminescent fungus with psychotropic properties dubbed by the locals as Foxfire. Paul, one of the original group and Jane’s ex-boyfriend, has become a mycologist and provides exposition on all things fungi. I have recently read some nonfiction works on the role of fungi in the environment, including woodlands, so I had some context for this aspect of the story. While the pacing was at times a little uneven, I enjoyed the touch of Lovecraftian horror at its heart. Uncertain though about how I feel about ever eating another mushroom With respect to the audiobook, Daniela Acitelli has an impressive portfolio of over 140 titles across a variety of genres. Her voice has a husky edge to it, which built on the dark, gritty nature of this novel. In addition, I felt that she invested a great deal of energy into the characters that added to the tension and chills. As a big fan of science fiction and horror, I not only enjoyed this but plan on looking into Harris other writings. 4.5 stars rounded up to 5.

  16. 5 out of 5

    BookgirlonGoodreads

    There are a lot of aspects of She Never Left that I really liked. This is the story of Jane Render, a woman in her late 30s living in Chicago and working as an agent/editor for her cousin TJ, a well-known author. Jane is recovering from a painkiller addiction and TJ is a nomadic soul who doesn't take much in life seriously. Both are at loose ends and have dissatisfaction with their lives. The two women grew up together in a small town in lower Illinois, and decide to return for their 20 year hig There are a lot of aspects of She Never Left that I really liked. This is the story of Jane Render, a woman in her late 30s living in Chicago and working as an agent/editor for her cousin TJ, a well-known author. Jane is recovering from a painkiller addiction and TJ is a nomadic soul who doesn't take much in life seriously. Both are at loose ends and have dissatisfaction with their lives. The two women grew up together in a small town in lower Illinois, and decide to return for their 20 year high school reunion. While there, they confront secrets from their past, reunite with classmates, and work on TJs next book. This is the basic premise. However, there is also a creepy, almost sci-fi vibe to the story, as the small town where they grew up has a patch of woods they all call The Thicket, where psychedelic, bioluminescent mushrooms grow in plenty. There are plenty of flashbacks to their time in The Thicket as teenagers, and their experimentation with the mushrooms and subsequent hallucinations. They experiment again as adults and many scenes are written with a fever dream quality. Their friend Evie disappeared one night in the The Thicket and was never found...what really happened to her? What else is hiding in The Thicket? Why does the light in the middle of The Thicket go off when tragedy strikes? What secrets is TJ hiding about her parents? Why does Jane have a high school classmate who has been stalking her since high school? There are a lot of oddities in this book, which I happen to like. Once it ends and the mystery of the town is revealed, a lot of it makes more sense. However, there are still plot points that are left unresolved. I think the overall idea is interesting, and I liked the atmosphere the author creates. However, the execution of her story doesn't quite all come together and it's not really credible . Also, I didn't like the POV from Lincoln, Jane's stalker. It did not make me sympathize with him at all. Two and a half stars is my true rating, due to the fact that I enjoyed reading it, but the ending doesn't fully work. Thanks NetGalley

  17. 4 out of 5

    =^.^= Janet

    Date reviewed/posted: September 9, 2021 Publication date: November 25, 2021 Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review an advanced reader's copy of this book. This in no way affects my review, all opinions are my own. From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸. SOMETHING IS STIRRING IN THE HEART OF ILLINOIS Cousins and writing partners Jane and TJ have carved out new lives for Date reviewed/posted: September 9, 2021 Publication date: November 25, 2021 Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review an advanced reader's copy of this book. This in no way affects my review, all opinions are my own. From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸. SOMETHING IS STIRRING IN THE HEART OF ILLINOIS Cousins and writing partners Jane and TJ have carved out new lives for themselves amidst the skyscrapers of Chicago, a far cry from their isolated hometown of Ketchum. Neither has returned since the night TJ’s first crush, Evie, disappeared into the woods in a flash of amber light. Along with Jane’s childhood friend-turned-stalker, Lincoln, they were the last people to see her alive. When TJ’s writer’s block threatens both their careers, they agree to attend their high school reunion in the hopes of reigniting her creative inspiration. But Lincoln is still waiting. He remembers the night that claimed Evie like it was yesterday and the woods have been whispering to him ever since. As Jane and TJ arrive home, the voices call to him again, hissing three solitary words… She is here. Sharp Objects meets Stranger Things in this razor-sharp small-town thriller – perfect for fans of Josh Malerman and Stephen King. This is a new author to me and I really loved the book: the combination of wonderful characters and a tense, tight plot made for a wicked read that I will recommend this book to friends, family, patrons, book clubs, and people reading books in the park as we do … I have had some of my best conversations about books down by the Thames! As always, I try to find a reason to not rate with stars as I simply adore emojis (outside of their incessant use by "🙏-ed Social Influencer Millennials/#BachelorNation survivors/Tik-Tok and YouTube Millionaires/snowflakes / literally-like-overusers etc. ") on Instagram and Twitter... Get a real job, people!) so let's give it 5/5 🍇 🍇 🍇 🍇 🍇 

  18. 4 out of 5

    NhaughtyV says Damn the Zon Save the Reviews

    2.5 Stars Sometimes the light's all shinin' on me Other times, I can barely see Lately, it occurs to me What a long, strange trip it's been -Grateful Dead Cousins, as well as writing partners, TJ and Jane decide to attend their 20th high school reunion in hopes of gathering some material to get them over the hurdle of writer’s block. But when they show up in their hometown, they discover Jane’s long-time stalker is creepier than ever, the town folk are still whispering about TJ’s family tragedy, a 2.5 Stars Sometimes the light's all shinin' on me Other times, I can barely see Lately, it occurs to me What a long, strange trip it's been -Grateful Dead Cousins, as well as writing partners, TJ and Jane decide to attend their 20th high school reunion in hopes of gathering some material to get them over the hurdle of writer’s block. But when they show up in their hometown, they discover Jane’s long-time stalker is creepier than ever, the town folk are still whispering about TJ’s family tragedy, and then there are the memories of time spent within “the thicket”, and the loss of their friend Evie…but what if she never left… So, it has taken me a wee bit to prepare my thoughts on a review as there is a lot going on in this story…perhaps too much. What do you get when you mix together a high school reunion, a stalker and a mysterious “thicket”? Mass confusion for this reader! Reading this book has most certainly been “a long, strange trip”, which for some may be exactly what they were looking for, but for others, such as myself, totally lost. The cover and blurb completely drew me in, but as the pages turned, I kept getting confused with the POV and time changes. This is most likely just reader preferences, so don’t let my low rating dissuade you from giving this story a chance. While not my fav, it could be yours! **I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book that I received via NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own. **

  19. 4 out of 5

    Joanna Lambert

    It’s taken me a week to complete my read, probably the longest ever with any book. From early on I realised this wasn’t going in the direction the blurb had indicated. Although I found I needed to discover what had happened to Evie, the story quickly turned into something far more complex. There were times when I began to lose interest, and others when my curiosity peaked and pushed me to read more. This is not a traditional psychological thriller, it’s more of a sci fi thriller. I am sure many w It’s taken me a week to complete my read, probably the longest ever with any book. From early on I realised this wasn’t going in the direction the blurb had indicated. Although I found I needed to discover what had happened to Evie, the story quickly turned into something far more complex. There were times when I began to lose interest, and others when my curiosity peaked and pushed me to read more. This is not a traditional psychological thriller, it’s more of a sci fi thriller. I am sure many will enjoy this story but it wasn’t for me. I watched and enjoyed every episode of Stranger Things and empathised with the characters. However, it was difficult to connect with Jane and TJ, agent and author returning to their hometown for a 20 year school reunion. Both in their late thirties, they came across as much younger in the way they spoke and acted. The story is quite gripping at times, but I felt I would probably have enjoyed it more watching it as a film rather in book form. Yes, it has elements of Stephen King about it and I’m sure those who enjoy this genre will not be disappointed. However, had the synopsis been truer to the story I probably would not have requested it. My thanks to C M Harris, Harper Collins and Netgalley for an ARC of She Never Left in exchange for an honest review.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Tamara (CoffeeOnABookshelf)

    💭 ᴍʏ ᴛʜᴏᴜɢʜᴛꜱ: This book would be perfect for people loving a little bit of fantasy. As I'm not a big fantasy person myself I had a little trouble following the story every now and then. The multiple POV's make it interesting, as they give you flashbacks to the night of Evie's disappearance. It has suspense, it is heart pounding and has a lovely character built. I liked it, but I didn't really loved it as I had a hard time following the story. ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 🤓 ʀᴇᴀᴅ ɪꜰ ʏᴏᴜ ʟɪᴋᴇ: Short Chapters Multiple POVs G 💭 ᴍʏ ᴛʜᴏᴜɢʜᴛꜱ: This book would be perfect for people loving a little bit of fantasy. As I'm not a big fantasy person myself I had a little trouble following the story every now and then. The multiple POV's make it interesting, as they give you flashbacks to the night of Evie's disappearance. It has suspense, it is heart pounding and has a lovely character built. I liked it, but I didn't really loved it as I had a hard time following the story. ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 🤓 ʀᴇᴀᴅ ɪꜰ ʏᴏᴜ ʟɪᴋᴇ: Short Chapters Multiple POVs Good imagination ꜱʏɴᴏᴘꜱɪꜱ: 𝘊𝘰𝘶𝘴𝘪𝘯𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘸𝘳𝘪𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘱𝘢𝘳𝘵𝘯𝘦𝘳𝘴 𝘑𝘢𝘯𝘦 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘛𝘑 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘤𝘢𝘳𝘷𝘦𝘥 𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘯𝘦𝘸 𝘭𝘪𝘷𝘦𝘴 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘮𝘴𝘦𝘭𝘷𝘦𝘴 𝘢𝘮𝘪𝘥𝘴𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘬𝘺𝘴𝘤𝘳𝘢𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘊𝘩𝘪𝘤𝘢𝘨𝘰, 𝘢 𝘧𝘢𝘳 𝘤𝘳𝘺 𝘧𝘳𝘰𝘮 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘪𝘳 𝘪𝘴𝘰𝘭𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘥 𝘩𝘰𝘮𝘦𝘵𝘰𝘸𝘯 𝘰𝘧 𝘒𝘦𝘵𝘤𝘩𝘶𝘮. 𝘕𝘦𝘪𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳 𝘩𝘢𝘴 𝘳𝘦𝘵𝘶𝘳𝘯𝘦𝘥 𝘴𝘪𝘯𝘤𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘯𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵 𝘛𝘑’𝘴 𝘧𝘪𝘳𝘴𝘵 𝘤𝘳𝘶𝘴𝘩, 𝘌𝘷𝘪𝘦, 𝘥𝘪𝘴𝘢𝘱𝘱𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘦𝘥 𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘸𝘰𝘰𝘥𝘴 𝘪𝘯 𝘢 𝘧𝘭𝘢𝘴𝘩 𝘰𝘧 𝘢𝘮𝘣𝘦𝘳 𝘭𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵. 𝘈𝘭𝘰𝘯𝘨 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘑𝘢𝘯𝘦’𝘴 𝘤𝘩𝘪𝘭𝘥𝘩𝘰𝘰𝘥 𝘧𝘳𝘪𝘦𝘯𝘥-𝘵𝘶𝘳𝘯𝘦𝘥-𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘭𝘬𝘦𝘳, 𝘓𝘪𝘯𝘤𝘰𝘭𝘯, 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘺 𝘸𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘭𝘢𝘴𝘵 𝘱𝘦𝘰𝘱𝘭𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘴𝘦𝘦 𝘩𝘦𝘳 𝘢𝘭𝘪𝘷𝘦. 𝘞𝘩𝘦𝘯 𝘛𝘑’𝘴 𝘸𝘳𝘪𝘵𝘦𝘳’𝘴 𝘣𝘭𝘰𝘤𝘬 𝘵𝘩𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘯𝘴 𝘣𝘰𝘵𝘩 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘪𝘳 𝘤𝘢𝘳𝘦𝘦𝘳𝘴, 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘺 𝘢𝘨𝘳𝘦𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘢𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘪𝘳 𝘩𝘪𝘨𝘩 𝘴𝘤𝘩𝘰𝘰𝘭 𝘳𝘦𝘶𝘯𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘩𝘰𝘱𝘦𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘳𝘦𝘪𝘨𝘯𝘪𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘩𝘦𝘳 𝘤𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘷𝘦 𝘪𝘯𝘴𝘱𝘪𝘳𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯. 𝘉𝘶𝘵 𝘓𝘪𝘯𝘤𝘰𝘭𝘯 𝘪𝘴 𝘴𝘵𝘪𝘭𝘭 𝘸𝘢𝘪𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨. 𝘏𝘦 𝘳𝘦𝘮𝘦𝘮𝘣𝘦𝘳𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘯𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘤𝘭𝘢𝘪𝘮𝘦𝘥 𝘌𝘷𝘪𝘦 𝘭𝘪𝘬𝘦 𝘪𝘵 𝘸𝘢𝘴 𝘺𝘦𝘴𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘥𝘢𝘺 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘸𝘰𝘰𝘥𝘴 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘣𝘦𝘦𝘯 𝘸𝘩𝘪𝘴𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘰 𝘩𝘪𝘮 𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳 𝘴𝘪𝘯𝘤𝘦. 𝘈𝘴 𝘑𝘢𝘯𝘦 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘛𝘑 𝘢𝘳𝘳𝘪𝘷𝘦 𝘩𝘰𝘮𝘦, 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘷𝘰𝘪𝘤𝘦𝘴 𝘤𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘵𝘰 𝘩𝘪𝘮 𝘢𝘨𝘢𝘪𝘯, 𝘩𝘪𝘴𝘴𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘩𝘳𝘦𝘦 𝘴𝘰𝘭𝘪𝘵𝘢𝘳𝘺 𝘸𝘰𝘳𝘥𝘴…

  21. 4 out of 5

    Stella

    Mushrooms, a forest, a weird light, drugs, death, time warps, stalkers, high school reunions, a dying town, family secrets.... There's so much happening in this book. In the simplest of simple summaries, this is a book about cousins facing the demons of their past. They experienced a traumatic childhood in their small town - with strange disappearances and deaths - and have escaped to Chicago. They are returning for their high school reunion and to face their demons. They are also coming to face Mushrooms, a forest, a weird light, drugs, death, time warps, stalkers, high school reunions, a dying town, family secrets.... There's so much happening in this book. In the simplest of simple summaries, this is a book about cousins facing the demons of their past. They experienced a traumatic childhood in their small town - with strange disappearances and deaths - and have escaped to Chicago. They are returning for their high school reunion and to face their demons. They are also coming to face the truth of the years past, of what happened to their town, and what is happening to their town now. The Thicket is taking over. Something is happening and it's not of this world. This book is confusing at times, but in a way that doing drugs is. Like...you know that you are okay...sort of. You know that you are physically in a comfortable place but mentally, you aren't quite sure what is going on because that doesn't quite seem normal and maybe that two headed deer isn't supposed to be running straight towards you at that speed.... This isn't going to be a book for everyone. Neither are drugs. Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for the opportunity to read and review this book.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Lori L (She Treads Softly)

    She Never Left by CM Harris is a so-so supernatural tale. Jane and TJ are cousins who return to their hometown for a 20th reunion. By this town are dense woods called "the thicket" filled with a fungus that glows and can actively effect and infect humans. There is also a stalker named Lincoln who has had a crush on Jane since high school. The novel is filled with the two facing trauma and addictions from their past and the cause of their problems, something that might still be operating today and She Never Left by CM Harris is a so-so supernatural tale. Jane and TJ are cousins who return to their hometown for a 20th reunion. By this town are dense woods called "the thicket" filled with a fungus that glows and can actively effect and infect humans. There is also a stalker named Lincoln who has had a crush on Jane since high school. The novel is filled with the two facing trauma and addictions from their past and the cause of their problems, something that might still be operating today and getting worse. Chapters alternate between present day and twenty plus years earlier. There really never is any good reason produced for attending a 20th high school reunion in a creepy small town that you were happy to leave and where people seem to disappear on a regular basis, unless it is the psychedelic mushrooms. One of the most glaring problems with the whole novel is that all the characters talk as if they are still in high school in both time lines. This is more a science fiction tale and a drug trip rather than a mystery about disappearing people from a small town. Normally I can enjoy science fiction, but this wasn't quite it. Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of HarperCollins via NetGalley.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Suzi

    This book has been described as “Sharp Objects Meets Stranger Things”, so if you’re looking for a dark, sci-fi-esque thriller, this one might be for you! This story has an intriguing premise but didn’t hit the mark for me. Jane and TJ return to their small Illinois hometown for their 20th high school reunion. There’s a lot to unpack in this novel – classmates and townspeople who have disappeared or died, an obsessive man who has stalked Jane for years, drug use and childhood abuse. A spooky woods This book has been described as “Sharp Objects Meets Stranger Things”, so if you’re looking for a dark, sci-fi-esque thriller, this one might be for you! This story has an intriguing premise but didn’t hit the mark for me. Jane and TJ return to their small Illinois hometown for their 20th high school reunion. There’s a lot to unpack in this novel – classmates and townspeople who have disappeared or died, an obsessive man who has stalked Jane for years, drug use and childhood abuse. A spooky woods everyone calls The Thicket features prominently, the setting of high school dabbling into psychedelic mushrooms and home to a fungus that is almost sentient. The depiction of The Thicket is really creepy and atmospheric, the author did a great job setting the scene. This book was a little more sci-fi than I was expecting, which isn’t my usual genre, so maybe that’s why I struggled to connect. It was hard for me to figure out what was real vs what were the characters’ hallucinations, and maybe that was the point, but I had a hard time keeping up. Many thanks to NetGalley and HarperCollins UK, One More Chapter, for providing me an advance copy of this book.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Wow, this book has so many twists and turns I didn’t know what was real and what may have been a psychedelic episode. The author wrote an exciting book that is part psychological thriller, part sci-fi, part fantasy and part suspense. I couldn’t put it down and read well into the night to finish it. Two cousins decide to go to their high school reunion in the small town where people went missing or died in some strange manners. The Thicket is a spooky part of the woods where the kids all hung out Wow, this book has so many twists and turns I didn’t know what was real and what may have been a psychedelic episode. The author wrote an exciting book that is part psychological thriller, part sci-fi, part fantasy and part suspense. I couldn’t put it down and read well into the night to finish it. Two cousins decide to go to their high school reunion in the small town where people went missing or died in some strange manners. The Thicket is a spooky part of the woods where the kids all hung out to play and scare each other. It’s is also the one place where luminescent mushrooms grow and they provide the kids with a psychedelic trip that they can’t decide was all hallucinations or maybe it was real as they all saw and heard the same things. Toss in a stalker that has not given up in the past 20 years and you have a story that will keep you on the edge of your seat to the last page. I haven’t read a book that made me think this much in a long time. Even once I was finished I was still trying to figure things out.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Patricia

    CM Harris has written a psychedelic trip of a book! The comparison to Stranger Things is accurate. While I would describe this as more of a sci-fi book, there is an element that you can't quite put your finger on - is the whole story imaginary? Part of a drug induced dream? Or is there something biological happening as a result of a rare luminescent mushroom that grows in the area? Chemical or other natural factors could describe the events that happen in an area known as The Thicket, but not th CM Harris has written a psychedelic trip of a book! The comparison to Stranger Things is accurate. While I would describe this as more of a sci-fi book, there is an element that you can't quite put your finger on - is the whole story imaginary? Part of a drug induced dream? Or is there something biological happening as a result of a rare luminescent mushroom that grows in the area? Chemical or other natural factors could describe the events that happen in an area known as The Thicket, but not the bizarre experiences of cousins who go back to their childhood town for a school reunion. Based on the title, I am still waiting for the author to tell me if one of the characters ever really existed. And perhaps that's the beauty of her story - we'll never know :-) Thanks to NetGalley and One More Chapter for an advance reader's copy.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Julia

    She Never Left by C.M. Harris is a riveting contemporary novel that I devoured in just one sitting. It had me completely hooked until the jaw-dropping conclusion that I did not spot coming! The lines between reality and illusion are blurred. As the reader I could not always spot which was which but clung on with heart racing to the end. There are alternating voices and time periods as the story unfolds. She Never Left was cleverly and intricately constructed. I did not always grasp what was going o She Never Left by C.M. Harris is a riveting contemporary novel that I devoured in just one sitting. It had me completely hooked until the jaw-dropping conclusion that I did not spot coming! The lines between reality and illusion are blurred. As the reader I could not always spot which was which but clung on with heart racing to the end. There are alternating voices and time periods as the story unfolds. She Never Left was cleverly and intricately constructed. I did not always grasp what was going on but I was rivetted from start to finish. This is definitely not a book you want to read alone or at night! I received a free copy via Net Galley. A favourable review was not required. All opinions are my own.

  27. 5 out of 5

    erin_leigh_reads

    She never left by CM Harris was a book that I typically would not read. Part sci-fi, part fantasy and part thriller. I have to say I am not a fan of sci-fi nor fantasy. I really tried hard to get into the story but it was too out there for me. There were parts that I did like, the mystery/thriller bits. I thought the relationship between cousins and writing partners Jane and TJ, was interesting, if not a bit co-dependant. Then there is Jane’s stalker, Lincoln. He creeped me out. All in all this She never left by CM Harris was a book that I typically would not read. Part sci-fi, part fantasy and part thriller. I have to say I am not a fan of sci-fi nor fantasy. I really tried hard to get into the story but it was too out there for me. There were parts that I did like, the mystery/thriller bits. I thought the relationship between cousins and writing partners Jane and TJ, was interesting, if not a bit co-dependant. Then there is Jane’s stalker, Lincoln. He creeped me out. All in all this book was not my genre and not my favourite. That being said, CM Harris writes with conviction and creativity. Thank you to NetGalley and HarperCollins Canada for my electronic ARC in exchange for my honest review.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Hazel

    My thanks to NetGalley and publisher HarperCollins UK, One More Chapter, for the electronic copy. OK, I'm sorry to say that this really wasn't one for me. It's just all so weird. Twenty years ago a schoolgirl rides her bike into The Thicket - a forested area outside a small town in Illinois. Where she gets "absorbed" into the plant-life. I believe magic mushrooms are involved in all this. Now, two schoolfriends, TJ and Jane (20 years later) are finally going to attend their school reunion and, of My thanks to NetGalley and publisher HarperCollins UK, One More Chapter, for the electronic copy. OK, I'm sorry to say that this really wasn't one for me. It's just all so weird. Twenty years ago a schoolgirl rides her bike into The Thicket - a forested area outside a small town in Illinois. Where she gets "absorbed" into the plant-life. I believe magic mushrooms are involved in all this. Now, two schoolfriends, TJ and Jane (20 years later) are finally going to attend their school reunion and, of course get drawn into The Thicket and mushrooms once again. I'm afraid I can't describe it any further. This was a bit too "way out" for me. This is just my opinion and obviously other readers have found it understandable and enjoyable. So - up to you.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Cameron HG

    Really excellent weird/psychedelic fiction set in small town Illinois, a setting perfect for an insane drug trip. The characters feel like real people with long histories and complicated relationships, which makes it all the sweeter when they start to unravel. The villain especially is terrifyingly effectively written. This guy, man. It felt like every page I flipped between feeling bad for him, and wanting a piano to fall out of the sky and end him where he stood, in some sort of act of divine Really excellent weird/psychedelic fiction set in small town Illinois, a setting perfect for an insane drug trip. The characters feel like real people with long histories and complicated relationships, which makes it all the sweeter when they start to unravel. The villain especially is terrifyingly effectively written. This guy, man. It felt like every page I flipped between feeling bad for him, and wanting a piano to fall out of the sky and end him where he stood, in some sort of act of divine justice. He’s a great guy, is what I’m trying to say. Thoroughly great read, if you’re a fan of something like annihilation, definitely check this out.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Pat Pullum

    Cousins, TJ and Jane, live in Chicago, but decide to go back to a small isolated town for their 20th school reunion. There they meet up with several of their friends including Lincoln, who was with them when Evie disappeared in the woods, known as the Thicket, 20 years prior. Everyone has secrets and though this book had some intrigue, it did not hold my attention and seemed to be of the Sci Fi genre, which is not something I would normally read. I gave it a good chance, but I could not identify Cousins, TJ and Jane, live in Chicago, but decide to go back to a small isolated town for their 20th school reunion. There they meet up with several of their friends including Lincoln, who was with them when Evie disappeared in the woods, known as the Thicket, 20 years prior. Everyone has secrets and though this book had some intrigue, it did not hold my attention and seemed to be of the Sci Fi genre, which is not something I would normally read. I gave it a good chance, but I could not identify with any of the characters. I do thank the author, publisher and Netgalley for my ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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