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Monday, April 21, 2014

Review: The Returned

The Returned
Author: Jason Mott
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Release Date:  August 27, 2013
Paperback:  352 pages
Audiobook:  9 hours and 48 minutes
Narrator: Tom Stechschulte

Source: Free from Author/ Publisher at BEA13

Book Description

"Jacob was time out of sync, time more perfect than it had been. He was life the way it was supposed to be all those years ago. That's what all the Returned were." 
Harold and Lucille Hargrave's lives have been both joyful and sorrowful in the decades since their only son, Jacob, died tragically at his eighth birthday party in 1966. In their old age they've settled comfortably into life without him, their wounds tempered through the grace of time…. Until one day Jacob mysteriously appears on their doorstep—flesh and blood, their sweet, precocious child, still eight years old.
All over the world people's loved ones are returning from beyond. No one knows how or why this is happening, whether it's a miracle or a sign of the end. Not even Harold and Lucille can agree on whether the boy is real or a wondrous imitation, but one thing they know for sure: he's their son. As chaos erupts around the globe, the newly reunited Hargrave family finds itself at the center of a community on the brink of collapse, forced to navigate a mysterious new reality and a conflict that threatens to unravel the very meaning of what it is to be human.
With spare, elegant prose and searing emotional depth, award-winning poet Jason Mott explores timeless questions of faith and morality, love and responsibility. A spellbinding and stunning debut, The Returned is an unforgettable story that marks the arrival of an important new voice in contemporary fiction.


I got a copy of this book from the author/publisher at BEA13.  Yes I know!  That was one month shy of a year ago and I am just now getting to it.  
The story of all stories starts with a little boy found in the rice paddies of China being returned to his family in the states.  The story twist, the OMG of it all is that this boy has been not missing but dead for 40 years and he is the same age as when he died.  Eight year old Jacob remembers nothing of the time he has been gone, only waking up in China.  To him no time has passed and nothing unusual has happened.  Jacob is not the only one.  There are hundreds of people just waking up in the most random places with no memory of what has happened to them.  They all say they just woke up.  The dead or coming back and they all are trying to get back to their loved one. 
I love this story idea.  I have said it before I am a sucker for an original story idea.  This is not a "Night of the Living Dead" book at all.  It is more like people just reconnecting with the ones they love(d).  There are several storylines and families in this book but Jacob's parents -Harold and Lucille are the main focus.  I love the way their love and reconnection of their family builds and grows as Jacob's life touches them both in completely different ways.  No absent YA parents here.  They have been married forever.  
Could you image seeing your son after he has been dead and buried for more than 40 years?  You have worked as much as you could through the grieving process.  You have moved forward with your life and WHAM!!  He's back and looks the same as when you saw him last.  
I really like this book but it was not a solid like until I got to the author's notes at the end.  The book does not give a explanation as to why this is happening all over the world.  The reactions of the population I can see really happening but I needed a bit more. The author's notes give the reader an answer to the why?  But the question is ...What made him write this novel?  What a touching answer.
Please read the prequels before jumping into this novel.  The prequels are great and here is my review of all three of them.  (REVIEW)

Reviews by Other Bloggers


I recommend this book to adult readers due to violence and some strong language.


This book is number 6 in my Diversity on the Shelf Reading Challenge
This book is number 5 in my Rewind Reading Challenge
This book is number 10 in my Audiobook Reading Challenge
This book is number 6 in my Dusty Bookshelf Reading Challenge
This book is number 7 in my Off the Shelf Reading Challenge
This book is number 15 in my Goodreads Reading Challenge
This book completes my Spring Sequel Reading Challenge

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