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May 22, 2021

Girl in the Walls by A.J. Gnuse ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts


A mesmerizing and suspenseful coming-of-age novel about an orphan hiding within the walls of her former family home—and about what it means to be truly seen after becoming lost in life

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Girl in the Walls
May 2021; Ecco; 978-0063031807
audio, ebook, print (336 pages); suspense
I didn't know what to expect of this novel before I started it - it sounded like a suspense novel but it was so much more than that.  It's the story about a young girl consumed with grief and trying to find her way in the world.  Elsie is a well-written character in a tense situation.  Sometimes she seemed like the young girl that she was and other times she had very grown-up thoughts.  She was a character that was written so well that the reader really cared about her outcome.

Elise is an 11-year-old girl.  Her parents were killed in an auto accident and she knows that the only place she can feel safe is in the house where she grew up.  The problem is that another family lives there now - parents, teenage son, and younger son.  She decides that she will live there too and makes her home in the walls and the basement and the attic of the home.  When the family is gone during the day, she is able to go into the rooms and be free.  When they are at home,  she lives vicariously through their conversations and their lives.  Both of the boys begin to feel her presence in the house -- they aren't sure what is there but they know that something is living in the walls.   In their attempt to find whatever or whoever is there, they elicit the help of a man who becomes a threat to them and their home.  There is a lot of tension throughout the novel but after the stranger is brought in, the tension builds as he is determined to find who or what is living there.

The only negative in this book is that it starts out pretty slow and you may be tempted not to continue reading but trust me, once the action picks up and the tension ratchets up, you'll be glad that you kept reading.

Girl in the Walls is a well-written book that is part suspense, part grief, and part coming of age.  The book kept me turning pages to find out what happened to Elise and how the family reacted to her.  This is a debut novel for this author and I look forward to what he writes in the future.

Buy Girl in the Walls at Amazon

Susan Roberts lives in North Carolina with her husband of over 50 years.  She grew up in Michigan but now calls North Carolina home. Since her travel plans had to be canceled for this year, she is starting to make plans for travel in 2021. She reads almost anything (and the piles of books in her house prove that) but her favorite genres are Southern fiction, women's fiction, and historical fiction. Susan is a top 1% Goodreads Reviewer. You can connect with Susan on FacebookGoodreads, or Twitter.

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