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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 Eventually, every hidden thing is found. Elise knows every inch of the house. She knows which boards will creak. She knows where the gaps are in the walls. She knows which parts can take h 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 Eventually, every hidden thing is found. Elise knows every inch of the house. She knows which boards will creak. She knows where the gaps are in the walls. She knows which parts can take her in, hide her away. It’s home, after all. The home her parents made for her, before they were taken from her in a car crash. And home is where you stay, no matter what. Eddie is a teenager trying to forget about the girl he sometimes sees out of the corner of his eye. But when his hotheaded older brother senses her, too, they are faced with the question of how to get rid of someone they aren’t sure even exists. And as they try to cast her out, they unwittingly bring an unexpected and far more real threat to their doorstep.  Written with grace and enormous heart, Girl in the Walls is a novel about carrying on through grief, forging unconventional friendships, and realizing, little by little, that we don’t need to fear what we do not understand.


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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 Eventually, every hidden thing is found. Elise knows every inch of the house. She knows which boards will creak. She knows where the gaps are in the walls. She knows which parts can take h 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 Eventually, every hidden thing is found. Elise knows every inch of the house. She knows which boards will creak. She knows where the gaps are in the walls. She knows which parts can take her in, hide her away. It’s home, after all. The home her parents made for her, before they were taken from her in a car crash. And home is where you stay, no matter what. Eddie is a teenager trying to forget about the girl he sometimes sees out of the corner of his eye. But when his hotheaded older brother senses her, too, they are faced with the question of how to get rid of someone they aren’t sure even exists. And as they try to cast her out, they unwittingly bring an unexpected and far more real threat to their doorstep.  Written with grace and enormous heart, Girl in the Walls is a novel about carrying on through grief, forging unconventional friendships, and realizing, little by little, that we don’t need to fear what we do not understand.

30 review for Girl in the Walls

  1. 4 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    This is soooo clever, sooooo original, soooo extraordinary! I haven’t read something so remarkable, refreshing, outrageous but also intense, dark, thrilling and emotional at the same time! I haven’t gotten so much tensed for a long time! I think after gritting so hard, my teeth can fall down at any second! I’m so scared to move from my couch! My husband dearest acts like he didn’t hear my scream for help! ( actually I cannot form any words because not only my blood but also my vocal cords are fr This is soooo clever, sooooo original, soooo extraordinary! I haven’t read something so remarkable, refreshing, outrageous but also intense, dark, thrilling and emotional at the same time! I haven’t gotten so much tensed for a long time! I think after gritting so hard, my teeth can fall down at any second! I’m so scared to move from my couch! My husband dearest acts like he didn’t hear my scream for help! ( actually I cannot form any words because not only my blood but also my vocal cords are frozen! I cannot make a sound! ) Okay! This book is about survival and grief but the tension the author meticulously built scare the living daylights out of you! You feel like watching A Quite Place’s longer version alone in the dark over and over again! The plot line is so clever, bizarre, mind spinning! It also gives you Bong Joon Ho’s Academy Award winner screenplay “Parasite”! Poor little Elsie becomes orphan after losing her family at a traffic accident, starts living in the wall of the house once they lived as a family. But now another family of four moved to this place: The Masons: Nick and Laura: the parents, Eddie and Marshal are two sons. The brothers are not in good terms! Their characteristics are quiet unique and they cannot meet in the middle, pushing away each other! On the other hand, Elsie keeps looking for traces left behind her family, living like a ghost, making noises without getting attention of the house’s inhabitants. Talking to her one eyed friend Odin, squeezing tighter, sensing the upcoming storm! Thankfully she knows the dodgy floors, scraps help her move without being noticed! But the brothers finally sense her existence and they bond a partnership to do something about it. The most terrifying thing about this book was not the brothers or threatening tropic storm! It was actually the house truly horrifies us. It is eerie breathing, functioning organism! Even the trees seem like alive, watching each move of the characters, waiting for the right time to attack! Overall ; it was perfectly written, haunting, gripping, shocking novel with well developed characterization! I’m so sure this is gonna be one of the most fascinating reads of the next year which I highly recommend ! I haven’t read something freaking good for a long time! It’s a big winner for me! Special thanks to NetGalley and Ecco for sharing this amazing digital reviewer copy with me in exchange my honest opinions.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ceecee

    This is just as it sounds only so much more. Elise loses her parents in a car crash, she stays one night in foster care and then moves in between the walls of an old property that was once her home. There she feels safe, it’s a much needed embrace, a connection to her parents so she doesn’t entirely lose them and she searches the house when it’s empty for signs of them. The Mason family now occupy it - parents Nick and Laura and brothers Eddie and Marshall. The unfolding story is one of the most This is just as it sounds only so much more. Elise loses her parents in a car crash, she stays one night in foster care and then moves in between the walls of an old property that was once her home. There she feels safe, it’s a much needed embrace, a connection to her parents so she doesn’t entirely lose them and she searches the house when it’s empty for signs of them. The Mason family now occupy it - parents Nick and Laura and brothers Eddie and Marshall. The unfolding story is one of the most creative and original books I have read in a long time and I loved it! This really is a “Literary Thriller” and is a unique way of examining survival and coping with grief. The descriptions are incredibly vivid, the house feels alive as do the objects in it. An intense atmosphere is created through this, in addition to the weather, nature and Norse Mythology which Elise reads to pass the solitary hours. I love how Odin, the One Eye, keeps that eye on her and the delicious humour of him talking to her! That is also poignant and sad too as she’s alone although she is sensed by Eddie and later Marshall and befriended by a delightful boy, Brodie. The brothers are interesting characters as through what occurs, two divided brothers become close and bond. As the story builds so does the tension which is really powerful as Elise becomes hunted. This is horrible to read about as you become invested in her survival and she, the boys and the house face terrible danger. There are some truly jaw dropping moments which threatens the characters with the addition of a huge tropical storm. It’s creepy in places and a bit supernatural as even the trees are watching events in the house, suspended as if with baited breath waiting for something to happen. It does and how. Overall, this is such a well written book. I love the short sharp chapters which works so well in building the story. It’s very original and is a most compelling atmospheric story of survival. I love the way it ends as it fits perfectly. Highly recommended. With thanks to NetGalley and 4th Estate for the much appreciated ARC for an honest review.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Dannii Elle

    Elise was the sole witness to her parents' tragic death. She is orphaned, homeless and, with no near-by family to come to her aid, is transported to a temporary foster home. She doesn't make it through the night there. Elise knows exactly where she needs to be. Her childhood home beckons to her and she finds her way inside its inviting walls, flitting from shadowed alcove to dusty floor space and attic hidey hole, whilst its new occupants remain oblivious to her presence. I was anticipating this Elise was the sole witness to her parents' tragic death. She is orphaned, homeless and, with no near-by family to come to her aid, is transported to a temporary foster home. She doesn't make it through the night there. Elise knows exactly where she needs to be. Her childhood home beckons to her and she finds her way inside its inviting walls, flitting from shadowed alcove to dusty floor space and attic hidey hole, whilst its new occupants remain oblivious to her presence. I was anticipating this to be a chilling, autumnal read but instead found this to be largely a sorrowful tale, rather than a Gothic one. I liked it no less for that, but did find much of the narrative concerned with adding bones to the particulars already vaguely detailed in the synopsis, before more grit and tension was introduced. This, again, made for slower-paced but not an unlikable reading experience. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to the author, A.J. Gnuse, and the publisher, 4th Estate, for this opportunity.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Pauline

    The sad but creepy story about a young girl who has lost her parents. She sneaks back into her old house and stays hidden from the family who live there now by staying in the walls. When the house is empty she can move about and make herself at home, until someone starts to notice her. Thank you to NetGalley and 4th Estate and William Collins for my e-copy in exchange for an honest review.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Tammie

    Girl in the Walls, a fiction book, was a solid 4 star read. One of the most original and unique books I’ve read this entire year; Girl in the Walls centers around main character Elsie-a young girl that tragically loses her parents in a car accident. Elsie returns to her childhood home, now settled in by another family, and decides to “live in the walls” rather than reside elsewhere. Her time living in the house is a somewhat creepy read as she is able to maneuver around largely undetected by the Girl in the Walls, a fiction book, was a solid 4 star read. One of the most original and unique books I’ve read this entire year; Girl in the Walls centers around main character Elsie-a young girl that tragically loses her parents in a car accident. Elsie returns to her childhood home, now settled in by another family, and decides to “live in the walls” rather than reside elsewhere. Her time living in the house is a somewhat creepy read as she is able to maneuver around largely undetected by the family. Girl in the Walls is a well-written book about survival. I enjoyed the characters and the originality of the book. Highly recommend to fans of fiction books that want a unique read. Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for providing me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Emer (A Little Haze)

    When I saw the book trailer for Girl in the Walls on twitter some months ago I got really excited. It conjured up images of gothic, eerie brilliance. I imagined a very atmospheric novel set in the past when by candlelight an old house would creak and groan with the mysteries of what was inhabiting its walls... I basically envisioned a good old fashioned ghost story. What the book ended up being was a million miles away from that. From the earliest pages I was disappointed. The setting was too mo When I saw the book trailer for Girl in the Walls on twitter some months ago I got really excited. It conjured up images of gothic, eerie brilliance. I imagined a very atmospheric novel set in the past when by candlelight an old house would creak and groan with the mysteries of what was inhabiting its walls... I basically envisioned a good old fashioned ghost story. What the book ended up being was a million miles away from that. From the earliest pages I was disappointed. The setting was too modern; characters eating pop tarts and ghost stories just don’t coexist in my head! It lacked any creepy atmosphere for me. And the characters... they were too regular. I just expected more secrecy. Characters with hidden depths. A house with an eerie history that is echoed in its current inhabitants’ lives... Instead the book was about grief, loneliness and finding the place in the world where you belong. Which is a very compelling subject matter when executed well... but it just wasn’t what I was looking for from this novel. I thought I was going to have a novel that wouldn’t be amiss categorised next to some of my gothic favs like Moreno-Garcia’s Mexican Gothic, Setterfield’s The Thirteenth Tale, or Bailey’s In The Night Wood. The story follows the tale of Elise, a young girl, who seemingly lives within the walls of the house she once shared with her now deceased parents. She carefully creeps around the house swiping small amounts of food, a book to read etc. and survives on her wits. Two teenaged children of the house’s current family occupants begin to suspect that the strange noises they hear, the curious missing objects etc mean that someone or something is living in their house with them. And so they search online for information and to find out how to rid their house of their unwelcome guest... And okay. That’s actually a pretty interesting storyline so even though the beginning of the book was a snoozefest where nothing much happened I persisted with the novel because I was curious to see if the teenagers would ever meet Elise. And there was always the possibility that Elise was an incorporeal character too... However, between 30 and 40% another child named Brody suddenly shows up and discovers Elise which had me baffled. I didn’t feel it made much sense to the narrative. Yes it was nice to see Elise open up to another person and therefore become somewhat of a tangible character, but there was always something missing in this book for me. I don’t feel that Elise’s emotions were ever properly explored. She wasn’t given enough grounding in the storyline because I think the author always wanted to have the book read in such a way that perhaps Elise was never truly alive? But to me this decision just made her feel very detached as a character and therefore the themes of grief and loneliness, and how they impacted this child, were never explored in a satisfactory manner. It also meant that reasons behind the decisions Elise made as a character were never fully shown to the reader which made the ending feel somewhat hollow I felt. But before that hollow ending there was the climax of the book... it suddenly turned into an almost thriller with a crazed bad guy hunting Elise down and I’m reading it like wtf?? It entirely jarred with me. Overall this was a book that promised so much but sadly for me didn’t deliver on its potential. Content warning: Incredibly offensive ableist language used to insult a character *An e-copy was kindly provided to me by the publisher via NetGalley for honest review* Publishing 4th March 2021, 4th Estate For more reviews and book related chat check out my blog Follow me on Twitter Friend me on Goodreads

  7. 5 out of 5

    ABCme

    I'm blown away! This off the beaten track literary thriller is definitely one of a kind. Imagine someone residing in your house, you can't see them, but you feel something eerie going on. Well, that's the Girl in the Walls. The reader gets to know the main character, how she got here and why. Meanwhile there's a family living their life in this Louisiana mansion. Although large in seize, going around its confined spaces most of the time gives a feeling of entrapment and eminent danger. It took me a I'm blown away! This off the beaten track literary thriller is definitely one of a kind. Imagine someone residing in your house, you can't see them, but you feel something eerie going on. Well, that's the Girl in the Walls. The reader gets to know the main character, how she got here and why. Meanwhile there's a family living their life in this Louisiana mansion. Although large in seize, going around its confined spaces most of the time gives a feeling of entrapment and eminent danger. It took me a while to get into the story, but once it had me it wouldn't let go and I read all through the night to finish it. The ending is heartfelt and brings this highly believable read to a very satisfying conclusion. Thank you Netgalley and Fourth Estate for the ARC.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Tammie

    Girl in the Walls, a fiction book, was a solid 4 star read. One of the most original and unique books I’ve read this entire year; Girl in the Walls centers around main character Elsie-a young girl that tragically loses her parents in a car accident. Elsie returns to her childhood home, now settled in by another family, and decides to “live in the walls” rather than reside elsewhere. Her time living in the house is a somewhat creepy read as she is able to maneuver around largely undetected by the Girl in the Walls, a fiction book, was a solid 4 star read. One of the most original and unique books I’ve read this entire year; Girl in the Walls centers around main character Elsie-a young girl that tragically loses her parents in a car accident. Elsie returns to her childhood home, now settled in by another family, and decides to “live in the walls” rather than reside elsewhere. Her time living in the house is a somewhat creepy read as she is able to maneuver around largely undetected by the family. Girl in the Walls is a well-written book about survival. I enjoyed the characters and the originality of the book. Highly recommend to fans of fiction books that want a unique read. Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for providing me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Spadge Nunn

    I’m a little shocked at the many 5 star reviews for this book. What first intrigued me as a plot seems to have fallen very flat. It’s categorised as adult fiction and described as a gothic tale, but it’s quite simply a modern story (it mentions Pop Tarts multiple times) about a young girl trying to hold onto her childhood home by hiding in the walls, and doing a terrible job about it. One of the biggest sins for me is that I’ve been left with a lot of unanswered questions - we never understand w I’m a little shocked at the many 5 star reviews for this book. What first intrigued me as a plot seems to have fallen very flat. It’s categorised as adult fiction and described as a gothic tale, but it’s quite simply a modern story (it mentions Pop Tarts multiple times) about a young girl trying to hold onto her childhood home by hiding in the walls, and doing a terrible job about it. One of the biggest sins for me is that I’ve been left with a lot of unanswered questions - we never understand why the villain exists or does the job he does, we don’t find out what happens to her best friend who saves her life, and (spoiler alert) we don’t understand emotionally why she can finally move on either. An aspect of the plot I enjoyed was that this wall-dweller brings antagonistic brothers closer together with her terrible hiding tactics. Brotherly bonding is wonderfully heartwarming. If you want a real gothic tale or some addictive tension in a story, I don’t think this one hits the mark. Favourite quote: Her life was a film put on pause while the rest of the world churned relentlessly on.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Atul_reads

    2.5/5 Here's the book that fascinated me since the first day of its being available at NetGalley; I'm attracted to the girl's silhouette and the title. When reading it, I'm not sure how to feel. Sadness, yes. I mean, come on, the girl is a little girl. The whole thing about missing and the cops did not found her like come on, even if this is not a crime and investigation book but child welfare is essential! And let's just say that I can't put an image of what's going on and how certain things can 2.5/5 Here's the book that fascinated me since the first day of its being available at NetGalley; I'm attracted to the girl's silhouette and the title. When reading it, I'm not sure how to feel. Sadness, yes. I mean, come on, the girl is a little girl. The whole thing about missing and the cops did not found her like come on, even if this is not a crime and investigation book but child welfare is essential! And let's just say that I can't put an image of what's going on and how certain things can make sense in a house that I don't know the system and how it was built. I keep on thinking is it possible? The 11 years old can do it, so yeah, she's little and thin, that might work. But really where's the setting of this place; in a suburban area, close to the woods, close-knit community, near the river, or what? With everything happened and the neighbor not even realizing what's going on. I mean with a girl looking wildly with her hair sticking out and television was turned on in full volume (either house these days have soundproof walls or the house just far from one another) when the owner all went out, so if that doesn't make anyone eager, then I don't know what will. But perhaps I'm not attentive enough to small details therefore can't blame the book. When in doubt used google, okay? They're great to provide side information! Well, let's just focused on what the book about instead of unnecessary details like mine. The Girl in The Wall has the same vibe (where the stranger living inside your house) as Parasite and I See You (2019 film) but not that it involves any bloody scene and murder. It creeps me out every time I watched a film about humans trespassing by silently living in your house, rooming everywhere, eat and wear what you wear. The whole family might go crazy or lose their mind, thinking there's an entity living among them. What's to do after finding out the truth? And who would believe you if it's not recorded on CCTV or you don't even place it in the first place? It could make someone lose their mind and that's clearly shown in this book. All this book/film is screaming CAUTIOUS and BEWARE at you. You'll never know what could happen so better be careful. Well, I wanted more than the book could give but have to remind myself that the audience probably younger readers so the author can't make it too bold. I did feel suspenseful but overall it was just an okay read; not many scenes that could make stirs me from my sit. But no doubt, it's still an emotional read. And honestly, I can't blame a child for holding on to the only place that reminisces her of her deceased parent, still, her action is wrong in any way.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    1.5 A very slow start for me. After I read the first few chapters I wasn't compelled to pick it up again for another week and a half. That being said once I got into it the story was interesting and creepy - imagine someone living in your walls, in your house, unseen, unconfirmed and you thinking you're just going crazy. Like I said - interesting and creepy. However, it would have been nice if the main character - Elise was directive instead of reactional, I think that's why I was so indifferent a 1.5 A very slow start for me. After I read the first few chapters I wasn't compelled to pick it up again for another week and a half. That being said once I got into it the story was interesting and creepy - imagine someone living in your walls, in your house, unseen, unconfirmed and you thinking you're just going crazy. Like I said - interesting and creepy. However, it would have been nice if the main character - Elise was directive instead of reactional, I think that's why I was so indifferent about her. Things were happening to her and she wasn't really doing anything other than existing - albeit in a strange way. It really grew compelling towards the end when Brody was introduced - as annoying as he was, and when the brothers reached out to the... exterminator.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Anne Wright

    I have only just closed this book and have been staring at the wall with a "wow" . A hauntingly beautiful tale of Elise, the "girl in the walls", who had hidden herself inside her family home after her parents' death. Returning to the place that she last felt happy, Elise becomes a part of the house. The problem is, the house now belongs to another family. How does she manage to live within the house? Do they know she is there? Can they hear her/sense her? Do the brothers living in the house sus I have only just closed this book and have been staring at the wall with a "wow" . A hauntingly beautiful tale of Elise, the "girl in the walls", who had hidden herself inside her family home after her parents' death. Returning to the place that she last felt happy, Elise becomes a part of the house. The problem is, the house now belongs to another family. How does she manage to live within the house? Do they know she is there? Can they hear her/sense her? Do the brothers living in the house suspect someone is there in the house? Will they discover her? It's not very often that I find a book that is unique. This was definitely that. This book had me peering into the small spaces in my home, just to make sure no-one is there.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Amelia

    This book was incredible. It is about a young 11-year-old girl who chooses to live in the walls of her old home after her parents die unexpectedly. The house is now occupied by another family. The two sons become suspicious of the odd noises they hear and missing items of food and begin to think someone is living in the walls. I love how the story developed; it was completely different to what I was expecting. If I didn't have to study and sleep, I could have easily spent a whole day reading the This book was incredible. It is about a young 11-year-old girl who chooses to live in the walls of her old home after her parents die unexpectedly. The house is now occupied by another family. The two sons become suspicious of the odd noises they hear and missing items of food and begin to think someone is living in the walls. I love how the story developed; it was completely different to what I was expecting. If I didn't have to study and sleep, I could have easily spent a whole day reading the entire book. It became so tense at times I really did not want to put it down. The ending was absolutely perfect. It was the right way to round off this story. Also, the short chapters and change of point of views were really effective and made for an enjoyable read. I highly recommend this book. I would like to thank Net Galley and Fourth Estate for providing me with an ARC in exchange for a voluntary and honest review.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Fay Flude

    I am not a reader of gothic novels, horror, paranormal or fantasy but Pigeonhole is a reading platform which tempts the lover of books into sampling genres usually given a wide berth. Girl in the Walls is one such literary experience for me. Set in a rural, remote, scorching hot, termite and mosquito riddled area of America, this is a book whose title means what it says. Elise is a girl and she does live in walls. It is a strange, surreal, haunting novel that made me question reality, made me pond I am not a reader of gothic novels, horror, paranormal or fantasy but Pigeonhole is a reading platform which tempts the lover of books into sampling genres usually given a wide berth. Girl in the Walls is one such literary experience for me. Set in a rural, remote, scorching hot, termite and mosquito riddled area of America, this is a book whose title means what it says. Elise is a girl and she does live in walls. It is a strange, surreal, haunting novel that made me question reality, made me ponder how loss manifests itself and had me uneasily shocked at the lengths one small girl would go to, to remain in a place she feels so emotionally connected to. Eddie and Marshall are brothers who do not get on. Eddie senses a presence in their home but does not tell anyone. At first he seems to be the only one struggling with the world around him. He seems socially isolated and awkward and at the mercy of the bullying Marshall. But appearances, and the sense of an unexplained 'presence' can be deceptive. For Marshall begins to feel watched and takes it upon himself to get help. The naivete of his actions have devastating consequences and it is this which creates a compelling tension, a thrilling fight to remain hidden and ultimately the potential to do something different. The hurricane swept scenes, of flood and destruction are exceptionally well written and the author uses Norse mythology in the depiction of Odin, to bring about a resolution. Can life continue between the walls, in all the spaces which exist but are not seen, or will there come a time when the walls themselves cease to exist and life must be lived in the open? An unusual and terrifying fight for survival, enter a fantastical world where the unthought of becomes a reality.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Susan Hampson

    Can you imagine that your home is your world and going out is squeezing out of the crawl space under the floors into the inner house where people live. Elsie has lived in the walls ever since her parents were killed in an accident, it was after all her home. When the family are asleep or out she comes out to find scraps of food and leftovers, occasionally taking a little more. She takes things she needs to survive. The knocks and creaks, when the family are home are put down to the normal noises Can you imagine that your home is your world and going out is squeezing out of the crawl space under the floors into the inner house where people live. Elsie has lived in the walls ever since her parents were killed in an accident, it was after all her home. When the family are asleep or out she comes out to find scraps of food and leftovers, occasionally taking a little more. She takes things she needs to survive. The knocks and creaks, when the family are home are put down to the normal noises a house makes when all is quiet. She knows all the dodgy floorboards and steps. She knows her limits so that the family don’t get too curious. But the youngest boy, almost a teenager has seen her, just that fraction of a second now and again. When his older brother confesses he has seen her too they decide to do something about it. Believe me, once you have finished this book you will hear every creak your house makes. Elsie, the girl in the walls is intelligent, harmless and lives every day with her own fears. Whereas the boys of the house fear what is in the walls, Elsie fears them finding her. She has nowhere else to live. The author makes this a highly emotional read, nightmare scenarios and unusual friendships. The unknown is what people fear and at times your mind is your worst enemy. The story never really ventures from those four walls but it is packed with heart-pounding moments that are off the scale. This is a superb debut from this author, definitely one to watch out for in the future. I wish to thank the publisher and NetGalley for an e-copy of this book which I have reviewed honestly.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    This book is a big fat WOW. So original. So compelling. So atmospheric. So intriguing. So tense. So very different from anything else I’ve ever read. It’s already being touted as the big Gothic novel of 2021 — and Gothic is usually not my thang — but I can’t recommend this one enough. And to think it’s a debut novel! This book definitely deserved a sweet spot on my best-of list and it’s only down to the timing of me finishing it so very late in the year that it didn’t make it. The premise wouldn This book is a big fat WOW. So original. So compelling. So atmospheric. So intriguing. So tense. So very different from anything else I’ve ever read. It’s already being touted as the big Gothic novel of 2021 — and Gothic is usually not my thang — but I can’t recommend this one enough. And to think it’s a debut novel! This book definitely deserved a sweet spot on my best-of list and it’s only down to the timing of me finishing it so very late in the year that it didn’t make it. The premise wouldn’t normally have caught my attention, but I’m so glad I went against my ‘usual’ reading tastes: Elise is a young girl who loses her parents in a car crash, after which she moves into the walls of her former house. Eddie and Marshall are the brothers who now live in Elise’s old place and who are sensing that someone or something lives among them but whose parents don’t give the boys’ suspicions any credence. The tension steadily increases as Elise begins making mistakes, risking discovery, while the boys take a precarious decision in their venture to uncover the house’s mystery that will leave your skin crawling. The book’s climax coincides with a great storm and, well, it left me breathless. This book is a tender examination of grief and loss, of family bonds and the memories that are held in the places where we grow up. It’s a beautiful coming-of-age tale, and I sincerely hope this book will blow you all away once it’s released this coming spring.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Claire

    Well written, tense and atmospheric. This wasn't the type of book I thought it would be, from the cover I thought it was a ghost story. Nevertheless, I enjoyed it. The characters were well rounded and very believable. Although the main character was Elise, I found myself fascinated by the way the relationship between the two brothers shifted as the story unfolded. The house had a character of its own. I would definitely look out for more by this author. This was an ARC provided through Netgalley. Well written, tense and atmospheric. This wasn't the type of book I thought it would be, from the cover I thought it was a ghost story. Nevertheless, I enjoyed it. The characters were well rounded and very believable. Although the main character was Elise, I found myself fascinated by the way the relationship between the two brothers shifted as the story unfolded. The house had a character of its own. I would definitely look out for more by this author. This was an ARC provided through Netgalley.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Trisha

    Sounds creepy and emotional! Read an excerpt from Buzz books and I'm intrigued! Sounds creepy and emotional! Read an excerpt from Buzz books and I'm intrigued!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kirsty

    Super-creepy concept, but it didn't really go anywhere, and the tension was oddly handled. Super-creepy concept, but it didn't really go anywhere, and the tension was oddly handled.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Thomas

    The term 'literary thriller' is bandied around quite a bit, but this absolutely lives up to it. It's the same short, sharp chapters as Woman in the Window, but with sparse, elegant prose that hums along and draws you into its world. And this is a world between worlds, the crawl spaces and gaps in a built and rebuilt house. In these places lives a young girl who can't let go, and the monsters that haunt our past. I couldn't put this book down, and highly recommend it when it comes out early next The term 'literary thriller' is bandied around quite a bit, but this absolutely lives up to it. It's the same short, sharp chapters as Woman in the Window, but with sparse, elegant prose that hums along and draws you into its world. And this is a world between worlds, the crawl spaces and gaps in a built and rebuilt house. In these places lives a young girl who can't let go, and the monsters that haunt our past. I couldn't put this book down, and highly recommend it when it comes out early next year.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    I wish I could give this 6 stars--the kind of book you want never to end, yet can't help but read the next page, and the next! Setting, storyline, characters - the twists it takes are unpredictable and unforgettable! The house and it's inhabitants blossom into focus as the story builds - in turns fascinating, unsettling, funny, suspenseful and terrifying. I want to befriend Elise, to protect her--the author has completely convinced me that I know this house, this girl. And he does so in a beauti I wish I could give this 6 stars--the kind of book you want never to end, yet can't help but read the next page, and the next! Setting, storyline, characters - the twists it takes are unpredictable and unforgettable! The house and it's inhabitants blossom into focus as the story builds - in turns fascinating, unsettling, funny, suspenseful and terrifying. I want to befriend Elise, to protect her--the author has completely convinced me that I know this house, this girl. And he does so in a beautiful literary style that makes me smile and hold my breath to the end. Great writing, great book. Highly recommend!!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Beth Chats Books

    I don’t want to dwell too much on the negatives in regards to this review. So I will try and be as succinct as possible. I do think this was a promising premise but executed poorly. The plot was clunky and had some holes in pivotal plot points. I also think this book was drawn out to the point of ludicrousness. There was a chapter called The End and then another four chapters after. While the chapters are a few pages long, I was eye rolling and puffing with impatience by the end. I just wanted t I don’t want to dwell too much on the negatives in regards to this review. So I will try and be as succinct as possible. I do think this was a promising premise but executed poorly. The plot was clunky and had some holes in pivotal plot points. I also think this book was drawn out to the point of ludicrousness. There was a chapter called The End and then another four chapters after. While the chapters are a few pages long, I was eye rolling and puffing with impatience by the end. I just wanted to finish it by 60% in. But I loved the idea of a Girl in the Walls. It was so creative to experiment/run with the idea of the noises a large old house makes and create a narrative from that. I just didn’t understand the point of this novel. The author wrote themselves into corners with where they took the plot. But I loved the character of Eddie, he was super endearing. And the girl, Elise intrigued me but she became a one dimensional character as she spends the whole novel in the walls. Overall I think this book would have been much more compelling, had it been significantly condensed. But the writing was really enjoyable and the author wrote wonderfully about the house. It really brought the setting of the novel to life. Thanks to 4th Estate and William Collins, the author, A.J Gnuse and Netgalley for a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    I had expected Girl in the Walls to be a gothic thriller, perhaps with ghostly goings-on in the vein of Sarah Perry or Laura Purcell, and was very pleasantly surprised to discover this is a literary thriller, whose story leaps off the page and demands to be read to its conclusion. While reading, I could easily imagine this book in movie form. Elise is a young orphan, returned to the house she considered her true home, though as another family now lives there, she survives by secreting herself in I had expected Girl in the Walls to be a gothic thriller, perhaps with ghostly goings-on in the vein of Sarah Perry or Laura Purcell, and was very pleasantly surprised to discover this is a literary thriller, whose story leaps off the page and demands to be read to its conclusion. While reading, I could easily imagine this book in movie form. Elise is a young orphan, returned to the house she considered her true home, though as another family now lives there, she survives by secreting herself in the walls. Her occupancy does not go wholly unnoticed: Eddie, the younger of two teenage boys, often thinks he sees someone from the corner of his eye. An awkward boy, he wonders if the presence is a figment of his overactive imagination. Until his boisterous older brother confesses that he's noticed things too. I truly don't want to share any more of this fast-paced plot. Suffice to stay that events unfold which spiral out of control and put the lives of all the main protagonists in danger. A.J. Gnuse has created a terrific plot which keeps readers gripped right through to the last page. I don't think I've read anything quite like it!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    I received this proof while on furlough, and was in no way required to post a review. However, many thanks to Waterstones and 4thEstateBooks for the chance to experience this novel. Girl in the Walls is a strange novel, it wasn't as creepy, or as gothic as the blurb lead me to believe, however, it was still a compelling, strange story that dealt with survival and grief in a unique and refreshing way. The house felt as if it were a living, breathing thing thanks to the vibrant description that tak I received this proof while on furlough, and was in no way required to post a review. However, many thanks to Waterstones and 4thEstateBooks for the chance to experience this novel. Girl in the Walls is a strange novel, it wasn't as creepy, or as gothic as the blurb lead me to believe, however, it was still a compelling, strange story that dealt with survival and grief in a unique and refreshing way. The house felt as if it were a living, breathing thing thanks to the vibrant description that takes place, and the short chapter length makes this book an easy read. While the premise of this novel is fantastic, at times it felt like it needed a slight polish, when I think about my experience with the book overall, there seems to be something lacking. Over the course of the story, a lot of things go unanswered, and while that didn't bother me, it's something worth being aware of.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    When I first read the blurb of this book, I thought it was about a ghost, but it surprised me by being something a little different and more unusual than that. Elise is a girl who really does live in the walls of a home - one that used to be hers until a life changing event. Now she lives alongside a family, unknown to them, and follows their lives intimately whilst still trying to cling onto the fragments of her own. It’s a beautiful exploration of grief, loneliness and change in a young girl’s When I first read the blurb of this book, I thought it was about a ghost, but it surprised me by being something a little different and more unusual than that. Elise is a girl who really does live in the walls of a home - one that used to be hers until a life changing event. Now she lives alongside a family, unknown to them, and follows their lives intimately whilst still trying to cling onto the fragments of her own. It’s a beautiful exploration of grief, loneliness and change in a young girl’s life but in some ways I also found the concept a bit unbelievable, and I’m not sure I completely enjoyed the read as a result. My thanks to #NetGalley and 4th Estate for an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review. This book will be out on the 4th March in the UK. #bookstagram #bookreviews #booklove #GirlintheWalls #AJGnuse

  26. 5 out of 5

    Wendy

    The main character at the heart of this book surely must be the house in which its previous occupant, Girl in the Walls , and its new family both reside. It’s unsettling to think how an innocent network of rooms could be connected via invisible arteries that seamlessly hold everything together, while also providing an eerily perfect solution for a strange presence to manoeuvre undetected. The increasing concern that grows within both brothers AND the ‘invader’ were very well done. So too was th The main character at the heart of this book surely must be the house in which its previous occupant, Girl in the Walls , and its new family both reside. It’s unsettling to think how an innocent network of rooms could be connected via invisible arteries that seamlessly hold everything together, while also providing an eerily perfect solution for a strange presence to manoeuvre undetected. The increasing concern that grows within both brothers AND the ‘invader’ were very well done. So too was the incremental build up to the boys admission of their fear resulting from the little things that just don’t add up, like the misplaced items that turn up unexpectedly and their mum having to replenish a cereal brand that everyone says they dislike. The weirdest event, though, was not the situation occurring in their home, but how they decided to tackle the problem. I won’t tell you too much about this, just that you won’t fail to recognise the moment(!). Personally I would have liked a little more background pre-dating this fiasco of terror, as it’s consequences were extreme and left a loose thread trailing in its wake. Mostly I liked how the story was balanced with accounts from both parties. This allowed me to observe the characters, not as an enemy or by taking sides, but how they choose to face their individual struggles. There are circumstances and practicalities that I just couldn’t help but visualise, so it wasn’t difficult to imagine how it could make a compelling and dramatic film too. (I received a digital copy of this title courtesy of the publisher via Netgalley, with my thanks, which it was my pleasure to voluntarily read and review.)

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sarah W 🍂🍁🌧🌬

    This was a strange book for me, however I can’t say it wasn’t enjoyable. Firstly the premise was completely different from what I was expecting, as I thought it was a horror novel. It is creepy in places but definitely more of a story about family and home than a horror. Secondly the prose was quite hard to get used to, it jumped around a lot and was abit disjointed at times which made it hard for me to read. I also found that all the characters seemed the same when they were narrating their par This was a strange book for me, however I can’t say it wasn’t enjoyable. Firstly the premise was completely different from what I was expecting, as I thought it was a horror novel. It is creepy in places but definitely more of a story about family and home than a horror. Secondly the prose was quite hard to get used to, it jumped around a lot and was abit disjointed at times which made it hard for me to read. I also found that all the characters seemed the same when they were narrating their parts of the story. Some people may like the style but this just wasn’t for me however I give three stars because there wasn’t actually anything wrong with the book - It just differed from my expectations. Thanks to Netgalley for this copy in exchange for an honest review.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Pamela Scott

    https://thebookloversboudoir.wordpres... I’ve wanted to read this book for ages because it sounded so interesting and was delighted to be approved via NetGalley. This is a debut and I cannot wait to see what the author comes up with next because this was totally original and engrossing. I did think this would be a ghost story along the lines of something Susan Hill would write. It’s not, it’s a very different book entirely and I was a tiny bit disappointed for a couple of pages until I got yanked https://thebookloversboudoir.wordpres... I’ve wanted to read this book for ages because it sounded so interesting and was delighted to be approved via NetGalley. This is a debut and I cannot wait to see what the author comes up with next because this was totally original and engrossing. I did think this would be a ghost story along the lines of something Susan Hill would write. It’s not, it’s a very different book entirely and I was a tiny bit disappointed for a couple of pages until I got yanked right into the book. I loved the atmosphere the author creates. I also loved the up’s and down’s and twists. I love the weird feel of it all. Totally worth a read.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Harvee

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. An 11 year old girl loses her parents in a tragic accident and finds her way to her home, the house she remembers and calls her own. Hiding in the walls from the family currently living there, Elise both lives in the house and doesn't live there, hidden as she is from the family. The character is unbelievably lucky, in her pluck, her determination, and her desire to keep the past and her parents close. She spends some time hidden, and the suspense is built in when there is a determination to fin An 11 year old girl loses her parents in a tragic accident and finds her way to her home, the house she remembers and calls her own. Hiding in the walls from the family currently living there, Elise both lives in the house and doesn't live there, hidden as she is from the family. The character is unbelievably lucky, in her pluck, her determination, and her desire to keep the past and her parents close. She spends some time hidden, and the suspense is built in when there is a determination to find her. An unusual story that many readers might find familiar. Who hasn't wondered at times if there is someone or something unseen in their house, someone leaving traces or signs of a presence that can't be explained. A clever and enjoyable read, which has you cheering for the hidden girl in the walls.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Bob

    This poignant novel of a little orphaned girl living secretly in the walls of a home that once belonged to her deceased parents is heart rending and profound in its symbolism. She survives by denying her existence while listening to the conversations of the dysfunctional family residing in her former home. Though she is a symbol for so many lost souls in our world, she becomes so very real for the reader as a precious person, you will find yourself knocking on the walls of your own home asking l This poignant novel of a little orphaned girl living secretly in the walls of a home that once belonged to her deceased parents is heart rending and profound in its symbolism. She survives by denying her existence while listening to the conversations of the dysfunctional family residing in her former home. Though she is a symbol for so many lost souls in our world, she becomes so very real for the reader as a precious person, you will find yourself knocking on the walls of your own home asking little Elise to come out. This haunting but endearing story is a must read, impossible to put down.

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