'Fiendishly clever' Daily Mail
'Complex and sinister' Observer
'A literary high-wire artist' Sunday Express
'Prepare for sleep deprivation!' Red
All Beth has to do is drive her son to his Under-14s away match, watch him play, and bring him home.
Just because she knows that her former best friend lives near the football ground, that doesn't mean she has to drive past her house and try to catch a glimpse of her. Why would Beth do that, and risk dredging up painful memories? She hasn't seen Flora Braid for twelve years.
But she can't resist. She parks outside Flora's house and watches from across the road as Flora and her children, Thomas and Emily, step out of the car. Except...
There's something terribly wrong.
Flora looks the same, only older - just as Beth would have expected. It's the children that are the problem. Twelve years ago, Thomas and Emily Braid were five and three years old. Today, they look precisely as they did then. They are still five and three. They are Thomas and Emily without a doubt - Beth hears Flora call them by their names - but they haven't changed at all.
They are no taller, no older.
Why haven't they grown?
Customer ReviewsSee All
Far fetched but entertaining....
I’d yet to read a Sophie Hannah book, even after they’d come highly recommended by fellow readers. I was therefore very excited to be given the opportunity to read her latest novel “Haven’t They Grown” (also under the title “Perfect Little Children”).
“All Beth has to do is drive her son to his Under-14s away match, watch him play, and bring him home. Just because she knows her ex-best friend Flora, lives near the football ground, that doesn't mean she has to drive past her house and try to catch a glimpse of her. She hasn't seen Flora for twelve years. She doesn't want to see her today, or ever again. But she can't resist. She parks outside the house and watches from across the road as Flora and her children Thomas and Emily step out of the car. Except... There's something terribly wrong. Flora looks the same, only older. As would be expected. However, it’s the children. Twelve years ago, Thomas and Emily were five and three years old. Today, they look precisely as they did then. They are no taller, no older... Why haven't they grown?”
I found the whole premise, once it got going, very far fetched and utterly unrealistic but it didn’t stop me becoming fully invested into finding out exactly why the children hadn’t seemed to age. Told in the first person by Beth Leeson, she can’t believe what she’s seen and is determined to discover the truth at all costs. She has an exceedingly supportive husband, a lot more supportive than I imagine most husbands would be and two very typical teenage kids who made up the very strong family. Zannah the oldest child (though much older than her years mentally) really got into being the detective and relished trying to solve the unexplainable mystery. Although she could be quite annoying, she was a very well developed character and I pictured her quite clearly rolling her eyes at times and sighing in frustration. I did feel the scene with the teacher and the racism an unnecessary filler but on the whole I thoroughly enjoyed the whole story no matter how impractical most of it was and I found myself happily engrossed. It was very cleverly plotted, if a little complicated but written well, with excellently created characters and a denouement that kept me fascinated.
Now that I’ve read my first Sophie Hannah book it certainly won’t be my last and I’d happily recommend “Haven’t They Grown”, it’s well worth a read, just keep in mind it’s entertaining fiction not a passable real life scenario.