Instant New York Times Bestseller
One of Fall 2019's Best Books (People, EW, Lithub, Vox, Washington Post, and more)
A young boy is haunted by a voice in his head in this acclaimed epic of literary horror from the author of The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
Christopher is seven years old.Christopher is the new kid in town.Christopher has an imaginary friend.
We can swallow our fear or let our fear swallow us.
Single mother Kate Reese is on the run. Determined to improve life for her and her son, Christopher, she flees an abusive relationship in the middle of the night with her child. Together, they find themselves drawn to the tight-knit community of Mill Grove, Pennsylvania. It's as far off the beaten track as they can get. Just one highway in, one highway out.
At first, it seems like the perfect place to finally settle down. Then Christopher vanishes. for six long days, no one can find him. Until Christopher emerges from the woods at the edge of town, unharmed but not unchanged. He returns with a voice in his head only he can hear, with a mission only he can complete: Build a treehouse in the woods by Christmas, or his mother and everyone in the town will never be the same again.
Twenty years ago, Stephen Chbosky's The Perks of Being a Wallflower made readers everywhere feel infinite. Now, Chbosky has returned with an epic work of literary horror, years in the making, whose grand scale and rich emotion redefine the genre. Read it with the lights on.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
This book feels like a true literary event. Since the 1999 release of his wildly entertaining coming-of-age novel, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky has created a successful career writing and directing for the screen. His long-awaited return to the novel? A horror story. And a horror so scary that even Stephen King might not want to read it at night. Chbosky introduces us to a single mother named Kate, who, with her son Christopher, flees an abusive relationship to start a new life. Christopher then mysteriously disappears only to return six days later—physically fine, but mentally scarred. From there, this tale is unsettling and innovative in a way unlike anything we’ve read in a long time. We’re rattled just imagining the movie adaptation.
Chbosky's ambitious second novel (after 1999's The Perks of Being a Wallflower) is a tale of good vs. evil that never gels. Seven-year-old Christopher and his mother, Kate, move to Mill Grove, Pa., after Kate leaves her abusive boyfriend. Kate gets a job at an old folks' home, and Christopher, who has a learning disability, starts second grade and makes friends with a boy nicknamed Special Ed. One day, Christopher disappears into the Mission Street Woods; he emerges six days later, unscathed but his learning disability has disappeared. Kate then wins the lottery and buys a new house bordering the woods, where a disembodied voice tells Christopher to build a tree house. Before long, Christopher gets debilitating headaches and strange revelations, a mysterious sickness spreads throughout the community, and a terrifying entity dubbed "the hissing lady" lurks around town. Chbosky brings deep humanity to his characters and creates genuinely unsettling tableaux, including a nightmarish otherworld that Christopher accesses via his treehouse, but considerable repetition extends the narrative while diminishing its impact. Christian overtones (some subtle, others less so) are pervasive, especially in the finale, and add little to the story. This doorstopper is long on words but short on execution.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Ok- This was a good story in the first half, but becomes much to biblical, repetitive and convoluted by the last few hundred pages that I almost had to ditch it (and I almost NEVER ditch a book, even if it’s bad). Such a shame that a good idea and beginning storyline had to loose its way like it did. Would love to see a total re-write!? What happened here?
This is a sermon
Ok if you’re expecting to be flogged with the author’s religious beliefs over the last 400 pages. If you’re not, it’s an engaging read that abruptly devolves into an overly long sermon. I wouldn’t be irritated if I’d known what I was buying before I paid for it.
Good until it’s not....
The first half or even 3/4 of this book was so good. The character building and story lines were fantastic. Then the last 100 pages came and the term “jumping the shark” doesn’t begin to cover it. Disappointing at the end and super frustrating to finish.