Book Review

The Children on the Hill by Jennifer McMahon | ARC Review

Title: The Children on the Hill

Author: Jennifer McMahon

How did I get it? I received a review copy from the publisher via Edelweiss

What’s it about?

1978: At her renowned treatment center in picturesque Vermont, the brilliant psychiatrist, Dr. Helen Hildreth, is acclaimed for her compassionate work with the mentally ill. But when’s she home with her cherished grandchildren, Vi and Eric, she’s just Gran—teaching them how to take care of their pets, preparing them home-cooked meals, providing them with care and attention and love.

Then one day Gran brings home a child to stay with the family. Iris—silent, hollow-eyed, skittish, and feral—does not behave like a normal girl.

Still, Violet is thrilled to have a new playmate. She and Eric invite Iris to join their Monster Club, where they catalogue all kinds of monsters and dream up ways to defeat them. Before long, Iris begins to come out of her shell. She and Vi and Eric do everything together: ride their bicycles, go to the drive-in, meet at their clubhouse in secret to hunt monsters. Because, as Vi explains, monsters are everywhere.

2019: Lizzy Shelley, the host of the popular podcast Monsters Among Us, is traveling to Vermont, where a young girl has been abducted, and a monster sighting has the town in an uproar. She’s determined to hunt it down, because Lizzy knows better than anyone that monsters are real—and one of them is her very own sister.
The Children on the Hill takes us on a breathless journey to face the primal fears that lurk within us all.



Monsters are real, and ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and, sometimes, they win.”

– Stephen King

Inspired by Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” Jennifer McMahon’s latest thriller has all of the atmospheric gothic vibes that I love. There are many twists and turns to the plot so do not skim on this one my friends or you will miss out.

I’m not sure how to talk about the plot of this book without spoilers so I won’t say much about it. I went into this book not knowing much and I do think that is the best way to experience it. Let the plot just unravel itself for you. I will say that the book had a bit of a slow start but once the story gained momentum it became very difficult to put it down. Just when I thought I knew what was happening there was another twist that helped to keep me invested in the mystery. I wasn’t sure at first how McMahon was going to pull the separate threads of the story together. She did it so seamlessly that I didn’t even notice until in the end when it just all clicked into place.

My favorite aspect was the bond between Iris and Vi. It happened quickly but their sisterhood/friendship was so strong. Iris has no memory of what happened to her and Vi promises Iris to help her figure out who she is and how she ended up as Vi’s grandmother’s patient. Along the way, Vi becomes fiercely protective of her new “sister” and takes many risks in her quest to help Iris.

Overall, this was a very dark and chilling read with a modern gothic vibe to it. Definitely my type of book. This is my first Jennifer McMahon and it will not be my last. I can’t wait to read more from this author.

My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

As always keep on reading and stay book nerdy my friends!


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